Skydog Sports

Cloud 9 Michigan, 2011

Stories and Photos

Tracy Tillman and Lisa Colletti - Owners of Cloud 9 Flight Park

 

The Chris Bratsis Report

Cloud 9 Saturday and Sunday October 8 & 9, 2011

Saturday was a bit strange as the soaring forecast was not optimal. When I called Tracy in the

morning he said that the winds aloft for later in the day were high...22 knots at 2000 ft. Not good

for flying and maybe Sunday would be better. When I talked with Mark Dugan...who was already

half way to Tracy & Lisa's I decided to go out anyway. At this point the weather was perfect!

Light winds and temps up to 80 degrees. How could this not be good soaring weather? As I arrived

at Cloud 9 I saw many gliders set up. Scot Maue of Traverse City, Mark (109 Mile) Bolt, Jimmy "The Greek"

Dedes, Parrish Collison & Guido. I know I'm forgetting someone but I can't remember. Sorry to whom I forgot.

The lemming rush started at 1:30 with Scot, Jim, Parrish & Guido leading off. All proceeded to end up

on the ground with short flights. At 2:30 Mark Dugan, Myself & Mark Bolt launched with better luck. The others

relaunched to join us and the fun started. We all had to prove Tracy's high wind forecast wrong...which we did and had great flights.

Most of us had 2 hour flights some a bit longer or shorter but all fun. The thermals were amazingly warm for mid

October. It was a blue day. I was topping out at 5,500 feet. All the trees are turning yellow & orange. The farmers

are harvesting the soybeans & wheat which really helped kick off some nice thermals. Dugan, Bolt & I hung out

to the north of the field while the others stayed south. I landed after 2 hours and just missed the spot by a couple feet.

The funny thing was there never was winds aloft. Only mild drift and decent lift. What a great day.

    Then on Sunday the "Skydog" himself (Bob Grant) showed up along with Larry Faringa of Columbus Ohio, Brian Deimling of Lansing. Antoine Bose dropped by for the first time this year.

He is apparently living in Shanghai China for the next two years and was home for a week.

It was great to see him. He sure picked a good weekend. 

 As usual SkyDog had to lead the pack but I thought it was a bit early

 and Skydog, Jim Dedes & Parrish all bombed out. Once the ground heated up a bit

at about 2:30 (magic time) we all stuck to the sky. Somehow I again ended up with Dugan & Bolt at cloud base to the west

of the field at 6,000 ft. I remember on my tow up Tracy hauled me through a thermal so huge it took 10 seconds to tow through it. It wasn't exceptionally strong but very wide. Needless to say I did not have much trouble "finding" this

one after Tracy waved me off. Most of the gang had great flights.

We clinked out brew bottles together after our flights as we all know the season at Cloud 9 is

coming to an end. We all have to thank our gracious hosts Tracy Tillman & Lisa Colletti for another wonderful season.

I ended up with 2 hours & ten minute flight and reached cloud base at 6000ft. WOW! What an October! 

Meet you in the Air Soon! Chris

 

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 Sunday October 9, 2011

Saturday the 8th - was a good day and many pilots had two hour flights up to 4,000 feet as reported by Chris Bratsis, Mark Bolt and Mark Dugan. It was a blue sky day and I was not at Cloud 9.

Sunday the 9th I arrived at Cloud 9 by noon and set up amidst twelve other pilots and we were ready for flight by two pm. I elected to take off first although there were no clouds but I could see faint outlines that looked like cumulous clouds. Tracy towed me south and at 1,200 feet we went through some great lift and then again at 2,000 feet my vario was screaming so I pinned off at 2,300 feet and turned back to get into the lift and found that it was not very consistent and after just five minutes I was on my way down and did not find a scrap of lift to the ground. By now another three pilots had taken off and were soon landing behind me. Mark Dugan took off about sixth and Mark was out of sight in no time and the line up was about six in front of me and Chris Bratsis and Mark Bolt got off ahead of me and then Scot Maue and a couple of others and then finally I got into the air again. By this time many others were quite high and Tracy took me to a nice thermal south east of the field and I gained up to 3,400 feet in some 300 fpm lift and when it slowed down I noticed Scot on his Exxtacy over to the west so I tried to get to Scot and when I got there I was down to 1,200 feet and Scot had left for greener pastures. I scouted around finding little bits of lift but not enough for me to stay up in and after 30 minutes I was on the ground again while many others were up high and out of sight. Well the line up was about six long again and by the time I was in the air again it was 5 pm but this time I snagged a good one south east of the field and took it to the north west of the field gaining all the way with Parish Collison and Antoine circling below me. I took this baby up to 4,700 feet at 5:30 and was really enjoying the lift way back behind Cloud 9 field. By 6:15 I was setting up for a nice landing and when I got down I found that I was last to set down and all the high fliers were already down so where did they all come from as I did not see them when I was high. They told me that the lift was abundant to the west of the field over the black sod farms close to hwy 52 for most of the afternoon and that they got up to 5,965 feet. Wow, I sure did miss the good stuff but I was happy with my last flight. A Special thanks to Tracy for getting us all into the sky.

Photos Below and a Video Soon

Larry Faringa - Litespeed

 

Set-Up

Set-Up

 

Mark Dugan, Chris Bratsis, Brian Deimling and Charlie Pooch

Antoine

 

Larry Faringa

 

Flash in Set-Up

Larry Faringa

 

Parrish Collison, Alena Collison, Chris Bratsis and Steve Djosic's Son Mack

 

Lisa and Tracy's New Plane - "Wilga"

 

The Mark Bolt Report

103 Miles in Michigan

Cloud 9 September 17, 2011

Saturday 09-16-2011 I studied XC-skies for the forecast to maybe go cross country.

