Quest Day 5: Lift!

There was no Quest Day 4. Sunday’s forecast was for thunderstorms, and it did periodically rain hard, so I took the opportunity to go to the beach. I know that sounds like a dumb thing to do on a rainy day, but it cleared up around 4 PM and it was a nice evening to be wearing shorts and a T-shirt and wading in the water while the local people walked by in parkas and fleece.

Monday’s forecast was a lot better. Although it was all overcast when we woke up, I was expecting thing to clear out so that we could fly at around 10 AM. The clearing took longer than we expected, but we could see brightness approaching from the north, and it finally looked nice at noon, with the wall of clouds moving out.

Several people showed up for tandems, and we all set up at the south end of the field, with two tugs running (Jonny and April towing). Spinner was flying tandems, so this was my first time doing an aerotow launch without him there. Here’s another view of the Falcon 195 I’ve been flying (sitting on a tow cart).

For my second flight, I got April’s tug, and I had somebody warn her that she had an inexperienced pilot on the end of her string (she later said I did fine). And on the third flight, unlike the first two that were sledders, I found some thermals that I could hang onto. They weren’t strong enough to climb much, but I was able to maintain altitude and extend what would have been a 15 minute flight to over 26 minutes. The first pocket was over the nursery, and the second was over the Quest buildings. It was a fair bit of work to milk that lift, so when I got below 400 feet and gave up, I was ready for a lunch break. There were a bunch of pilots flying during this period, including Grazi and Stephan who took tows together up to 10000 feet, where the wind was really strong and Grazi wasn’t sure he’d be able to make it back to the field (but he did, with plenty to spare). Down lower where I was, the wind was much more well behaved, and I had no trouble going any direction without concern about penetrating.

Tow pilot April

Later in the afternoon, a few of us went up again. I did one more tow in very smooth conditions, and Sheri went up for a couple of tandems that went quite well — if things go as well tomorrow, she’ll be on the verge of soloing. As for me, tomorrow it may time for something different.

The “Mickey Mouse” lake NW of the field

For those who have not aerotowed, here’s what it looks like:

flights: 4, airtime: 1:09


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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