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Logan Contest - Pre-Practice Day

Being an unfamiliar field, most of today was getting to know the pilots, the local procedures, and figuring out my equipment.  This wasn't a problem as the day dawned cloudy (and rainy in some parts of the valley) and no one was eager to go flying.

I met a bunch of folks throughout the day, and am quickly coming to the conclusion that glider contests are good places to meet great people.  Everyone's been friendly, helpful, and very giving when it comes to local knowledge and advice.  

Finally, around 4pm, myself and 2 or 3 other pilots pushed our ships out to the line and took a tow over to the ridge.  Conditions had improved; but they were still not great.  My first attempt at running the ridge was a disaster before it even started, and I limped back to some lift that I'd run into on tow.  Of course, when I got there it was gone - d'oh!  I flew back towards the airport and finally ran into a little bump over Main Street just before entering the traffic pattern.  I circled in it, drifting along for a while with no real altitude gain.  Finally, after about a half-mile (right down main street at the north end of town) the lift finally started to pick up.  I worked the weak lift from 5400' all the way up to 10000' and headed over to the ridge (which varies between 9000 and 9700).  This time I was able to get on the ridge and run it north for about 15-20 miles, passing the gaggle of other gliders heading back south after completing their "tour" of the ridge system.  I did the same tour, and after a little while I found myself back near the starting point.  The day was weakening so I spent the last half-hour of the flight burning off altitude drifting towards the southern end of the valley.  The ridges were still bumpy as the last warm air drifted up the hillsides, but the valley was dead-calm and I floated in glassy conditions all the way back to the airport.

It was only a two-hour flight and I didn't go too far - but it was exactly what I'd hoped:  A chance to check out the local area from the air, and get myself oriented.  I'll need this information and all of my skill to beat the pilots who know this area better than I do... Its gonna be a great challenge and hopefully a great week!  

--Noel

Posted: 7/18/2010 By: Noel Wade


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