My best chance to have a driver would be Saturday as Chris Christophersen was available to drive and pick me up. The weather looked  good for a xc flight

 to the lake Michigan coast,  with east winds 10-15 mph forecast.

I arrived at Cloud 9 Friday afternoon for a pot luck dinner and celebration of Lisa and Tracy's wedding anniversary.

I slept in my van and woke up to over cast skies Saturday morning, so I went to breakfast

with Scot and Chris, and Chris agreed to drive as a pick up, "Wahoo".

So back at cloud 9 and I set up fast for the possibility of the sky clearing. Temperature was in the hi 40's and all we needed was the sun.

 I was ready at 1:00 and the sky cleared. I was first in line to tow and

my radio battery was dead so talking to Brian who had his radio ready would not happen.

 My tow was at 1:30 and I new the day would be short so I had to get going. My first climb was to cloud base at 3000 feet agl.

 I started flying south west to the clouds because the winds had

a east south east flow witch would make it hard to stay out of controlled airspace at Lansing

and Grand Rapids. After about 5 miles I started heading west to the coast, the cloud shadows

had a southeast component. I was crossing cloud streets staying on my westerly track.

The thermals where light, 100 to 200 fpm with big blue holes, so I had to take it easy for the first hour and a half waiting for the ground to heat up.

 Flying west to Mason would keep me south of Lansing air space by 4 miles.

 Flying to the west side of Lansing airspace there was a  great cloud street

 going through the west side of the air space and I had to pass it up and go through

5 miles of blue hole. So I topped out the thermal at 3300 agl and headed for the next cloud.

The winds where to strong to go straight west so I followed the cloud streets for 30 miles

and it was taking me to Grand rapids air space. I headed west again to stay 15 miles

south of GR air airspace. Southwest of GR I got down to 1600 ft. agl when I caught a 700 fpm thermal that drifted me over a small lake, and

 I topped out at 4000 feet agl. I headed northwest on a weak cloud street

never getting a good thermal but little sink. I glided 26 miles with a few light thermals, and

landed in the last landing area 5 miles from the coast near Holland Michigan.

 It was a dream flight and I didn't mind waiting 3 hours for Chris to retrieve me. Thanks Chris

 Flight 103 miles 4 hours.

 

 

"The Brian Deimling Report"

September 17, 2011 

  In the early spring of 2010 Tracy Tillman of Cloud 9 told me of his plans to have a Just Fly Comp. The Club would have a comp once a month during the flying season. Tracy sent out a scoring spreadsheet for a few likely participants to review. The spreadsheet handicapped the performance of a glider so that a single surface glider would actually have a slight advantage. Points are awarded for altitude gain, duration, distance out, distance return, and hitting the 14 foot diameter spot back at the club. You can fly as many flights as you want over a 3 day comp weekend and pick your best 3 flights to score.

  I thought it would be a great way to compete and improve my skills in a safe non-intimidating competition. Now that the comp is in itís second year more and more pilots are competing. Even if you donít win the flying portion of the comp a pilot can still win Ĺ of the purse with frequent flyer points that you bank and carry over from comp to comp. For every comp there is a winner for best flight and a winner for the most frequent flyer points. If a pilot competes in every comp they will eventually win Ĺ the purse for frequent flyer points.

  Four pilots flew on Friday. Bob Grant was first to tow up followed by Scot Maue, myself, Trevor, and Parrish. There was a slight high altitude cloud cover with some weak cuís forming at 3500 ft. The winds were from the northeast at 5 mph. Scot and Bob worked lift to the southwest of the field.

  Trevor just received his new radio and headset and was anxious to use it. We were in radio contact for the first time so we were trying our best to fly as a team and work lift that was coming down the pipe line to the northeast of he club. Gravity and cold hands brought us down in the same order we towed up except for Bob who continued to find lift to the west for 2 hr and 9minutes. Scot, Trevor, and I all nailed the spot and each flew for 1:15 hr. It was very close to a 4 way tie for first after the first day.

  Saturday brought better skies and more pilots. The winds had clocked around to the southeast and increased to 10 mph just as forecast. Thatís a good direction to go XC. Pilots were more anxious than usual to get in the air early. Mark Bolt was at the front of the line and it was obvious he was serious and on a mission. Mark was behind on points because he didnít fly Friday. Trevor was next followed by Bob, Scot, myself, Mark Dugan, Jim Gibson, Chris Bratist, Jim Dedes, and Parrish Collison.

  Mark Bolt was already 3 miles down wind when I got on tow, so much for my plan to keep him in sight. Tracy dropped me off in some descent lift as usual after a rougher than normal tow. I started climbing slow at first, as it was still early. Trevor who I was on the radio with soon joined me. Scot soon made his way over to our thermal and now we had strength in numbers. Itís always good to fly with Scot because he can go out and scout for lift with his Ecstasy while we stay back and hold his place in the thermal.

   I finally found a sweet core that started averaging 700 fpm. I was at base in no time and had to leave. I had my eye on a fast building cloud to the southwest. For some reason no one followed. Time to decide, do I stay or do I go. So I went. I quickly found myself 12 miles west over Dansville. Just 3 more miles and I would be at my brother-in-laws. I topped out over his house and took some video and made the Mason airport my next goal. I crossed over Mason at 4500agl and from there I could see Eaton Rapids. My landing options where numerous. Up to this point my longest XC flight had been 20 miles.

