Sunday, July 5, 2015

Memorial Weekend 2015

It's been a while since I last blogged, so I am skipping most of 2014.  When I did fly, I either forgot the Go-Pro or deleted the video accidentally.  Then there were fires most of the summer that clouded up the skies near the flying sites.  

So here it is 2015.  The closest thermal flying site for me is four hours away, so getting flight time in is a bit of a challenge to say the least.  Woodrat has the best access of all the sites I have flown.  

Hence, we were off to Woodrat for another Memorial weekend.  

This time, I was flying in a new rotor harness for the first time, using a new instrument, and had a change in cg.  I was hoping for one of those smooth thermal days for my first flight.  The first day, the thermals were light and it was a crap shoot to hit a thermal before heading to the LZ.  The first and second days were both light thermal days so my flights were short.  Air was smooth coming in for landing both days.  However, I found that pulling in for speed on my Atos is about 25 mph with full flaps. 

Luckily, that weekend there were four Atos pilots there;  the most I will likely see at any flying event.   We had discussions about coming in with one hand up and one down because one of the pilots had missed the down tube which resulted in a whack and a bent down tube.  The consensus was to come in with hands down on both down tubes.  

Then the third day came, and conditions were a little better for thermals.  A good take off and up I went.  I hit a nice thermal but I couldn't zip up my harness.  On the ground, I figured out that I had got my foot caught up in the zipper string.  Up high or at the top of thermals, the wind speed was about 20 to 30 mph.  It was a little fight to stay in the thermal and there was more than usual sink out of the thermal.  It was getting tiring not being able to zip up so I flew toward the LZ.   Once over the flatland area/LZ and at lower altitudes the winds were calmer.   

As I was coming in on the downwind leg, the air was getting bumpy.  On the previous two days, I had come in short of the spot which is located at the upper end of the field.  (In the video, you can see the white spot on the airfield.  The camera is tied right below my chin so you get a good view of the angle of my approach.  If you notice my windspeed monitor, it's at 25 - 30, and the Hall's airspeed max on it is 30).   When I turned in on final, I knew I was high but it was blowing 8 to 10 mph.   I was lined up just perfect for the spot.   It was going to be a nice landing. 

Then a thermal pushed me up, and I was now looking at the fence ahead.  I decided to do a little S turn, and if I was then too high  I could make into the next field over the fence.  The thermal was small and once out of the thermal it dropped me like a rock.  This was a good thing because I had plenty of time to get down before the fence.   

I have never landed a hang glider in tall grass.  I was breathing a sigh of relief because the glider was easing down just perfect when the bar caught the top of the grass and over it went with nose hitting first.  I had no clue as to what had happened.  The only thing I knew was that I was unhurt.

I think they put a lot of thought into the crashing of a hang glider or Atos as the down tubes and all are built to take the initial shock without breaking everything else.  

In tall grass, flare before the base tube hits the grass!  

Also, I plan to go back to one hand on the down tube and one up.   

Comments or advice are welcome.  

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