The weather forecasts have proven to be fictions. High thin clouds covered the Americus airfield all day while there were blue skies with cu's ten or fifteen kilometers away. Unreachable from the launch, but so tantalizing. Well at least the forecast for light winds was spot on.
To emphasize the craziness of the weather forecast we gave our presentations in the USHPA's hanging pictures:
We called the launch to open at 12:30, but just before that we found out that Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, would be landing just about then. We all thought that this was pretty cool (although the South and Central Americans had strong opinions) and posed for a picture as his plane taxied to the apron.
We delayed the launch twenty minutes, and we were concerned that there wasn't any lift as the sky was milky white and there were no cu's in our vicinity. The task was a 113 KM FAI triangle, given the forecast for light winds, but would there be any lift?
The early bird pilots launched, and a few of them stuck circling up from low over the airport after falling down a substantial elevation. The pilots in ordered launch stalled as it looked like they wouldn't be able to stay up. Finally we decided that we had better get going as we couldn't change the task or its timing. And the early birds who had stayed up were getting higher.
We were towed into an unpromising sky and soon the gaggle was filling up and flattening out as we all tried to stay up in the very weak lift. For the next hour we all battled with each other getting no where, with no one wanting to head out along the course line low. We were able to get to 2,200' AGL at most.
Finally I had enough of this and went searching for better lift far away from the gaggle and then decided to land after finding nothing. The gaggle behind me was coincidentally losing its lift and almost all the pilots in it soon landed after I did.
With the air cleared out I was soon ready to go again (while almost everyone else sat around), but I had Jim Prahl take me toward the cu's to the north, away from the course line to the southwest. I had to glide an additional 4.5 kilometers to get under the clouds I wanted to get under and I was down to 560' AGL before I started going back up. I was six kilometers from the air field and really needed to get back up if I was going to make it back at least that far.
Ricker had also been pulled out in my direction and he wasn't able to make it back. I did finally climb back to 2,100' AGL and headed back to the airfield in the hopes of getting another tow. I heard Larry, who had towed up just behind Ricker, on the radio finding lift a short distance along the course line and slowly heading to the southwest.
I just barely made it back to the field after a forty minute flight and with some help got back in line for a third flight. The sky had not improved one bit but there were plenty of cu's far away from us, some of them towering.
I was towed up now in the general direction of the course line. It was 3:50 PM. I glided until I saw a few pilots turning right of the course line. We climbed up 400' in light lift before it gave out and I went on glide below Greg Dinauer who had launched just before me.
The glide was a final glide and pilots were spread out along highway 49.
Given the some pilots were towed too high the protest committee decided to invalidate the day. It was only worth 56 points anyway.
James Kolynich sends:
A preview of the Hyner hang gliding club's Memorial Day fly in next week.
Daniel Vélez Bravo<<danielvelezbravo>> writes:
It promises to be a perfect flight computer replacement when combined with android free flight software like Xcsoar or XCTrack, for less than $300.
Juaki <<aladelta>> writes:
We have two very interesting competitions in our country this summer.
The first in the month of July at Piedrahita - Avila, in central Spain
International Hang Gliding Open and Spanish National Championship - Piedrahita 2013
Dates: 19th to 27th July 2013
The second in August at Arangoiti - Lumbier - Navarra, in the north of Spain
Pre-European Hang Gliding Championship, Arangoiti 2013
Dates: 12th to 18th of August 2013
I would like to invite all those pilots who want to have good and fantastic flights to come and join us at both meets.
In between these two competitions there are also two more at Ager
2013 Catalan cup and Belgian Nationals - Ager
from: 28 July to 3 August 2013
2013 British Hang Gliding Nationals and Ager Open
from: 4th to 10th August 2013
You can see that all the competitions are in a row, so you have options to come to one, two, three or even four competitions this year. You are all welcome
We're just a couple of miles north off of highway 49 at Hodges Hobbies which in addition to a huge RC shop in the middle of no where is a huge airfield with 200+ acres of putting green length grass.
It seems like she has been at Quest less than two weeks. After twenty tandem aerotows and three solos on the Elektro Tow, Mitch Shipley had her take two high tows here at Americus just before 8 PM. She was congratulated at the pilot meeting.
