Linda Salamone's Blog

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Karl and I were determined to get some air time after missing a Katydid flight on Sunday. So yesterday, with conflicting reports of wind direction (SW vs SE) we hedged out bets and headed to Italy. With only one vehicle we were faced with the prospect of hiking up if we didn't soar and Karl was pretty pessimistic (!) but I was sure we were in the right place. When we planted Karl's wind sock in the LZ, lo and behold - no less than 8 hawks soaring just above launch! We raced up top and found our path to an easy glider drop-off blocked by some mysterious guy just sitting in his car, so we hoofed the gliders in fast and set up. It was blowing in perfectly- hawks here and there- until I stuffed my very last batten. Then it DIED. once a while a soft cycle would waft in, but this was NOT what I set up my pretty Litespeed for. Plus, Karl had to help lug the heifer in so it had better be worth it! I waited patiently on launch, my back breaking from the unnatural stance in my racing harness, for almost 45 minutes. Karl and I discussed the possibility of a wonder wind flight- impossible to predict- but we predicted away. A little time had passed and we set the ground rules about flying without guilt if one of us got up and the other didn't, and where to try to land and all, and magically, the trees got that waterfall sound- steady and light. It actually began to blow enoough for me to feel confident launching so I did. I got a bit tipped to the left probably due to the slight S cross and the scrub in the launch, but it felt pretty solid and I climbed right on up. When I started stepping up higher and higher, right off I noticed two things- the funky noise my vario was making, and the fact that it said I was only 35' over. I was certainly more than 100- 200' and that noise was my sink alarm. So while I have been busy working out problems with my 5030, I reset all the factory settings. So now I have the sink set at like 20fpm and the delay in the climb beep is different and I am all screwed up! And everything is in metric so the 17 I saw for windspeed was kph, not mph.....So I set about ignoring it and finally just shut the damn thing' audio off. Karl launched after a bit and it seemed to take a while for him to get up to me. When he did, we just boated around at 200 meters (?) over and it was very smooth. I had VG on a lot and it was fun playing the sink rate war with a Saturn. At one point I got low, and then I just never got back up. It was punchier down there and struggle though I may, I just couldn't get back up to where Karl was. And I tried!!!!! Finally I gave up and headed into land. It was a great approach and perfect landing in no wind. I was pretty psyched about that. Any decent landing in this harness is a gift! Karl flew a while longer and top landed. I was worried for a while that if something bad happened in the tall weeds on top, I wouldn't know for a very long time. I did decide to start walking up when it got dark. He came down and got me and we headed home. I think we were at the right place even though it was cross some from the S and SSW at times. I don't know if Dansville would have worked or not but we did each get around an hour (Karl got longer) so it was well worth the drive. Hopefully that's not the end of our Fall flying.


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