Posted by: cokenias | October 19, 2011

Cure for the Jones

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, 13-16 mph WSW-WNW, Overcast, 10:30am

Forgive me, Skygods, it has been fifty days since my last flight.

Conscious of the fact I haven’t flown in 8 weeks, I was particularly deliberate during my preflight and I spent longer than usual watching conditions before launch. Conditions were on the stronger side of normal and the air was thick and cold. But no whitecaps and the direction was perfect. I noticed two very small holes in the bottom surface about 1cm from the trailing edge. The holes were less than 1cm in diameter, absolutely nothing to worry about. Time to get some patch tape…

Set up in the middle of Lemmings, brought up the wing, turned and ran several steps into the wind. Before reaching the edge of launch, I was temporarily lifted a few feet (I ran too fast for the amount of brake I was pulling so the wing fell behind me, pitched up). I eased off the brakes a bit to let the wing catch up, touched down and gave one more kick to get properly airborne (though with a bit of a pendulum-induced swoop). I turned north towards the bowl, finding lots of lift. Once above the cliff tops I flew one handed for a bit to fidget with my harness. The straps which set the depth the the seat were tight, which kept me literally on the edge of my seat. It took a minute or so to figure out exactly what needed to be done, but I was able to resolve the problem without going off course or taking my eyes off the road. Not the first time I’ve been annoyed to discover a harness misconfiguration in flight. I need to spend some quality time hanging from a tree limb, get all the straps dialed in, and then tack the straps in place with a few stitches of weak thread. Not sure how the harness got out of tune, but it seems to happen from time to time. A better preflight routine is also in order.

While heading south in the lift in front of the cliffs, at about 800′, I neglected to clear a 180° turn (at about 7:30). Perhaps I was complacent because I “knew” there was only one other glider in the sky and he was far in front of and below me? Maybe I just forgot. There were no consequences for this mistake as I did, in fact, pretty much own the sky.

After several more minutes of flying, I decided to land. It’s been almost as long since my last landing as my last launch and I wanted to approach it with full energy and attention. Lost height with a few steep figure 8 turns over the Plateau, final approach following the top gravel road’s curve (first bearing north east toward the hill, turning through north north west. Landed one step off the pathway, only slightly cross to the wind. In retrospect, this approach was not the best choice available, I could have been further out front. I made my final turns relatively low (starting at about 50′ AGL) and I was deep in the Plateau, with a lot of vegetation upwind. Although I didn’t experience any rough air, it was more likely to occur here than near the front of the ridge. It would have been unfortunate had I hit sink, a thermal or rotor while in a banked turn near the ground.

Errors:

  • Launched with bad AoA by accelerating too quickly.
  • Failed to clear a turn.
  • Landing setup and final approach too low to ground.
  • Better landing options available.
  • 0:17 minutes
    Mussel Rock (Lemmings), reverse launch.

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