Saturday, May 20, 2017

Epicness during Miles in May Camrose May 20

What a forecast!
A spectacular-looking day in Camrose and it was my turn to operate the winch and drive retrieve (we set the schedule a couple weeks ahead of time, before knowing the short-term forecast, to make things impartial).  Moderate NW winds which is the ideal direction for going long while avoiding the various airspaces and international borders!

The boys getting ready on a record-setting day!


We have to be careful not to get the towline caught up in the local farmer's equipment...
We set up at the Rosalind tow road under blue skies, knowing from previous experience that it will transition from totally blue to Q's popping everywhere within ~30 minutes, usually between 11am and 12noon.  But Andrew wanted to do a test tow so of course after his tow he found an early thermal at 10:50am and was off!  After that it was a made rush to get off the ground and Alex followed soon after, followed by Peter and Steven.

Andrew getting ready for his "test tow"
I was just packing up the winch when I got the first text message from Andrew, saying he had landed due to not getting high and sinking out before it really turned on.  So I guess it's time to start driving!

Epic-looking skies from the tow road.
Picked up Andrew and Steven shortly after, and then we started making our way SE under very yummy-looking skies; there was a line of development in the distance but the radar showed it moving SE as well and keeping away from the pilots' tracks.  The winds aloft were more like NNW instead of NW, so the upcoming Suffield military airspace was becoming an issue.  Fortunately both Alex and Peter realized this and altered their courses enough to fly west of the restricted airspace.

Driving south chasing the boys.
I had estimated that they would land around 7:30pm and I think I was pretty close, as Peter landed just short of 300km and Alex landed at 334km around the same time.   Finally after 15+ years of trying, somebody beat the Canadian PG open distance record!  Also it was a personal best for both Peter and Alex, who previously had PB's in the mid-200 km's.

A happy Alex after landing 334km from the tow road.
The drive back was very long (the total retrieve took 12 hours and we arrived back in Camrose at 1:30am) but it was well worth it; everyone's phone was going off with congratulatory text messages for a lot of the drive.  The Aurora Borealis also put on a nice lightshow during our drive north, which was a nice way to keep us awake!  Tomorrow is looking very similar although windier so who knows, the record could be broken again tomorrow ;)

Aurora Watch predicted a spike in Northern Lights after midnight and they were right!








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