Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chelan US PG Nats July 8

Smoke from McNeil canyon fire dissipating...
Today looked like another good flying day with light-ish SW winds and a mostly blue sky with the occasional cu.  The fire at McNeil canyon looked contained and the canyon was open to traffic, but we still wanted to avoid the area since they were still mopping it up.  A new fire out towards Entiat had just started but was still small with no TFR yet in place, so we created a 105 km out-and-return flight from Douglas to What The Hell (what we are calling the US2WTH turnpoint) to past Waterville and then back to the Chelan Falls soccer field.

The flying was pretty easy after the crossing to the rim and getting up (although that was a low save over the powerlines), but the winds were pushing the smoke from the fire on the flats and Waterville was getting all smoky.  We then heard a 5 NM temporary flight restriction had been placed around the fire.  As we were approaching the final TP the smoke was getting pretty thick but it was still flyable, in fact I found the lift was more abundant the closer we got to the smoke than before.  It was at this point that several pilots started recommending that the task be stopped due to level 2 and IFR conditions in the smoke.
...Just as the Entiat fire grows and smokes out the courseline!
Discussion ensued and eventually the meet director stopped the task.

Flight is here.  Results are here.

So after that it was an easy flight to Chelan Falls as that was the easiest option (plus the green grass and shade was hard to pass up vs a random dusty landing out on the plateau).  Most everyone had the same idea as the goal field was full of gliders and pilots wondering what had just happened.  Sounds like there may be a complaint or protest for the task stop ;)



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