Monthly Archives: October 2008

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend.

The weather outlook for this weekend is gorgeous. The winds are projected to be light, the skies clear and the temperatures getting up into the low 70′s. As the valley heats up, I predict that the winds will blow in. And, of course, the tow program will be up and running all weekend. The valley is beautiful right now. The leaves haven’t peaked yet, so everything is green with the fall colors starting to come out on trees throughout the mountain. It just makes you smile. Come fly with us! Oh, new mountain pilots, check back soon. I have some first mountain flight photos to post.

Fall Flying, Claire, Halloween and the BOD

We had some great flying days this week and Tuesday I had a great little flight. Tuesday is our Saturday around here and I spent the morning running errands with my son, all the while keeping an eye on every flag in town. Being a mom of a toddler, you need to take advantage of every flying chance you get but you also need to take advantage of all your napping opportunities. I laid down for a quick, 20 minute afternoon nap and an hour and a half later, woke up, looked up and saw at least fifteen gliders in the air. The day was projected to turn northeast, so I grabbed my harness and drove up top hoping that I wasn’t too late to launch. It was still straight in, well, maybe a bit north, but there were some really nice cycles. My launch felt so nice and there was lift all the way out to Burkhalter. Smooth, bouyant lift. I had to choose to come down. Flight stories from earlier in the day were that Catherine marked the first thermal, Dan had an awesome low save at about 400′ AGL, and the sky was filled with some old friends from Wisconsin. It’s great to be a part of a flying community that even during the week, when the conditions are flyable, there are plenty of friends to fly with. What’s to come… This is a big weekend. Our annual Halloween Costume Party is this Saturday. For $10 you get a great dinner, beer and a band. Don’t forget your costumes! There will be CASH PRIZES. Also the USHPA Board of Directors meeting is in Chattanooga this weekend. Pilots are welcome to attend. Claire will be conducting her last safety seminar of the season on Sunday, 10:30 AM, at the pavilion. The theme this time will be: How to maintain your flying skills and stay current in the winter. Claire would like to encourage pilots to bring any question they have and also share the story of their best flight of the season. This will wrap up the seminar series. I love this time of year! The sky is so clear you can see for miles and everything just feels so crisp. The leaves have just started to change, so the peak autumn colors are still to come. Something else to look forward to!

A flight report from Lucas

The following is a flight report from a day during Tennessee Tree Toppers’ Team Challenge. Just like the Women’s Hang Gliding Festival, Team Challenge wasa huge success. The fall is just a beautiful time of year to fly around here, and Team Challenge is such a fun time for pilots of all skill levels. Thanks for the update Lucas and congratulations to your team for taking first place…
Today was a later day, as usual for this NW facing site. My team was able to launch around 3 after about 20 other gliders. The day was called to be a good, albeit blue, day with the inversion rising to 6,500′-7,000′, which is good for this site and 500 avg fpm climbs. Early on it didn’t seem to be that way. I was able to launch in a strong cycle and get up fairly quickly. Terry Presley substituted for Eric on our team who had to go work in Nashville, and hadn’t slept in 36 hours so may or may not be back tomorrow to fly for our team. But Terry was able to get in front of the other teams before they mover over in front of the rest of our team, where we were second to last in line.
So I was able to get up and meet Terry who had been boating around waiting for us to launch. Our C pilot was able to get up and Terry worked down just to work with him and help him climb back up. It was an excellent example of what this meet was about, if you could hear what was going on the radio – nothing beats having a former World team member core down to help you climb out and talk you through it on the radio! I know our C appreciated it, and made it to their goal! Terry was then able to scratch low from helping our C pilot, Bill from FL, and continued on to the A goal and back to land at the C goal (which was the lz of the A task as well). I stayed back with one of our B pilots who was struggling and tried to help him as best I could and spiraled down from 6,500′ to about 3,000′ to try and help him out. It was a bit more challenging to help someone – I have a lot of respect for the clinics Mike Barber has done for people for so long when he flies with them and tries to coach them. It is much tougher than it sounds, and probably more frustrating too. Needless to say the B pilot I was trying to help sunk out, and I had spiraled down several times to help him but to no avail. By the time he was landing out, I was also struggling so I floated on down to the C goal where a keg was eventually brought to the delight of all. The selfish part of myself (usually too much of myself) was frustrated that I had spent my time trying to help someone when I could have made my goal. But the altruistic-self reminded me that is what this meet is about, besides, Terry was able to help a pilot and make his goal! One of the scariest things I saw was a mid-air collision. I have talked with both pilots and neither of them knew they hit each other and maybe no one would have never known. I was less than a hundred feet over them and barely caught the incident. Luckily they both were turning right which was what was called by the task comittee. I was busy making sure I was hitting anyone when I looked down just at the right time to see the lower pilots wing left wing tip tap the right wing tip of the barely higher pilot and they just ‘boinked’ and kind of bounced off each other. It was barely a touch but it was there. I know there were some other close calls too, but overall another safe day. Tipp Rogers had one of the best launches of the day despite him having one leg and he was off after two hops off the ramp, it was amazing to watch. At the end of the day, it sounds like only maybe two or three A pilots made their goal, possibly no B pilots and several C pilots made it. Tomorrow I will post the new scores.
There is also the topic of a new scoring system that was brought up this morning because there is the concern that the C pilots are not being scored as heavily as they should be since this is what the meet concentrates on – helping C pilots learn how to go xc and so they should get the most points, which would reflect the most involvement and teaching from the A pilots on their team. So the scores may change so that the C’s are more heavily weighted, which makes sense to me. There is also the discussion to have a different format or teams for those who want to go to bigger comps after this one. Which I would have enjoyed last year to prepare me for East Coast and Big Spring. That should be a big draw for those intermediate pilots next year who are looking to attend those bigger meets.

More New Pilots…

Well, I’m back on the mountain after a nice trip up north. It was good to come home to the crisp air and clear skies of fall. I didn’t want the guys who had their first solos during the Women’s Festival to think we’d forgotten about them. Congratulations again John, Steve and Dave.
John HessJohn Hess Launch Left to Right: John Hess and his first launch
Steve WintersSteve's Launch Left to Right: Steve Winters and his launch
Dave Kaplan's Launch Dave Kaplan’s Launch