Scott Wise Report
October 1, to 4, 2010
What a weekend for flying! Bob
Grant came down from London, Canada
getting here early Friday, but the wind was blowing strong right on
to sunset. So, no flying Friday. Dang it!
Saturday came along and Indian Cliffs seemed like the place to be -
like good little hang glider pilots that's where we headed. Bob got
there sooner than I did and gave me a call to tell me how it was.
I eventually did get there Bob was about to launch as I got my
off my car. There were already a few guys in the air and soaring.
Well, somehow Bob hit a bad cycle and was on the ground way too
But still, some guys were soaring. So, I continued to set up.
When I finished, I got in line behind Ed Jowett and watched about 6
(seemingly nice?) straight in cycles blow through. Ed didn't like
though. Finally one came through that Ed liked and off he went. A
nice launch. Unfortunately, with every pass, Ed fell lower and lower
the ridge. Since the wind appeared a bit out of the north it didn't
seem all that unusual.
That left me as the last pilot to launch. Maureen Grant let me know
that Eric, their friend, could drive my car down. Thanks Eric! So,
least my car would be waiting after my sled ride.
Now, could you guess that after Ed's launch the wind would promptly
from 8 -10 mph down to 3 - 5 mph? Well, it did. I was slapping
for arriving late. But still, there were pilots soaring above (note
optimism). In fact, Josh (PG pilot) and Bill V. were at least a
thousand over up in a thermal over the valley straight out from
Could I get in the bottom of it if I simply launched and flew
for it? I wasn't confident I could, so I waited for a slightly
strong(er) straight up cycle that might prove to be workable ridge
While waiting, I noticed that Josh and Bill, still circling, had now
drifted to just above launch. I began thinking. . . About then, a
nice little wind began to kick in and blow up launch. I lifted the
glider for the 7th or 8th time and decided to go for it. Off I went.
The time was 5:10 pm.
To my chagrin, as I left launch and left turned to follow the ridge
climbed nicely and gently to right over the trees. I had, it seems,
launched right into Josh and Bill's thermal. As I followed the ridge
had no difficulty staying above and then found some nice lift at the
north west end of the hill. There was a good thermal there that
to come and go a bit but which was more there than not. The lift was
and down, but never radically so. There were definite thermals but
seemed to be mixed with fairly buoyant air. I noticed several hawks
perhaps some juvenile bald eagles soaring around the whole time I
About mid flight I got my highest, at 3120 MSL (2190 AGL and abt
over launch). That's not bad considering I figured on a sled ride. I
got nearly as high 20 minutes into the flight and stayed around 2700
the rest of the time.
Around 6:15 pm, the sun was beginning to get low and the lift was
backing off so I headed out to land. At 6:22 pm I touched down. Josh
came down a few minutes later with perhaps the longest flight of the
day. My total was 1 hour and 12 min.s. Not all that long, but better
than the fate that befell Bob and Ed. Some days the lift is fickle.
That was Saturday.
And then, there was Yesterday! ( . . . to be continued)
Part 2 -
Sunday seemed like it could get a tad windy, but the direction was
likely to be closer to NE than it was on Saturday. With that in
Indian Cliffs seemed like the place to be once again. Just to be
I took a look at the flag up on Mossy Bank, before leaving Bath. It
enough from the east to convince me that I-Cliffs was the better
didn't know, at that time, that Florian had given Mossy a try and
sledder. Good reason number 2.
So, off to Indian Cliffs I went. As usual for me I was a bit late. I
left Bath a little before 3 pm. I stopped in the LZ when I got to
I-Cliffs and added a couple wind streamers out in the field. Looking
up, I could see 3 gliders in the air. Hmmmmm. Only 3? Maybe it was
the windy side.
I got up top and what do you know, it WAS windy! There were about 4
5 PG bundles sitting around with not that many pilots in evidence.
There was one hang glider also sitting in it's bag. As I recall, Ed
Jowett was over on launch getting ready to go. I wandered over to
just how good or bad it was and maybe lend Ed a hand.
