Monday, April 13, 2015

Big Wind Slope Soaring Sunday

Forecast this past weekend was for strong wind from southerly direction all weekend. On Saturday it was SSW but changing to south by mid-afternoon around 15 mph. I went to the ridge with my old JW that I had just put a new receiver and battery in for 2.4 ghz.  My hope was to try some DS flying on the backside, as it was staying aloft on the front side was challenging enough. The lift was pretty good at times and then it would shift until the glider was down. At least I had a friend along so he took some pictures; trying to fly and photograph is tough.

For Sunday the forecast was for gusty winds out of the south up 30 mph. It had been awhile since I had flown in a wind of that velocity, normally I fly when it is in 10 to 15 mph range.  When I got to top of the ridge on Sunday, I could tell it was really blowing hard at times. Blowing hard like when it is hard to hang on to your glider, wind that would send your glider tumbling behind you unless you landed just right.

In the air I found the glider flying high at times, yet other times coming down even when the wind was still strong.  I had to work harder to keep the glider farther out from the top of the hill or it would be blown back behind. This wasn’t relaxing flying but I found it fun, I constantly had to be correcting to keep the glider in the air.  After one unplanned landing one of the elevons had the link pop off, I didn’t see this and the glider went sailing over the top of the ridge after the next launch. It seemed like I had no control until it was in calmer air far on the other side. The landing was really far away just on the edge of a swampy area, a couple of feet farther and the plane would have been resting in water.

Long Walk to Retrieve Glider

Linkage Popped Loose

After an hour of this flying I called it quits, driving home I could feel the wind jerking on my car on the highway. It was still windy in the evening so I broke out my box kite to fly. What I found interesting when flying the box kite was how the wind was moving off from one direction, there were other periods when it would stay fixed from one direction. This certainly would explain my observations while slope soaring.

Bill Kuhl

Box Kite Flying

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