  I had made retrieval arrangements with Chris Cristophersen before I left. That really helps the mental aspect at this point because that was one less thing I had to worry about.

  I kept pushing on always climbing to base before I head off down wind to the next thermal. Every cu was working. I was past Charlotte now and was looking for familiar landmarks as Charlotte faded away in the distance. I finally spotted Gun Lake to the southwest and found Hastings from there. In the distance I could see the late afternoon sun reflecting off Lake Michigan. It was 6 oíclock now and I had been in the air 4 hours. This was by far my personal best for a thermal flight.

 My climbs started to slow and the cuís started to disappear as quickly as they had appeared.  I had to make a choice.  Ahead of me were 10 miles of woods, cornfields, and the dense population of Byron Center. I would have to clear US 131 to get to good landing fields. The numbers were in my favor with a 15 mph tail wind and 4000 agl. Instead I choose to fly north towards multiple landing options and easier retrieval.

  I arrived at my chosen LZ with 1500 feet to spare. I use that altitude to do a couple of 360ís over the intersection to check my drift one last time. I worked my way down by doing S turns over the cornfield a crossed the street watching the corn tassels for movement. With 500 feet to go a thermal broke loose at the north end of the field bending the corn tassels over and rustling the branches of a nearby tree. I went back to the south end were there was no movement. I pulled the bar in for some good speed and made a sweet 2 step landing in a harvested cornfield.

  I called back to the club to let them know I landed safely. They told me Chris was on his way to pick up Mark Bolt who flew an amazing 103 mile flight to Lake Michigan.

 Before I had my glider broken down Chris was there with my truck. We loaded up and headed off to get Mark. Mark was still all smiles when we picked him up just before sundown. We stopped for a bite to eat and were back at the club by midnight.

  Sunday was cancelled do to high winds.

  Congratulations to Mark Bolt for winning the Just Fly Comp and for achieving a long time goal of flying to the coast of Lake Michigan.

  My thanks to Chris for retrieving us and encouraging me to go for it.

  Brian

 

Parrish Collison - First Solo Flights Video Click Here

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 August 16-17, 2011

Friday the 16th - was a good day at Cloud 9 although the sky was mostly cloudy with high cirrus and Cumulous were showing along with the high cloud cover. At three pm we headed to the south end of the field to take off into the northeast wind. I was first off as Jim Gibson wanted a short rest after the push to the south end. Scot Maue, Brian, Trevor and Parrish eventually made there way to the south end. Lisa towed me up to 2,500 feet about a mile to the northwest of the field and I pinned off in search for lift and after about two minutes I found some 200 feet per minute broken lift which eventually turned into 400 up and I took it to 3,500 feet as I drifted to the south.  Jim Gibson worked his way up below me and after abut twenty minutes got above me. At 3:30 the sun started poking though some and the lift was more abundant and I played in some better stuff getting up to 4,000 feet. I saw Brian and Scot over to the southwest of the field at about 2,000 feet so I headed over there and when I got there I was at lease a grand above them and thermalled above Scot getting all the best of the lift that he was showing me. Finally I got to 4,395 feet and boated around for a while and drifted to the east as I watched all the others land. As I got to the east side of the field I was down to 1,400 feet and found a good one taking me back to 2,800 feet just over the landing area. I was able to boat around there for twenty minutes and finally landed after two hours and nine minutes. One interesting note is that Scot, Brian and Trevor all hit the spot and all had one hour and fifteen minute flights. The Team Slayers.

Saturday the 17th was another great day full of cumulous clouds and THE BIG NEWS FROM TODAY is that Mark Bolt did a 104 mile cross country flight from Cloud 9 field to Holland, Michigan which is right on the Lake Michigan shore. Brian Deimling did a 60 miler to near Grand Rapids and Parrish waited til evening and had a wonderful evening solo flight taking a great video. Scot, Mark Dugan, Trevor, Parrish, Chris Bratsis, Jim Gibson and Lisa all had great flights. Jim Dedes made his big come back after a spring time operation and had a great flight for two hours and really high. Most of us took two tows and I took three just for fun. My first flight was after Mark Bolt took off and I got into some good lift up to 3,800 but after 35 minutes I found great sink and landed and then on my second flight I got up to 4,600 feet and flew with Mark Dugan, Jim Gibson and Chris Bratsis all thermalling for an hour or so. Mark Dugan Was last to land after I left him over Hwy 52 and headed back with four grand. Then I took a six pm flight which tuned out to be a 35 minute flight to 3,400 feet over the lake at Cloud 9 east. My total today was 3h-5 minutes. We all had a wonderful day of thermalling.

Sunday Turned out to be too windy so no flying.

