A journey with a friend always tops the journey made alone.
On July 11th, Mark and I towed up with the mindset of get high, go far. I had going east around Austin in mind.
After I finally got a good climb, Mark came in way under me, eventually climbing over me at 6500ft. At that point, string was pulled and miles were covered. 5 miles out, I turned in lift, gaining 1000ft, then raced off into what turned out to be the ground at Dale, Texas – a mere 15 miles straight distance. As a dog leg, more like 20 miles.
In true form, I was picked up by a local drunk, taken to the beer store a mile away and went off in search of Mark who was gracious enough to land near me.
1. Every day is different. This day was higher pressure with sharper edges and severe sink. Being cavalier on buoyant air days can work….. on days with severe sink, despite higher than normal lift, being cavalier will put you on the ground.
2. Beware of which car you get into. The operator may be drunker than you think!
What we do when we are tired determines our capacity the most.
Being tired, having started late in the day, plus not having communications or a ride, something simple seemed logical. I love LZ unknown. I think even more I just love letting go of one point when flying. For me, that greatly increases the amount of sky to play in. It also opens up the reality that your reach is further than your glide.
I ventured downwind to Lockhart, played with lift there, climbed, then decided to return. And return I did. I learned much more on the return than in my prior downwind cross country trips.
Buzzards helped me pick a good lift line on the way back.
Normally I am a hang in zeros and hope to find better type guy, but with a head wind, it forced me to be more judicious in the lift I chose – it also forced me to be quicker about the decision.
I’m not calling it a comeback, but while I’ve had very little flying, what I have had has been full of personal bests since some recent life changes that have greatly decreased my stress and increased my decision making capacity. Too soon to tell, but at some point, luck will start getting less credit.
This site holds a special place in my heart. It was my first foot launch of any altitude – a reminder of the days when I thought higher launches were harder, not easier. Only a couple of years later would it sink in how easy these guys have it out west compared to punching off and climbing out in ratty air from a 400ft hill.
This was my first flight that other than some tandem work in 5.5 months. It was good to be back in the saddle. Just like riding a bike.
In general, it was a blast, I flew 2 of 4 soarable days. A little miffed at myself as I let my air-eagerness draw me off the hill with everyone else Saturday when waiting for a afternoon flight would have gotten me just as high in much nicer air.
As always, a youtube peek of my 1st flight on my T2c in 5.5 months!
I love being online. Payout towing is a great way to get some miles and a great way to get some landing practice.
After trying various techniques to maximize a tow in a limited amount of tow lane, I have come to a conclusion. Mountains are rare hard to find sites but so are tow lanes. You can try to maximize a tow on a short lane, but the easiest, simplest way to safely, consistently reach altitudes of +1500ft without circuit tows or weaklink breaking pressure is to find a long tow lane.
Hearne is 7000ft. I find this to be a perfect starting point. I have climbed out of shorter (1 mile) tow lanes like Wells Lane, but it is much more difficult. With a mile tow lane, I find it difficult to get over 1000ft.
In 2012, I plan on hitting some long tow lanes. There is a 2 mile lane near Corpus Christi, Big Spring is 8800ft, Hobbs close to 10,000ft. Ft Davis and Van Horn have several lanes in the multi-mile range.
Here is a look from the tow vehicle from earlier this year.
My 1st cross country out of Packsaddle. I have flown to the airport in Kingsland. I went north, then west towards Llano airport for a total distance of 13 miles before turning around and decking it 5 miles east of Llano airport – 12 miles from Packsaddle.
Mark has some footage of me before I left the scene. Thanks Mark! I am in the 1st minutes… check it out.
It was a cloudy day but looked like plenty of ridge lift. Dan punched off 1st.
It looked like just ridge lift until Dan jumped west and made a good climb out stinking high. At this point, I just tried to copy what Dan did and climb out. When I did, I just kept going.
I headed down 29 west after choosing not to drift further north. I caught another good climb after going west. The more you climb, the more you drift until I had drifted to far north and didn’t have altitude to keep charging west. Drifting at this point would have only taken me further away from an easy retrieve. Land.
Here comes the cavalry
My declared goal for the day was to not land at Packsaddle. Goal setting works.
Goal setting works both ways. Had I started towards the Llano airport, I may have made it – Instead of ever changing goals – Kingsland airport, then flatrock, then 29, then Llano airport.
Radios – was nice to be able to radio my intentions to go when I went.