Linda Salamone's Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Monday March 27 2006
Ron was already in the air when I got to Hammondsport, with a big-ass bird following him all over, sometimes with talons poised. They weren't very high and there were hawks all over. When I saw Ron's pet up next to one of the Red-Tails, I realized he had an irate eagle on his butt. From underneath I could see no white head and tail, and it looked small for a Bald Eagle, but it's tip feathers were obvious and it for sure wasn't a vulture. Bob and I were laughing while this bird threatened Ron's glider for almost an hour.
Finally Ron got really really high and I sped up my set-up. The wind blowing into launch was similar to Sunday but the whole day was completely different. I had seen 6000' boundary layer on the soundings so I figured we might get really high. I dressed for extreme cold even though the air temp was around 50 degrees and launched (badly) after Bob's perfect launch. Bill had already launched and everyone was doing pretty well. The air was decent, and I climbed some and proceded to zip up. Couldn't. Tried again. Still not able. Lost some altitude. Climbed a little and tried the stupid zipper again... that went on for 20 minutes while I barely maintained soaring flight. Finally I just gave up and decided to ignore it. Then I could actually climb and take a look around. Bill was way up north by the lake, Bob and Ron were high behind the church. It was good all over and the climbs were really solid... until the cycle ended! Then suddenly we were all scratching at the ridge and Bob sank out. Ron and I hung on and I was way out front of launch tangling with the bottom of a thermal. When I started to actually climb in it a little, I got this charlie-horse in the arch of my foot. I thought I would be joining Bob in a minute in his plummet to the LZ... I had been really straining my feet to keep my legs as much in the harness as possible.... finally I got back up again and then the heavens opened up and I was at 4500' over launch. Ron joined me way up there and I thought if I was zipped in I would fly to Harris. It was so sweet to see everything from that altitude again. We were really HIGH! Here I was with warm hands, face and head... with the fronts of my thighs just about frostbitten! Oh and my hips were killing me! But the air was so big, not scary- except the edges were a bit 'over the falls' - I knew I had Ron the Hang2 beat in altitude, my work here was done- so I went to land on top. Not so easy! A thermal was kicking off and I had to stay in it with Ron until it passed by the field. Landing was decent, better than the too-low wing on launch.
So I got my hour, Ron got like 3.5!!!! Ron K and Ed J arrived and they and the two PGs (Doug and Matt) flew for about as long as they liked. It got very smooth and perfect for PG. Wow. Big day. Gimme another day like that when I am actually all in one piece! Next time....
Oh and Ron never noticed his new bird friend at all! Funny!


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