Photos on G+: Indian Valley – May 2013
Jesse, Walter and I set out for Indian Valley after work Friday. Walter’s GMC sierra was a super cozy ride. We started around 9pm, dined at a thai place in near UC Davis and reached Dave Clement’s place around 2:30am. The moonlit valley and the silence all around was an instant escape from the busy life just a few hours ago.
A relaxed weekend started in the morning. More pilots showed up one by one. The valley view was incredible, and it was pretty warm so everyone was happy about the conditions that were building up. We three headed to see the LZs and Walter showed us tweetens and a few others including the woodpile LZ. Breakfast at Anna’s cafe was mouth watering. The small town restaurants never fail to deliver quality food, and they are 10x better than fast food chains.
Back to Dave’s and everyone loaded up flying gears and headed to the Burn launch, a 40 minute drive. Wind was pretty strong around 2pm, mostly staying in the 15-20mph range and everyone started setting up. I heeded Pat’s advice and didn’t touch my falcon as it may not penetrate the winds over 15 to make it to tweetens. Turned out I was the only HG pilot that didn’t fly Saturday. Another bi-wingual pilot brought his PG that day so he didn’t fly in that condition either.
When everyone (a dozen pilots, no single surface glider) went up like helicopters at launch I was a bit upset but knew I made the right judgement call. Gotta sacrifice to stay in the sport for a long time. On the way to woodpile LZ with the PG pilot (sorry I forgot your name buddy) we saw a huge brown bear walking down the road, barely 100 ft away. I rushed for the camera but as the car stopped it looked back and was gone in a second.
Sunday started with clouds in the morning and it looked like they are getting bigger to form thunderstorms. It was also cooler the day before so the general sentiment was no-fly day. Except Rob said it could get better in the evening for a great glass off. And boy was he right.
The launch had 12 mph perfect wind around 5pm and I flew around 5:30. Had my best flight just boating around right front and gained max 1000′ over launch. Tried flying over the spine to the east a few times but came back not finding lift. There was an oh-shit moment when I felt I was not moving forward fast enough while sinking at 200fpm. Kind of like those nightmares where you just can’t run fast. Finally after an hour I felt tired and sun was casting shadow below so I headed to tweetens in very light sink. Over tweetens I could see the big barn close to woodpile LZ and tried gliding a little bit towards it with caution. Probably could make it because I was around 5700′ MSL but was wary of more sink over the trees, so decided on tweetens. DBF and S-curve approach was ok but still managed to mess up a flare landing. Was ecstatic when I checked my time and it was 1h23m, previous longest was ONLY 17m !!!
I had a few mistakes which I will correct next time:
- Never zipped up harness before in flight. Fumbled to zip up this time and still zipped up only half. Also forgot to unzip until on final, but managed to get legs out because it was only half zipped. Didn’t panic because I could belly land without harm.
- Should have taken a camelback. Throat was dry as hell.
- Installed the camera on the left wing when the sun was on right so most of the video footage has a lot of flair and washed out areas. Damn!
Also, I need to use more features of the flytec 6015 vario, like dialing in the waypoint for the LZs so I can always monitor the glide ratio and whether I can make it to the LZ or not.
Can’t wait to go back, but I think I will get 30-40 hours at mcclure/dunlap and get a double surface glider for a comfortable time. This trip was a major milestone in my flying career, getting the first 1h+ flight. I am very thankful to Jesse to convince me going to Indian Valley and Walter for all his mentoring. Also many thanks to Dave Clement for offering to camp at his fantastic place in the valley.