Linda Salamone's Blog

Monday, August 13, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007
Cloud 9 Webberville, Michigan
Took a couple short flights today, sink was abundant in between weakfish thermals. But nice to get the lay of the land for tomorrow’s festivities. Mark spanked me today for sure and had a great almost spot landing. I beaked a bit…
Flights: 2
Airtime: 30 min each??
Alt2: 3400’

Saturday, August 11, 2007
Cloud 9 Webberville, Michigan
Saturday started off very stable, and since realizing later is better when you don’t have a huge lake a few miles away, or a sea breeze that shuts things down, we were very patient getting ready to fly. Bob Grant launched in his brand new distinctive T2, and another pilot went before me. I had a too-smooth tow behind Lisa, and she let me off way to the south. I went further south looking for any bump, thinking for sure it was a few seconds away, and so when I turned around to the tow field, I was way beyond a glide away. Uh-oh, bonehead move for sure! I got the VG on, got low and less draggy, and made a run back. Definitely NOT gonna make it. I told Mark he may have to come get me a field or two away, and then I had one little beep a few kilometers away. I kept the VG full on and started turning. 60fpm back to 1800’ before it died, but I had the field on glide and saw Bob turning at the NW corner so I headed over. Gee, ME pimping off Skydog for a change!!! I hit a piece of his lift at 500’ over the field and finally got the best part of it at 400’. Around 80fpm now, but it got better after half an hour when the inversion broke and then Bob and I started getting high. Little clouds formed too and we got right up near them. Still no one else was launching and I wondered why. Mark had had a weak-link break and wasn’t on the radio so I didn’t know what was up. But I flew all over the place at around 4K and the lift was really nice. Soon more gliders got in the air and Mark had been tying them up but then he got in line. There must have been 20 gliders in the air and at one point I was thermalling with a kingpost, a rigid, and a sailplane just above 4 grand and looking at the scuzz layer all around us. I saw a bunch of white helium balloons at one point, and thought about trying to catch them- but they were sinking so I abandoned that idea. I wasn’t so sure I had the “Best Bikini” award locked up so I figured now I had to go for duration. My highest alt2 was 4850’ but I knew someone had probably beaten that. And I was sooooo cold (since I was wearing just a bikini on top) that trying to get higher was killing me. After 3 hours my back hurt from shivering. After 4 hours I had goosebumps on my goosebumps. So I tried to stay around 2-3K and warm up. It worked and Mark and I flew together for a while. I watched him land and make a perfect one on the spot, saving himself 10 bucks for the day. When I landed after about 5 hours, I made the spot but slid in and touched the nose. Ah well. I was beat. There were still a couple gliders in the air and I had to wait to see how long they were up. There was a catered dinner- mostly meat but lots of delicious sides- and then we did the awards. Mark got best spot and I got duration- but not bikini so I am glad I sacrificed my hips and back for duration….
Cloud 9 is awesome- it is a model of what flight parks should be like. You feel like a welcomed guest, and part of a great community of pilots who all respect their hosts, Lisa and Tracy. There is a surprising lack of “don’t”s posted all over the place, and just common sense rules apply. The tow field is amazingly flat, the clubhouse and showers are clean, and every effort is made to get pilots into the air safely. What a great place. They definitely have set the standard!


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