06-23-19 | How’s A Little Blue For Ya?

Sorry for a missing daily report yesterday; we had a great day but got in late after a long drive. I was a bit too tired to get my thoughts together.

Noah and I were tired from our two long soaring days. It looked like the third day of the nice stretch of weather was going to give a shorter, but still quite reasonable soaring window. We decided to take this one easy, especially since we were going to make the drive up to Harris Hill in the evening.

It took a while for the day to trigger and when it finally did in the early afternoon, it was blue. We took off a little after 1pm and had no trouble staying up, but couldn’t climb much above 4300ft. At that point, we set a short two hour Turn Area task that took us up and down the valley. This would keep us in close proximity to the airport and felt like a reasonable task for the day.

Closer to 2pm, the conditions started improving and we headed out on task. Team flying in the blue works very very well. We spread out and sampled the air. When one pilot was in consistently better air, the other would adjust for his line. We were able to find thermals more frequently and center them more efficiently. We practiced leaving efficiently, with the leading pilot “overextending” on the exit, thereby letting the trailing pilot catch up. This took away the need for the trailing pilot having to accelerate substantially to catch up to the leading pilot and losing a bit of altitude.

The conditions were a little suppressed by Tyrone and Noah was a little bit concerned. He had thoughts to turn back to Ridge Soaring at that point. I said that if this was a contest day, we would have no hesitation to keep going; it was the middle of the day, there was a ridge ahead with infrastructure below. I said, “There’s gotta be a thermal ahead.”

“Yeah, but things can go south quick here,” Noah replied.

“I think it’s going to work fine.”

We edged down to around 3500ft or so and I reminded myself we were just a hair lower than 3000ft AGL, still plenty high. And then we finally connected with reasonable lift. Moreover, there were clouds forming ahead and a wonderful line forming off to the side. We worked our way up to 6500ft and the air looked glorious.

Then Noah said, “Sorry that I was being a bit of a chicken today.” We both perked up when we had nice Cu to look forward to!

We worked our way over to the line and finally connected at 5000ft MSL. At this point we were in great shape. To add excitement, a Nimbus 3 joined our thermal up high. Now we have someone to fly with!

He left the thermal and headed to the NE, the same direction we were headed. We made good work of this opportunity, kicking into gear and flying the energy line as best as we could. We were keeping up with the fellow! The thermals along the line were somewhat broken up, but the lift was still more or less working. We’d hook into a thermal every once in a while, keeping a close eye on the Flying Whale. When the line was about to run out, we found a nice one and the unfortunate fellow had to return back to our thermal, 500 ft below.

Gotta admit, it felt good being in an LS4, above a Nimbus 3!

The thermal gave us enough height to make the turnpoint and most of the way home. This worked out well because the air was not great toward Ridge Soaring. We found one more thermal and we figured this was good enough to call it a day, hit the turnpoint and head back.

After we landed, we had the ships apart and all our stuff ready to go in a little over an hour. At 5pm, we hit the road for Harris Hill. Along the way we picked up dinner and we arrived at the gliderport at 8pm.

When we arrived, Noah looked at the setting sun and the perfectly still windsock.

Want to go fly the Super Cub?

“Heck yeah!” I replied.

Within 10 minutes, we were on the runway ready to go. Noah is a heck of a pilot. Sitting in the back, I was amazed watching how comfortable he was with this airplane. “I hadn’t flown it in several months!” Well it didn’t show one bit. Every one of his movements was effortless and efficient. And several moments later, we were off the ground and in the beautiful, still air.

Harris Hill in the summer time is absolutely gorgeous. The whole Chemung valley lights up in a brilliant glow. With the door open on the Cub, you really feel like you’re flying. It’s great to be back here.

Find my flight log here.

And Noah’s here.


Thanks a million to Aero Club Albatross and Harris Hill Soaring Corporation for letting us use their club ships toward training for the Junior Worlds.

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