2016 Big Spring

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Location: Kagel LZ

2016 Big Spring

Post by jdevorak » Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:32 am

Practice day: The weekend before I replaced the forward section of my keel and did an inspection while the sail was off. I took a practice tow from Mick Howard to make sure I got it back together right. I pinned off early. My tow skills were rusty and Mick has some advice for me at the end of the day. To wit: pay attention! He said it was much easier to make corrections when a glider is first starting to go off track than it was when I’m already pointed an undesirable direction.
Day 1: The sky looked beautiful with small puffy cumulus in every direction. There are 10 open class pilots and two trikes to get us into the air. The nine sport class got pulled up after us. It seemed to go pretty quickly at first. I followed Mick’s advice but that didn’t give me any time to look at my vario. I pinned off early in lift. I climbed another 2,000 feet with Cory, one of the guys on my truck, just above me. He headed east across the runway and toward the first turn point. I got timid. I figured if I lost the lift over there I wouldn’t have the thousand feet of altitude to make it back for another tow. Cory found lift on the other side and I sank to the ground. The sport class guys were getting their turn. Anna Eppink had landed too. She was given the rope because she got too far out of position. The launch director inserted Anna and I back in line in the middle of the sport class but it was too late. The rest of the open class was already gone. Anna and I never synched up to help each other out. When I was high she was low and vice versa. I did see her just above me once at 8,000 feet. I left before the top because I was in a big hurry to make distance before the lift shut down. I made about 60 miles of an 80 mile task. She got about 61 miles. Everybody else made goal.
Day 2: Was worse despite better conditions. A blue hole opened up at launch Anna and I and the sport class got stuck in it. We all had multiple tows and couldn’t get up and away. I gave up after two tries. Anna had 4 tows counting the weak link breaks. The sport class (mostly Guatemalans) had multiple tows before the clouds (and lift) came back. A couple of them actually did make the sport class goal. I was helping out on the tow line when I looked toward my glider. It had somehow shifted and the nose was pointed into the wind. I ran for it but it got flipped when I was half way there. It was a gentle flip, no damage.
Day 3: The sky has a layer of high stratus clouds but the usual puffy cumulus at 10,000. Seven of the open class pilots got towed up and found weak lift but still climbed out. Gary Osoba (a sail plane pilot with multiple world records) noticed some grey skies to the west and north. Our task was to the NNW. Gary checked the radar and reported to the meet director that the storm cells were headed our way. The task was stopped and those in the air landed back at the hanger.
eat right, exercise, die anyway!

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