The forecast was for 12 to 14 mph winds out of the east southeast near Quest Air turning more southerly the further north one progressed. There were significant differences between the NAM and RAP forecasts regarding cloud base and whether there would be cumulus clouds at all, but the cu's showed up early and stayed all day.
Jamie Shelden and Glen set a goal at Live Oak on the Georgia/Florida border. About 225 km to the north northwest. I idea was to have a goal, but to fly as far as possible.
The winds were strong at 1 PM as I launched after Dana in her Falcon 140. She didn't seem to mind the wind, and unlike the day before had a vario. Pinning off early in 1,400 fpm (on tow) I was soon climbing in smooth 700 fpm to 4,200'. The wind was almost due east at 14 mph.
There were plenty of thick cu's to the north and I raced toward them, but the lift was much weaker than my first thermal and very spotty. I didn't find much over zero sink until I was 20 km to the northwest, down to 950' AGL and at the upwind edge of a large forested area. I had left zero sink which I had been drifting in for the previous six minutes going quickly toward this same forested area. I saw a few black vultures turning a bit to my north and headed for them but didn't find anything. I thought that I was about to land in the nice open fields east of the forest when right at the edge of the forest I ran into the lift that those birds had found at 400 fpm.
I climbed out over the forest drifting quickly deep into it getting back to 4,400'. The lift was harsh and unforgiving as I twirled as tight as I could manage as it banged me around. There was no way I was going to give up as I wouldn't have made it back out of the forest unless I was high. I was now south of the prison complex and could head north toward more open space and the next cu's.
The lift was again very spotty and I had to get right up on the upwind side of the very quickly shadows to get under the edge of the cu and find the broken lift, starting from 1,600' AGL. I had not wanted to get low again but that was what I was resigned to.
With the lift down to 200 fpm, things were a bit calmer even as the wind speed picked up to 21 mph. I even found some pleasant lift under the center of the cloud at the darkest spot. I had gone through so many center areas so far on the flight without finding any lift so it was surprising to find it here as I headed downwind from the upwind edge of the cloud.
The wind was out of the south east and I had drifted over the intersection of the Turnpike and I 75. I was high and staying high and headed for the western side of the Ocala airspace and Cross Florida Greenway. The spacing between the cu's was getting a bit shorter but they looked as ragged as ever. I changed my goal to Williston as it really didn't look like a day that making Georgia was a good idea, but Williston looked like an easy shot.
Jamie Shelden had launched right after me and came in under where I was thermaling in the first thermal just as I left to go north. She had poor radio communication so I didn't her from her at first, and I just reported on conditions ahead. Glen tried to launch after her, but broke a weaklink and then continued breaking them never getting away from Quest Air.
Jamie was soon experiencing weak and spotty lift also not even finding that nice one that I was in over Quest. She kept at it but down to 900' she was drifting toward a wooded area in weak lift when she decided to land next to the Okahumpka service plaza on the Turnpike.
She called me on the radio and said that she had landed. I decided that I would land also and have Belinda pick her up. While it looked feasible to rather easily make it to Williston as I was plenty high, it wasn't all that much fun in the air.
I landed next to the truck weigh station on I 75 and that made for an easy retrieve.
When we got back to Quest, not knowing what was up with Glen, we first saw that his glider was tied down in the setup area. Then we noticed an ambulance in the east facing slot where no doubt tandems were operating. This was quite upsetting, of course. When we arrived at the setup area Glen told us that it was a horse back rider who had been thrown when his horse bolted as Glen came into land after flying for about an hour near Quest.
Neighbors very occasionally ride their horses down a small path in the north field at Sheets (the name of the airfield here). In this case they just were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Took about an hour to get the patient on the stretcher and off to the hospital, while the dozen tandems waited.
The French Canadian pilots had also launched and one landed next to Jamie. Two others were blown further west and found themselves on the west side of Lake Panasoffkee, which is mostly swamp and makes for difficult retrieve. Francoise got to a little north of Williston where he made the mistake of going to the middle of a cu instead on the southeast edge and had to land.
Erick Angles <<atout.vents>> writes:
Only a few days left to register for the St. Andre Open without paying the penalty/late fee. About 50 pilots from France, UK, Italy, and Germany already registered as of now.
