Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finally, The Dill - I Love This Place!

A while back, after my landing on the beach, which happened on the wrong - ocean - side of the shore break, Alex asked me to write a story on it. I was still kinda pissed off at myself for doing that (the wet landing), and there was not much to tell - I never wrote it. Well today, there is not much to tell either, but I still can't stop grinning about this evening's flights, so, sorry to bore ya'll, but here it comes.

Wasted half the day running errands and watching windlines, hoping to get airborne again somewhere. According to Alex earlier, the Dillingham wouldn't be flyable again, since it was pretty east. But, I talked to my skydiving buddy, and he said it was actually NW out there .....

Decided to go for it, despite not knowing how to get up there and going solo (Firedave, who's always up for adventure, is down with a cold and pinched nerve, and everyone else seems to always be too pessimistic, lazy to drive, lazy to hike, busy working, and/or all of the above).

The worst case, I'll find the launch, give it a shot and hike down if it's not flyable. I was also curious about the "grueling" hike the locals were talking about ;))

Windsock at the glider park was pretty limp NW, but decided to go for it anyways. With the headphones on and iPod blasting reaggae, hike went by pretty fast. Even stopped for a few minutes to talk to a hot chick that was there on a hike - I love this place.

Alex gave me great directions, but I had to call him again, after bushwhacking for a while, looking for the launch clearing - could hear his vario beeping in the background, thanks for answering buddy.

Launch is pretty tight, especially with no wind. I gave it a couple of tries anyways, then luckily some super light puffs started coming in, the windsock on the runway still limp, but now directly East, parallel with the "080" runway ...

After a few minutes, I took the cycle and "jumped off the mountain", expecting no lift, but trying not to hike down.

Well, lift was there, so were couple of gliders, ultralite trike, couple of heavy military helicopters, tow plane ... but also a couple of albatrosses and a sailboat and whales in the ocean - I love this place.

Eventually, after about an hour in the air, rocking to da rastafarai and soaring in the seabreeze, the wind direction switched to ESE (I guess some catabatic (??) influence before sunset), and I went to land.

Luckily I picked the grass strip behind the hangars, because a couple of powered hang pilots were watching my landing and came by to talk to me. They were so stoked by the whole "backpackthinlinessailinghikingupthehillsmoothlandinglaughing" thing, that they offered a ride on the trike.

So, after not so epic, but still really special and for me an awesome flight, I got to go for a refill, on an ultralight, over the ocean, into the sunset, steering it by pushing a few tubes around ;))

I love this place ...

czech peter


Alex said...

If you liked it in easterly wind then just wait until it's actually north out there! Glad you found the spot and survived that launch, and you even soared a while. I know I wouldn't have tried that by myself, especially in that wind direction. But it's good to know it's possible. Wind direction parallel to the runway seems incredibly cross for that ridgeline but maybe if it's light enough it's just thermals anyway? I want to hear more about what the air was doing. Thanks for the story!

firedave said...

Peter: It is extra special when you go it alone and it works, excellent. But it sounds like you were never far from people either in the air or on the ground.

Maybe you can do some research to find out when it is really flyable out there?

Suicide said...

That sounds pretty cool.

But . . . check this out . . . I had two CRAZY-MAN-sink-out-to-the-beach-fill-your-wind-with-sand-hike-back-up-and-fight-with-snags-and-be-REALLY-thirsty flights!


(Thanks for the write-up Pete. A lot of us have NEVER flown Dillingham; too lazy to hike or drive.)

Alex said...

Peter, I hope you don't mind - I found a great picture to go with your story! It works for both the Dill and for the Love in your title. But if you have any better ones go ahead and replace the one I found.

volfik said...

Alex, love the pic, but did you crop the chic out ?
If she was naked, that would be best, but this works ;)

BTW, never did anything risky, had a good full inflation, Alex knew I was there, and was in clean sight from the airport and gliders in the air as well ...

and, i don't feel the hike is bad enough to feel committed to launch, so if i didn't like the conditions, i'd hike down, no worries

the air was perfectly smooth, i even think it was straighter in a bit higher ( seabreeze ?? ), only on landing i felt little bumps, IMHO from catabatic cold South air mixing with Easterly trade air flow, but nothing extreme
smooth enough to go for a tight grass behind the hangars, as there are some other wide open options to land as well

also, looks like there are a couple of other launch options, that could work in more E direction

i felt like there could be some thermic potential, was definitely finding something off the skydiving buildings, but i was also late for that to work it, and could be too busy there mid-day

czech pedro