Posted by: cokenias | July 13, 2011

Let Sleeping Wings Lie

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, 14-17 mph WNW 4:50pm

Launched from Tomcat. Aborted my first launch as I was getting pulled too far back. My second attempt was a bit better, as I used the brakes less. I still have work to do before mastering this launch/conditions. Did a few figure 8s just north of launch, trying to get more height. My GPS tracklog says this got me nothing, I would have fared the same or better had I gone straight to Lemmings (like I see most pilots do).

Got up to 600 feet easily once in front of the Slide. Used switchbacks to lose height in front of the Plateau and landed just next to the top road, slightly cross (wind now SW). Killed the wing, dropping it on some bushes. Unhappy with the location, I built a wall and prepared to kite to a clearing.

The wing came up unevenly, angled almost sideways through the power zone. I sprinted downwind to catch up, pulling an A riser and opposite brake, trying to turn the wing back towards me. I missed occasional steps running/flying over uneven ground as I chased it down. Twisted my ankle slightly one one of my momentary touchdowns. Skidded through gravel on my feet as the wing nosed down and finished in the weeds on my knees, hauling in a brake line.

A week of mild ankle pain is a good reminder that every decision counts. I could have killed the wing as it went out of control, indeed, I started to. But then I figured I could probably fix the problem after all and save myself some time/hassle. Not so.


  • Brakes while ground handling on windy launch.
  • Unnecessarily tried to fix a doomed wing instead of killing it.

0:17 Mussel Rock (Tomcat), reverse launch.


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