Linda Salamone's Blog

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Awake in the middle of the night after a good early sleep due to jet lag in Germany, it's time to update some Flytec Race and Rally stuff.
The first day of the Rally was looking pretty unflyable- dark overcast, low cloudbase, and strong-ish winds. We were still at the Florida Ridge and all packed up now. I launched late after hearing reports of 50 to 100fpm climbs. I knew it was a 'drift with the light climb you have' kind of a day, so I prepared to just keep turning as goal was almost directly downwind at Okeechobee. My tow was really ratty but I just hung on so as not to have to do it all over again, and I got let off in broken lift. Thinking I'd only get a few k's away, imagine my surprise when after struggling just to stay up for a while, I floated over lots and lots of gliders all over the ground. I figured the gig was up when a huge swamp at the edge of the lake made landing options undesirable since my hightest alt. was only around 2000'. I was going to deck it with a Kavu glider just at the edge of the swamp but got a sweet climb over that field instead. It drifted me in an ugly direction but like the few climbs before it, it wasn't going to quit any time soon. Larry Bunner and I worked it for a while and it eventually drifted us over perfectly landable fields to the west of the big lake. There was a seabreeze off that lake and a convergence that I managed to ride for a while after scraping Larry off. I wound up landing just 15k short or so and tying for 11th place. Lots of pilots ended up right in the same area. But it gave me priority staging as the scores at first had me tied for 10th.
Monday found me on the safety committee. We had driven from landing on the way to Okeechobee (from the Ridge) to Quest. As awesome as it was to be at the Ridge for a week, it felt like a homecoming to be back at Quest. Lauren and Paul have the whole place looking good. We got completely dumped on by an electrical storm as we arrived, so setting up the camper was a delayed project. No one thought we'd fly Monday but the day showed promise early and we all set up. A strong west wind (bad direction for Quest) and no clouds had me giving a thumbs down when asked for my vote on the day. We had delayed it but things were deteriorating so we just cancelled.
Tuesday, a bit less wind, but still strong and west. I was on the task committee and still haven't figured out what my purpose was there. We called a straight crosswind task and only a few gliders launched. It was looking pretty dismal to have a task so after the tugs decided to stay grounded, the day was worth like 3 points to those who flew. So I lost my priority staging! Ah well, it was nice to be in the top ten for a bit.
Wednesday, we had a task to the south to Avon Park. After two tows and sinking out in the strong wind, I finally stuck in one and got out of the park. Way last again, but the lead gaggle wasn't doing that great. I flew with some sailplanes and had a few decent climbs but didnt get much further than 27 or 28K. After a long delay getting retrieved, I decided to not even watch the scores and fly as best as I could every day. I am at this point beginning to get more VG on- sometimes 3/4 pretty regularly, so that's an improvement. But still, my gliding kind of sucks.
Thursday turned out to be a great day for me- not because I got faster- but because I got to goal at all! This day was the only one that really felt like a flying day to me- one that I would actually look forward to and plan around. Light SE wind, decent climbs, nice day. The start gaggle was crazy and scary at times, but I am getting that VG pulled pretty well and gliding just a bit better. Mitch and Mark and I were on radio and of course mark was ahead. Mitch and I flew together a bit until I went over him after seeing him coming up fast. But he climbed through me in a few seconds and my vario never even beeped. I lost him after that and got slow and alone, until Christian in the millenium and Brian Foster hung out with me a while. Christian saved my butt with a climb from really low, and I was unable to return the favor when we had this death glide that he failed to find anything in, yet I got my biggest gain since the start. It was such a sweet low save- unzipped and on final. I had a huge field to bail in but this thermal was solid all the way to 5 grand. Finally... later I got low again but had a 10:1 to goal and took it. I floated low for a long time and made it in with time to set up a decent approach. So good to be there in Williston. But everyone else was already there and I took 30th!!!! Oh well- it was a really fun flight.
Being back in Williston was begining to freak me out. I knew the next day we would head to Moultrie Georgia- a town I had never heard of before last year but that I now associate with pain and loss and fear. We had other issues in Williston first- like losing the crank to the pop-up and the tonneau cover for my Baja... but when the next day started out rainy and gloomy, I figured the worst had to be behind us. I towed up out of Williston last. It had rained briefly so I backed out, then the gaggle couldnt leave in their light climbs so they took a lot of relights. Knowing it would be a turn til you cant anymore kind of a day, I thought I might do okay. I flew some with Jack Simmons and Derreck, but landed with Derrick on the edge of some pretty unlandable stuff. Time to get to Moultrie by car...
