Trio of Falcons

Well, the weekend hadn’t worked out for flying, but that wasn’t my last chance to get in a flight in June. With the late sunsets, it seemed possible to squeeze in an after-work flight, even it it wasn’t at Tanner-Hiller. The forecast was west, pointing to either Mt. Tom or Talcott. The former is slightly closer, but the hike up the mountain would be a lot more daunting. Mark G had made arrangements with Peter B for a site intro at Talcott, so since I knew there would be other pilots there, that’s where I headed.

I left work a little early to drive down, thinking I had packed everything I’d need, but when I looked through the stuff on the front seat of my car, I realized that I had left my T-shirt on the kitchen table back home, so I had nothing to wear for flying but the button-down shirt that I had on at the office. In the spectrum of mistakes, that’s pretty minor. It was warm, so I left the shirt unbuttoned as I dragged my glider up to launch on the cart, primarily to display my manly physique and drive any ladies into a swoon (yes, I realize how dangerous that is with a cliff nearby).

At launch, I was pleased to find that Mark and Peter were still there. They had arranged to meet at noon, and Mark likes to not be rushed, so he had actually gotten there at 10 AM and took his time checking the place out. Peter had given him a tour, and they set up, but it had reportedly been quite strong earlier and they had had to wait for hours for the wind to calm down. It was looking pretty nice when I showed up, so they got ready to launch while I put my glider together as quickly as I could (I had brought the Falcon because it was lighter for hauling up the trail, and it also assembles a lot more quickly). Woz showed up to assist with launches, and a good-sized crowd of wuffos gathered, wanting to know when we were going to “jump”.

As the new guy, Mark went first, had a fine launch, and started out conservatively enough that we weren’t sure whether he’d be able to stay up or not. He moved in closer and caught the lift band before he lost too much altitude. Peter went next, and he has plenty of experience at this site and was able to launch casually and settle right in. I finished preflighting while Woz picked out a likely looking wuffo and gave him some instruction as to what to do in order to be my second wire man. I didn’t expect to need much help, and I was right. Straight in, good velocity, a vigorous charge off the cliff, and I was in the air as well, while Woz graciously brought Peter’s and my carts back down to our cars.

Mark G

We were interestingly stratified. Although were were all flying Falcon 170s, Mark was hanging out just above ridge height, I was generally a couple of hundred feet higher, and Peter was a couple of hundred feet above me. That made the ridge right-of-way easy, as it was a cinch to spot the other two before making a turn, and see that they were well separated from me vertically. It was a nice clear evening, and I’m pretty sure I could see all the way to Mt. Tom up to our north.

Mark headed for the LZ first, and Peter went not so long after him. The wind had continued to abate, and I played the game of seeing how long I could maintain altitude above launch, and when I dropped below it, I followed them down to the field as well. Dead air on the surface made it easy to pick the most convenient landing direction (the one with the most space), and I set it down with style.

My Falcon 2 170 and Peter’s Falcon 3 170 — same color scheme, virtually indistinguishable.

Peter stuck out his thumb and got a ride up to fetch his car, then he drove Mark and me up to get ours. Not a bad way to end up a work day, and Mark and I stopped at Rein’s Deli on the way home, one of my favorite restaurants, but one that I don’t get to very often these days.

Mark G

Peter B

flights: 1, airtime: 0:37


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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