Thursday, October 8, 2009

Woodside Oct. 8

The east winds were forecast to die off for today so it was time to take advantage. Alex, Ryan, and myself showed up at Woodside in the early afternoon to find several people on launch waiting for a band of cloud to pass through before launching.

Arrived on launch and Al was ahead of me in the launch lineup, so when I launched he was already in the air. The air to the south seemed to be working more than the north cliffs, so we all flew to the south knob and were able to stay up. If you sunk below launch height it was quite difficult to get back up, but if you were able to stay at launch height or above, it was much easier.

I was able to get to about 1000m and then I noticed that the winds at that altitude were very south and very strong. Al was headed over past the north cliffs and I saw him get flushed, to the point where I wasn't sure he was going to make it back. In fact he was on the other side of the north ridge and was forced to land on a sandbar and get a boat ride back to the mainland.

At the same time this was happening, I noticed a red and black glider in the trees at the bottom of Woodside, just above the lowest cutblock on the mountain. Mike was OK (he hadn't suffered a collapse or anything, just scratched too low and couldn't make the glide out to a LZ) and secured in the tree and using his rope kit to get down, and Jim phoned 911 to let them know he was OK and not needing Search and Rescue (the glider was visible from the road so we were worried somebody from the public might call it in otherwise). Mike had other help already to get the glider out of the tree so there was no need for the rest of us to land and rescue him.

I top landed after about 2 hours of flying, just in time for Jim and a new load of people to show up and fly again, and lent my glider to Alex for him to try. It was still flyable and thermally, and in fact it was better flying conditions compared to earlier in the afternoon. But the whole day the thermals were very snarly and not well-formed, not classic thermalling conditions.

Kevin and Brad Henry showed up with their new Ozone Swifts, and Ryan was on flight #26 or so. In the end there were about 10 people or so in the air at various times throughout the afternoon.

Back at the bottom of the road and Mike was still getting his glider out of the tree. A couple of trees later and it was down, at least half of it was. The other half was (is?) still in a tree, so if you are looking for half a glider, it's available at about the 0.8 km mark (look to your left).

Given the time of year and the fact it has been outflow for a while now, it was nice to get some inflow and thermic conditions for a change. It's getting colder and weaker sunlight now though. Time to start thinking of winter flying destinations!

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