Eduardo Oliveira <<birdman.waller>> writes:
This weekend we were flying Campeonato Paulista, Pico Agudo - Santo Antônio do Pinhal Launch is 1.100mts above the ground, pretty high for Brazil. Mild conditions, as we are already felling winter weather. Task was 52.5km with four turn points, at the mountains and in the valley. For the first day, the first five at goal:
1David BritoT2C982 2Jonatan NóbregaAeros Combat903 3Michel LouzadaT2C893 4Eduardo OliveiraT2C875 5Acauã NóbregaT2C872
Oudie 3 is coming your way if you fly paragliders. High sensitivity vario, high precision altimeter with sunlight readable touchscreen and 15 hours autonomy with software that supports any task a paraglider is likely to Race to Goal, FAI Triangles and AAT.
The French Canadians rigid wing pilots are here and Daniel, made it to the goal today, Venice beach, 170 km to the south southwest. He landed on the beach and ate at Sharkey's.
Mitch and I landed within an hour after launching not far to the south of Quest. Two of the rigid wing pilots landed back at Quest Air, apparently not impressed with the conditions.
I was off first again with a 10 mph northeast wind, which is why I had set the goal at Venice. I pinned off early but the lift was weak and I had to hang in less than 100 fpm to get up to almost 3,000'. There were plenty of cu's but the lift was disorganized. I assume that the wind wasn't helping.
The clouds were moving quickly to the south and I found 300 fpm at 1,600' further south to 3,700'. Not cloud base, but getting close.
Down low the lift was broken up and weak. I kept going to the north eastern edges of the shadows, but nothing coherent was happening although I had a couple more climbs digging out from low. Finally I decided that it just wasn't worth the hassle and decided to go to a big field to land unless something strong appeared. It didn't.
Mitch didn't launch until three pilots later, but found similar conditions. Not taking 150 fpm in broken lift he didn't find anything that got him back to 4,000' which he was able to obtain at Quest Air. He landed at a blue berry farm at the edge of the Green Swamp west of Seminole sailplane port. He saw the rigid wing pilot high over his head heading south at the edge of the Green Swamp.
Armand showed up and his here for a week. Looks like it will be very busy this weekend. Breezy on Saturday from the east. Jamie Shelden and Glen should be showing up on Saturday.
The winds were again light on Thursday at Quest Air and I was in the air at 12:45 having not held back as the cu's had been building for almost two hours. Mitch Shipley had returned and he put up a 100 mile bow tie task similar to the day before but a bit stretched out.
With the well formed cu's the lift was pleasant enough. I got off early and climbed at a little over 100 fpm to 3,600'. Cloudbase seemed to be a little over 4,000'. Mitch was pulled up next and came in under me.
I headed south toward the turnpoint at the Fantasy of Flight forty kilometers down highway 33. It wasn't long before I was at cloud base at 4,500'. Mitch comes in under me again and I got to a video of us thermaling together:
Heading out in front again I shaded east to get under some clouds but Mitch didn't follow and found a better line straight south. I searched around heading south of highway 474 past the glider port but got down to 1,200' AGL. I didn't notice that Mitch was also low but above me. His PTT was not working as he had pulled it out of its socket.
I found some good lift as I maneuvered to get over a field that I could land in by the highway and was back up to 3,700' before heading further south to good looking cu's ahead. I had lost track of Mitch and he me. After that I had no worries about getting low.
I had a chance to fly with some Black Vultures. I always like to see them and use them to spot thermals:
With well formed cu's ahead I pushed on further south hoping to get a glimpse of Mitch. Just short of the Fantasy of Flight turnpoint I climbed in a fine looked cu and decided to head back to Quest not finding my flying buddy. He had gone a bit further south to get around the blue hole between Fantasy of Flight and Wallaby Ranch.
It was easy coming back to Quest finding plenty of lift along the way and seeing the ATOSes heading south for their task which they took to be the southern half of the bow tie (Fantasy, Wallaby and back).
I turned on the GoPro to catch the landing but apparently didn't press the Mode button on the remote so I missed a great video of my best landing this year. I decided that I wasn't getting rocked up early enough and this led to letting the bar out too low as I transitioned from one hand on the base tube to both hands on the down tubes. I often missed the downtube on the right side in the first grab.
