Stylin’ again!

Having successfully repaired my Vision Mark IV, the next step was to repair the Ultrasport that I so spectacularly and inexcusably broke two summers ago. This was going to require quite a few spare parts. I broke the keel, and also damaged or lost almost all of the battens. The sail only had a couple of tears, but they were serious enough to warrant replacing that, too. I also managed to snap both leading edges, and the mylar leading edge inserts were no good, plus I lost the nose cone. And I needed a couple of downtubes. I cut the hang straps in the process of getting down from the tree, so they were gone. But there were plenty of salvageable parts, like the batten chart, the XC bag, and those little white balls that go on the ends of the reflex bridle wires. As Jeff Nicolay said when I took the wreckage home, “There’s nothing left”. Fortunately I located a guy who had all the replacement parts I needed, and he conveniently had them all in one bag, including some bits that were better than what I had originally. So I took a visit to see this guy named Paul Voight and when I pulled out of his driveway, I was ready to go as an Ultrasport guy again.

For those of you who may think this wing looks familiar, yep, it used to belong to Ryan.

When I left home (almost four hours away), the wind forecast had looked good in terms of direction (NW), but potentially too strong. I drove over to Ellenville and chatted with Tony, but the windsocks were blowing NE, and definitely on the light side. So much for computer models. I went back out to my car and was just about to change my shoes and go for a run, when suddenly, a hang glider landed! Where did that come from? It was Udo, who said that the direction had been fine up top, but he didn’t find any lift. He broke down his Falcon so that he could go up for another try.

The word was that a couple of other pilots were on their way, so I signed in and drove up to launch. Jimmy D and Lindsey were already setting up, so I picked a spot next to Udo. Manuk arrived while we were getting ready, but he waited to see how conditions looked (i.e. whether anybody else stayed up) before bothering to assemble his glider. Udo tried first, and scratched for a bit, but not for long. Next was Jimmy, who worked some bubbles pretty hard, but also sank out. I didn’t mind if I just sledded, as long as I got a chance to try out the new glider. Lindsey and I looked at each other, and he already had his helmet on, so he got to go first. We walked him out to the NW launch, and just as he got there, some vigorous stuff started blowing through, and he had to wait it out. When it abated he launched, and Manuk and I watched as he suffered the same fate as Jimmy, scratching, finding little blips in the same places, and never getting over launch height. Sigh. I figured I might as well take my turn, and went over to my glider to get ready, but by the time I was all harnessed up and turned around, Lindsey was soaring over launch. Good news!

Manuk helped me out to the NW launch where I waited for several minutes, but it was consistently crossing from the right, so at his suggestion I moved over to the N launch. Straight in, I ran down the slope, and immediately went up. Nice! There were thermals out there, but they weren’t that easy to lasso (or maybe I’m just rusty); they seemed strong but narrow, and there were a couple of times when the bottom dropped out suddenly. No problems handling the wing, though, and I even pulled on some VG a few times when I found myself a bit further back than I wanted to be and decided that I should get out front where I belonged. At one point I thought I was on my way to land, 250 feet below launch, but I caught an elevator over the far corner of the pumpkin patch and rode it way back up. As the afternoon went on, the initially blue sky developed some nice cumulus (though I wasn’t able to reach them, despite trying), and Manuk joined me.

I had a long drive ahead of me (I left home at 6:30 AM, and it was almost 1 AM when I finally got home), so I didn’t stay in the air as long as I possibly could have, in fact, three more pilots launched after I was packed up and flew for probably at least an hour. Still, it was nearly 2.5 hours of airtime, and my logbook total clicked pas the 75 hour mark. Everybody wound up with smiles on their faces, me included!

flights: 1, airtime: 2:24

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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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