Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Good day at Woodrat

Just got back from a trip to the Mainland. Main purpose was for visiting friends and family and scattering ashes, but managed to get in one flight at Woodrat Mtn. Aparently, it's been a record wet spring in the Medford area, and I think I got the first good day in months. After registering at the country store, my 1st instructor and good friend John Ivey gave me a site intro and drove me up to the lower launch. It was blowing up fine, so I went ahead and launched there. Thermals were fairly big and strong (by Big Island standards) and easy enough to find once in their general vicinity, so I quickly benched up, from out front, to over launch. I was drifting behind the ridge, and wasn't sure I had enough altitude above it to be safe, so went back to the windward side. That only got me lower, but it wasn't long before I got back into the same flow and after getting back to about the same spot, this time I took it on up over the top of the mountain. I should have gone on to base, but spotted a cloud forming over the valley and went out to explore it. That didn't work, so I went back to plan A and got pretty high again; but it was getting late, so I tried one last exploration to the ridge to the North where I figured the plowed field below would be a good source, and the finger extending towards it, a good trigger. Since I was getting deeper into the side valley, I set a minimum altitude for my exploration, and luckily so. As soon as I bailed for the LZ, I hit maximum sink, and had to mash bar to make it into my pattern with good height for an aircraft aproach. I set it down nicely, by the pond, and didn't hit a single cow pie. Just as I landed, some other pilots showed up. Sorry I didn't have time for another flight, as I think it would have been easy to go somewhere, with company, and I believe it may even have been Alex and some of the other Oahu guys, as it looked like his Niviuk.