Busy day on the ridge


A favorable forecast sent dozens of pilots, both HG and PG, to West Rutland. After some delays due to waiting for people who were late, and one pilot who got lost on the way, we drove up to launch to find most of the setup area already occupied, and we had six gliders on the truck and another five or six on the two vehicles that drove up with us. Fortunately, it got soarable right about that time, and a lot of wings moved out into the air and made room for us.

I decided to fly with all of my accoutrements (vario, GPS, radio, still camera, video, camelbak), and combined with the fact that it was hot and humid, it took me a while to get set up. It was blowing in pretty hard for a while, causing at least one pilot to do a potato routine on the ramp, holding up the line for a long time. It had mellowed by the time I was ready, and I was on the ramp for less than two minutes before launching. It wasn’t as crowded in the air as it was setting up because a few people landed early, and some others went X/C.

Lift was easy to come by, although I didn’t manage to take advantage of it as well as I’d like. I spent what seemed like a pretty long time bouncing around between 500 and 800 feet above launch before I found a core that took me up to 1800 over. Eventually I got bored with just hanging out between launch and the towers, so I ventured out to see what I could find. Going west on the ridge, I managed to not lose very much, and when I came back, there were some people circling under a cloud out front, so I joined them and gained a bit. When that faded, I headed west again to check out another cloud, but it wasn’t productive. I was down to launch altitude at this point, so I looked for lift over the highway (nope), and then over a hayfield that was being harvested. That did give me something — the vario started beeping and I could feel the warmth. It was rowdy lift, and hard to stay with it (I suspect it was a bubble thermal), but I managed to gain a few hundred feet and stay up a little bit longer before crossing back over the little road to land.

Afterwards, a few of us drove over to the quarry for a swim — a fine way to wrap up a classic summer flying day in Vermont. Pretty sweet that so many people managed to get airtime on the day of Phil Haynes’s funeral. There were also 18 tandem rides and four or five solo tows at Morningside, not to mention all of the students on the hill. A fine tribute to the guy who made a lot of this possible.

flights: 1, airtime: 1:34

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About cleversky

Hang glider pilot in New England since 2004. Also an avid orienteer, and an embedded systems firmware engineer. And some other outdoor stuff.
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