On Thursday, the RAP and NAM forecasts differed greatly from each other and the sky was full of thick mid level clouds in the morning which made the prospects of calling a task a bit daunting. There certainly wasn't any lift and there were no prospects for cumulus clouds. The satellite photos showed a large area of clouds over most of the state (Georgia), but I could see from the satellite loop and from looking up into the sky that they would be thinning out from the west (and we had a southwest wind at 10 mph).
I set a practice task 70 km downwind to the northeast to a little north south grass strip at a farm. I wasn't sure if pilots wanted to fly a real task or not, but it was no problem setting it up to encourage pilots to give it a try. I set the first start time at 3 PM, with three more 15 minutes apart. A late task assuming that things would heat up late as they sure wouldn't be heating up early.
It wasn't until 1:45 PM that the mid level clouds finally broke up and we were getting direct sunlight. I took a tow and while it started off strong I didn't find any lift after pinning off and had to give it a try a few minutes later at 2:30 after Greg Dinauer and Mike Bilyk showed me that there was lift. The second time I pinned off low in good lift and quickly drifted to the northeast in 175 fpm.
It was too early to leave so we had to wait around in the 5 km start cylinder. Very few pilots were launching so it was hard to see if anyone would join us. The lift would never get above 200 fpm on average throughout the day, although there would be times we would get 400 fpm for short periods.
Finally after waiting around we took the 3:15 start clock and headed out toward a vast wooded area. At three thousand feet it looked like it would not be possible to go in that direction but at four thousand we could see possible landing areas that broke up the forest. We were actually following highway 49, the Andersonville POW trail.
The lift was weak and we were soon working 44 fpm at 1,800' AGL off a large dry open field fourteen kilometers from the start. That didn't last very long and the next jump to eighteen kilometers was slow for me with Mike and Greg moving out ahead. I found it first just west of the prison south of Olegthorpe at 1,500' AGL as I reported to Belinda that I was low and might be landing. This turned out to be the best lift of the day averaging almost 200 fpm.
Greg caught sight of me and came back. I radio Mike and told him I was in 400 fpm, which was true at that point, but he came back too low (900' AGL) and didn't find it and ended up landing across from the prison in a wheat field.
Pete Lehmann, Bubba Goodman, and a rigid wing pilot joined us and we very slowly drifted toward goal getting back up over 4,000' AGL. All of us were flying very conservatively as this was not a race, the lift was weak, and we might as well stay together.
We continued to get low and find lift over land fills (100% of the time) and over dry fields (20% of the time). Thirteen kilometers out from the goal we got high (3,700' AGL) west of the Blue Bird factory (we could see hundreds of yellow busses below us) and it looked like we could make it in. We found a nice bit of lift four kilometers from goal just to make sure that we would be plenty high when we went searching for a field near the goal as the goal field/grass landing strip was not into the wind.
We all landed together in a very nice field next to the highway with Beth and Belinda arriving early. A great start to a competition and now we know where to find the lift. The winds look similar for tomorrow.
The flight here.
I kept writing to him telling him he should charge $5,000 a piece.
Wills should make an announcement soon. I'm hoping that Jeff and Wills can find someone else to take over the production. Jeff was in the process of moving the production to a new location with new people, when that fell through.
I always felt that Jeff was building a premium harness but selling it at a non premium price and he apparently wasn't making money on it (how could he).
The tugs flew in about 4 PM, but the ropes and the cart didn't get there until about 6 PM. I was first off at 6:20 PM for the first practice day of the Americus Cup. What a beautiful tow, but no lift, of course. A bunch of us launch as we set up under the supposition that we would be towing earlier, around 3 PM.
We were towing on the runway and it was nice and smooth. Like Big Spring.
Our gliders are tied down outside at the airport waiting for the second practice day on Thursday.
32.881678,-111.854982,Francisco Grande, Casa Grande, Arizona, USA
Trouble in hang gliding paradise.
44 pilots actually showed up for the first edition of the St. Andre Open! Besides some early cloud development to the north east of St. Andre and some cirrus quite high in the sky, the west wind is only 7 knots. The day actually looks quite good in comparison with the rain of the last few weeks and we set a 121 km triangle task for the flexis and Atos heads while we decided to keep the sports class in the area with a 42 km task. 17 flexis, all the rigids, and only one Sport make goal. Piero wins the day, Luis comes in 2nd, and the Swiss champion Christian comes in 3rd. For the Atos, Thierry gets to goal after the first 2 flexis, then Claude comes in 6th and Pascal 7th. Sergio wins the sports class after doing the flexis task. Tomorrows weather is yet uncertain.
