An early start to the year

After hunting around for affordable airfares, I found one from Worcester MA (!) to Orlando on JetBlue in New Year’s Eve. Rental cars were too expensive, so I got a cab ride out to Groveland and settled in at Quest. No chance for a late afternoon flight, it was overcast, cool, and drizzly. Seemed like most folks were headed over to the party at Wallaby, but I stayed in and chatted with the few people who hung around.

The morning was still overcast, but I hunted around in the trailers and found my glider. The last place I flew it was in Tennessee, and it still had the big blue M (made from tape) on the left wing that we had used to be able to recognize our team’s gliders, so I peeled it off. Most pilots apparently didn’t think the conditions were worth bothering with, but I wanted some mellow air to get back into the swing of things. Danielle and Jamie were doing some tandems as I got ready, and though the ceiling was low, I took a tow up to cloudbase at about 1100 feet. I had a fin on the U2, and the tow was easy, the flight was uneventful, and I got some compliments on my landing, which felt good.

I decided to put the glider off to the side and see if the sky would open up some. In the meantime a couple of tandem flights went off, and Jonny was able to tow at least one of them up to about 2500 feet. After that, Danielle was ready for her first solo, on a Falcon 170. She was excited and apprehensive.

Her first flight was brief because the weak link broke at a couple of hundred feet, but she landed safely, and did three more solo flights by the end of the day, and she’s now pretty ecstatic.

We had gotten some periods when there were actually patches of blue sky opening up, so I held off, thinking that it might continue to improve, but instead the clouds filled back in. I took another tow, this time up to about 2000 feet (and like the first time, it ended when it got hard to see the tug), and casually drifted back down. There were a few bumps, but I think they were just from the wind hitting the tree line.

First time I’ve ever flown on New Year’s Day, and the forecast for the next few days looks increasingly good.

flights: 2; airtime: 5 min, 11 min

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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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