Brian Deimling - Flying With Buddies Video Click Here

Photos Below

XC Experts - Brian Deimling - 60 Miles and Mark Bolt - 104 Miles Saturday September 17, 2011

 

Jim Gibson and Skydog Thermal Together

More

 

Parrish Solo

Parrish So Happy with His Flight - Waited all Day Until 7:30 Pm

 

Chris Apfelstadt Taking Instruction From Tracy

 

Parrish

Tracy Tillman

 

Cloud 9 Senior Pilot George Rich and Wife Nora - George Recently Suffered a Heart Attack

Best Wishes from your Friends

 

Chris Christopersen and Mark Dugan

Chris Bratsis and Scot Maue

 

Jim Dedes and Grandson Zackary

 

Jim Gibson Thermalling Close to Skydog

 

Chris Bratsis Thermalling

Cloudbase

 

Lisa Colletti Cutting all that Grass

 

Parrish on Approach

 

Lisa Towes

Parrish Ready

 

Parrish - Concentration

 

Parrish Lifts Off

Parrish High Above

 

Parrish Landing Approach Second Flight

 

Low Turn

Skimming the Road

 

Touchdown

Parrish

"NEW"  "The Brian Deimling Report"

Check Out - Cloud 9 August 16, 2011 Click the above link

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 August 26-31, 2011

Friday the 26th was a very good day at Cloud 9 but only Lisa and I flew at first and then Steve Djokic joined us at 4 pm. Lisa took off first to show me where the lift was as it was a blue sky day. Sure enough there was good lift and so when Tracy dropped me off all I had to do was spot Lisa and the Chase was on. Lisa was thermalling at about 2,900 feet ato and I almost caught up to her at 2,800 feet and then Lisa took off to the north and I stayed with the fat thermal that she had left me in. Looking across the sky I could see that Lisa had lost about 500 feet on her journey north so I stuck with the slow thermal that I was in and took it to 3,400 feet and it petered out and I was forced to go searching so I thought that I would try it north to where I had seen Lisa heading and when I got over the oil tanks north of Cloud 9 field there was Lisa circling again and with me trying to catch her. we both did pretty well but as always once we get to the top of the lift Lisa takes off and I don't see her for another forty minutes. Finally I see Steve being towed up and I see that he is also thermalling to the south of the field so I cruise over the field where I find decent lift and play in it for a while. After a while I see Steve on landing approach and shortly I am in sink also and make my way down to a landing just six feet past the target. A few minutes later Lisa follows. So in the end I had 2 hours and 25 minutes, Lisa had 2 hours and 50 minutes and Steve had an hour after work. Lisa and I get up to 3,500 feet and had challenging flights.

At 5:30 Tracy and Lisa took up tandems in the light air which was still quite buoyant.

Saturday the 27th - Funny how a not so great day can still be a lot of fun. Around 11 am Mark Bolt drove in and told us stories about his great adventure to Texas where he competed in the World open and place 9th which was fantastic, Mark, Brian and Chris set up and we were ready by two pm and Tracy towed us up into a cumulus sky and Mark went first and I followed and when I dropped off at 2,500 feet I did not seem to be in lift but I was close enough to Mark that I scooted over closer to Mark and his thermal and we both took it to about only 2,800 feet and soon after Mark took off and in my usual fashion I stayed and played at the top of the lift which was in and out of the thin cloud. I watched as Brian Daimling was towed up and Brian joined us and we thermalled together for a few minutes as I took a few photos shown below. Lisa came up for a short one. Hey what next, well I lost lift and found great sink and landed after a 28 minute flight. I was soon at the launch area at the south end of the field and Tracy soon got me up again and the same story again with Chris and Brian and Mark was way off in the distance but finally I was loosing lift again and heading back toward Cloud 9 field when I saw Mark turning low like 500 feet ato so I joined him and we spun together for about fifteen minutes gaining 800 feet and then finally it was all gone and I landed with Mark coming in one minute after me. My second flight was only 42 minutes but filled with challenges and fun filming.

At about six pm Lisa towed up a tandem flight and then Parish for his final tandem instruction and then Tracy took Parish's new Falcon 225 for a test run and it worked out great so Parish is ready to solo on our next good day.

Sunday the 28th - Too windy no fly.

 Monday the 29th We all got ready to take off at two pm. Pilots onboard are Brian Deimling, Pat O'Donnell, Dan Maslanik, Bernie Spring, and Skydog. I got off first and Tracy towed me to the west and at 1,500 feet I felt great lift and by the time we got to 2,500 I saw no lift and released and searched for a minute and then I turned east in search of the lift that I had been towed through and sure enough half way back to the field it was still there and I took this thermal to 3,800 feet and I stayed with this one for about fifteen minutes. while at 3,800 feet Brian Deimling came into the thermal and caught up to me and I was able to take some photos of Brian both below and above me. Brian left in search of another lifter as I drifted to the northeast. I tried another line to the southeast of the field and I was able to find another good one and I followed it over to the sailplane port and it got me up to 5,000 feet. I could see Brian at two grand to the west and searching for lift. I could see the others taking off and not really getting very high. Brian had to take a second tow and came up with me as we tried over the wheat fields to the north and they were working well. Somehow I managed to find the best core and took it up to 5,945 feet ato just to the east of the sailplane port and I was in and out of the clouds having a great time. I watched as the others all landed and I came ahead to the landing field and on the way I bumped into another good one and took it back up to cloudbase. Finally after two hours and fifteen minutes I landed and I still don't understand how I did so well. Surely must have been luck and I was happy to be the lucky one.

Tuesday the 30th Pat O'Donnell and I flew. I took off first and found a nice thermal to the southwest of the field on this cloudy day and I took it to 3,200 feet. I stayed with the lift for 20 minutes and then searched for another lift area and found some 200 feet per minute lift here and there. Finally I was getting down to 800 feet ato and then just to the east of the field I found a nice one that took me to 1,300 feet ato and when I lost that one I was on my way down. I landed feeling good that I had stayed up for 45 minutes in the overcast conditions. I did two more flights 28m and 16m. Oh yes, I came close to the spot like six feet from the edge. Speaking about the spot, a month ago I got five in a row but now I have done eight tries and missed but usually within 30 feet. I gotta get it back.