Mitch splurged for a room in town so we spent time in luxury this night. In the morning I realized Mark would be driving north and I would have to head south- this being Saturday and the last Rally day. I had to get ready to fly and sort out my crap for Germany and try to not chew on the whole Moultrie/broken arm thing. It was a good distraction until I saw on the Nuvi a place called "Linda Arn" (sic). Since the week before I had been driving by places like "Linda Tuesday" and "Linda Sunday", I knew that Bill Schell had marked my accident site. Of course we detoured on the way to the airstrip to see it. Mitch and I walked out to the field where I spent some really scary time last year (and in fact it happened exactly one year ago today as I write this) and I was surprised how much was preserved perfectly in my memory and then the few things that were not as I had remembered. What I did see was that I had landed downhill in addition to downwind. Pretty good slope too. The house nearby that I could see when I was stuck there was so clearly abandoned. If I had not been able to finally make a phone call, no one was going to come home from work that night and find me out there. Yikes.
So at the airfield after paying homage to my field, no one was looking anxious to fly or even to set up. I took the time then to pack and repack and it looked as though we were having a garage sale out there. Jeez, I had a lot of stuff. It was getting very windy and base was low but eventually we all set up. After some screwing around and a few rowdy tows, the day got cancelled. The closing ceremony was in town at a buffet restaurant then Dana and I headed south and Mark took the dog north.
Dana had a job interview in Orlando Sunday morning and a flight back to Rochester on Monday. We had ridden back to Quest with Derrick and a large crew in the big RV but Derreck left for Ft Myers te=he same night. I had to short pack my glider at Quest, and I left my purse in the RV after losing my iPod in there somewhere. So Sunday morning, getting ready for Germany and hoping to rent a car to go to Naples firstto see my mom.... not really looking good with no money, credit card, driver's licence or passport..... hmmmm. So Alex Cuddy helped me short pack and did a really great job from what I could tell in Munich today. And then I got Quest-suck. No car or way to get to Naples. But at least derreck called and said he had my purse. Then Dana rented a car with Marks points when I borrowed Mitch's car to take her to the airport and later I took Dave Shields and his glider there as well. So Monday I didn't fly even though it looked great finally - instead I spent almost 7 hours of drive time between the two airport runs.
Tuesday I finally busted out of Quest to get to Naples. But not before my laptop completely shit the bed. It was the one thing I had been charging my phone with and so now my phone would die on the way to Naples. But I made it there and got my purse from Derreck and even my iPod was in it. Mom made dinner and I got a chance to give myself a pedicure and float in an overwarm pool, do my laundry (well mom did it) and just CHILL. Wednesday I brought my laptop to the Geeksquad but wound up buying an HP mini and shipping the big paperweight hime so not to have to schlep it all over Germany.
So... along in the laptop case was my car rental voucher for Avis in Munich. That caused a huge delay on arrival here this afternoon but eventually I got it and made my way to Tegelberg. A friend of Jamie's took my glider so I wouldn't have to deal with that and as of right now I have no idea where my glider is. But hey- I am blogging away in my very nice little room and I am quite comfortable. It was 40 degrees in Florida when I left and 40 degrees in Germany when I arrived. Too bad Florida was in celsius and Germany a fehrenheit measurement.... I haven't seen a soul yet from the meet but that will happen tomorrow at a meeting. I promise to bring a camera and do all that. I am a little lost without my regular PC but I'll ge tused to this. Sure is tiny. Wait til you see the castle! I'm going to attempt some more sleep even though it says 9pm in NY and it must be like 3am here.


  • All great stuff, Linda. Downwind downhill is challenging for everyone, you can wipe that from your mind now :-).
    Will be watching and cheering for you and Jamie and Katha at Tegelburg - have a FANTASTIC time!
    PS.Thanks for the rain info BTW!

    By Anonymous helen, at 5:57 AM  

  • Dear Linda,
    thank You for Your writing - as entertaining as ever.
    Welcome to Germany and Tegelberg,
    i seriously hope for improved wheather for the comp.
    Good luck, to "team USA" ;-)
    Regards, W.

    By Anonymous winDfried, at 6:06 AM  

  • Hey Gurlfrend.....

    Kick some ass over there! I'm going to send you an email RE: logistics and getting your glider back to Rochester after you get home. I hope it gets through.


    By Anonymous John Bilsky, at 9:02 AM  

  • Hey Linda,

    I will be rooting for you. Are you the entire USA team?

    Have a ball and fly safe!!!


    By Blogger Capt Judy, at 10:48 AM  

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