I wanted to come in fast, therefore my hand on the base tube, but I really needed to get upright earlier and keep the glider flying straight. I still wanted to have a lot of pitch authority, so my idea was to go back to my monkey bar stance and get my bare feet on the base tube after I rocked up to pull it in.
So that's what I did. I got it by rocking up and putting both hands on the down tubes at maybe twenty five to forty feet. I then rocked my feet forward and got them on the base tube and pulled in hard to dive the glider at the ground. That worked great. I still had whatever roll control one has with the hands up on the downtubes, but I had a lot more pitch control.
As I came down to less than five feet off the ground I let the base tube out a little to slow the glider down and approach trim. I was still flying fast but now leveling out. I could have kept my feet there on the base tube, but finally let them drop down as I continued to control the pitch with my hands on the down tubes. I waited until the glider came to trim and flared for a no stepper.
Mitch continued his flight getting around Wallaby and back to Quest Air. Then heading northwest until he ran into the sea breeze coming in from the west which is distinct in that it kills the cu's. He fooled around up north of Quest hitting few turnpoints and getting above the cu's climbing on the sea breeze side of them to 7,400'.
He came back to Quest flying in the buoyant air and landed after six hours.
Thanks to James Kolynich
And further to the south:
GoPro shot of the Day
I turned on the GoPro hoping to get a good shot of this guy, but of course he looks like he is far away when he is actually quite close.
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Grant Crossingham writes:
"Having a glider with super light handling like the RX at The Forbes 2013 World Championships was great and made the 7hrs in the air achievable. It also felt as solid as a rock in rough conditions. The climb rate was superb and allowed me to get to the top of each gaggle, giving me a great start position every day - the RX 3.5 was great in all respects."
GoPro shot of the day.
Scot Trueblood <<paradisehanggliding>> writes:
It has certainly been a busy spring break season here in Paradise. Our hang gliding operation here in the Florida Keys seems to have much appeal to international guests as well as south Florida day-trippers. We have flown hundreds of tandem intro lessons, and each of our guests has been treated to something special in the way of wildlife spottings, incredible visuals, or just plain fun.
As I am personally on the injured list from a non-flying related pulled back muscle, we have been working resources in the form of having Zac Majors here to fly for us for 2 weeks, followed by Alex Cuddy, who is presently here until April 30.
Having Zac here was truly very special for all of us, guests and crew alike. For me, he is an old friend, for our customers, he is like winning the lottery.
His expertise and comfort level was a major asset for the production crew of Making Waves https://www.facebook.com/MakingWavesTV, who utilized Paul Barth, one of the top helicopter filming talents in the world for the air-to-air shots http://www.cameracopters.com/. We were all pretty stunned by how close Paul flew the copter with the glider with no problems whatsoever. After the helo was gone, we went back out for another session with their custom video platform boat, and spent most of the afternoon doing some very painstaking flight sequence line-ups. In the end, it was all a smashing success. Look for the program to air around the third weekend of May.
A very full day of video shooting and lots of tandem flights was only a fraction of what Zippy accomplished here in Paradise. We also managed to squeeze in a SCUBA dive of 62 minutes on a local reef, and Zac took a kitesurfing lesson from our friends here at 7 Watersports https://www.facebook.com/IslamoradaWatersportsCompany. I also coached him into learning how to fly our official Paradise Hang Gliding quadcopter (without incident).
Having Alex here is equally awesome. He is one of the best and brightest young pilots in the world, who also happens to be an incredible tandem instructor and has flown for us in the past. Besides tons of raw talent, his knowledge of tandem flying, glider tuning, video production, etc is amazing. On his second day of flying with us, we got the GoPro Photo of the Day ! Every guest of ours wants to either kiss him or high-5 him, depending on their gender.
In short, we are striving to put hang gliding in the face of the mainstream audience. A great experience for all ages, visually stunning and a visceral thrill as well.
GoPro photo of the week:
The article here.
The members of the University of Montana Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club have launched a fund-raising effort to help secure one of the premiere launch sites in Montana. Our goal is to raise 25-thousand dollars to build a road and obtain a land use easement in the Tarkio area.
The article here.
"A sympathetic and appreciative land owner, who gains great satisfaction from watching free flight, has generously provided us with the opportunity for the road which will allow limited access in the Tarkio valley," said Paul Roys, a member of the UM Hang Gliding Club.
