Linda Salamone's Blog

Thursday, July 05, 2007

June 30, July 1st 2007 Morningside Flight Park

Mark and I dropped Dana off at her dad's in Vermont late Friday night. The forcast looked strong but the options were limited by my aching back. We left the Sting with Dana and headed to M'side. It was cross from the north on the little ridge so we decided to hike into Ascutney just to have a look since we knew pilots were going off there. We got stopped at the gate and without Vermont Hang Gliding Association cards, the gate keeper wouldn't let us in with the gliders. But I had Meesha's rabies certificate so at least SHE was legal.... We had no intention of flying but she was just being sure.... So we headed up and walked in. I can't believe people carry their gear through the woods here. It's like a mile and pretty rugged terrain. Dennis C., a rigid wing pilot and heart transplant recipient, allegedly was in the air here after carrying in HIS gear.... And me with just a bad back.... So anyhow, we watched a launch and saw a few people soaring above. What a beautiful place. It wasn't blowing as hard up here as it seemed at the Flight Park so we headed back to see if conditions had improved. Mark burned the crap out of his brakes on the way down and we got the gliders and set them up at M'side.

It was still a little windy and the day was flat when I towed up. Rhett pulled me to like 4700' when I finally pinned off- not a bump the whole way up, nary a bump on the way down. Well I got a little something near the ridge at 1800' and worked that for a total of 35 minutes- including the long-ass tow! When I landed, I helped Mark get hooked up and started putting away my glider. Rhett came back way too quickly and when I saw why- Mark was turning!- and Rhett said he left him in something decent, I got my shit back together and got towed up again. It took a while to see that Mark had made a live cloud- the only one in the sky that wasn't dead, and was pretty high by now. Rhett was motioning on tow- I thought he was pointing upwards, and knowing that he would tow me to kingdom come even when there were tandems waiting, I pinned off.... into NOTHING!!! I raced back to where Mark was circling but couldnt get it. Ah well- later I found out that Rhett wasn't motioning that it was good where I got off, rather, he was shielding his face from the low sun. I had a decent landing and then Mark came in. Definitely he had the FOTD there! We went to dinner with Rhett and Marilyn and got a room nearby to keep our flying options open in the morning.

The forecast looked identical for Sunday, and we went to M'side to pay up and decided to wait out the wind. It got calm but overcast for a while and we set up. Then it got BLACK and overcast, and some guy comes in high, apparently from Ascutney, and lands. I figure it's time to fly even though it looks like rain. I get a nice tow after Mark and find an easy thermal. Mark and I flew around a while and I was going to make a run to Ascutney, then changed my mind. While I was taking a big swing around back to the the Flight Park, I got hit by massive sink and figured I'd have to land. Mark was way north and radio'd that he'd found something so I tried to get to him. I got in under him low, just 800' by the ridge, and he said if I got up he'd buy dinner.... I kept falling out of it and it was trashy but finally an osprey showed me the way and I climbed up. It really turned into a screamer!!! My vario was 9.4 on the averager by the time I topped it out and then Mark and I went on a fun glide north. That Northwing of his has a really good glide- he was doing 38mph and matching my 1/2 vg glide without losing much altitude. He landed soon after and another glider got towed up. I waited til Stevie (test flying someone's glider) landed to try to land. By now it was honking pretty good and getting really rowdy- I had a good grip when I touched down. So pretty good for just over an hour of flying, and we were ready to get that dinner as promised. A long drive home, courtesy of Mark on Red Bull mostly, and into our own bed at midnight.

I should mention the somber mood at Morningside given the recent accidents there. Jeff Nicolay went to "the Other Side" and came back after landing in water. And Mike Onorato's accident is on everyone's mind, and their prayer lists. Just be really careful out there-


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