Half Way Around the Green Swamp
Finally with light winds, cu's and a high forecasted cloud base we
headed for our favorite task, around the Green Swamp (over lots and lots of
Greg Dinauer was up first and I got pulled up at about 12:45 (11:45 sun time).
It was easy to get off at 1,500' when you're in 900 fpm (while on tow). Just
kept going up at 250 fpm to 3,600' right below Greg.
Heading south following Greg I thought for a few minutes that I might have
screwed up not heading a bit more easterly and I finally did head east to find a
thermal at 1,500' which produced an average of 180 fpm over a very wide range
to 4,000' with a light southeast wind.
That very nice altitude let me work a little light lift north of the Seminole
Glider Port which looked like it was having the masters competition and then head
to south of the glider port again down to 1,500' but with the reassurance from
Greg that there was lift down there.
I found 300 fpm and after a short while three sailplanes joined me in the
thermal. It is amazingly easy to out climb them or just stay above them. I hear
that pisses them off.
Leaving at 4,400' I knew I was plenty high enough to head out over the actual
swamp after avoiding it on the way south. Greg was ahead and Larry who launched
after us and after breaking one of the 140 pound weak links was nearby. Now the
task was to stay out of the clouds with over 300 fpm showing up under them.
The sky was full of big dark clouds with lots of vertical development, although
not enough to cause serious issues. I was climbing to over 4,000' all throughout
the area where there are little to no landing areas and it really wasn't causing
any distress as your good fortune was clearly visible ahead of you.
Seven kilometers out from the one kilometer radius turnpoint at the intersection
of the north south highway that goes through the Green Swamp and highway 98 I
was at 4,700'. By the time I got to the turnpoint I was down to 2,800' and there
were shadows from all those clouds almost every where.
I came in with Greg but wasn't finding much and losing altitude quickly. Heading
off to the only spot of sunlight off to the southwest a couple of kilometers and
down to 1,800' I found lift that averaged almost 500 fpm to 4,800' in a 7 mph
east wind. Greg and Larry joined me.
There was a northwest/southeast cloud street off to our northwest and Greg and I
went for it as Larry took a more northerly tack along the course line. We found
good lift under the street but it was going the wrong direction. We were at
4,800' while Larry was at 2,000' to our east.
With a big blue hole to our north I headed for the cu's near Dade City off to
the north northwest. Unfortunately it was futile as I couldn't glide that far
even with a 5 mph tail wind. I ended up landing in a big field that was downhill
back into the indicated wind. I was able to drag my feet through the grass
before I hit the last drop off to the trees and land gracefully.
Larry and Greg landed just after me straight to my east in nice flat fields.
John Simon landed about the same time but further back as he took off last.
Until we hit the no lift zone the day was fantastic. Looks like it will be a good day on