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Silver Duration

tonycondon

Active member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
30
Total Time
1300
got my 5 hr duration flight in last week. enjoy:

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif] Heres my flight report from todays escapades. When I got back into town last night I checked the soaring forecasts, hoping Tuesday would be good. Tuesday looked like crap but Monday was looking fantastic. With forecast thermal strength of 5-600 fpm and a maximum thermallling altitude of 8-9000 feet by mid afternoon. I quickly decided that class could be optional Monday and sent emails and left phone messages with all the club towpilots. Most of our towpilots have these things I hear about called "real jobs" which makes it pretty difficult to get a tow during the week. Thankfully when I woke Monday morning, Terry Lankford told me he would be willing to tow me about 11 AM. I was at the airport very early to do last minute prep on the glider and make sure everything was in order. I knew that if I was going to sit in that thing for 5 hours + that I needed to have everything right. Im still learning about the optimal setup for the radio and other items in the cockpit. Eventually Ill get it down.

I took a tow about 11:30 with cumulus clouds showing lift southeast of the airport. During the initial tow the lift was outstanding with climb rates well over 1000 fpm. as we got higher though it was not that great. I released at about 2300 AGL and tried to work some weak lift. Nothing good was found and I held on for as long as I could but was forced to land. Terry was quick with a relight and I was off tow again at 12:15 PM. I contacted excellent lift, in fact it was difficult to notch the barograph as with a full slip in I was still climbing. I started the day by circling with about 5 Turkey Vultures. Initial climb was to about 6000 MSL. I spent the next hour around 5-6000 and then was able to creep up to 7000. I was spending this time working lift around Matt's house, going back and forth between thermals. The lift there must've cycled as I started to creep lower and lower. At first this caused no alarm, but going back to the areas of previously known lift proved not to be fruitful. Soon I found myself at 2000 AGL and running out of good ideas. I was prepared to land in the field by Matt's house. Ive imagined landing there millions of times and it actually wouldve been fun. But falling out on a killer day is always disappointing so i decided to do everything i could to stay aloft.
Luckily Matt's neighbor was burning some pasture land so I headed for the plume of smoke. I arrived at about 1200 AGL, ready to land, but not quite ready to give up. The lift down low was rough rough rough from the turbulence thrown out by the fire. I managed to eek a few hundred feet out of it and then it started to smooth. It was a slow and steady climb back to about 6000 feet. Took about a half an hour. Then I was able to transition to other thermals which shot me to 8000 MSL. From here on out the name of the game was to stay high, and I did. I didnt fall below 5000 until my descent for landing. maximum height was 8700 MSL in a 600 fpm thermal at about 4:50 in the afternoon. soon after i started slowly descending for the airport. Landed on runway 31 at 5:30. Getting out was a real chore. After sitting for that long it is tough to stand up.
The high for today was about 48 degF. So needless to say it was a tad chilly at 8000 feet. Cold weather gear was highly appreciated from Matt. My toes stayed pretty warm with two pairs of socks, tennis shoes, and mukluks. military surplus snowpants kept the legs warm. two shirts and a pullover sweatshirt protected my upperbody and a nice stocking hat kept my ears warm. The stocking hat also doubled as defrost with the extremely low dewpoints aloft. I could usually start to see my breath above 7500 MSL.
Total time for the day (2 flights) was 5 hours 40 minutes. This is about a quarter of the flight time I had all last YEAR in the glider. And this was my first flight of the year. So I hope that Im on a roll and will really have a good season. From here on out Im going to be flying to maximize distance on good downwind days. I will need to force myself to fly into the wind some this spring though as I will have to at the contest in May. I also need to optimize my cockpit setup and figure out how to run my GPS based flight computer. lots of work to do, but getting the 5 hour duration flight was a major hurdle so it will be much smoother sailing from here on out.
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Steve

Curtis Malone
Joined
May 6, 2002
Posts
737
Total Time
1170
Congrats.

What airport are you out of and what kind of glider were you in?
 

MJG

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 2, 2003
Posts
580
Total Time
7000+
Hey I saw your name this month in the SSA mag, congrats again on the silver badge. I think we've had two members so far this year get their's. Last weekend was a boomer for us. 37 tows and last tow was at 2100 local! Throw in our monthly barbeque that night along with a powered parachute and ultralite flying in the calm evening air and it was darn near the perfect day.
 
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