Monday, August 17, 2015

President Stepping Down

Oh God, No!!!! It's not what you think!! As most everyone knows, our club is a Reverse Dictatorship. So Alex does not have a choice: he has the job for life, whether he wants it or not. But this story is about another kind of stepping down. These days many EN-D pilots are stepping down to the EN-C range, for a variety of reasons, but improved safety and performance on EN-C gliders is pretty much the top justification. Alex had his inaugural Makapuu flight on Sunday and displayed the new colors of Air Force One.

Alex researched the heck out of this one, and he had told me that it was on the way. Actually Dorothy did, but at the time my mind was having a grape juice relapse, and I did not recall the conversation. So, I was surprised to find that the Trango XC3 was the new transport for our President. This is a very high end EN-C. When you are looking for a new wing, whether it be an EN-B or an EN-C in this day and age, find out on which end of the spectrum it sits. This wing is an EN-C but I think it's out of my league.

We did a few little tests and it seems a bit faster than my Delta 2, with the glide ratio pretty close [editor's note: um, we didn't do any glide ratio comparisons, but hopefully we'll do that soon!] but this Trango has an EN D pilot flying it. Again, as usual, I only got a few glimpses of the top of Alex's wing.

And it's not just his wing that's new. He went crazy this month on new gear. He found a like new Avasport pod harness to replace his Woody Valley, which had fallen apart with no manufacturer recourse. On his head is a new and very bright orange helmet, which he has complimented with an array of very brightly colored buffs. Maybe he'll be giving me some sock competition next. Also Alex got a new vario, which he is very excited about. Duck got the same one too, and I have one on the way as well! Stay tuned for reports on that nifty little device.

Our Sunday flying started off slow. I was very disappointed, and I was bitching (if you can believe that) about the lack of pilots present at the beginning. But by the day's end we had a good turnout, not GREAT, just good.

Good flights were had by all in the crazy buoyant northeasterly flow. We enjoyed plenty of sweet cloud surfing over hang launch, with Reaper reaching three grand above the huge cloud bank there. Alex, JK and I made several trips down Greenwalls. JK made some low sorties beyond Lanipo with me on his heels, before we were turned around by the low thick cloud base overhead. Later a bunch of us staged a full scale invasion of Rabbit Island. Some pilots flew over Rabbit for their first time, and I flew out beyond it further than I have ever been. Alex even tried to land on Rabbit Island. [Editor's note: um, not really, just got low trying to find that magical thermal...] I guess the title of this story could have been, President Steps on Rabbit. Look at the left top corner of the island in this picture and you'll see a blurred image of Alex. I gotta get an Iphone6 … NOT.

We had three generations of the Trango present. Reaper on his old Trango 3, Scrappy on his Trango XC2, and Alex on the new Trango XC3. Also Dr. Bill, at the ripe young age of 85, got two flights. Steve possibly got his last good flight at Makapuu as a single guy. I hope not, but the countdown is on, and with less than 2 weeks remaining he'll be busy.

One-Eye had his Cayenne 4 out, along with Fireman Dave, Franky, Tommy RD, Brent, Matt and Justin for the early show. Surprisingly, the tandem pilots were not anywhere to be seen. I guess the air was too perfect and they prefer a little spice. Eddie got Reesa off the ground for a great tandem flight. Hopefully she will get some new gear after hers walked away from the Kahana LZ last week.

NOTE: Miami Eddie is leaving us on August 24. Hopefully we can all get together with him prior to departure. He has adopted HPA as his club, and we will be sad to lose him. He stated that he will return on occasion. The good news is he is going to live in the motherland of Sierra Nevada: Chico, CA.

Roll Call: One-Eye Jim, Fireman Dave, Justin, Awol Franky, Tommy RD, Brent, Matt, Scrappy, Divot Steve, Miami Eddie, Reesa, Jeff McStalker, Reaper, Doc Bill, Alex, Sidehill, JK, 5-0 Mike, Goto, Tim, Ginny, Harvey, Garrett, Ukraine Igor, Ces (thanks for the pizza), Liana (keeping an eye on future hubby), Chris (trying to keep track of Scrappy), Shirley, Lupo and Koa. If I missed anyone please chirp in.

NEWS: Gaza and Laurel have a pilot/surfer on the way. Congrats! Campout this weekend, August 21-23, for Divot Steve's Final Days of Freedom and Exile to Boston Party Fly-In. Liana will be at Turtle Bay, so landing there will be our GOAL.

It's Time to Fly, but isn't it always, Get Your Gear and Go!!!


firedave2 said...

Thom: I thought President Stepping Down was referring to Alex's stumble at Crazys, you got me.

The early flying at Manics (Lazy Mans) was about as good and smooth as it gets, I took a bunch of aerial photos of the canoe race for my friends and was even trying to topland the lighthouse, unsuccessfully.

sandy said...

That pic above Rabbit is just insane! That you were so high above and comfortable enough to snap a pic, and that Alex was comfortable enough so low to be making such a swooping turn (trying to land? I'm not buying it!)

Thanks for the report. Sorry I missed it, but had other fun with family in town.

Alex said...

Thanks for the nice article about my new wing Thom! It was a tough decision this time around. No obvious upgrade path from my IP7 without jumping to open class. And with at least 450 hours on that trusty old workhorse, I knew I had to act right away. Then Rob at Eagle tells me all the boys are loving this new EN-C wing from UP. Same aspect ratio as IP6/7! Honza flew one to his first finish in the X-Alps this year. Josh is loving his (for fun comps and XC), as is Farmer, and Rob is getting one for himself. I've never flown UP but I've now flown the heck out of three Niviuk wings over 6 years or so. Feels like a good time to branch out!

The Trango XC3 is the second version designed by Franta Pavlousek, formerly the designer for Axis. He seems to be doing great things with the resources available to him at UP. This wing has been out since early this year, and there are lots of positive reviews. Of course there are a lot of great EN-C wings out there right now, the best selection I can remember in a long time. You can't go wrong.

Even though aspect is nominally the same, this new wing looks and feels more compact to me than the IP6/7. It is definitely more agile. And it's quite peppy at trim speed. Doesn't feel like it has quite the glide I'm used to from the old spaceship, but hard to say without long direct comparisons. Anyway I'm super excited to be back in the sports class on a sporty three liner like this! Thanks to Franta and UP for dreaming it up, and to Rob and Reaper for hooking me up.