Soaring The Dirt Pile
12, 2007 Naperville, IL
I usually have a mission for going out. Mostly it's to test descriptions,
theories, gear or to get pictures. But the only reason I devote so much
energy is that it's also fun. Sometimes lots of fun. Tim Kaiser is
an enormous help in these projects: flying, posing, taking pictures,
coming up with ideas (ala
Suzy) and more. It helps that he's a good pilot
and handy with the camera.
This time it was trying to get
some pictures of a certain launch technique to support an eventual
article. After all, if a picture is a worth a thousand words than that's a
thousand words I don't have to write. And yes, the picture is more
interesting than the words.
Before heading out we checked
800 WX-Brief and the local wind meters. The goal was light or calm winds.
Everything suggested a strong blow. Everything except for one: the
anemometer at our flying site. It said 3 to 5 mph. "Lets go check it
out anyway." we agreed.
different getting a collapse while kiting, especially if you can't easily
move under the wing. It was gusty and a little piece of downward airflow
pushed down the left leading edge. Momentum carried it further. I stepped
to the left as much as I could, letting the wing fall back some to get
airflow underneath. It worked well and I continued the climb.
When we got there and opened
the door it was obvious there a problem. A howling problem. Looking over
at the building we found their anemometer is mounted at the roof's bottom.
That's why it's only 3-5 mph here!
There were still some pictures
we could get although not exactly what I had in mind. But Iove soaring in
a breeze and here was
the dirt pile. Winds were strong but not in the perfect direction. Even
then it was
darn near soarable.
Kiting up it was the first challenge. Melting snow and
rain left the ground a muddy mess. Not that mud kept me away but I had
dirt-made high-heels but the time I finished.
Tim was busy
taking pictures and trying to capture carnage. A couple times when gusts
carried me up and back we both thought it was over. The back side is
soft so I wasn't worried but sure didn't want to have to walk
back. Thankfully I was able to keep it overhead and even get a few
brief soaring flights and one last sledder down.
1 & 2) Kite up the hill.
3. Almost let the wing fall behind the hill.
4. Recover it and go soaring!
Behind this dirt pile, sloping ground makes getting
blown over the back a non-event.