So let's do a hard task
The soarcast for Wednesday:
1 PM - 6,200' cloud base (50 F)
Updraft velocity - 660 fpm
B/S ratio - 9.7
TOL - 6,900'
Surface winds - ESE 8 mph
4000' winds - ESE 13 mph
Cloud cover - 14% - NWS, 0% - HRRR 3
Sunny, with a high near 88. Light east wind becoming east southeast 5 to 10 mph
in the morning.
The original task was to the north west, but given the fact that we didn't want
to fill a car with retrieved hang glider pilots in this age of social
distancing, we decided on an out and return task against the substantial winds.
Just 42 kilometers to the Turnpike and back.
I was off first and found almost 200 fpm pretty quickly from 1,500'. The wind
was 10 mph out of the east southeast. After getting up I headed south southeast
to a better cu and climbed from 1,800' to cloud base 4,400' at 200 fpm. Larry
was working 150 fpm north of Wilotree Park. Greg Dinauer volunteered to drive.
John Simon hadn't launched yet (he is always last).
I got under an east southeast/west northwest cloud street at Mascotte and waited
for Larry. Then headed upwind under the cloud street to where he was
circling. My radio flipped its channel, so I soon had to just use visual clues
to find other pilots.
We headed north to a nice looking cloud while there seemed to be a blue hole in
the direction of the turnpoint to the north northwest. We climbed at a little
less than 200 fpm to over 4,000' drifting to the northwest.
The cu's to our north didn't work out so I headed to a good looking cu to the
northeast. The lift was weak as Larry, Maria and I worked it. Then I spotted a
bird to our north northwest twirling up very rapidly. I went right to that spot
and found 250 fpm. Larry and Maria joined me.
We climbed and drifted and eventually got to 5,000'. We went to the north
northeast to get under a cloud street that stretched toward the turnpoint at the
Turnpike and highway 33 and then east southeast paralleling the Turnpike. There
was only a bit of lift there.
Larry then I took the turnpoint and headed back upwind (which was now 13 mph).
John, Jim and Maria were with us but lower. Larry got high quicker and headed
south southeast. I decided to ride the cloud street to the east southeast.
I couldn't get back to 5,000' but stayed above 4,000 for half the ride. I kept
going from cloud to cloud, but the lift was weak if there at all. I just wasn't
going down particularly fast and I was going straight into the wind trying to get
a bit upwind of Wilotree Park.
Down to 3,100' almost to the intersection of highways 19 and 27 and with few
landing areas in that direction, I headed south toward the next cloud street
(you know its direction by now). It was 5 kilometers away.
There were some landable fields ahead just north of the gigantic tree farm. I
was more concerned about making them than actually getting to the cloud street.
I came over the area that they were clearing to plant more trees at 700' AGL.
The field that I planned on landing in was just to the north, but I had enough
altitude to check out this recently cleared land that still had equipment
operating in it.
At the upwind end of the field I found a little bit of lift and starting
turning. The lift was weak at first and I was drifting quickly back toward lakes
and trees. I didn't want to leave this landable field or the ones to the north.
I was climbing at about 130 fpm.
I'm hanging on for dear life as I drift toward the trees and the lakes. I find
500 to 600 fpm and climb to 2,000' but lose the lift. I'm near a nice looking cu
and I can see right up the cloud street to the east southeast. I push upwind to
get to the upwind edge of the cu still over the same field and find strong lift,
averaging 365 fpm to 4,800'.
This gives me plenty of altitude to make goal with a 6:1 glide ratio required.
There are few landable areas going south toward Wilotree Park from my spot over
highway 19, so I don't leave until I'm certain that I can get in.
I'm able to find an area of sink south of the flight park and this time I'm able
to get down.
No one else has made the task yet. Larry landed out by Mascotte trying to get to
goal against the head wind. I guess it was a pretty good idea to head upwind
after all, even though it was a huge amount of luck that I was able to get back
up. Much later Jim, John and Maria made it back in.