November 12, 2009

been awhile, again

It's been a while since I've posted anything. I know, I'm lacking flying time or interesting things to post. The Alberta crew put on another Octowberfest this year. We all head to the Standard tow site and tow up. The weather has never really cooperated at this meet but it gets us all out. This year it was mostly newbies and few veterans. I arrived and set up my glider after towing Graham up. Rob was doing a few tandems so I towed him up a few times. On the last tow the wind switched 90 degrees and that was the end of the towing from that road. I packed up my glider and taxied Satier to the cross roads and towed him into the wind. After a thousand feet or so the wind switched 180 degrees and I was driving 100K just to spin off line. He was in a falcon and after releasing, couldn't penetrate and ended up in the middle of a field somewhere. That was my sign to get lost.....

A couple weeks ago I got a phone call in the evening wondering if I knew who the victim of an accident at Camrose ridge was. I knew nothing about it and after a few texts was informed of the guys name and that he had died when he hit a rock pile at the ridge. I recall meeting him at the tow meet but did not get to know him. He was a yearling that was just getting started. Had a few high flights under his belt and was looking to soar. The entire circle of friends here was rocked. I'm sure his mentor took it hardest of our family. I feel bad that I didn't get to know him but on the other hand I think I was spared a hardship and heartache. From the obituary it sounded like he was a hell of a guy who lived and loved life.

Last week the wind gods smiles at me the same time as I had no other commitments. Now that I am all by myself in regards to flying partners, I didn't need to ask anyone if they wanted to go. I loaded up the truck and headed to the ridge. The wind looked slightly light but was to pick up as the afternoon wore on. Once I set up the wind was honkin. No windmeter but it took a half hour to walk the hundred feet to launch. Twice on the walk, if I could have unhooked and not been cartwheeling in the wind, I would have. But when the wind quit gusting enough to unhook, it was also good enough to walk ahead and launch. I waited for a lull and launched. Instantly gaining a hundred feet. It was fairly rough in the air, gusty and a few thermals, one of which I gained 1500' over the ridge. I flew for an hour before I was wore out fighting the wind. Landed 50' away from the truck flying the base tube till my feet touched the ground. By the time I was packed up the wind was back down to barely flyable. Lucky timing. It was close to a year since I flew the ridge last. I wasn't let down this time but I'm owed some good flight there.

Good looking wind on the ridge

Pack up time.