Soaring The Dirt Pile

Mar 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.

Kiting Collapse

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It's 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.

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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.



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After playing enough, I launched from the hill and landed next to Tim. A fun time that was well worth the workout.




2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!