 Patrick took a bunch of 1,200 foot tows to practice his landings and did very well. Patrick first tow to 2,500 feet put him into the same thermal that I was in over to the southwest and Pat had a good twenty minute thermal flight.

Looks like Wednesday will be poor for lift and a possibility of rain so we will likely head for home. I had a good six days. Tracy and Lisa are wonderful to us.

Photos Below

Monday - 29th

Tandem Student

 

Brian Deimling Waiting For Take Off

Brian Coming Up

 

Brian Deimling

 

Brian Deimling Coming Up

We Are Thermalling Together

 

Tandem Student Lifting Off with Tracy

 

Pretty Clouds

 

Getting up to Cloudbase

Oops, There it is

 

Brian Deimlings Arial Photos Below

Brian On A Beautiful Day at Cloud 9

 

Tandem Student

 

Brian Spots Skydog Under a Cloud

Getting Closer

 

Tandem Student Getting Ready for Take-Off

 

Brain Has The Thermal Now

Brian Just Overtook Me

 

Away She Goes "What a Smile"

 

Brian Gained on Me

I think I will Have to Go Searching For Another One

Tuesday - 30th

Brian Deimling Setting Up

Bernie Spring - Still at It

 

Tandem Student Filming Girlfriend

Tandem Student

 

Patrick O'Donnell Setting Up

Tracy Tillman Checking the Tug

 

Tandem Student and Tracy

Tandem Student and Tracy

Saturday 27th

Lisa Cuts The Front Yard

 

Relaxing After Soaring and Before Tandem Time

 

Lucy

Two Gliders Working Below Me

 

Tandem Landing

Parrish and Tracy

 

Tandem Family Photo

 

Parrish Takes His Final Tandem With Tracy

 

Tracy Test Flies Parrish's New Falcon 225

Tracy Landing

 

Mark Bolt Thermalling With Me

Brian Deimling

 

Alena and Dad - Parrish  Evening Instruction

 

Lisa Towes Parrish and Tracy

 

A Hard Day Thermalling

The Last Thermal of the Day

 

Tracy with a Student

 

Working That Last Thermal

Friday 26th

MaryBeth Had a Great Flight with Tracy

 

Singer - Jo Gage Takes a Flight with Tracy and Lisa Tows with the Dragonfly

 

Jo

 

Jo and Tracy

 

Airborne

 

Lisa Towes the Tandems

 

2,500 Feet - Wow!!

 

Jo and Tracy After a Wonderful Flight

 

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 August 20-21, 2011

Saturday I arrived at Cloud 9 and the sky looked good so we set up and I flew two flights both lasted only 18 minutes so there was no lift to be found. Lisa took off first and extended her flight a bit and then Chris Christopersen tried it and a few others also tried but to no avail.

Sunday was a beautiful day with strong winds so no flying.

Friday the 19th was the day to be here and lots of pilots were here including Larry and Linda Wright and from what I hear they had good lift for some two hour flights and up to 4,000 feet. This weekend was a Just Fly Comp weekend so Friday told the story.

No Photos For the 20 - 21 August

The Brian Deimling Report

Cloud 9 August 16, 2011

  As usual I was sitting at my desk Tuesday morning checking the soaring forecast and day dreaming about a personal best. It looked like a good day to turn in a 4-hour vacation slip and head to Cloud 9. A quick call to Tracy confirmed all the soaring forecasts. My boss knows by now heís better off to sign my slip than have me moping around the rest of the day constantly staring out the office window looking for cloud streets. So with my gear already loaded I was off to Cloud 9.

  Making the turn off from Coon Lake road down the long Cloud 9 driveway I could see a number of gliders already set up. Soon after I got out of the truck, Bob Grant and Patrick O'Donnell greeted me. Itís always a good time when our friends from the north come down to fly with us.

  This year I have really tried to stay with the more advance pilots and chase them around to learn from them. I call them my ďSky Sherpas.Ē I have made a lot of out flights this year but very few out and back. Too many times Iíve found myself back at the club before the top pilots thinking about the bad decisions I made that put me on the ground before them. Today was Sky Dogs day to be hounded.

  The majority of Cuís were towards the northeast. I conferred with Bob about going that direction if I had the chance. Bob was all set and anxious to get in the air after seeing a sailplane to the east at cloud base. The winds where light and variable so we were able to take off to the south. Bob was first to launch and Tracy dropped him in a thermal at the south end of the field. I was second off and Tracy dropped me in the same thermal under Bob. Tom, Pat, Patrick, Lisa, and Trevor followed. The thermal died out before I hit 3500 feet. I grabbed a handful of VG and headed for the hay field to the west that had been working so well on the last flight hoping Bob would follow. After zigzagging my way back and forth across the field I found nothing but sink. I figured I only had one chance left now so I headed to another hay field at the north end of the field.

 I hit a decent climb that averaged 250 fpm all the way to 4700 agl. Itís always a good feeling to hit lift when your next option is landing. At this point I have lost Bob and am on my own. I start pushing northeast towards Howell. I was finding lift under every cumulus and had gone beyond a safe glide back to Cloud 9 East, which was my bailout landing field.

  I was 3 miles from Howell now and climbing well. As I look towards Howell I could see 3 sailplanes working my next thermal. The highest one left to join me in my thermal at cloud base. He waved as he banked it almost vertical. As quick as he had appeared he was gone. Could this flight get any better?  I pulled on ĺ VG and headed north to Howell at the same time the other 2 sailplanes headed south. As we passed we exchanged waves. Next thing I knew the higher of the 2 sailplanes banked around, dove down below me, and cranked a past vertical wingover just off to my right. That was the coolest thing I have ever experienced. I had a front row seat in an air show!

