Llano Attemp 3 – 32 miles

“I don’t think you can ever do your best. Doing your best is a process of trying to do your best.”
-Townes Van Zandt

Short Version:

Fast drifting in the blue. 32 miles
Ratty light lift.

Landing north of Cherokee, Texas.

*edit*A giant thank you is in order. In accomplishing free flight goals, from the 1st sledder off Pack, to my last NM flight, or this flight, it has always been with the help of other people. For this flight, I could not have done it without Dave H. He not only drove me to the hill and then was kind enough to retrieve me, and he is better than I am at picking visual indicators in front of launch to ensure uneventful launches – with lift. I hope to return the favor.

Long version:

Scratch around the hill in very rowdy air for too long. Fly over the LZ and hit a climb. So does Dave even further out.

With heavy drift, 15-20mph? Climb to 2K over, start climbing towards 3K, drift, drift, climb to 4k. Hit a climb on glide to Llano airport, glide to Llano to tag it.

I am down to 900, on approach to Llano airport. Looking to land in the grass near gas station (no planes), I hit lift and turn, still drifting fast with the strong SSE wind. Stick with it but now I am drifting over 16, going further away from the highway but still very low, climbing in 150fpm but drifting fast. I punch down wind to a redtail in better lift. Take that up well over 5K. I have altitude to cut down/crosswind to Cherokee, TX.

Climb again drifting a few miles north of Cherokee, but the 16hwy goes through a few miles of cactus and brush. Continue to drift fast but bail back upwind to a green field with a irrigation pivot. Upwind is a bitch.

I arrive high, going over the cows giving a cow call.

“Landed” in friendly country. I was greeted by the landowner and other locals with the use of a good cell phone, some cold Shiner Beer, and good conversation. I love Texas.

One of the neighbors that came over was NFL linebacker for the AZ Cardinals, Brandon Sharpe Sharpe was a Texas Tech star player and the locals were Texas Tech fans. As a Texas Aggie, it was a good day to be a 2 percenter.

My biggest climb was to 5300ft above ground level (AGL). This climb started when I was on final to Llano airport. To give an idea of how much drift there was, in 24 minutes, I climbed 4400ft while drifting 7 miles. Quick math says drifting at 17.5mph with an avg climb rate of only 180fpm.

17 mph was just drifting. The few times I went on glide down wind, I was moving. Max speed 73mph.
“You’ve gotta move – or you’re just waitin’ around to die.”
-Townes Van Zandt

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