Monday, August 22, 2011

1st Flight at Whittington

Well, here's the story I promised last month. After a lot of good ground work and scouting by Ted, (not to mention the sales pitch to Sam and me) Sam and I took a look at the launch above Whittington Beach park and it looked doable with survivable consequences for failure .It was about 5 pm, with a cloud layer from the hills in back, out over the water, and a fairly steady breeze blowing in at 8-10 mph on launch. No white-caps on the water. I took the first shot at it, and after some difficulty getting the Delta up cleanly, I got off on the very shallow slope. There was some turbulence early, but enough small pockets of lift to give me a little cushion above terra firma. Then I ran into the compression zone and seeing 0's to neg. numbers, got on the bar and pushed it back up to 8 or 9 mph. I was only using about 1/2 bar so had plenty left if it had gotten worse. That was enough to get me over the edge of the hill and into mellower air. Now I had the LZ in easy reach with over 800 ft. of altitude. And what an LZ it is. Huge, flat, open, with mostly short grass. Wish we could move it over to K-bay! After landing, Sam took off and had a rather uneventful flight as well (ignoring my advice on the radio, not to launch). Ted handled the retrieve and we all celebrated another Big Island site pioneered. I believe that there is certainly some caution needed in deciding when to fly this site, but there may also be some big rewards in the area of XC's and great views for someone getting the timing right.
Ramjet Out