Saturday, July 23, 2011

BC/Montana/Idaho/Utah and finally in Richfield!

Well the marathon drive is over: 18+ hours of driving and 3 hours of sleep, and I'm now in Richfield, Utah for the US Nats.

Sunny and hot!!!  Low 90's predicted for the next couple of days.

Pics of the US Nats will be here as I (hopefully) add new ones daily.

After registration (somehow I ended up on the protest committee, along with Kari and Melanie) we all got together at the Cove LZ to head up for an evening session with landings just before the fireworks started (it's their Pioneer Days annual festival).  Cove launch is at 8500', and faces west, with a nice west and south launch, and a rather crappy north launch.  This site is ridge soarable pretty much every evening.  However, tonight it was blowing north, and the west launch was a bit too cross.  The north launch was working, however like I said before it's a rather crappy launch with lots of lava rocks and sage to catch lines on...I wasn't keen to potentially break one of my comp lines on this launch, the day before a comp, and it was rather cross on the west launch (although still possible to launch in the lee of the north side).  That, combined with my lack of sleep over the past 40 hours made me decide to not launch but rather enjoy the view.

One pilot ended up throwing their reserve on the west cliff wall at 12,000' after presumably flying into rotor but was OK...as of now he's still hiking out in the dark, with a flashlight fortunately.

Tomorrow is day 1; weather so far looks good!  We have a mandatory safety briefing in the morning regarding comp gliders, how to fly them, etc, that all pilots have to attend (even those not flying comp gliders).  And we had to do a videotaped interview saying we were aware of the risks of flying in comps etc etc etc.  All this because of the recent CIVL decision!

A rule rather unique to this area: due to the extremely high altitudes possible here, the organization is putting a ceiling of 17,500' (5334m) on the pilots to ensure we don't inadvertently bust 18,000' (5486m).  Anything over 17,500' is a 30% penalty for the day.  If you continue climbing and bust 18,000' you get a 0 for the day.  Everyone is memorizing or writing down these magic numbers on their GPS's :)

Like last week, I'll have my SPOT activated for those that want to watch.  Not as exciting as the X-Alps I grant you, but an additional live tracking option for those who care.   The US Nats website actually has all the SPOT owners listed under live tracking (next to the results tab) so you can watch a bunch of us at the same time.  Most likely tracking is anytime after 11:30am mountain time.

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