Monday, February 23, 2009

Petersburg Wave Camp - Sunday

We all woke early and walked a few blocks to a small restaurant for breakfast. The sun hadn't risen yet but there was enough light for us to examine the cloud cover for signs of wave. We couldn't be sure, but there seemed to be a repeating pattern parallel to the ridge in the overcast. By the time we walked out it was certain, WAVE!

Preparing the Lambada for first flight of the day.

Phil and Jeff were first up. They had a fantastic flight encountering wave low and riding it up to 15,500.

Back inside Craig reviewed the forecasted winds and moisture aloft and gave us a very accurate prediction of what I would later encounter in my flight with Jeff.

Larry Stahl, Grant County Airport operator is a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of aviation and wave soaring.

Others flew on Sunday also. Below the 1-26 is readied for flight. I missed photographing the Blanik L-23 on take off while helping rig the Discus, then again on landing while Jeff and I were up.

Warren attaching the tow rope to the Hawk XP tow plane.

Taking up slack on 1-26

After resting and warming up Jeff and I took to the air. Flying under and ahead of the rotor we had hoped to again catch the wave down low. Finding sink which at one point was close to 2,000 fpm we powered up and climbed closer to the leading edge of the secondary rotor cloud.

Just ahead of the rotor cloud we encountered choppy but strong lift that carried us up into the wave and a smooth climb to 13,500.

From the secondary wave we traded some altitude and advanced forward to the primary in hope of additional height but only climbed back to about 12,500'. As explained by Craig earlier the forecasts called for decreasing winds at this height which cut off wave development above.

Identifying landmarks below

Descending past clouds

Returning to W99 we played around with the ridge lift along Charlie's Knob before turning in towards the airport and this beautiful sight of clouds, snow and sunshine. We were up about 2.5 hours and used the engine only for take off and the initial climb into lift ahead of the rotor. The rest of the time it was left idling at zero thrust.

I would like to thank all the fine people I met at the W99 Wave Camp. You made me feel welcome. It was enjoyable listening to all the stories. I was impressed with the knowledge and helpful advice shared between all the sailplane pilots and our tow pilot who offered suggestions for the best way to get into the wave.

Next time I plan to bring both my Libelle and many questions. Wave soaring is a totally new experience for me.

Most of all, thank you to my good friend Jeff for inviting me down and making an unforgettable weekend possible.

1 comment:

Kathleen Jacques said...

This blog just keeps getting better and better! The wave photos and stories are mesmerizing. Even without the photos, your descriptions of flying take me along for the ride - but your photos are the best aviation photos I've seen! Keep up the great work!