Friday, August 24, 2012

Sun Valley PWC August 24

Another windy west day so the organization pulled all the stops and we went to King Mountain to attempt to run a late-day task in the King glassoff.  Unfortunately the winds never died down on launch for long enough to get all the field off safely...some pilots were able to launch but conditions ranged from level 1 to level 3 depending on where you were.  Finally as level 3 conditions were called right off launch Mike cancelled the task due to unsafe conditions.
King Mtn launch just before the task was cancelled.

On launch I wasn't very confident the winds would die off enough for safe launching and flying; the big conifer trees behind launch were waving around and you could hear the thermals ripping through.  It was rather amazing to watch the lemming effect as pilots initially refused to unfold their gliders, but as the launch time approached and conditions didn't appear to have changed that much, they started to get ready anyways.  Several comments directed my way as I sat next to my packed-up gliderbag to the effect of "Aren't you getting ready?" and my reply that it didn't really look that inviting.  However I will admit to the lemming effect myself as the tree-waving died down, pilots were thermalling overhead, and the launch cycles became positively gentle, just to mess with me :), just before a ginormous cycle came through and sent several gliders flying backwards with frontals and assyms all over the place.  At this point the launch window was closed while we watched the mayhem unfold in front of us, and eventually the task was cancelled.

Apparently it was OK in the air, so long as you stayed out front and didn't allow yourself to get blown over the back, but after the task was cancelled we observed all the just-launched pilots attempting to make the goal field (the closest convenient LZ) and not going very fast, if at all.  Two pilots decided to fly the task anyways despite being told to land ASAP, not landing at goal until 8:30pm and forcing the majority of the landed-and-waiting-to-go-home pilots to wait for them and explain themselves :)  According to one of the pilots at some points the wind was 50kph and it took him 30 minutes to fly the last 5km.  Yikes.

Mike did an excellent job, trying to get a task in by sending us to a site that faced the right wind direction and had the possibility of a late-day glassoff task (we've had similar days in Golden with tasks starting at 7pm).  Had we *not* tried this, the day would have been cancelled at Baldy anyways.  This way we at least had a chance.  Unfortunately it didn't work out task-wise and we ended up with a long day :(

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