All the way around the Green Swamp
We were slow, but we hung in there and made it back. I had to
search around after towing to 2,400' and climbed to 3,400' at 160 fpm.
The lift continued to be weak and I had to just hang onto what I had as I heard
Larry and Greg working better lift (or so it seemed). Finally after about forty
minutes I connected with some better lift (200 fpm) and got up to 4,500', far
enough away from the ground to feel comfortable. I was still only 10 kilometers
from Wilotree, but things were improving and I could get going.
I was able to stay above 3,400' and fly over the Swamp away from the open fields
to the south of the course line repeatedly climbing to cloud base at 4,500'. At
the north west end of the open fields I was able to find strong lift from 2,200'
after searching in weak lift. I just had to get a bit further south to
hook into the core. With light winds it's not clear just where you should
position yourself under the cu.
It's an eleven kilometer jump over the trees to the turnpoint at the
Intersection of 98 and 471 from the last open field to the northeast. There were
cu's ahead but I was back down to 2,200' by the time I got to them.
Thankfully I was near landable fields and climbing. I'd seen Larry at 5,100' a
few kilometers to my north and now Greg was climbing over there also, but too
far away for me to get to him.
I pressed further west toward the turnpoint to better looking cu's and climbed
out first to 3,700' at 200 fpm, then to 5,200' at the turnpoint at 450 fpm.
Heading north northwest 10 kilometers to the western edge of the Green Swamp I
found 365 fpm. My broadcast of this fact brought Greg and Larry over and we
finally hooked up climbing to 5,000'. It was a little after 3 PM.
There were widely scattered cu's ahead to the north northwest and they all
worked for us as we stayed high and climbed to 6,000' near the seven kilometer
radius turnpoint. Larry was flying with the Blade and the 6030 but his 6030
didn't tell him that he had made the turnpoint. So he decided to go further
west. There was a fat cu right there so Greg and I went with him for no good
reason really, as we had made the turnpoint and there were plenty of cu's on the
leg back to Wilotree Park.
Greg and I headed east while Larry went off west on his own. The next cu's were
straight east over the Green Swamp and we found enough lift to get over 6,000'
so we were pretty comfortable with the lack of landing areas nearby. There is an
open area in the middle of the Green Swamp next to highway 471 and there were a
few cu's nearby so we went for it. We've never landed there and didn't really
The lift didn't work out so we headed north toward the lumber mill. Greg was
quite a bit below me so he wanted to get closer to open fields. He found a
little bit of lift as did I so we worked it with me getting better lift a bit to
his south. Larry came in at about Greg's lower altitude.
I worked the less than 200 fpm from 3,400' back to 4,400' as Greg and Larry
headed further north low to get under a forming cu south of the lumber yard. I
noticed a cu forming to the east , just half a kilometer away. I found 430 fpm
to 6,000' and left heading toward the eastern edge of the Green Swamp with light
Cu's were building out in front of me and I was able to climb back to 5,800' at
400 fpm 15 kilometers out from Wilotree Park. This made it easy to make it back
home. It was almost 5 PM, four hours in the air.
Meanwhile Larry and Greg were struggling trying to get back up and high enough
to make it over the Swamp. Finally Greg landed up by highway 50 and the lumber
mill while Larry on his third attempt got high enough and about half an hour
later made it back to the flight park.
We have taken the risks so many times of flying over the trees, the swamp, that
we are pretty used to it and know the conditions that allow for this.