Monthly Archives: April 2010

A couple more…

Congratulations Zac, Joe and Andy!
Andy Andy Andy’s First Launch
Mary Joe Joe’s First Launch
Zac Mary Zac’s First Launch

John’s First Flight

Congratulations John!

Keith’s Flight

Keith’s Tuesday flight in Keith’s words…

This Spring is shaping up to be great at LMFP. I have soared on my past three flights, March 10, April 4 and today. I have had some of my personal bests in these past three flights. I am a hang 4 with under 500 hours. I consider myself and advanced hang 3, really, because I don’t fly nearly as much as I would like. I fly a U2 and am a decent thermal pilot, but there is something about this Spring that has helped me excel and push my flights to 8 and 9 grand, and fly farther and longer than ever before.

Today I launched fairly late (3:30) in a light tailwind. It was L&V with SW at upper levels. The lift was medium down low and it took a while to get above ridge. It was one of those great days when you can find lift out in the valley and I climbed to around 7 grand where lift was abundant and stronger. I climbed up to another pilot who launched 45 minutes before me and together we reached cloudbase at over 9 grand!

I started to consider going XC because I don’t find myself in this advantageous of a position often. I headed out over Sand Mountain and headed for the best set of clouds far off in the distance. I found out later that some of the pilots who launched earlier made it over Sand to points west. At this point the lift wasn’t promising and the clouds were still in the distance. I was already over Sand farther than I had ever been and could see potential LZ’s. In the end, I decided to work my way back upwind to more familiar aerial views.

I already had two new personal bests at this point in the flight, but the next hour and half kept this flight in a class by itself. Thankfully, there wasn’t a great deal of sink and the lift was still abundant and I was able to get back up to around 8 grand in the valley and then basically fly wherever I wanted, upwind or down. I still had to concentrate on getting up, and the drift was sort of unpredictable and that made it challenging, but what was really great was that between climbing, I was able to go on easy glides and just take in the late afternoon. It was progressively smoother and a relaxing slow descent from a perfect flight. If this keeps up, this could turn out to be the best Spring I ever flew at LMFP.

Kevin and the weekend

Mary Kevin Kevin’s First Launch

Another weekend in paradise!

Congratulations to Kevin, John, Isaiah, and Eric on their first mountain flights. Congratulations to Erik, Denise, Bill, Steve, and John on their first aerotow solos! Great job everyone. And, please, if you have photos or video you would like to share, send it to me and I’ll post for everyone to see.

Another great weekend for the seasoned pilots as well. Liz got 4,000 over on her first flight of the season, and I heard of pilots getting to between 7,000 to 8,000. If you’re not here, what are you waiting for!

Denny Knocks the Dust Off

Denny, a regular here at LMFP, came down from Pennsylvania a bit ago for his first flight of the spring. His trip, in his own words…

Wintry winds continued into spring but conditions mellowed, which is, of course, the seasonal cycle. Driving down from Pennsylvania was a leap of faith on my part but I realized had I stayed home, I had 100% of not flying whereas being back HOME in Lookout my percentages improved exponentially.

First stop; the hills. Though mentally we’re all where we were last fall, muscle memory tells a slightly different truth… we’re not! I spent two mornings on the Big Hill, not so much learning anything new, as much as re-learning a little bit of old. After that, I felt I was ready but the winds on top, though straight-in and sweet, were a tad too high for a first launch in several months. So I passed and enviously watched while others, more current, bounded along the ridge, some skying-out while my Sport 2 remained tethered to the rooftop, moldering comfortably at rest.

Two days later my time came and, with a wire assist, I was off and flying. My flight was what I would characterize as a modified sledder; some ridge some thermal but not too much of either. Nevertheless, absolutely glorious!

The next day right after setting-up, the wind shifted from straight-in to straight out. No way!!! I waited but it was still too shifty and iffy so I broke down and sulked back to our trailer in the Landing.

Landing Zone is actually a Latin phrase meaning “hopelessly optimistic” because the next next day portended to be ideal and lo, in this instance, it turned-out to be that exactly that. Straight-in at 12. I was set-up, off and along the ridge. The ridge was a little rowdy for my rusty skill-set so I nosed in cautiously on cat’s feet and at only very sharp angles; always turning away from the cliff. So many times the difference between a two hour flight and a 10 minute sledder pivots on one turn but that turn on the ridge, when executed, must be made with a critical and knowing eye, balancing all the factors of lift, turbulence and height above terrain with enough potential energy for an adequate escape. My flight this time was 30 minutes as I eventually fell away but my reactions, I felt, were not as sharp as they have been and I know could be with more frequency.

Back in the LZ among the warm camaraderie of fellow pilots sharing their flights along with an adult beverage and looking for a body ride made the whole trip worthwhile. With a boosted skill-set and rekindled enthusiasm I am anxiously looking forward to my next return to crackle away the remaining winter’s rust and begin flying anew.