Linda Salamone's Blog

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wow, what a slacker I've been. It seems that Facebook has (temporarily) taken the place of blogging. Also, I haven't flown much lately, with the exception of the Arizona meet- the Santa Cruz Flats Race, way back in September. I flew my ass off there- and did some really stupid shit in the process. Note to self: find a happy medium between GOING FOR IT, and PLAYING IT TOTALLY SAFE. A mostly lackluster flying year for sure- coming back from an injury, getting totally skunked at Tegelberg on the heels of a so-so Florida comp season. But it seems that competitions are the only way at all for me to get the cobwebs out and fly fly fly. So many things seem to get in the way during regular life.
Anyhow... I had a decent winter flight last week, the day before Thanksgiving, after many weeks of being ground-bound. I had talked myself out of going a few times in the weeks before, and wound up kicking myself for not just GOING. So sitting at work, looking at the sunny, light (but COLD) forecast, I decided to just head out. I wanted to have something to really be thankful for! My son had borrowed my car so Mark had to get me from work and load our gear on. I brought along my freshly charged Thermic heated gloves to try for the first time since buying them in Germany. It seemed to be a mild enough day to try them out without the added hassle of rough air, and I was really anxious to see if all that money I spent on them was a waste or not.
The sun was shining brightly the whole drive down to Bath, NY. And while I set up the glider- still mild and sunny. When my son called to tell me I had to speak with his coach at 2pm (it was 1pm now, I was all set up and conditions were GOOD!), I was pissed to have to wait while Mark and Ed launched. Finally the call came and went and I launched myself into some really easy air and got right up. Launching and transitioning with the gloves was uneventful. Of course, by now, the sun had been pretty obliterated by a thick upper level scuzz, and I usually don't like flying in the cold sunless northeast. But the air was so sweet and easy and lifty and just absolutely effortless. Avoiding Ed was the biggest challenge I had while we climbed in a big boaty thermal just above launch, but once I got on top of him, I could drive around anywhere and take stock of my hands and how they felt with the lowest heat setting. I decided I wanted more warmth and it was simple to increase the setting to the second level in flight. I could zip into my harness easy enough even with a thick coat and a few layers of clothing on, but the dexterity of the gloves is not really good enough to use my push-to-talk easily. A few times I transmitted something to Mark but his volume was so low it was useless to talk. He called out that he was cold and landing on top and shortly thereafter I found myself sinking out. Doug had arrived and launched so Ed, he and I scratched around near the launches until I felt crowded and headed behind the church to land. The rolling narrow LZ there is not exactly my favorite choice of landing spots, and without wheels today I was even less thrilled, but I didn't even have time to stress out about it because I was staying up just fine on that piece of ridge. 10 minutes later a nice cycle got me plenty high enough to top land. I set the gloves to the 3rd and highest setting as the cold was settling in to my whole body and they felt nice and dry and only a little chilled. Nothing like they usually feel when I fly in 35 degree weather for an hour. So I flew around at 600 meters over the hill for a while and listened to Mark whine over the radio while his own hands thawed out. Before I could get too low again, I decided to land on top even though Ed and Doug still commanded the ridge. I didn't think either of them was high enough to land anywhere but behind the church but soon Doug begged to differ and did a landing on the knob behind launch. Nice to have a PG sometimes! My own landing was good and I took stock of my hands and how they felt as I carried over to break the glider down. Still warm, and dry, and ground handling is fine with the grip. Having cold hands is the main reason I dislike flying this time of year. I think I have that all solved now. These gloves were such an impulse buy, and a big expense, but I was nervous about the cold conditions in Germany and didn't want frozen hands to hold me back during the non-existent World Meet. Another pilot had heard I bought these gloves and told me then that they were terrible- she had tried them and found her hands were soaked and sweaty and raisin wrinkled when she landed some hours later. I didn't use then for more than an hour, and I didn't have them on the highest setting the whole flight, but let's see what happens when I test them out some more. For that experiment... I need some decent flying weather. Bring it on.
Flights: 1
Glider: old Litespeed
A2: 606m
Airtime: 56 min


  • Im glad someone is flying!! Thanks i am enjoying your blog, it is off season and I am living vicariously through pilots blogs :s

    By Blogger Eva, at 2:45 AM  

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