Thanksgiving treat

Morningside Flight Park is the school where I learned to fly. Last year they came up with the idea of having a potluck party on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, where everybody brings leftovers. And if weather permits, people will fly, too, but what are the chances of that happening in late November in New Hampshire? There could well be a lot of snow on the ground. I had spent Thanksgiving with friends, and didn’t have any leftovers, so I stayed up the night before to make an apple pie so that I wouldn’t arrive empty-handed.

When Jeff sent out the party announcement, he extended an invitation for people to come try out demo gliders. Sounded like a good idea to me, so I flew this Sport 2 155:

I’m on the borderline between the 135 and the 155: at 150 pounds pilot weight, I’m right on the bottom end of the range for the 155, but the 135 is pretty tiny, I guess. I flew the 155 lighter than I would be in reality, since I was carrying no glider bags, and I didn’t put my radio or a water bladder in my harness. This was a good test, then — if the wing didn’t feel like too much for me to handle in this situation, it would probably be a bit easier if I were all loaded up. I didn’t get to really experience the performance advantage of the glider, because I flew with the VG off the whole time.

As it turned out, the glider felt fine, so surprises. My first sledder was a little klutzy, which may have been due as much to the fact that I was rusty as to the glider being unfamiliar. After that, things went quite well, and I had my longest Morningside flight to date, at 15 minutes. While I was in the middle of that one, Z launched in his Talon, and found the magic elevator up and out. I had been flying without my vario (since I wasn’t figuring I’d be going very far from the little ridge), but when I saw how well Z was doing, I fetched it from the car for my next flight. When I pulled it out of the bag, I realized that I had the vario, but not the mounting bracket, which I had left back home on my glider. (Except that my glider wasn’t back home, it was right there on the roof of my car, but that didn’t dawn on me until later.) So I threw the vario into the back pocket of my harness so that I could hear the beeping, but I could only kind of hear it from in there. Whatever, no big deal.

The wind was blowing pretty much straight in all day, and there was plenty of ridge soaring to be had. Quite a crowd of gliders for this time of year (and there were a few others not in the picture). That’s Mt. Ascutney in the background.

The wind was pretty smooth, not gusty, so people generally didn’t need much assistance to launch, which allowed me to take some pictures when I drove people up the hill. Here’s John launching from the 450:

Z eventually came down after 2:10 in the sky, topping out at 4700 feet. The limiting factor was the cold; although it wasn’t too bad on the ground, up at altitude it got pretty nippy. He had plenty of warm clothes that he had left in the car, because he wasn’t expecting to do so well, and although he had a package of hand warmers, he fumbled them while taking them out of his pocket and watched them spiral down into the forest. Here he is relating the details of his awesome flight:

It was a pretty plush deal flying the demo, because it was already set up (I just had to preflight it), and at the end, after a half-dozen flights from the 450′, it just went back into the showroom and I didn’t have to pack it up. And after the flying was done, we had an excellent dinner and a great time hanging out in the spiffy, newly renovated pilots’ lounge/classroom.

That could be it for the year, as life can be pretty busy between now and Xmas, and I’ve never flown in December (or February). But we’ll see.

flights: 6, airtime: 0:38

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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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