Well, it was windy for sure. But it didn't seem TOO windy. Soon
Ed launched. His form was fine and he climbed out nicely. It didn't
look like it would be a problem to soar. I went ahead and grabbed my
glider and began to quickly set up. I was almost ready to fly at 4
By 4:10 I was on launch and at 4:16 pm I launched. I did wait for a
slow down in the brisk cycles coming through. It was a nice launch
the climb out, as I cleared the slot, was fine. In fact, I kept
climbing. I went from launch level of (abt) 1660 feet right on up to
2,232 ft (msl). Initially I was surprised at how smooth the air was.
Seemed pretty nice. But after 5 minutes had passed, I knew there was
some texture to the air. For three quarters of the flight I cruised
around between 2250 and 2500 feet MSL (590 - 840 ft over). My
gain was nothing serious at 2647 ft MSL. But that was fine with me.
There were a number of pretty strong thermals coming through, but
the strong ones were the only ones likely to punch through the brisk
winds. Mainly, I worked to do S turns in the stronger areas of lift
since falling out of a little bullet thermal didn't appeal to me
But that wasn't everyone's style. One a couple occasions I noticed
Ed and Bob followed thermals back (and not all that high) and then
pulling in to get back in front of the ridge. At one point, I
Bob was trying to maneuver for a top landing - in an area where
was no place to land. (!!!!???) I guess he changed his mind because
soon enough he rejoined us out front.
Now, before leaving home I checked one forecast and noted that the
might actually pick up as sunset got closer - not the other way
which is more typical. For that reason, I decided I didn't want to
as long as I might on another day. Looking down at the trees on the
ridge it did look kind of breezy. Heck, at times the trees were
whipping around a wee bit. So, I decided that one hour in the air
be fine with me. Bill Vickery himself went out to land about this
and I watched how he approached things. Since the LZ is in the lee
of Harris Hill and the winds were coming over (or around) Harris
some speed, I kept my eyes pealed for texture as Bill made his way
down. I never saw any big bumps but Bill did do an approach I wasn't
familiar with - maybe just because I was watching so closely this
Anyway, from my perspective for a minute or two I though Bill was
to land in an odd place. But finally, he touched down just fine.
Next up to land ended up being Ed Jowett. He headed out just before
was going to and so I stayed up on the ridge and watched how he did.
did well but landed a little short and walked his glider across the
so I waited a little more for him to clear the field.
As I headed out I anticipated some bumps and the possibility for
significant turbulence. My course began by heading to the north - to
just in front of Harris Hill. That seemed like a good idea because
air was likely to be a bit smoother out in that area. I loosened my
cord, pulled in to roughly 35 - 40 mph and headed out. It wasn't all
that bad actually. But still I was ready for the rough stuff. I got
over the area of the LZ with more altitude than I wanted so I had to
burn that off. That meant some maneuvering while still keeping up my
speed. All the time I was waiting to get banged around by Harris
potentially gnarly lee side air. While it wasn't as if it wasn't
there wasn't anything really scary. Well, . . . there was that
on final when my side wires twanged as I flew through some kind of
up/down texture. That's a rare event - thankfully. But then, I was
still flying at mach speeds just to be safe.
Like usual, I lost some good height on final as usually happens and
in closer than usual to the vehicles in the breakdown area. I ended
with a nice flair and no nose drop which seems to be typical for me
my glider?). Touch down was at 5:29 pm for a grand total of 1 hour
minutes. A wimpy flight compared to Bob Grant's of 4 hours and 20
minutes, but I was happy with it. And thanks to our PG pals,
car got driven down. Thanks Katrin for driving mine.
In two days time I'd racked up 2 hours and 25 minutes. That's better
than nothing. Both flights were fun in their own way and worth the
effort. In the mean time we're dealing with rain and unflyable
conditions. It's good to fly when you can.
Till the next day on the hill.