Skimmers April 5 adventure

Soaring weather is here!!!

I had to work today and didn’t think I would be able to go flying. I was able to finish by 2:00, called the wife to let her know I was on the way home and she asked why I wasn’t going flying today. She knew that I will be out of town for 4 days next weekend and will be a bear to live with if I don’t fly at least once a week. So I took her advice and hoped to ketch Chickadee and Stoney at ASI before they left.

My Radio Controlled Glider friends had invited me out today too, but they would have been done by the time I made it out to the RC field at 3:30.

On the way out, the day was sunny and clear with a nice South East wind. I saw two dust devils and figured this was a good sign. As I arrived at AirSailing there wasn’t a sole to be found except our trusty tow pilot Lee, and his side kick Bear. Stoney had already left, and Chickadee didn’t make it. The wind was still a bit from the South East and I asked Lee if he thought there was any lift. He wasn’t sure but was willing to tow me up to find out.

I got the SGS 1-36 (20T) ready and Lee fired up the tow plane. At 3:30 we positioned on runway 17 and I had no idea of which way to go, so I let Lee take me to where ever he thought was good lift. It had been January since I had flown the 1-36 and lots of 2-33 time in between. The 1-36 rolled down the runway and quickly took flight. It was such a great feeling to have this light and responsive ship at my command that even if I sunk out, I would have been happy just to experience this great tow.

Lee made a right-turn-out and headed for the South end of the Dog Skins over the Moon Rocks. I was having doubts in my mind thinking maybe the red rocks would be better as they were probably heating up and producing some thermals, but then I thought about it again, Lee is towing me up, he’ll find lift! A quick turn north along the Skins and up we went. I released in good lift at 7,300′. Lee had put me right in the best lift of the valley. I continued to circle over the skins working north and south climbing up to 8,000′ I noticed there was ridge lift but every once in a while a big thermal would move in taking me up to 9,000′.

I was up and down on the skins for some time. I even made a low pass on the ridge to wave at some dirt bikers on top. They were too busy riding to take notice of me though. I was up and down between 8,500′ and 7,300′. I made a little goal for myself that if I climbed back above 8,500′ I would try for the red rocks. At about 5:00 I ventured out a bit and landed a nice thermal just east of the ridge, this took me up to 10,000′ I was eyeballing Tule peak but decided to try for Red Rocks any way. I cruised across the valley with very little sink. Trying to work some marginal lift I was sinking out over the Red Rocks. Down at 6,500′ I thought I would be landing for sure. Just then a nice little thermal came up; I worked it back to 9,000′ this was turning into an awesome day. When I looked out to my right in this 9,000′ thermal I noticed I was not the only one having fun. There off my wing tip, were two Hawks. I tried to get a picture of them but they came out as little black dots, as you can see in the pictures.

If I had checked the soaring forecast this morning I would have saw the K-Index was 0 and the lifted index was 7, this would have kept me at home. Thanks to my wife, forcing me to fly today, I got that long over due thermal flight that I have been looking forward to all winter. I was back on the ground at 6:10 and could have stayed up longer but my back was getting sore and nature was calling. :0) Over all the flight turned out to be 2 ½ hrs, thanks for making me fly today Honey.

Thanks to Lee for being on site and brining me right to the lift.

Air Sailing has the best lift, even when the forecast doesn’t think so.

Time to get out and fly, April 18th is the ASI Spring clean up. Come on out, help out and catch your first thermal of the season.

Pete “Skimmer” Casti (CFIG)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 at 5:19 AM and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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