  I hung out over the Howell outlet mall until I climbed back to cloud base then headed back. I thought about going straight south to Pinckney for a nice triangle flight but didnít want to risk the chance to make it back to Cloud 9.

  As I approached the test track I was down to 2400 agl in desperate need for one last thermal to make it back. I worked 50 fpm up for 5 minuets while I picked out a good landing field thinking this was it. Then all of the sudden it turned on and took me to cloud base. My 6015 told me that I had an 8:1 back to the club. This allowed be to take the long way back and look for more lift.

 I found it at the east end of Cloud 9 East. From 3700 agl I watched a sailplane scratch around 1800 feet below me. He was never able to gain any altitude and left for an 8 mile return flight to Sand Hill Sailplane Port. It must be nice to have 40:1 glide ratio. I also left and headed west back to Cloud 9.

  I could see other pilotsí low or landing when I spotted Lisa still high south of the field. I joined her for one last climb before landing. Iím very grateful for all the pilots that have coached me on the ground and in the air. - Brian Deimling

 

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 August 16, 2011

Tuesday flying. Patrick and I drove Monday evening to Cloud 9 and set up in the morning and waited for the cumulus to develop. We finally launched at 3 pm with me going first and Brian Deimling next then Patrick and then Tom then Lisa and last Trevor Glidersleeve got into the sky coming out after work.

Tracy towed me into a great thermal at 2,500 feet and I took it up to cloudbase at 5,100 feet at about 400 feet per minute. Brian joined me and soon left for greener pastures and found lots of lift elsewhere. I saw Tom and Patrick doing well and bouncing up and down between 2,000 and 4,000 feet. I played in some good lift to the east of the field for a long time and Lisa caught up to me and a few minutes later Lisa headed west and I tried to follow but did not find lift as soon as I had hoped so I went back east of the field and lost sight of Lisa.

After a couple of hours most of us we getting lower and finally four of us landed and then an hour later Lisa and Brian landed. Lisa and Brian both  did really well staying high when the other four of us found sink to the ground. I think that Brian and Lisa stayed aloft for three hours while I did 2 hours and six minutes.

We all enjoyed a day of smooth lift.

No Photos for Tuesday the 16th

The Chris Bratsis Report

Cloud 9 July 30, 2011

FINALLY! After nearly a month of non stop work, vacations and crappy weather I was able
to actually fly my glider. With another deluge on Thursday, the field at Cloud 9 was still very soggy.
At least the west side of the field was dry as this was our launch angle for the day. We had a huge
crowd here today too! I hope I don't forget any one...there was: The Infamous Icon "Bob SkyDog Grant"(Canada).
Craig Carlson, Scot Maue, Chris Christophersen & Jim Gibson all from the Traverse City area, Trevor "Flash" Gildersleeve,
Tom Niblick from Ft Wayne, Taishi (Flyshi) from Japan, Mark Bolt, Brain Daimling, Eric (?) from France,
Dan Maslanik, Bernie Spring, Pat Winther. I cant forget our gracious hosts Lisa Colletti & Tracy Tillman who had
both Dragonfly Turbo Tugs humming along and soon had all of us slugs into the great blue. I do believe we had
all pilots in the air most of the day. Some highlights were...well I don't know if it's a highlight but for me it was scratch my
way up or land. Well just off of tow I was sinking like a stone and finally found some zero sink to cling to at 1200 ft.
It started to build enough to where I finally climbed out after nearly 40 minutes. Way to much work this early in the flight.
It was one of those days where it was stay high and prosper or get low and struggle. I heard this theme from a few of the others too.
As far as highlights go, Chris Christophersen, Pat Winther & myself were digging out of a hole west of the field with
help of some birds. Turns out the birds were 2 standard Goshawks who were marking the cores and the other bird was an
immature bald eagle. It was SO cool to share the air with my friends AND the eagle...it made my day. But mostly the day was
pick a buddy and speck out then go find someone else to play with and so on. The low light of the day was not being able
to party with Tracy & Lisa who pulled tandem training until dark. A lot of work for those two and a lot of thanks go out to them.
So hopefully tomorrow (Sunday) will be just as good as today and the process can begin again.

We will see you in the air!

Chris

*************************************

Sunday July 31st!

Wow! Can you believe it's the last day of July already?  Here at Cloud 9 a day after a stellar day of flying

yesterday, mother nature dealt us a day of higher winds and fast cloud development. As I was feeling so

content with my 3 hour flight yesterday I figured I'd help you hardcore air junkies get off the ground. First off

was Scot Maue on his Extacsy who was towed to the northwest by Tracy. Scot hunted around but to no avail

had to land just as Lisa was sending off Chris Christophersen on his LightspeedS. Chris was towed more west

and hooked some lift in fast forming & decaying lift. Watching Chris's drift with every turn was an indication at

just how fast the winds aloft were. Then we pushed off Mark Bolt (T2C) who elected to try a haze dome street a bit

to the south west of the field, but to no avail our great spandex commander could not hook up and soon landed.

At this point Lisa & I were content with playing launch director and sent off Brian Deimling in his Lightspeed 5.

