In early July, sunset is still within a minute of two of the latest it gets all year. Although I had to work on the 5th, I left my wing on the roof of my car because I heard that Rhett would be towing. I left work an hour earlier than usual, and took a back-roads route to the airport. Most folks who had flown were already on the road home, but Lukas was still flying tandems, Matt C was on the cart waiting for a tow, and Pete J hadn’t left yet, so he came by to chat while I set up.
Matt was up and back down before I was even ready, and reported that he hadn’t really found any lift at all, though Rhett had towed him quite a ways looking for it. I didn’t mind, a flight is a flight and I just wanted some more towing practice, this time with no fin, so smooth air was A-OK, and I was ready to go a little after 6 PM. I had a little trouble right at the beginning when the cart wanted to veer left more strongly than I could correct it by bumping, so I came out a bit earlier than usual and was fine after that. I did have a couple of moments during the tow when I got off line and started oscillating, but I relaxed and let things settle down, and avoided getting locked out.
Rather than dragging me all over kingdom come in search of lift, Rhett took me just off the SW end of the runway and looked for the best spot. He pulled me up fairly high, and handed me some zero sink. I flew around gently for a little while, extending the sled ride and drifting toward the NE, then when it stopped helping I flew back toward the airport. Right about when I got there I found some light lift and cautiously circled. And circled. And circled. It turned on more when I reached the middle of the runway, and eventually got to be 300 fpm up. I patiently worked that climb for about 20 minutes, up to about 6000 feet, until the sun went behind a cloud bank and it shut down. I switched over to looking for other possible sources of lift, while flying fairly slowly to minimize my sink rate, and stretched it out as long as I could. Down at about 1000 feet, there was a shear layer and the smooth evening air got bumpier, but my landing was still sweet. Over an hour of airtime when I was anticipating a sledder, not too shabby.
flights: 1, airtime: 1:03