Saturday, August 15, 2020

Fly Hills August 15

 The forecast was looking pretty good for the Northern Okanagan Valley and the local chat group was talking about flying Fly Hills, near Salmon Arm, so Alex and I joined in since we'd never flown this site.

Entrance to Fly Hills trail to launch.  Photo courtesy of Alex Raymont

Fly Hills is a late-morning site facing mostly south.  The "main" LZ is not that great, full of bushes and surrounded by tall trees, and the alternate was currently in crop, but we were planning on going XC anyways :). The plan was to hopefully fly to Mara Lake and join up with the afternoon crew there.

It was looking a bit on the stable side with strong south wind aloft, and once in the air the thermals were a bit ratty and broken up, and it was quite difficult to get to 2000m.  Alex, myself, Dan, and Richard were able to get away and over the back to the antenna overlooking Tappen, and then it was a long glide across to Sunnybrae.

(Photo courtesy of Alex Raymont)

Until now, it had been blowing south up high, but at Sunnybrae it was actually blowing east-ish, so we were in the lee while trying to get up on the cliffs.  It was not working, so Richard backtracked towards Tappen to look for something more in the lee and away from the venturi coming around the corner.  It worked for him, so Alex and I joined and were able to get up to 2200m for the glide across to Canoe.

Gliding across to Sunnybrae cliffs.

Once again it was blowing south up high so the glide across Shuswap Lake was into wind, but as we dropped lower it became east and north again!  And the terrain we were approaching was quite low-angle and facing west...not a good combination for getting back up, especially as it was quite blue and stable over Canoe.  Richard and Dan were able to get a bit further but Alex and I ended up landing near South Canoe for a rockstar pickup by Robyn, Richard's wife.  Thanks Robyn!

Gliding across Shuswap Lake from Sunnybrae to Canoe.

After finding Dan and Richard it was onwards to Mara Lake for an afternoon session.  I chose not to fly and drove the truck down (it's a long retrieve otherwise!) while everyone else flew around for a bit before landing at the Mara LZ at Little Green Ranch (remember to sign in ahead of time!).  All in all a good day of flying at a new site with some XC!

Fly Hills XC to South Canoe.


Gliding across Shuswap Lake from Sunnybrae to Canoe.  Photo courtesy of Alex Raymont.


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