Linda Salamone's Blog

Monday, April 06, 2009

Weekend Update-

Ah back in Florida, to stay at Quest this time. Cheaper, no hassles, tow when you want. Not quite the same ambiance as further south, but a great place to hang out and fly. The pond at Quest brings back many memories, but tales of an alligator kept me from swimming laps. I only managed to swim to the dock a few times- really really fast. For years I've been hearing that an alligator lives in there, and each year the story of him grows, as does his supposed length... I guess if he existed for real, he'd grow... and I think now I'm convinced there really is one. There is also a lot of other wildlife around... maybe because it's so quiet much of the time...

Saturday, April 4th was the first flyable day since I arrived. There were lots of folks hanging at Wallaby that I really wanted to see and Jamie and I were planning to do an XC over to the party there. We were going to call ourselves team 'Pair of Questicles'... funnier because we are girls.... ha ha... Last year at Demo Days, I took my student, Mario Luppa, on an XC flight from Wallaby to Quest, (thanks to the use of Lauren's little Pulse), and this year, my little Litespeed was hopefully going to take me the opposite way. But when Dustin launched and almost sank out, and OB launched and DID sink out, my hopes of a screaming XC flight ending at the party were fading. Jamie saw the change in the forecast and bagged it, but I got a great tow behind Paul Tjaden and milked some light lift for a while deciding what to do. Timothy was set up to retrieve me, or bring my stuff to Wallaby so I could shower if I made it, so I got brave and left Quest pretty low. Jeff and Dusty were already gone, Bellerby was farting around over the airpark with another Steve.
My first climb was in desperation mode... I was really low a few miles south, so I decided to stick to Rte 33 due to the fact that the mines are impossible to get out of on the weekends. I flew from field to field for a while, never getting more than 700 meters. Once I passed the sailport, however, things got better. The sailplanes were not afraid to get up right close with me and share the air. The lift was frequent if not booming, and they were spaced so close together. I just started leaving when they got a little frustrating, and another one was put right in my path. No clouds to speak of, except way south, so I just followed along Rte 33.

I heard Paul on the radio after a bit, and realized I didn't know where I was going. I told Paul (using my radio LEGALLY for the first time) I was lost. He said he couldn't help me with THAT. So I said, WALLABY was lost, I can't find it, where is it? He said some stuff I didn't get and I was turning and scanning the terrain way to my east. Nothing looked familiar at all, until I saw I was coming up on Rte 4- and still way west by Rte 33. Paul confirmed Wallaby was a mile or two north or Rte 4 and I headed east over some unlandable territory to see if the one field I had in mind WAS Wallaby. I was really high, like 4500' so I had lots of time to look for other gliders and be sure I was headed in the right direction. But even though the field had the right shape to be Wallaby, there was nothing flying that I could see. As I got closer I saw that there were indeed many gliders parked along the tree lines and on the cables. I looked everywhere for someone flying but saw no one except one kingpost low and setting up to land. I arrived with over 3000' and seriously thinking there had been an accident or something (why else would no one be flying during the meat of the day- 3:30-on the first really soarable day of Demo Days???) so I burned off my altitude quickly and tried to land. I kept hitting all kinds of lift (isnt that the way it always is when you want to come down) and the shifting sock had me s-turning until it straightened out again. I made a huge effort to get my hands up higher than usual since my last really weak flare, and had a shitty landing anyhow. At least I stayed on my feet and didn't whack. But I really need to fix those landings.
I was told by a bunch of pilots that the seabreeze had kicked in and flushed a large group just before the bell rang. The dreaded bell... And there were a few pilots that got pushed way east and were trying to get back. Mostly everyone was hanging out, socializing and eating. Timothy had my stuff and as I packed up, I started seeing lots of people I knew. Bellerby had landed short with the other Steve, and Nicole was out trying to get him from way behind a locked gate. Paul made a flight to Wallaby and then the party REALLY started...
A few random pics...

Bellerby after his long carry-out (had to rub that in...)

Lauren's about to do something rude to that ear of corn...
Wills Wing- in conjunction with Wallaby Ranch- really knows how to throw a party. Great food (although not for vegetarians) great beverages, great slide shows, great people, great location. Thanks so much to Timothy for getting my stuff to me and Belinda for the ride back and Bellerby for the ride to the airport... Awesome time...
My flight-
Duration- 2:45
Alt over launch- 1430 meters
XC miles- 22 ( I think)


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