Not Paying Attention to the Forecast
Larry Bunner said that he was going to give it a try so I said
okay and never looked at the forecast. The wind seemed to be about ten mph out
of the east northeast on the ground. There were no cu's but around noon they
started to form to our south. By 12:45 they were overhead and we were getting
ready as fast as possible.
I was off at 1:05 PM and the aerotow out of the field was a little turbulent but
not too much. Looking at the lakes below, it was clear that the wind was in fact
due east and strong. When I pinned off at 2,700' it was 15 mph due east. We had
thought to go south to Avon Park. That was now out of the question. I thermaled
7 km down wind to 4,000' from 2,200' at 140 fpm.
Larry was below me after launching second and our radio communication was barely
happening at all. I could talk to Don, our driver, but Larry couldn't hear us
although we could hear him. I tried to get him to agree to go down wind, to the
west, but he wasn't hearing me.
After Larry announced he was heading back east, we headed back to Wilotree Park
with Larry behind and lower. We followed a ragged cloud street down to 1,300'
just east of the the flight park to either land or find lift. We found lift.
I was measuring 21 to 22 mph wind speed as we were pushed back to the west in
the thermal. I had no desire to land at Wilotree Park in a 22 mph east wind.
Climbing to 4,200' again 7 km downwind from the start of the thermal, I was
desperate to get Larry to go to the west. He was determined to go east as I
could hear on the radio. I thought, no thanks, and headed west northwest to get
around the Green Swamp.
I watched Larry head east but didn't realize that he saw me and turned around
and came after me. I was just heading for any big field that wouldn't have trees
at the east end to cause turbulence. Didn't hear from Larry.
There was lots of lift and it was easy to cover a lot of ground checking out
various fields. Finally I saw the big round field to my west southwest, a field
that we had all flown over many times. It was huge and looked perfect for a
There were birds circling up all over the field. There was also plenty of lift
on the way toward it. I concentrated on getting a safe landing.
It was an easy landing and I was very happy to be on the ground. The farmer and
his son came right upon his ATV as he had seen me from his house, which was way
east of the field. He was very friendly and helpful. Thankfully the gate wasn't
Larry, not as concerned as I about the wind speed, headed further west west of I
75 and landed in a huge field also and also in high winds.
Here's the HRRR 3 forecast for the 2 PM winds at 4,000'. I did find 25 mph winds
east of Webster as forecast.