Santa Cruz Flats 5.0 Day 4

posted in: Jeff O'Brien | 0

SCF 5.0 Day 4

I already read Davis’s account HERE ( but my perception of the day was a bit different.

Sure, we could have and probably should have gone to the north and west and things would have been better task wise, but I think we would have been returning to the hotel regardless of the task, and I think the gust front would have influenced negatively regardless.

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Most of the gust front…

Jockeying before the start was a bit congested. There was decent lift before time ticked over and many of us got a reasonable start together. It felt more racy and social. A couple dozen pilots together rather than a few.

We hit a solid climb before the black hills and then a boomer over them rocketing up over 10,000ft. Finally strong, racy conditions if even only for two or three thermals.

There was a lot of talk on the radio about if conditions were safe. I never felt they were unsafe. We had a close eye on all gust fronts, dust walls, etc., and we could always run to the NE if things encroached faster. It was mostly slow moving, it seemed predictable and benign. We could see dust from tractors working fields toward the storm and the dust wasn’t showing much wind.

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Fair skies to the NE.

I was running well in contact with half a dozen pilots. Barker, Dustin, and I had a calm glide flanking each other. There was time for subtle body language indicating we were having some fun.

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I was running for the big mountains left of course still kind of in the sun. I was sure they would be working. Belinda got on the radio and mentioned the task had been stopped. I was bummed. We were never in danger. I signaled to Barker the task was called and everyone turned around. We thought about trying to fly back to the resort, but the gust front was closer from where we came.

A few of us decided to land on the grass at the Eloy Airport. It’s a HUGE drop zone. We were half way broken down when the mild gust front hit. There were two more “waves” of gust front to come, the last one violent. In the end, it was probably good the day was called, but it didn’t have to be called so early. We had time. It would have been cool to get some score today. Can’t be a HG meet without a wee bit of controversy. 🙂

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Robin Hamilton / Ominous Backdrop.

Had a nice lunch at the airport bar and hung out @ the resort, flew the r/c plane off the roof and took in a nice sunset. Good day. Laughs this evening. Hope tomorrow brings improved conditions. I’d like to rage a day or two.

Airtime: 2:45. Flights: 1. Miles: 25.