Sunday, July 18, 2010

Chelan Butte PWC July 18

Initially I thought the weather forecast was wrong on the winds as it was howling in the morning, but it died off by the late morning.  I was test-flying Meredyth's GTO so had to futz on launch a bit, so I wasn't off launch as early as I liked.  But that was OK as the start was over on the flats which meant you could go over there pretty much when you wanted to, so long as you stayed with some people to help with on the other side :)

We had a scary moment at the start when Amir chucked his reserve, and it got entangled with his glider, resulting in a spinning mess all the way to the ground.  But fortunately part of the reserve reinflated in time (apparently he used his hook knife to cut-away part of the glider and free up part of the reserve) for him to hit the ground.  It was a soft moondust field, and that, coupled with the partially re-inflated reserve in the last seconds (literally) meant the difference between minor injuries (separated ribs) and a more dire outcome.

Several people landed nearby and were able to render assistance so the rest of us continued flying.  I found the lift abundant and easy to thermal in...other people were reporting punchy thermals and hard to core up in.  There was wind, significant from the SSW, which meant most of the flying was cross-wind, but not a big deal I felt.

Getting across Banks Lake and Coulee City was a bit technical...with the wind you wanted to stay upwind but the thermals would drift you downwind and across open water.  I made sure to get high before the crossing and crossed at the causeway.  It worked out fine except there wasn't much lift on the other side so I had to dribble along for a few kms, until I found a dustdevil to show me the way.

Goal was 10:1 glide away, and with the cross-wind I wasn't sure I would make it with that, since in between the lift there was plenty of sink (I was getting average 4-5:1 glides at times).  So I figured I'd play it safe and get high enough to read 4:1 before leaving for goal.  Fortunately this worked and I was able to find additional lift on the way, enough so that I arrived at goal with about 2000' to spare.  Good thing, as many other pilots didn't make goal and landed just short.  About 70 pilots in goal by the end I think.  Tracklog.

I didn't fly very fast, 2:36 while the leaders were under 2 hours, but I was happy with my result.  Nice to make goal at my first PWC.  The glider was very nice as well...awesome performance and speed.  But I found it a bit heavy in many respects...heavy weight, heavy leading edge, heavy brakes, and heavy speedbar.  You need super-beefy legs in order to use the speedbar for any length of time, and by the end of the flight I was very tired.  But I can see why people are buying them if they want to fly serial-class...it performs beautifully!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nic. We are following yourblog. Say hi to all our family over there please all the best fly well and safe. Love Lee@ Dave rivergums.

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