Saturday, May 5, 2018

Bridal Falls May 5

An east-wind day, which usually means later starts at Bridal but higher altitudes.  I was hoping it would be one of those relatively-rare flights where you can get over the Cheam summit, so I wasn't really focused on getting a big distance number.
Harrison Lake plus Agassiz with the inversion.

It was actually much lighter winds than I expected.  Some places it was light N, other places it was light E, and other places it was light S.  The best lift was near the NW shoulder of Cheam where I spent most of the flight.  Was able to get to 2052 m at one point, which is still just shy of the 2104 m summit, agghh!

But it was really fun to play along the snow slopes on the NW side and the crows were having fun too, sliding in the snow and not trying to thermal at all.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Woodside and Bridal May 2

I suspected today would blow out like yesterday in the Fraser Valley, so after dropping Alex off at Little Nic for his hike-n-fly, off to Woodside I went to fly early before it got too windy.

It was remarkably quiet on launch, few pilots except for the load that Jim drove up, which surprised me a bit as it was a sunny spring day.  But hey, less congestion on launch!

At Bear Mountain, heading to Agassiz, with the incoming smog indicating the accompanying westerly wind.
The climb out was slow and painful at first, Kevin and I were trying to get high but couldn't really break past 1100m.  But I noticed some clouds forming over the antennas so I gradually faded my way back and got under them, at which point I was beamed to 1500m and onwards to Agassiz Mountain.

Alex coming in to land at the Bridal LZ.  The LZ was mowed a week ago and it's now dandelion central!
Over at Bridal Alan was reporting climbs to only 1400m which is not super-high for that side, and over at Agassiz and Bear Mountain I was only getting to 1200m.  For the crossing to Bridal, I like at least 1400m and prefer 1600m.  Today with only 1200m and zero landing options on the Fraser River (the river is about 1 month ahead of schedule for flooding!) I decided to bail on my idea to cross over, and landed in Agassiz instead along with Kevin.

Alex flying the Lynx at Bridal.
Our group reconvened at Bridal for a late afternoon fly...I decided to stand down and drive instead as I had a good flight earlier and was looking to chill a bit.  It was a bit spicy on launch and some pilots were getting hoovered in the elevator right off launch and reports on the radio were of some wind on the way to Elk.

Overall it turned into an OK flying day; if you were willing to take the punches you could get to 1500m, but the general consensus was that the air was a bit on the snarky side.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Dewdney Bench May 1

This was my first time at Al's new site in the Miracle Valley, I figured it would be the best option on an otherwise windy and north day.
Bench launch still looks a bit industrial but there is grass seed taking root.

Launch is quite low, around 300m, so you pretty much need to start thermalling right off launch if you want any chance of getting away easily.  The cycles weren't that frequent so I was patient for a good strong one, and was able to start turning right away over launch and no scratching needed.
The water level in Stave Lake is quite low, probably the dam was released a bit in anticipation of the mountain snow runoff coming in the next few days.  Lots of LZ's along the shoreline now!

Heading to Mt. St. Benedict was pretty straightforward although slow in places as the lift was a bit broken down low in spots.  If you could stay above 1000m you were OK, but once below you had to work to get back up towards cloudbase.  Once again the flats were working in addition to the mountains, and pilots were crossing west to the Steelhead side of things and then back.
Lots of marsh exposed at the south end of Stave Lake.

Cloudbase was low initially, maybe 1200m, but it slowly raised during the flight to around 1400m by 6pm.  But as cloudbase rose, so did the westerly winds, and by the time I landed at the Durieu school it was quite strong and punchy over the LZ and I expect the launch was blown-out.  I think the Fraser Valley sites may have been blown-out too as I didn't hear too much action at either Woodside or Bridal.
Al's new Flow Gliders XC Racer as the winds are picking up in the LZ.