Darryl called me last night to see if I still had an open seat in the DG-1000. I was planning to go in search of the wave (just like last Sunday). I had an open seat, so we agreed to meet at 10am to get going. The forecast has the highest wind speeds at roughly 1pm coming from about 350 or so.
We managed to launch almost right at 11am. The scene wasn't pretty. Winds on the ground were lighter than I expected and not as northerly as I'd hoped. Unsure what to try, we towed toward the east hills and tried to feel things out. There was clearly lift and sink around. We saw 2 knots up on tow and also saw the vario pegged at times.
I released at 5,400 with the vario pegged, did an immediate right turn into 4-6 knots of lift. Wheee! We spent the next 45 minutes or so in a small area just past the east ridge, taking 1-3 knots of lift higher and higher.
The lift topped out at 7,500 so we expored a bit and contacted lift again a bit farther to the west. I managed to zero in on that small band of lift, so we played in it and took turns flying. But eventually we realized that the net result was close to zero sink--each time we got out of the lift, we ended up losing as much altitude as we had gained. Ugh.
Just a bit before we headed in Steve had released nearby in his glider (OU). As we headed in to land, I wondered how he'd do.
Back on the ground, we hit the restroom, chatted with a few folks, and decided to switch seats to head up again. Since this would be Darryl's second flight in the DG-1000, we decided to swap seats. We were just going to do a short flight or two, but I called up Steve to see where he was--8,000 feet and climbing.
With that we knew we had to go catch him, so we tried to do just that.
When we released near the microwave towers, I called Steve on the radio again. He said he was over 9,000 feet, so we knew we had our work cut out for us. We searched and searched near the Three Sisters and Henrietta but couldn't find more than scraps of lift.
We heard the other guys over by Casa de Fruita and Pacheco Peak, so we headed that way and found the ride to be quite easy--a fair bit of lift here and there. We then worked the area around Casa de Fruita and Pacheco Peak for at least another hour or so. We never got higher than 5,400 feet, but had some fun playing in the light lift.
Toward the end of the flight, Joel found us over Frazier Lake and got to watch us loop the DG-1000 three times. Then we tagged along after him, flew up close to JH, and headed home.
So far we've had two wave Sundays in a row... And the season is really just starting!
This is the message I just sent to the hgcgroup mailing list.
Given the brisk northerly wind, thanks to the low pressure system to the south, we got lucky.
We launched just after 11am and released around 5,100 feet a bit south east of Christiansen in light lift. Miguel provided some good GPS navigation and excellent instincts. We spent the next hour or so exploring a small band of lift that took us up to 9,400 feet.
The lift was between 0.5 and 2 knots most of the time. We found 3 knots now and then, and briefly saw 4 a few times. So we had to be patient.
From there we pushed into the wind, crossing the first and second ridges. We pushed thru a lot of sink hoping to find good lift on the other side, but found mostly turbulent air. So we crossed back toward Three Sisters where we were joined by Brett and a student in 87R. We flew around each other for a bit, climbing here and there.
Miguel snapped a few pictures of them while we played. We managed to chat with a glider flying out of Crazy Creek as well. They had wave too.
Eventually we got bored of that and headed back to where the good lift had been. We arrived fairly low--4,500 feet or so and found little scraps. Upon landing a bit later, we found that the wind had shifted direction a bit and decreased in speed.
We were up just under 3 hours. Not bad for a quiet Sunday at the gliderport.