The big fat convergence line
I was off first again but while I found 400 fpm right off tow at
1,600' I soon lost it at 3,000' and had to come back to Wilotree Park for a
Larry and Greg were nearby finding light lift.
I took 70 fpm to 3,200' (I wanted to be extra cautious given that Greg had just
landed out). Moved over to a better cu and went up at 350 fpm to over 4,000'.
Soon I caught up with Larry.
The sky had been full of cu's all morning and while there was a blue hole on the
course line to the north northwest toward the 8 kilometer cylinder around
Dunellon, we could head north to more clouds and keep upwind of the blue hole.
We climbed to 4,500' but were down to 2,100' as we approached the Turnpike after
an 11 kilometer glide. We worked 80 fpm and then at 2,700' moved to the
northwest to find 200 fpm. That got us to only 3,800' as we were approaching the
Villages and Wildwood, an area with few landing options.
There was a cloud street to the north and I went there while Larry headed more
westerly. While he struggled I found 185 fpm to 4,300' and then headed further
west to join up with him as we climbed to 4,700' north of Lake Panosofkee.
It was still touch and go as the lift was erratic. Back to 4,300' south
west of Marian Oaks I was soon down to 3,000' at its southeast corner with Larry
a bit further west. I found 250 fpm to get me over the treed area at 4,600' and
noted that there was some construction going on in the farmed area to the
Down to 3,500' at the northwest corner of the cultivated block I was concerned
about the lack of landing areas to the north and northwest as I was flying over
our mountain bike trails at Nayles. I worked 80 fpm and then 150 fpm and drifted
with the 14 mph southeast flow climbing slowly to 4,700'. It was a great view of
all the houses and golf courses below.
I heard from Larry that he was getting low, 1,500' a little to me west. I nicked
the Ocala airspace, high above it, on the western side and ignored making the
safety turnpoint at Dunellon. I worked 30 fpm, than 125 fpm then 133 fpm to
3,800'. I wasn't able to get comfortably back above 4,000'. I had to pick and
choose among the landing options ahead. Larry was down to 1,000' by Dunellon and
it was not looking good.
A little further on I looked back and there was Larry higher and just behind me.
We were heading northwest toward better looking cloud streets.
Down to 2,200' I searched around in -50 fpm after going through 700 fpm down.
Giving up on that and with Larry just slightly over head and heading west I went
to good looking fields to the west south west and found lift at 1,700' while
Larry found lift also at 1,700' to my west.
It turned into 200 fpm with only a 5 mph breeze and I climbed to 5,000'. Things
were improving. We were west northwest of Ocala.
We headed north for Williston getting to 5,400' on the way. Our goal was the
Live Oak airfield about 240 kilometers from Wilotree Park. We get together to
the west northwest of the Williston airfield and find lift that averaging 430
fpm to 4,500'. Larry found 700 fpm to my north a bit.
We head north toward a good looking cu and I climb at 380 fpm to 5,800'. It's
4:30 PM. The streets are more structured with a south southeast wind at 12 mph.
At Newberry I find 230 fpm to 5,200' at 5 PM. I mention the small field fires to
the northwest to Larry. Later he says that looks like the convergence line and
we should head for the fires. We do and find ratty lift north of the fires at
180 fpm to 4,900'. Larry gets higher behind me.
We now follow the convergence line of clouds. There are no cu's to our west.
There is a slight west flow on the ground. The cu's clear out to our east for
the most part. This is the cloud street we really want to be under and it goes
as far as we can see to the north. We decide not to fly to Live Oak as that is
west of the convergence line (which is being pushed slowly east). We'll just
stay under it.
I'm flying with just the Naviter Blade and I'm getting a black low battery
notice. It's getting more insistent. I don't know what I'm supposed to do about
that in the air.
We approach toe Suwannee River northwest of Hot Springs. I'm down to 2,600' with
almost northing but trees ahead around the river. Larry is high above me as I
worked 60 fpm then head north to get deeper under the street.
Gliding 5 km over the trees and watching the few fields to my east that look
possible for landings and down to 2,000' AGL, I find lift that averages 80 fpm.
It look like I can either go back to the east if needed or hang on to this and
make it to the fields to the northwest if required. There is a fire to the west
that is feeding the cloud above and Larry is over it.
I hang on completely enjoining the ride over the river and trees as I slowly
approach safe landing options. The wind down low is 4 mph at 130 degrees.
At the north end of the trees north of the river I find some friendly vultures
and we all climb out at 230 fpm to 5,200'. Larry is just ahead of me about five
kilometers at 6,300'. At the top of the lift the Blade dies. (Steve Kroop and I
are working on why that would have happened). It's after 6 PM.
I'm under the convergence so I don't worry so much about not having a vario.
Larry has a Blade and his 6030, so he's working off his 6030.
After a glide of 12 kilometers I turn the Blade back on and see that I'm at
4,000'. Pretty good. I'm still at 3,900' 3 kilometers later when the Blade
turns off again.
Another 14 kilometers and I turn on the Blade again. I'm down to 2,100 west
northwest of Lake City, just south of interstate 10 just west of interstate 75.
I look at all the fields below and pick out the biggest. We don't know if the
wind is from the west or the south. The Blade tells me 7 mph from the south. I
don't see any wind on the ground.
I can't get down and fly back and forth for miles over multiple fields trying to
get close to the trees on the upwind side. I noticed about five houses spaced
along the field on the western side. The cattle are restricted in an area to the
northeast. It's easy to stay away from all the fences.
Larry is north of I 10 but sees a mine area which dissuades him from continuing
on. It is almost 7 PM. He decides to turn around and land in a huge field. I
land at 6:45 PM.
Right after I'm down three ATV's show up with grandpa and the grand kids. I
don't let them get too close. They are happy and surprised to see me. The field
belongs to one family with lots of different parts of the family in widely
spaced houses. None actually encroaching much into the field or putting up
At sundown the driver and I head north to find Larry in the dark. A dozen folks
have visited him, hopefully not too close. We get takeout from Chili's on the
A rest day today. It looks just as good if not better.