I'm posting this a bit late but wanted to summarize the second Panoche Checkout experience. So it's not as detailed as last time.

On Friday the 15th, I met Lance and Darren at HGC around noon. I, again, flew in the BASA Grob with Johnathon Hughes while Lance flew with Brett in 9KS and Darren flew with Russell in 63JJ.

The BLIPMAP looked better than last time but not much better.

We launched around 1pm to find that the lift in Panoche was weak and hard to find. The thermals were small and difficult. I tried to focus more on my speed control while thermalling this time around. I was better but still need practice.

I managed to find a thermal or two at first. Eventually I lost 'em and we started to get low. I headed toward the strip and then Johnathon took the controls to aggressively work a difficult thermal. I learned a lot just following him on the controls. He even commented that it was a hard thermal and that the conditions were some of the worst he'd seen at Panoche.

Johnathon got us back up around 4,000 feet, so I went of in search of more lift. We didn't find much heading south and started to get low, so we headed toward the field once again. Johnathon flew for a bit but couldn't find anything. We were low, so I took the controls to get us on the ground. I was a bit high on final, but slipped the altitude off and landed okay.

We hung out of a bit and let Russell and Darren launch a few times. The first was a rope break and the second was a real tow. I took advantage of the time to take some pictures of the launches.

We then launched and got into the thermal right over the airport, joining Lance and Brett in 9KS. We eventually out climbed them and headed off to look for lift elsewhere--unsuccessfully. This flight didn't last too long, so we landed and took another break. After parking the glider, we wandered over to the bar to get cold drinks and a couple of T-shirts.

The others came into land and we begun the process of towing toward the release point on the way to Hollister. On the way back, Johnathon asked Alan to level off at 7,500 feed so we could practice slack line recovery in straight and level fight. It wasn't bad. Recovery took a lot longer, but I only needed to use gentle control inputs to let it out.

Once again, Johnathon was great to fly with. He has a lot of Panoche and XC experience and is able to put up with my less than stellar thermalling techniques.

See Also: Brett's description of the day and my e-mail comments.

Posted by jzawodn at August 15, 2003 08:22 PM

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