Thanks to Jason Dyer
I wasn't going to go flying as the day didn't look all that good. The forecast was for a moderately strong wind (12 mph) out of the northeast and perhaps no cumulus clouds. The clouds forecast is pretty tricky and often there are clouds even though the model at XCSkies doesn't call for them using either NAM or RAP data.
A cross wind task with that much wind is difficult and it requires a high top of lift or cloud base (we had that) and strong lift (that was certainly possible). But pilots were thinking that the day would get good with cumulus clouds later in the afternoon.
With Krzy Zryb here, as well as Greg Dinauer, John Simon, Larry and his brother Rob as was as a good number of other pilots I decided late to go flying as they came up with a task to the north toward where we could see cumulus clouds. With our crew that would take the task waiting around after all the king posted pilots launched and then landed again, it was easy for me to get ready in time to launch with the guys actually attempting the task.
I launched after John and just before Krzy. I had strong lift throughout the tow but waited until 1,500' given the strong wind. I worked 100 fpm drifting quickly to the southwest to 4,400'. My slow climb was not what others were seeing as they got up quickly and headed north.
There were cu's to our north mostly with a few over head and none to the south. I headed toward cu's to the north northwest and down to 1,800' worked 50 fpm then 180 fpm to 2,900', drifting quickly further away from the course line.
I headed back south but upwind to get to a better looking cu and finally found 350 fpm, like the other pilots were getting, to 4,200'. Larry later told me he was getting to 6,300'. I had come in under him when I found 50 fpm.
On the radio I could hear that progress was quite slow given the wind with pilots only at Grass Roots Airfield, not even half way to the first turnpoint at the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and highway 33. I raced toward the chicken coops north of Mascotte which sported a nice looking cu above them.
Down to 1,500' I worked 137 fpm drifting west again. Topping out at 2,600' I headed upwind only to repeat this little dance over the chickens but at 250 fpm to only 2,900'. I could see Greg a little higher and next to me going south so he had obviously given up on the task as he had just been at Grass Roots a little to the north. He turned into the wind just south of me as I also battled upwind to get to the next cu and hopefully make it back to Quest.
The cu didn't work out but I had my choice of many landing fields and picked the largest one closest to a paved road. As it is supposed to rain on Sunday I had to break down the glider anyway. Greg didn't make it back either.
No one completed the task. Larry who was working with his brother going downwind to the west made it back after his brother decked it near the Green Swamp.
No great shakes as a flying day, but we did fly and we flew with a goal in mind.
March 10 - 12
Friday: A nice upslope and flyable day.
Saturday: Morning north winds should mellow and switch upslope by 1 or 2pm allowing some flying before it builds again from the north overnight.
Sunday: A well established santa ana will blow away any chances of flying.
Thanks to Mike Duffy who has always been very very generous with his support
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