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.

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