Brian struggled early but was able to locate lift and stretch out a decent flight. I did forget to mention we relaunched

Scot Maue who ended up coring up with Brian to redeem himself with an hour second flight. The next victim was

Craig Carlson on his WW U2 who made a spectacular low save yesterday from 600 ft. But today was not to be

for poor Craiger who landed after a short flight today. His 3.5 hour flight yesterday kept him smiling though. Then

last but not least Lisa & I hurled "Skydog" Bob Grant into the blue. Bob had a bit more luck than Craig and had a

better than sled run flight of about 30 minutes I think. It was fun watching Bob, Craig & Chris all approaching

the field from downwind. We were all flipping coins to see if they could make it back to the field. Well, all were

winners...but Christophersen made the wise decision to land short of the field instead of push his luck. Chris was

flying most of the day 3.5 miles down wind of the field. We were amazed he made it back as far as he did.

Nice job Chris! He had the flight of the day at about 1.5 hours in knarly conditions.  Tracy was white knuckling

the tug on every tow with some pretty rowdy landing conditions. Needless to say "beer : 30" came early for

some of us as we packed up our gear in hopes of another great day in the air.

 

See You In The Air! 

Chris

 

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 July 30-31, 2011

Saturday

Saturday, Lots of pilots at Cloud 9 and Mark Bolt, Bernie Spring, Scot Maue, Jim Gibson, Dan Maslanik (Guido) Brian Deimling, Taishi, Craig Carlson, Chris Bratsis, Eric ?, Tom Niblick from Ft Wayne, Trevor Glidersleeve, Chris Christopersen and many more pilots came to enjoy another great thermal day.

The highest lift reported was to 4,800 feet and Lisa and Tracy towed us all up. The longest flight of the day was almost four hours and I think that Chris Christopersen had that one and landed last.

Craig Carlson took off first and had a great flight of 3-1/2 hours and I took off next and had some good lift but eventually I found a bad sink area and landed after 1 hour and 40 minutes and then took a second tow for only 17 minutes.

Sunday

Sunday dawned blue and warm and by 11 am it was evident that more wind than we like was going to be the order of the day. By 2 pm the seven of us were heading to the east side of the field making ready for take-off.

Lisa and Chris Bratsis were launch directors while Tracy towed us aloft. A few clouds were appearing to the southwest so we tried to use them and quickly were pushed by the wind to the east. Chris Christopersen hung in for almost 1-1/2 hours just in front of the sailplane port called Cloud 9 East and finally lost the lift and did not make it back to the Cloud 9 field landing just a few fields short. Scot Maue after a second tow stayed for one hour while the rest of us hung one for 30 to 40 minutes, Sunday was a struggle but still somewhat enjoyable and definitely challenging.

Photos Below

Set-up

Scot Maue

 

Set-up

 

Chris Bratsis

Craig Carlson

 

Set-up

Guido and Taishi

 

Tandem Students

Flash Life Jacket

 

Jim Gibson

Jim Gibson

 

Scot on Exxtacy

Scot

 

Brian Deimling

 

Scot

Scot

 

Jim Gibson

Chris Bratsis

 

Jim Gibson

Jim Gibson

 

Jim Gibson

Chris Bratsis

 

Chris Bratsis

Chris Bratsis

 

Flash Swims

Chris Christopersen

 

Chris Christopersen

Chris Christopersen

July 30,2011 Landing Videos Click Here

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 July15-17, 2011

Friday

I drove to Cloud 9 Michigan Friday and arrived at 1 pm and fixed my harness zipper and Bernie Spring, Mark Bolt and Steve Djokic came by. We all were ready to fly by 4 pm as Tracy and Lisa had 22 roofers working on their hanger and house due to the recent tornado damage.

Bernie got off first followed by Tracy, Mark Bolt and then me and then Steve. It was an easy thermal day and I got up to 6,350 feet for 2-2/3 hours while Tracy did a 3 hour and 20 minute flight. Everyone had great flights and there were no clouds but lots of lift. It was about 7:30 when Tracy finally landed.

Saturday

Saturday, Lots of pilots at Cloud 9 and Mark Bolt and Brian Deimling took off first with me off next and we all got into good thermals and I got up to 5,150 feet for two hours being the last to land and then a second group went up and We all had fun again but this time I only got up to 3,600 feet for one hour. Mark Dugan and Brian Deimling landed at the Sandhills sailplane port nine miles away to the south east. Tracy had a great flight on the second round along with Taishi, Trevor, Shawn, Pat, Mark and Mark and all landed around six pm, and then the tandems started. Brian from Indiana took a tandem check out and then a solo flight.

What a great day.

Sunday

Sunday looks good again and the lift is forecast to be 600 fpm so we get ready and Mark Bolt is off first with me second and Brian next. Taishi and Mark Dugan come along a little later. We all get up and while I was at 4,000 feet above the field I saw Mark Dugan way down and I used what he was turning in and got up to 5, 440 feet and soon Mark joined me and as I went forward to get out of the cloud I lost 300 feet and when I turned back Mark had headed south and I was searching for lift and finally lost all lift and landed after one hour and forty one minutes. I will go for another. We later found out that Mark Bolt landed at the sailplane port (Sandhills) and we all go for it again. We have not seen Tracy and Mark Dugan for an hour or so and we expect that they have gone XC.

Second flight got up to 5,115 for 1 hour and 3 minutes. Everyone was struggling. Tracy was working with me and Taishi.

This weekend was also a Just Fly Competition weekend and the results are at -

http://dfscinc.org/blog/127-july-just-fly-comp-standings

It was a wonderful weekend at Cloud 9.

