09-11-2016 LS4 Triangle

What a wonderful soaring day! Early in the day, the ridge was quite good, running along consistently at around 90 knots. The jump from Hawk to Mahantango worked out very nicely. Hooked a street over to Sharp and a nice thermal over Pottsville. Utilizing some weak wave, I connected with another street that got me to the Mahantango. No sweat and quite fast too!

Got down to Dickeys Mountain without any problems. After that, the sky got gloomy and the wind weaker. I resorted to thermalling over to Shockeys Knob and back without any issues.

The run from Dickeys to Shade was a bit softer, but again not a problem. Hooked a 7.5 knotter over Shade and that got me to Tussey. Another couple thermals and over to Keystone. Said hello to a couple gliders playing on the front ridge and headed toward Lockhaven. The wind was maybe 12 knots, but solid. I was coasting along at a reasonable 80 knots. However, getting into Milesburg Gap, the bottom fell out from under me. I thought I was going to fall off into a nice field below! But I found a nice thermal over Rt.80 and figured it’s time to head back home.

The run back home was exciting. After my Milesburg experience, I figured that I couldn’t depend on any of the ridges. The goal was to get as far as possible on thermals. At a minimum, this was to make Bear Mountain, ideally Hawk. I figured that with the wind as weak as it was that Sharp Mountain was out of the question. I flew a nice street downwind, occasionally thermalling just to stay right at the top of the band. This got me comfortably to Bear Mountain. At this point, it was already past 5pm so each thermal really counted. There were two dying clouds and I took them as high as I could. This was high enough to get me to Wildcat, which really meant the nice fields between Second and Sharp. Now the goal was to get one more climb to make Hawk. Along Sharp, there was nothing useable for a while, but luckily I hooked into a blue thermal. It was solid 3 knots up to 4500ft, just enough. This got me to Hawk at 2700ft.

Now it was time to float and finagle a way to get home. Looking down while heading over Snyders, the leaves on the trees looked still. Looking ahead, I can see that I would end up getting down on the ridge somewhere near the Turnpike Tunnel. In the meantime, I was looking at the fields and airports in case I got bounced off. I got to the tunnel at 1800ft, high enough to snake through Lehigh Gap and land at Slatington if the ridge didn’t work…

Well it did! Looking down, the trees were rustling and I hit good air. I figured that this would work at least down to Wind Gap, but I needed to float as high as I could to make the crossing. I found good air at around 2200ft and managed to float along in perfectly smooth air! Evening magic. I even saw the hanggliders launch at the ski area. Amazing that the ridge band works that high with so little wind.

I made Wind Gap and Water Gap jumps without a problem and enjoyed watching the sun setting over NJ. The sky was gorgeous! The visibility was incredible too. I saw the NY skyline from the ridge at 2200ft. The skyscrapers were just peaking over the hilly terrain.

It was a fun day. I had to work for a lot of the miles, but it was totally worth it. Flew ridge, thermals and wave, all in one day. Blairstown is a gorgeous place and the LS4 an incredible ship. The club did a great job restoring this glider!

Find the flight log here.

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