But the Tarkio spot is going to cost them. The club is looking to raise $25,000 to make it fully accessible.
We'll be able to fly in varying weather conditions out there. We'll also be provided with a much safer launch and landing out there which would be great to bring new pilots into the sport and help and help the sport continue into the future, Roys said.
Tuesday we paid too much attention to the winds forecast and thinking that it would be too strong we didn't launch and head for Venice Beach as we should have, but the forecast for Wednesday was for light easterly winds and eight of us were up for a task.
I came up with a bow tie task from Quest Air south to the intersection of Dean Still and 33, east to Wallaby Ranch, back north west to Quest, further northwest to Center Hill, north east to Turnpike and 33 and south back to Quest. Pilots could do half the task if the day called for that.
The thin cu's didn't show up until after I launched first a little after 1 PM but I spotted one dissipating over Quest Air and caught it at 650 ft AGL. The lift was good and that got me to 4,500'. There was plenty of lift in the neighborhood, but I hadn't dressed as well as I should have and it was cold at 5,000'.
Headed south toward the area with cu's which was near our first turnpoint and there was plenty of lift to stay high, which I wasn't all that excited about as my upper body was cold. I kept on gliding passing through lift until I got down far enough to warm up at 2,000' a mile south of east west highway 474.
Unfortunately I was now stuck below 3,500', warm but unable to get high, jumping from cu to cu to find better lift. After half an hour Francoise came by on his Aeros Phantom a bit higher than me but somehow he was quickly just below me. The thermals still sucked even with both of us in one, so I decided rather than to continue on, to head back as it was also now blue to the north between Seminole and Quest Air.
The rest of the pilots short circuited the task, just going to Wallaby and back. I was already back quickly as even in the blue there was plenty of lift as soon as I got near Seminole. The day improved and it was easy for everyone to get back home.
More good flying days ahead and maybe we'll actually get everyone on board for the complete task.
Because the Huck 360 was designed with shallow, low-notch-factor bolt threads (the grooves aren't rolled as deep as a conventional bolt), the effective diameter of the fastener itself is widened by as much as 18 percent, increasing tensile and fatigue strength. According to maker Alcoa Fastening Systems, the Huck 360 thread delivers five times the fatigue life of a standard thread bolt, and finite element analysis (FEA) reveals that the shallow thread form of the Huck 360 concentrates 27 percent less axial stress in the root than conventional bolt threads. This stress concentration is the primary contributing factor leading to stress corrosion cracks (SCC) and fatigue failures.
With the BionicOpter, Festo has technically mastered the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly. Just like its model in nature, this ultralight flying object can fly in all directions, hover in mid-air and glide without beating its wings.
As Andy says, "Hang gliding has a reputation problem that we are doing our best to change one person at a time." I can attest to that.
My three-hour hang gliding lesson began with a video including safety information and flying instructions. The mechanics of flying a hang glider are surprisingly simple. You steer by shifting your weight from side to side. This is called roll control. You control the hang glider's speed by moving your body backward or forward over the control bar using small, smooth movements. This is called pitch control. You stop by flaring, which is pushing the control bar farther forward. That's basically it.
James Bradley <<arcanadana>> writes:
The strike throughs on the scoring:
If you make end of speed section but land short of goal your time shows but in strike-through because you lose your time points. If you had some leading points you might still beat some people who made goal very slowly with few or zero speed points. Those people's times are not struck through. This happened with a few people on Saturday.
The last task was a great flying day. Like Task 1, we had a lot of time above base before the start. Flying next to and between clouds with fifty other gliders in the same bit of lift is ethereal, beautiful and scary.
Unlike Task 1, it never paid to get anywhere near base once on course, as the climbs were much stronger lower and the people who left before you got the strongest part of the next climb and got it sooner. I made this mistake repeatedly early on and didn't understand it clearly til later, much to the detriment of my overall score. Another good lesson.
I still had a gorgeous 70k flight flight for my birthday and my first World Cup goal field. (Between Sun Valley and Baixo Guandu there had been only two tasks with anyone in goal and this was the first with more than few.) It was fun to see what Baixo Guandu offers on a good day. Stunning.