The wind moves from southeast to southwest in an hour and calms down
The forecast for Friday looked like it would be a good day to go long to the north. But in the morning the wind was a little too strong for comfort and the cu's looked ratty. I thought that we wouldn't be flying after all.
Then between noon and 1 PM everything changed. The winds on the ground died down and switched direction to the southwest from the southeast. The winds calmed down back to the "this might be fun" range when it comes to turbulence, with winds with a west component, so I quickly got out to launch and was again the first one up.
Pinning off at 1,500' AGL I found 89 fpm and just stuck with this beautiful soft lift as I drifted north northeast. The wind was only 4 mph so the idea of heading north because of the strong forecasted winds was no longer valid. I decided to head up wind and found a much better thermal (in terms of strength) over the swamp east of Quest Air and climbed to 5,000' in perfectly delightful air.
I was having a sweet time but everyone else was falling out of the sky. There were cu's to the south west so I headed up wind and got under them. The lift was weak at about 100 fpm, but again it was so nice and I was just loving the air as I drifted at 8 mph to the northeast.
My goal had changed to the Seminole sailplane port upwind to the south. The cu's were moving through very quickly. There was a blue hole to the south and I wanted to get high enough to make the odds of being plenty high on the south side of the blue hole quite good so that getting lift there would be without any drama.
Three slow climbs later, I gave it a try but not wanting to risk landing out I turned around just before I made it to the southern clouds. Plenty of lift going back to Quest, of course, and it was struggle getting down.
Looks like we could have some reasonable flying in the coming days. It could go either way with forecasts conflicting about the strength and direction of the winds. Students are soloing here.
Yet another landing with the bare feet on the base tube: https://vimeo.com/65939196
Patrick Schwitter <<patrick>> writes:
At the moment we have forty one pilots internationals registered, some Archaeopteryx, Swifts, Atosses and many flex wings. ( we need more rigid wings pilots for validation ) Come to fly the place, you will not regret! More information at the special website: http://www.vole.ch/verbier2013/.
The Delta-Club Valais together with the Para-Delta Club des Combins are organizing the Swiss hang gliding championship for the first time ever in Verbier. More than 100 pilots from Switzerland and abroad will participate.
They hasn't been any major competition in Verbier since the World Paragliding championship in 1991 and the events from previous years. So the Verbier's sky will be coloured again.
Live Track doesn't work so well: http://www.livetrack24.com/track/233025/2d
The forecast was for very light winds and we were more than happy with that forecast after the rowdy conditions on Wednesday with weak lift and winds that were stronger than predicted. I basically wanted to get down as soon as possible on Wednesday, but did a low save over the airfield just to keep from having to land. The winds were light on the ground but 11 mph up above and when they are out of the west it sucks here at Quest Air.
With the light winds on Thursday, it was a much different story. First of all I waited to launch later just to be sure that I would have good soaring conditions, but it turned out to be too early at 1:30 PM. On tow we were only going up at 200 fpm, when in still air we should have been going up at 700 fpm. I waited to over 2,000' before getting off in a bump, but it turned out to be too little and I was very quickly back on the ground. Everyone else decided not to launch.
I waited until just after 3 PM, with better looking cu's and pinned off at 1,200' in 400 fpm lift. Unlike the ratty air the day before the lift was buoyant and smooth and a delight to fly in. No need to get to cloud base as there were plenty of good looking cu's nearby and it was easy to head northwest a bit upwind to get under them and get upwind of highway 33. Our turnpoint was the Turnpike and 33 and then back to Quest Air for me.
The lift was coherent and pretty easy to find under the dark bottom clouds. I tried the west (upwind) side of them and that worked getting me to over 5,500'. Three thermals and I was at the intersection.
I headed back to the previous cloud before the dive into the turnpoint, got low enough to make the search interesting, then climbed out to 5,500' again. It was a glide all the way back to Quest Air without any difficulty.
Looks good for Friday heading north up highway 301.
Using my bare feet for very positive pitch control on landing: https://vimeo.com/65861832.
Shawn Jarrell was enjoying the updrafts over north Phoenix after he launched from Shaw Butte. He said he reached close to 6,000 feet before winds took him down.