Flying to Williston
We got one sport class pilot to goal, Ken Millard on a Gecko, a number of others close.
I joined the team with Mitch Shipley as the mentor, John Alden and Rick Maddy.
I was off at the front of the team. I should have launched after the others
because although I got off way early at 1,300', I circled up to over 5,000' at
cloud base and drifted far to the northwest. Mitch made it up with me and then
went back to join the mentees over Wilotree Park. They were let off of tow at
4,000'. I drifted out ahead and reported back the lift values and top of lift.
The wind was 10 to 13 mph out of the southeast.
Pilots were scattered due to the amount of time taken to get each team up to
4,000'. The sky was full of good looking cu's and it was easy to connect up with
the lift. as I headed northwest over open lands toward the prisons. After
climbing up at the Okahumpka service plaza on the Florida Turnpike I headed west
northwest to get under darker looking clouds by Coleman. There are fewer landing
areas there but the clouds looked good.
The lift was less than 50 fpm. I was down to 3,200' and headed north after some
fruitless turning. The mentees were just south of the prisons. It looked like I
could make a landing field just east of the intersection of interstate 75 and
the Turnpike. When I got there there was a little lift which quickly
Down to 1,400' and dropping at over 400 fpm I headed toward more open fields
that promised easy landing. At 600' with a 12 mph southeast wind I noticed a bit
of lift over two sets of high tension power lines. I turned. For the first
minute there was no gain in altitude, but I had quit falling at 400 fpm. Slowly
I began to climb and drift toward additional open fields.
Behind me Rick was going down near the prisons. Mitch was climbing out from less
than 1000' after going out in front of the mentees to find lift.
The lift slowly improved and I was able to climb to 3,500' before shifting over
to the west a bit and then climbing to 5,400'. I was south of Marion Oaks and
Mitch was just 5 kilometers behind with John Alden.
Down to 3,100' within the south side of Marion Oaks with possible landing fields
far away I found more lift and soon was flying between 5,200' and 6,200' as
cloud base was rising. It was easy to get over the trees and housing
developments to get the turnpoint 7 kilometers around Dunellon. John Alden would
land near the optimized waypoint around Dunellon not much later.
The sea breeze was beginning to influence the air and the cu's. I was right on
the edge of it so the air turned a little bit turbulent. Soon after the
turnpoint I climbed to 5,800' and went on glide to goal. Mitch wasn't too far
behind. A bunch of mentors made it to goal and one mentee, Ken Millard on his
new Moyes Gecko.
We rushed out of the goal field to go get John Alden. Unfortunately, he had
landed two miles behind a locked gate. We walked quickly west into the sunset
with my kayak carrier wheels and Mitch and I ran back with the glider and
harness. John, with his bad knees, took longer to get through the four gates,
and it was pitch black before we were on the road again. We picked up Stephane
Mentler after he waited 4 hours a little closer to Wilotree Park. Got home at