SCF 5.0 Day 1
A 70 mile triangle is called. Winds are supposed to be light, and we’re supposed to get to 9000ft. maybe higher near the mountains. (ground is 1300ft. here)
The view on our balcony.
Launch opens at noon and it’s HOT as I carry my glider to the flight line. Soaked after the 5 minute hike. There are 5 start times starting at 1:15pm. A tug is down and they’re concerned about getting everyone off the ground quickly.
I’m third in the air and after I pin off, I take a big sigh. AHHH… It feels like home up here. It’s my first flight on the psychedelic sky queen and I need to take her for a circular stroll before we get to it. She’s delicious to hold.
I’m by myself and I spend 35 minutes sightseeing as I climb almost a mile and a half above the ground. I’ve got plenty of time before the start, and it’s nice and cool so I float around.
I begin to stage for the second or third start, and the audio on my vario quits. I fiddle with it, then turn it off and on, and nothing. Just the wind. My head space turns instantly bad. How am I supposed to discern any nuance or variation of lift? I never look at my instant reading and I’ve got 20 seconds on the averager. I decide I’m going to have to look at the vario and other pilots A LOT to gauge my performance.
I take the third start and fly with a total lack of confidence. I follow people around, not wanting to get out on my own and land because I can’t discern the light lift we’re in. Conditions are soft anyway, so being social isn’t a detriment.
As we near the first turnpoint, I’m getting the hang of watching my instrument and trying to feel the sky. A good gaggle is forming and we’re moving along. Everyone is a bit wary as it’s been light the entire first leg.
The resort from a mile up… Can you spot the launch paddock?
On the 20km to the second turnpoint, when many turn for a climb in the valley, I press on toward the mountains. Suddenly I’m alone and I’m not finding anything. I think I’ve just made the mistake of the day. I eventually catch up with Davis who’s been out front all day with Glen as we get low by the second turn.
I drift into the hills, 100ft. off the mountainside peppered with Saguaro cactus. It’s bleak. Dustin comes in above me. I work breaths and bubbles of hot air as they pop off the rocks. Nothing coherent for a while, then the wicking comes together and gets better as we ascend. It takes us a long time, but Davis and I get to 8400ft. over the peaks with Mitch Shipley. Dustin just missed the bubble we found and is still plastered to the hillside.
Closeup of launch paddock.
It’s slow going and we see a lot of others groveling after the second turn. We stop for 100fpm a couple of times. Winds aloft are very light, but our numbers are getting better with patience. I’m getting used to watching the vario, but I still feel I’m not flying as sensitively as I could.
Davis and MItch are a great help as we spread out to find the best lift. I shade toward the black mountains 10 miles from goal and we find 300fpm to get us within 12 to 1 to goal.
The grid to the organic… Looking SW from the resort… Not far from Mexico.
Numbers get better and it’s a nice glide in. Davis arrives less than a minute behind.
James Stinnett got a ripper by the second turnpoint that put him out in front to goal. I was second followed by Davis, Shipley, Dustin, and Robin Hamilton. Seven total would make it in.
Great day in the sky.
Airtime: 4:45. Flights: 1. Miles: 70.