Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chelan July 11

A really slow start today as pilots appeared to be sinking out and nobody wanted to launch :)  But once over on the plateau it was easier going so long as you stuck with a group.  Our goal was to fly to Tonaskat for 112km due to the strongish south winds.

The going was slow though and it took forever to get to the edge of the plateau for the jump across to Okanogan.  I was flying with Bill, Arnie, and Dave W for most of the flight and we made sure to tank up to 3900m before diving off the edge.

The deeper line seemed to be best so a bunch of us committed to landing out if we didn't get up, and it worked.  Bill and Arnie went even deeper than me, but we ended up meeting up again at Omak so both lines worked equally well.  At this point we parted ways as they chose to fly the middle of the valley over the Omak airport while I opted to head for the SW cliffs.

Approaching the Omak TP just before my hawk attack.
This is where things got interesting.  I was thermalling away in the convergence between the two valleys at Omak, minding my own business, when all of a sudden I heard a screech and felt a shudder.  Looked up to see a hawk tangled in my right trailing edge where I had a broken cascade line from my launch.  Fortunately it was only his leg and not his wings, and he broke free before the glider could start doing any funky stuff.  He then proceeded to swoop my glider for the next 5 minutes, screeching all the while as I tried to shake him off, spiralling and wingovering and shouting at him to go away.

Finally he tired of dive bombing me and flew off.  I can't really determine why he attacked me in the first place, but he ended up in the exact spot where I had a broken cascade line trailing behind which may have attracted him?  After determining that he was indeed gone I continued on to the SW cliffs in the hopes of getting some additional lift for goal in Tonaskat.  Weirdly enough there wasn't any lift, despite the fact the cliffs face SW, are super-steep, and are into the prevailing wind.  Disappointed, I continued north as goal was only 20km away and I was doing 70kph with a 12:1 glide to goal and was trying to figure out where goal was...I could see the Tonaskat airport (which was supposedly goal) but my goal arrow was telling me to turn up this random valley to the west instead.

Got lots of sink and ended up landing 6.5km short of wherever goal was for 103km.  I was super-stoked despite not making goal since it was really close and given how bad the day started I was frankly glad to have made any distance!

Many pilots landed short and were wondering where goal actually was, but some pilots made the goal (a random farm field apparently) while others landed at the airport and ended up 5km short?  A really nice day of flying, and other than my hawk attack it was pretty uneventful once established on the plateau.

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