TOPIC: A set of 1km and 2km G&R stories from 2010
A set of 1km and 2km G&R stories from 2010 5 years 2 weeks ago #75
Norm Poti and I completed our 1km and 2km goal and return flights on Aug 29, 2010 with the amazing help by the Rice brothers, Dave and Ken. Dave Rice has in my estimation the ideal cross country chase vehicle, a Ford Ranger pickup. We had up to 3 guys in the bed and he's got the sliding window so we could talk back and forth with the driver which is a good enough setup for these short goal and returns. It might even be legal in Ohio....but let's not go there.
Anyway first order of business was setting up the winch, getting our shade in order, and then getting some launches in to scout lift. Today was about 90 degrees in these parts and the day started out without a cloud in the sky. A bit discouraging because it made seem hard to find the thermals and and certainly made it a little harder to track which part of the sky your bird was in. But we persevered and after a few launches things seemed to be clicking a bit at finding good lift, but thermals were topping out at a discouraging low altitude for G&R hopefuls. Just as Norm and I were lamenting this fact we both caught a real boomer. Norm flying his beautiful Ray Hayes Oly II-S and me flying what is becoming again, old trusty, a V-Tail Eraser.
Dave Rice and I had earlier taken the truck cap off his pickup and so the machine was fired up and...here's where I made my first mistake of the day...I elected to stay behind flying my machine while Norm, Dave and Ken all raced off to do Norm's 1k. In hindsight, I heard they had a bit of trouble locating the plane at altitude and so Norm resorted to putting up elevator trim in which got the plane bobbing around and more visible. By the time Ken (who was driving the truck) saw the Oly it was too low to get the full measure of the 1k and in fact too low to find lift and so they had to land off the field, which Norm did safely, pro that he is.
Meanwhile I had caught a boomer and then lost much of the altitude but was in the process of catching another ride up when Ken and Dave returned. I hopped into the back and away we went. At first everything seemed pretty under control. But between me lounging against the tailgate looking forward and the truck and sailplane speeding up a bunch, at some point was under the impression it was in a semi-dive and not too many seconds from doom. Looking back, it may have been the inclines of the hills on the road which gave this impression, it may have been an accidental hitting of the speed mode on the transmitter, or as Dave thinks the plane may have exceeded the radio's range. Whatever actually was happenning, I jumped up to put my elbows on top of the cab of the truck to see better and get the transmitter clearly unobstructed from the cab and as soon as I did this the plan leveled out and we were almost at the 2k mark which as it turned out was a Masonic Temple.
Now keep in mind, the goal was also just past some big 100 ft high voltage power lines, and there were small power lines running down both sides of the road. So we're stopped which is great, we're at the goal which is great but I've only got about 200 ft of altitude and absolutely no interest in threading all these power lines to come down to bailout. Not only that, the wind had died, indicating a big thermal upwind...over the Masonic Temple. Now I'm not superstitious, but if larger forces need to be brought into play to get a G&R, then so be it. Fortunately the lift signs turned out to be true and the Eraser started gaining altitude and we were back in business. Although it took perhaps 5 minutes of working the lift, finally we could leave the nest of power lines for the safety of the field.
The return was really uneventful and we made it back to the field with a few hundred feet to spare.
Norm similarly had a good retry flight and we decided to go without it being specked out. We did have more cooks in the kitchen this time, but it seemed like it worked out. He progressed well to the goal but we lost some altitude or the ground came up (actually this is the case) so by the time we were at his 1k goal, he was in need of lift. Fortunately the same sign of dead calm gave us the indication that lift was just upwind and he pushed a bit over the road to get to it and was rewarded with a nice climb out. On the way back there was a bit of a debate on how fast to run the plane and the truck but election season is coming up so perhaps we're just preparing ourselves. We elected to ride the truck all the way back to the winch and so Norm had only to make a landing which he did easily, thus totally completing his LSF Level 3 requirements.
As we sat around recovering from all our excitement of the flights I thought what the heck, I'll try for another hour task for Level 4. Although the omens were good in the beginning, scratching around low and yet still specking out, I sought out the shade of the trees because I being burnt to crisp. I've noticed I don't fly as well shielded by the tree and away from the lift indicators of the breezes and this time was no different. I thought I was making a good move at about 30 minutes into the flight by moving way upwind to find the next bubble, but unfortunately it was all down air. Worse than that, I became lackadaisical in my flight and let the plane come way too low way too far out. It was upwind, but over the corn field. When it got sucked down in some horrible sink it disappeared behind a tree as it was flying back towards me. Rather than give a bit of left or right I was just sure it was going to reappear....but that took way too many seconds. It was way too close to the tree line so I didn't have time the shoot the gap on either side of this tree but instead continued flying behind those trees almost parallel to them but on the other side over the 8 foot high corn. At this point I pulled full flaps because the plane was out of sight and below tree top level and surely "going in". We caught a couple other glimpses of it just over the top of the corn and almost at the corner of our flying field before it clearly "went in".
The walk across the field was a long one with me dreading the carnage. Fortunately this plane has 6 very noisy Voltz metal geared servos in it. This clatter saved the day because as soon as we got to the edge of the corn we stopped and became still and I moved the sticks. Clear enough we could hear the noise and so it was only a minute of tracking it down perhaps 50 feet into it. All's well that ends well we called it a day after that.
Here is how the plane ended up...
And here is a thumbs up from Norm on finding my undamaged plane.
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