2015-12-10 Surprisingly Good Soaring
Little Black Soaring
El Cajon Carjacking?
Under the Bridge
Tim's first real soaring flight! It was complete with top landings,
thermals and a very small frontal collapse. The Spice is done, though,
for this purpose.
Tim had never been to Torrey Pines so we checked it out. He even got
to watch a "Flush Cycle" where a surge of wind builds, pilots launch and
stay up, more pilots launch until the ridge is colorful with wings, then
the lift dies. A couple made it back in but most went to the beach.
Bummer. We had to deal with the motorhome and left with the possibility
of going to Blossom which was probably more likely to be soarable.
On the way we found out there was no use in going to the motorhome
place since we'd lose another day.
We met Phil Russman at Blossom and it turned out to be an awesome
Blossom! Pictures below.
Another pilot enjoying what turned out to be an amazingly good day of
soaring right through sunset.
Tim walks towards launch.
Below Tim is soaring with two of five other pilots who were airborne.
He's on the MacPara Spice which is not the wing for this kind of
soaring by a new thermal pilot. He took a tiny frontal collapse that
probably scared me more than him but it highlighted that, while it's
great for motoring mellow air, it reacts very quickly to vertical
gusts. After his flight I took it up and realized how much I take
reactions for granted. Sharp jolts require sharp, immediate
responses. Otherwise it will repond poorly. There's a number of reasons
why beginner wings are good for turbulence flying but this is one I had
not realized. And these were quite mellow conditions as soaring air
goes. Tim handled it great but the risk meter was higher than I thought.
Phil was on the radio instructing him about soaring and did a great
job. At one point Tim's radio quit so Phil jumped on his Eden 3 and went
up to fly with him, offering advice from the air. That was fun, no
doubt. Tim is accomplished at motoring but soaring a mountain site that
all but requires top landing is not even the same species of animal. The
PPG Bible scratches the surface of motor transition training to free
flight but the main takeaway should be: get good instruction from a
competent paraglider instructor before thinking this is a good idea to
do on your own.
I flew a bunch of times mostly after Tim was done since I didn't
think I could stay up on my 18 meter Viper. It's reasonably efficient
but here it's all about sink rate and size definitely matters. It was
fun standing on one of the rocks, and just leaping forward into the
increasingly broad lift band. There were a few shots of surprisingly
strong turbulence but, overall, it was mostly smooth with gentle mild
thermals bubbling through a soup of ridge lift.
Phil and I traded taking pictures of each other. One thing about the
Spice, she's efficient!
Phil Rocks. We took turns playing king of the boulder.
We visited Jeff at his office and he had this in a frame along with
other covers he has graced. I just had to get a picture!
When leaving, Tim commented on a Tesla in the parking lot. Turns out
it was Jeff's brother and co-owner of the business. Jeff talked his
brother into giving us a quick ride. Wow. What an impressive car.
Communications is really helpful for doing good photography of other
paramotorists and mine wasn't working, a fact that Jeff gave me immense
grief about. So I set out to fix it. First, though, was to know what the
radio expects. This is the plug wiring diagram for a Yeasu FT-250
handheld ham radio. Get that google? You know I'll need to drum this
picture up at a later date!