Saturday, June 22, 2013

Reserve toss at Woodrat June 21

Well the practice day was fine, until I got to toss my laundry for my first time ever ;)

On glide for Prospect Peak.
Started out pretty uneventful with a bunch of us deciding to get going on the the task early (since it was a practice day and wasn't going to count anyways.  Out by Grant's Pass we (Marty, Bill B, James, Eric, et al) were crossing the valley west to Prospect Peak.  On about 2/3 bar when I had a big frontal which horseshoed and fell back behind me.  The tips clapped together (which is a bad thing on the IP6) and the left one threaded its way down the lines for about a 40% cravatte.  The right tip came out OK, but I had a couple of riser twists and the glider was winding up to the left with only abut 1200' above the ground.

Grant's Pass
Now I've been flying for 13 years and have never tossed my reserve, and prided myself on that track record.  It was actually getting to the point where I was starting to wonder if, when the time came, I would actually toss in time or wait too long since, up to now, I've always been able to deal with it, and didn't want to ruin my to-date spotless track record ;)

I'm happy to report that despite never tossing before, I can still recognize a tossing situation and do the deed ;)  My reserve came out no problem and I felt the reassuring tug on my shoulder straps indicating the velcro had unzipped and I was hanging down properly.  The problem started after that.  The glider started downplaning and twisting up even more so I now had something like 6-7 twists between me and good lines, and I couldn't reach past the 6-7 twists with my short arms.  So I had to hand-over-hand climb up and past the twists until I could reach the good lines and get my glider under control and into something stable that wasn't interfering with the reserve.
Where I ended up.  Haven't moved my gear yet.

Finally got the glider under control and saw I was coming up to the ground so I decided to hold the configuration I had (it was staying stable) and ride it to the end.  I was coming up to a property with a big barn and it looked like I was going to land on the roof.  It was a big slanted roof with a 20' drop off the edge and I didn't want to land on the roof, slide down it, and fall the last 20', so I put my hand out to push away and landed on the ground next to it.

It was a pretty nice landing all things considered.  I came down a bit hard on my heel and my wrist, spraining (I think) the wrist and bruising the heel.  My glider landed next to me, not a scratch on it, while my reserve got caught up in the tree about 20' overhead.  The reserve ride took maybe 20 seconds, with 15 of those working on getting my glider under control and stabilized.

After ascertaining that I was unhurt for the most part I radioed that I was OK to the circling pilots and phoned HQ to report my position along with my SPOT message (I chose to use the OK message and not the help message as I was pretty much OK and already in cellphone contact).
I was really glad to not hit the barn!

The lady at the house was very nice and helped me pack up just in time for Hawaii Pete to show up and cut the offending branch down with his polesaw.  Looks like a 12" rip in one panel but that's it, fixable I think and in any case it looks like I've got a couple of rain days to get a temporary replacement sorted out.  I have a spare reserve and deployment bag at home, but I neglected to bring them, d'oh!

Pete cutting the tree down.

I think if I hadn't been on bar at the time I would have been able to keep the tips from clapping together.  This glider seems to behave quite nicely, but the tips clapping together is its Achilles Heel.  BZ tossed his laundry today too (at SIV) trying to frontal his IP6 and had a similar (60%) cravatte.  So IP6 pilots, do what you can to keep the tips from clapping together!  I've had to keep them apart before in frontals, but this time they clapped together so fast I didn't really have time to prevent it, and I was too low to want to spend time dealing with it, especially with the glider winding up.  I'm glad I tossed, but I really hope it's another 13 years before I have to toss again ;)




Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dunlap US Nats May 31

Dunlap results.
Task 7 tracklog.

It's been a long competition but it's finally over after 7 epic tasks.  Sunny and lightish winds so the task committee created a 60km closed circuit course to take us back to the Pizza goalfield in time for awards etc.

Task 7
The flying was pretty uneventful until Bear Mountain, where a few of us were trying to climb out over the antennas for the jump to Doyles when we saw a glider sitting open in a field in the middle of nowhere.  Repeated radio calls to the pilot got no response and there was no movement of him or his gear for coming on 20 minutes.  After circling over him and still seeing no movement, I decided it was weird enough to warrant a personal check so spiralled down (through lift) to land next to him.

A spread-out and not-moved glider is the universal sign for "I'm in trouble" or "I'm hurt" or "I'm dead" so I was preparing for the worst, making a mental checklist of what I had onboard for emergency supplies and hoping I would have cell service when I landed in case   I needed to call 9-11, and thinking of having to use my SPOT to call it in otherwise.  But as I came in on final approach the idiot got up from his harness and started bundling his glider.

Turns out it was a free-flying tandem pilot and his girlfriend, and he was completely surprised to hear that leaving a glider out in the middle of nowhere without moving it, and not being on the radio to communicate with others, is not cool.  I was so annoyed with him that I gave him a piece of my mind about pilot and glider etiquette when landing out and that everyone flying above him thought he was in trouble and HQ was getting involved.  I'm not sure what they taught him in flight school, but bundling your gear when you land out on XC is the first thing you do so that everyone else knows you're OK.

I don't really know (or care) what they were doing for all that time, but they walked off, leaving me to pack up and hike out from the middle of nowhere by myself.  After radioing the other pilots and HQ that they were fine, I had a nice 1 1/2 hour hike in the 30 degree heat until I reached a very nice farmer who gave me a ride to the goal field, just in time to watch the lead gaggle coming in on final glide.

In the end only 4 or 5 pilots made goal, with Brett just landing short and Josh having a cravatte early on in the race which necessitated a landout after he didn't have the altitude to keep flying after dealing with it.  But he was so far ahead of everyone else it didn't really matter ;)

As for myself, the organization decided to give me a "normalized" score based on my previous days' scores to compensate me.  That was quite nice and appreciated, but I am still highly irritated that the tandem pilot would show so little consideration when landing out and not having safety as his priority.  For a while, a lot of us were wondering what was going on with that nonmoving glider and slowing down to take a look, using up some mental horsepower that we didn't really have to spare after 7 full-on days of flying and racing.  I'm glad the tandem folks are OK but the pilot in command was very unprofessional in my opinion.