Sunday, December 21, 2014

Torturous Flight Research

On the second day of the TFR … nobody gave us anything! We had to work hard for every millisecond of airtime. Sixteen pilots came out to try their luck: twelve hiked up, ten launched, and a lucky four made it up and out of there to play in crazy leeside thermals for a few hours, from the point to the drop zone. But all sixteen celebrated at the landing zone long into the afternoon.

The blipmap had predicted nice north flow bathing the whole island around noon and strengthening all day. It looked like an epic call for Dillingham. And lucky for us our homegrown VIP had other plans today, so ATC cleared us to fly out there.

But somehow the north flow never really showed up. The sea breeze effect predominated from both sides of the peninsula, but mostly from the back side. So we ended up getting just enough airflow on launch to get out of there but not enough to keep the flow from the back side from rolling over the top. Clouds were forming way out from the ridge on our side, and drifting further offshore. Cycles on launch started off east and ended up west by the end of the day. Good thing the knob goes both ways!

Everyone had some interesting stories to tell. Drew did a great job thermaling, flying farther than anyone else out toward the drop zone. Thom's landing was very exciting: he almost bought a van, but at the last second he tapped his brakes and shot over it. Reaper and Ike launched the west face of the knob for their first time (like I did yesterday). George enjoyed his very first flight after 10 months off. Welcome back! Steve avoided sinking out by top landing on the next ridge over, then hiked up in a quest for more airflow, all the way to the summit. He ended up struggling to launch up there for hours from a few different spots, before finally getting out and landing at the end of the day.

I'm sure there are other stories and more details to share: let's hear your comments!

Roll call: me, Drew, Thom, Jorge. Reaper, Allegra, Scrappy, George, Ike, Steve. Jim, Sandy. Shawn, Harvey, Gaza, Duck … and probably more that I'm leaving out!


Alex said...

And I just remembered: today was the winter solstice. Shortest day and lowest sun all year. So from here on out the days will be getting longer again! Hooray.

Thom said...

JJJ has not been disappointed lately with all the write ups he has been a little more tolerable especially at this time of year. He's not a big Christmas fan and his feelings of the Obama visitations, well lets just say he's looking forward to Jan 4, 2015!

It was definitely an educational flight and my landing is on video somewhere in the Scrappy archives. I thought it was quite entertaining and I missed that van by plenty of inches.

Now Reaper and Ike had the landings coming in opposite of everyone else due to the West flow.

The Dill is pickling as 3 bottles of wine went down some where but worth the tuition.

Thanks again for keeping JJ Jameson at bay.