May 25, 2009

Miles in May

May 22 Vulcan to High River to Nanton to Vulcan

The day was forecast to be light south east wind so we called a triangle that should be challenging in those conditions. It was much more challenging than we imagined. The wind was 3 times faster than forecast and just about straight south. The first leg of the triangle was east north east heading. I decided to not get excited about getting starting early and waited around waiting for something to change with the conditions. What that did for me was wait till the day turned on a little more and I was not fighting light lift and getting blown off course. No one made it to the first turn point. I made a fatal mistake and didn't trust my GPS. I headed for town instead of the way point causing me to get downwind of the way point and getting second for the day. I originally thought I had won the day but at scoring the next morning I found out I had lost by a very small amount and would have easily won had I trusted my gps. Another lesson learned.

May 23 Last day, Short task to Strathmore (75k?)

Forecast was for the same as yesterday, learning our lesson on that we called a mostly down wind task to Strathmore. I towed my entire team up (twice) and after they were all gone, got a tow from Brett on Leif's rig. I pinned off into lift at around 1000' and never looked back. I climbed out like a rocket to 9000' and met up with Dave at cloud base where we went on glide. I followed him for a kilometer or so before I realized I was taking the wrong approach to gaggle flying and moved over a few hundred yards to take advantage of the separation. Soon after a long glide Dave started turning to my left and I pulled in under him. We climbed to base and I lead on ahead. I tried to stay on course while Dave pulled to the left. I was soon on the ground after a long glide and Dave picked a better line and continued on. I made it 20K or so and landed right beside Rob G. He had a ride on route so I lucked out there.

Final Notes.... After attending Miles in May for three years, This was by far the best one yet. Comp headquarters was a bar that we never left, except to fly. The drive to launch was minimal inconvenience and access to internet was much more convenient then years past. I did my best placing at second place (novice) and my winch performed beautiful with the highest tows and consistent performance. Best of all the only incident was one perturbed farmer.

May 22, 2009

Miles in May

May 21 Goal: Formost = 100 miles

We decided to go long. All the forecast models showed an awesome day. We called the task to Formost for around 170 Km. Everyone made it away from the tow roads, Ross and Fiona made goal, I made it 20 km or so. I made some fatal errors in judgment that put me on the ground early. The day was rough with some wire twanging and getting dumped many times. I was disapointed in my performance but not too sad I was on the ground.

May 20, 2009

Miles in May

May 19 Day called

After a delayed pilots meeting and sky watching the safety committee ordered beer. Gusting to 70K. A group of us went fishing at chain lakes. Cost me a fishing license to catch one 8" rainbow, but at was an afternoon doing something different. Cal is like a 12 year old fanatic when it comes to fishing.

May 20 Day will be called

Awoke to an odd sounding rain, if that wasn't enough to piss a guy off, when I finally crawled out of my tent, that odd rain was actually snow. Forecast says crap for today but tomorrow will be awesome. This whole group is going to snap if we don't fly soon.

May 18, 2009

Miles In May

May 16 Practice Day
The forecast was for a great day, possibly the best of the week so there was allot of gliders/pilots set up when I got to the tow site. So many in fact that it was going to be impossible to get any consistent tow time. I rounded up my crew for the meet and asked if they wanted to head to a different road. We headed over to a different road and set up. It was getting late by the time I towed the first glider up. I went with a soft tow for the fist one and I wasn't sure how far the road went so Loren got a 1600' tow but didn't stick. Next was Ken. He broke the record for height of tow off my winch with 3200' which was broken soon after by Glen with a tow to 3600'. But apparently high tows don't come with luck and after a couple tows each, they never got away. There was a few others that were dotted along the countryside all the way to just north of brooks. (actually a paraglider pilot of all things!) About 120K or so.

May 17 Goal: Brooks-100k
At the pilot meeting, some rules were layed down, classes were sorted out, and I was elected to the task committee. The classes are Novice (never over 50 miles) Intermediate (never over 120 miles) and Advanced (anything over 120 miles flown) That put me into the novice class. Myself, Loren, Ken, and Cal make up the novices which I feel is pretty fair. The intermediates have some pretty extreme ranges of pilots, and the advanced looks pretty fair too. I like the splitting of the classes and hope it works out well.

With the forecast "gusting to 50K" winds we decided on a straight downwind task to Brooks. We drew the long straw and got the long road with Dougs crew. The wind started south and we towed a few south but again it was proving tough to get away. One by one Dougs crew towed and left the site. We had a trainee driver I was teaching for a few tows. He did well but small problems kept popping up that made life difficult. Loren had the chute pop out on tow and somehow ripped the bridles off it when he got released. That sent the chute floating in the wind down the field (thank you Karen) After that crisis the line was all pulled off the winch on the next tow and had to be found and rewound. On my tow my release line got tangled with the chute and upon release, cut the chute bridle again. I had the chute still in the sock so I had to go and land to give back the chute. On the second round of tows we went away one by one. It was very windy and with the bar out to min sink I was traveling a 75 kph The order of the day was drift with what you could. I got farthest of my crew, at around 20 K. Ken was a K or 2 short of that, and Loren was around 10 K. Glen never got away. Ross and Rob made goal, Gary was 20 k away. In my class Cal beat me by a long ways flying to Bow City for around 75K and will be tough to catch without some luck on my side, or bad luck on his, but it's still early.

May 18 Weather day.
It started to rain on our parade shortly after breakfast. There was a few people that headed out last night and I was going to but a few beer later and it was too late to hit the road. I am at home now and the forecast is looking alright for tomorrow so I'll be driving back tomorrow morning.