Dunlap US Nats May 28

Day 4 tracklog.
Dunlap results.
Task 4

The day didn't start off very well after Bill had his epic "glider malfunction", falling into the trees after gift-wrapping himself right in front of launch...I was next in line to launch but stood down while he was extracted from his tree.  He was totally OK but the glider, not so much.

Cruising the flats.
The skies had a bunch of cu's and in fact the shade from the clouds was keeping the cycles manageable, despite it being pretty windy out in the sun.  The task was to take us out to the flats and fly to the Woodlake airport, and it was hard!  The wind was so strong that I got blown downwind of the direct courseline and then spent the next 2 hours flying upwind, then getting blown back downwind in the thermals.  I could only make 1-2km per glide, so it took many glides to cover the ~20km ;)

Once on the flats it actually got better despite it being very windy, simply because of less rotory stuff to deal with.  I saw Marty in the skies behind me but nobody else so I kept on, and was able to stay high using a series of fields that had oodles of dust devils breaking off every few seconds.

On final glide.
Those dust devils saved me a few times as they gave me enough height to tag the Orange Cove TP and run back to the terrain, where I had to ridge soar with a turkey vulture at the very last place to get up before catching a thermal to get me within range of safer landing zones downwind.

The flats were actually working pretty well and it felt much like the Camrose flying I had done last week, so I was completely comfortable with only stopping in the strong stuff.  The rest of the flight was pretty easy as I skipped from cloud to cloud and doing 70+kph downwind on 1/3 bar.

As I approached goal at the Woodlake airport I started radioing to find out the wind conditions and where the proper landing spot was.  I was getting nothing on the radio and starting wondering if the lead gaggle had already landed, packed up, and were gone back to HQ...I was convinced I was last into goal.

Arriving at goal.  Was wondering if the goal vans had already left ;)
With no information coming over the radio I tagged goal and then decided to land in a larger field just north of the airport, since it was so windy I wanted a large field to back into (if need be).  It was blowing ~30kph on landing but I had a nice gentle landing in a pasture with wildflowers and many gophers to keep me company.

Marty flew overhead and landed at the airport, so I walked over, fully expecting to find a vanload of pilots already waiting, and was fully surprised to find out that nobody else had made goal and I was actually here first!  I was totally shocked as I hadn't even conceived of the idea that the lead gaggle had gone down short of goal and I had overflown them.  But hey I guess even I can make goal when almost nobody else does; too bad the day is so devalued due to the multitude of minimum distances and not enough people in goal to get a 1000 point day.
Marty and myself with the airport staff.

The day was very hard in the beginning with having to be patient with the climbs and taking anything that was going up, even if it went in the wrong direction.  And the wind meant landings in the valleys could be exciting, so I had plenty of incentive to stay high until I reached the relative safety of the flats.  It was another quite technical flight but very rewarding to make goal.  Too bad there wasn't anybody else besides Marty to share it with ;)


  1. I was watching the spots today and figured that it was really strong winds based on the distance traveled in 10minutes. However you made goal! And you came in first today ahead of a strong field. Well done lassie!. Very impressive.

  2. You go girl!

    Way tenacious. Sounds like you kept in the air till you had a great lz!

    Steve Forslund

  3. Great Flying Nicole! All that time you have been putting in XC training on that glider this spring has really paid off. Also, good show of tenacious and focus on such a difficult leg into the wind. Right on!

  4. Well Done Nicole. Your making us all proud