Saturday, March 9, 2013

Woodside March 9

My first XC of the season since getting back from Valle de Bravo almost 2 months ago!  Dressed for the weather and was toasty warm for the whole flight.  Oodles of pilots out so launched early (12:30) just to avoid any launch lineup hoopla.

Low cloudbase around 1200m over Woodside meant it was dicey to fly west, especially since the two times I tried it I kept getting 2.5m/s down, so I gave up on that idea and headed east instead.  Lots of air traffic at the powerline project at Agassiz Mountain: I passed over a heli just spinning up on his log platform heli-pad, and one of those huge tandem rotor helicopters passed by twice, plus several floatplanes heading up Harrison Lake.  Note to pilots: keep eyes and ears peeled when crossing from Agassiz to Bear this spring!

Cloudbase was marginally better at Bear (1400m) so crossed to Ludwig, arriving at 700m and a comfortable climbout on the windy corner.  But it was quite shady on the Bridal side, only Alan was flying that side, and the clouds were doing that coming-over-the-back-and-spreading-out thing, creating a shelf of cloud and shade that extended over the highway.

Still some deep patches of snow to get stuck in :)
My tentative plan was to get high enough to fly back to Agassiz, but the shade was getting worse and the lift nonexistent west of upper launch, so Alan and I landed at the Bridal LZ.  Meanwhile several pilots had landed on the sandbars at the base of Ludwig while others landed at Seabird Island.  Al flew west (!) trying to fly home but got stuck at Deroche and turned around.  Martin on his ATOS flew to Benedict and back.  One tree crash as a rusty pilot had a spin-stall-spin-surge-dive event just behind launch, going into the last row of trees in the cutblock to the SE.  No injuries and he had a tree rescue kit, but last I heard they were still working on getting the glider out of the extremely tall tree.

Unfortunately, despite having plenty of time for in-flight photos, my camera battery died due to the cold.  The only one I got while the battery was still warm was on launch of the obligatory stuck-in-the-snow truck ;)

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