Sunday, March 23, 2014

Woodside March 23

Yesterday's reserve clinic was a big success with many repacks and several problem deployment issues we were able to notice and correct.  I was able to repack 8 or 9 WCSC member's reserves and improve some reserve/bridle connection systems as well.

Fortunately the day after was bright and sunny, perfect for flying!  I had just taken possession of a secondhand Niviuk Peak 3 and I was itching to get my maiden flight.  Because it was a Sunday, it was super-busy on Woodside launch with 20 or 30 pilots showing up after a winter of rust.  I will admit I'm rusty too...I haven't flown in 9 months except for my test-flight the week before and the weather hasn't been conducive to kiting in Vancouver...that's something I intend to remedy now that the sunnier weather is finally here!

Anyways, back to the Peak 3.  My previous glider was an IP6 so I was expecting this glider to be easier to fly, and that's what I indeed found.  It feels pretty much like a baby Icepeak but a little less twitchy, and generally has less physical and mental workload attached to flying it, all good things!

Initially the plan was to try Hope and return, but both cloudbase (too low) and the wind (kicking in stronger than anticipated) put the kibosh on that idea.  So after hanging out at Bear Mountain for a bit, myself and a few other pilots opted to try Green Hill and perhaps cross to the Bridal side via that route.  Alas the cloud cycles weren't in our favor and cloudbase was still quite low (1200m) so in the end we flew back to Woodside.  Fred continued east to Ruby Creek and eventually landed in Laidlaw, and Al made the Bear-Ludwig crossing while a fellow pilot didn't make it and landed at the Trans-Canada triangle LZ.

Once back at Woodside Alex and Nicolai crossed to Sasquatch while the rest of us headed out to land.  Still plenty soarable at Woodside and reports of short flights at Bridal by the parahikers.  So in the end a smaller XC than planned, but I got to play around with my new baby and get the basics like speedbar travel sorted out, so it was quite a productive day.  Now we just need more sunny days and less of this springtime rain!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Back in the Saddle!

Well after 9 months of waiting for my post-surgical hand to become strong enough I decided today was the day to find out if I could still hack it.  For this venture I was flying Alex's backup Aspen 4 since I am currently glider-less ;)

The air felt quite squirrelly and not super-easy to stay up in...I spent a lot of time below Woodside launch in fact!  Some pilots were able to get to 1000+ m but alas I wasn't one of them...I was just happy just to be thermalling and not sinking out!  There seemed to be several shear layers with east, south, and north components, depending on your altitude.  It certainly wasn't classic springtime conditions.  And after landing several other pilots confirmed my observations so I know it wasn't just me being out of practice.

There is a brand-new clearcut at the base of Woodside which means you can scratch to the very bottom of the mountain; it could also be used as a last-resort bailout for those aiming for Riverside but not making it and otherwise having to go into Joe's backyard.  I'd not recommend it just yet but after the loggers leave you could conceivably land on the road, although it probably wouldn't be very pretty.

So it was a short (1 hour) flight but enough for me to determine that yes indeed I can still fly!  I'm glad since it's been so long and I am really looking forward to this season!