Photos Below

Set-Up Area

 

Set-Up Area

Set-Up Area - Mark Bolt

 

Skydog on Approach

 

Trevor's New Wills Wing U-2

 

Pat Winther

Trevor Sets up

 

Lisa Tow Pilot

Pat, Taishi and Mark Bolt Ready to fly

 

Trevor Glidersleeve

Flash

 

Bernie Spring

 

Bernie Spring

Steve

 

Bernie Spring

 

Steve

Skydog

 

Bernie Spring

 

Mark Bolt

Trevor and Skydog Gliders

 

Bernie Spring

 

#1

 

Mark Bolt

Trevor

 

Pat

 

Bernie

Bernie

 

Pat

 

Tracy

Flash

 

Tracy

 

Skydog

Roof Repairs

 

Taishi

 

Mark Bolt

 

Brian - Indiana

Lisa Towes

 

Shawn Hughes

 

Mark Bolt

 

#4

Taishi

 

#5

 

Mark Bolt

 

Shawn Hughes

Flash

 

Taishi

 

#6

 

#7

 

Pat

Flash

 

Flash - Tail Splash

 

Skydog Lower

 

Skydog Lower

 

Skydog

Skydog Heading to the Spot

 

Brian Deimling

Got It!

 

Flash

 

Glider XC Retrieval

 

Tandem

Tracy and Tandem Student

 

Tandem

 

Brian and Tracy

? and Brian Deimling

 

Lisa

 

Tandem

 

Tandem

 

Photographer

Tandem

 

Tandem

 

Tandem

Brian

 

Tandem on Approach

 

Tandem

 

Tandem

 

Tandem Couple

Tracy and Brian

 

#9

 

The Skydog Report

Cloud 9 June 25 - 31, 2011

Patrick O'Donnell and I drove to Cloud 9 Michigan Friday evening and Saturday was a sunny day with beautiful cumulous clouds but to windy so we enjoyed the day with friends. Sunday dawned sunny and by noon the sky was looking great landmark Bolt was first off with me right on his heels. We got into some great thermals and after an hour and ten minutes I found too much sink and landed. Thirty minutes later I was in the air again and with my first thermal I got to cloud base and by this time there were many other pilots in the air and many were getting high. The whole afternoon was very good giving most pilots flights to cloud base. Mark Dugan did a great flight to the sailplane port and then north to Howell and then back to Cloud 9 field. Mark Bolt flew to Lansing and looked down on Brian Deimling's home on the lake but saw no one home so flew back to Cloud 9 landing after a four hour flight. Chris Christopersen had a long flight of sixty miles landing close to Grand Rapids for the flight of the day. My second flight was up to 5,400 feet and I lasted for two hours and fifty minutes and I hit the spot landing on both flights. A wonderful day at Cloud 9.

Monday

Monday was to windy again so we decided to try Greenpoint on Tuesday and Eugene drove Patrick and I North to Greenpoint. We stayed at Chris's place Monday evening and woke up at 5:30 an to a west wind at 20 mph. By the time we got to Greenpoint at 7 am the wind had picked up to 30 mph. We set up and got Chris off at 8:30 and Chris soared nicely and then Jay Darling took off the ramp and I was off next in 28 mph wind and Willie Lee and Eugene took off after me. The take-offs were all smooth but soon after we were in the air the wind direction switched 30 degrees from the north and it was very slow heading to the landing area 2 miles to the north and we all made it. The highest I got was 760 feet above take off and I flew for forty five minutes. Eugene flew for over an hour. We had a good try at soaring but with the cross wind we did not enjoy the flying as much as we had hoped to.

Wednesday

Tuesday at Cloud 9 was windy again but the wind dropped down enough so that we could fly by 6 pm and Patrick, Eugene and I flew and I got another spot landing making three in a row. Eugene towed to 4,000 feet and had a nice buoyant flight. On my second flight I caught a thermal for ten minutes giving me 20 and 25 minute flights.

Thursday

Thursday's forecast looked good but did not give us the best flights of the week. About eight pilots flew and I got the longest flight with 1:07 and #,690 feet above. Patrick took the height prize with 4,350 feet and forty five minutes. Mark Dugan was up close to Patrick in the same thermal and Eugene was there to for close to an hour. It was a mostly cloudy afternoon with 20 percent sun. A very challenging day.

 

Photos

Bob, Eugene, Guido and Patrick

 

Guido - Dan Maslanik

Brian Deimling

 

Eugene

 

Mark Dugan and Guido

Chris Bratsis

 

 

Guido, Patrick and Chris

 

Scot Maue

Mark Dugan

 
 

Cook Out

 

Flash Swims

Tracy and Jim Gibson

 

Tandem with Tracy - Lisa Tows

 

Tandem

Tandem

 

Tandem Landing

 

Patrick Throws the Rocks for Flash

Jason Otto - Tucson, AZ

 

Lisa Retrieves

 

Flash on Four Wheeler

Eugene With Our Gliders at Greenpoint

 
 

John Armstrong and Honey

 

Bernie Spring

Flash

 

Eugene

 

Patrick Throws Rocks for Flash

New Lawnmower

 

Eugene Flairs

 

Eugene on Approach

B

 

Tracy with Elly and Izzy

 

Cloud 9 Tow Planes

 

Chris Bratsis and Charlie

Patrick and Eugene

 

Set-Up

 

Set-Up

Jim Gibson

 

Eugene

Flash Begging For Food

 

Flash Goes for a Swim in the Pond

 

Spot Landing Video - Click Here

 

**************************************************************

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