Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rally Day 1


It was a no-go for today.  We got up this morning to heavy rain, high wind and low cloudbase…not exactly the way we had hoped to start our trek north.  But, by mid-morning we were teased with clearing skies and somewhat lighter winds.  The task committee called a relatively short task south to Lake Wales hoping that the forecasted strong winds would not come around.  By noonish a task was nearly looking do-able, so we headed out to stage and sent a Dragonfly up to check out conditions.  Unfortunately, things were nicer on the ground than in the air and the safety committee didn’t feel the towing conditions were alright for us so the task was eventually cancelled.

A few guys opted for a free fly to check out conditions.  They reported that lift was good and strong, but turbulence on tow and landing was a handful.  We’re crossing our fingers for lighter wind tomorrow and we’ve travelled to Dunnellon, just 60 miles of so north of Quest where the enormous field is oriented into the predicted wind without any tree lines to rough up the air.  Although the forecast is for wind about as strong as today, the airport at Dunnellon might prove to be better for towing.

Thanks to Ricker for today’s photos!




Saturday, April 14, 2012

Aerotow-batics

I guess life has really gotten in the way of blogging lately.  I spent a great summer in Australia, did a bit of flying - but not as much as I would have liked - took a quick trip to Taiwan, then back to Australia all before the annual Colorado ski trip.  Now I'm home in Florida with my favorite person, hopefully getting a lot of flying in this summer.

Here's a very interesting little video of my tow yesterday evening at the Florida Ridge.  The comp started today (task cancelled, high wind), but I wanted a quick practice tow before things started.  By way of background, I was on my glider, with my harness and release and all of my usual equipment and VG settings - nothing new at all.  The wind had been quite strong all day, but mellowed slightly in the evening.  It was blowing probably around 10mph and there were storm cells out in front, but not moving in quickly.  The idea was to have a quick tow to 2000ft and then come in and land before the closest cell arrived.  Glen had gone up 10 minutes before and there was almost no lift, so he came down and landed as I was taking off.

I've been aerotowing for nearly 15 years and I don't ever recall getting more than 10 degrees or so out of line from the tow plane - when I have (even the slightest bit), I'm a big chicken and immediately release.  I'm definitely not one to keep trying to get the glider back into line if things get off line at all.  I prefer to just release and have another go.  The weak link didn't break - I released on the second oscillation.  So, with that background, I would welcome any comments/thoughts on what may have happened here, because I don't really have a clue, other than to say that I had a serious PIO problem.  The thing that bothers me most is that I've never done anything even remotely close to what I did last night and I would love to know how I could have screwed it up so badly.  Mostly, I'm just happy to still be here ;-)

video