Wednesday, August 19, 2009

US NATS - Task 2 & 3

Hello all and sorry about the late posts.

A little about task 2 and 3. Task 2 was long, it took me just under 4 hours to get through the 65km course. Start was at 3pm, so I landed just before 7pm. We went south from Inspo pushing into a headwind for 3/4 of the course, then the range that we flew along hooked to the right and the valley went North/South again. At this 'corner' it shaded out and we had to ridge soar for 15 mins up the shallow face covered with burnt trees, until we got back into the high range. The sun came out and I got boosted to 11,500. Now we had a strong tail wind into goal at NarAir, a small airstrip. We didn't get home until about 10pm. The air was much smoother than task One. Climbs were mostly to 11-12,000 ft. A large fire started behind us, and it became huge. Almost 30 in goal. Mads Snydergardd won the day, 20 minutes in front of the lead gaggle.

Task 3 was into a headwind again, but this was due to yesterdays fire to the south. The day started out mild with a little overcast, but that burned off fast and conditions became burly. We flew north from Inspo, pushing right up against the front of the range, some people flew just a few hundred feet above the 9000+ ridge top. I wanted more terrain clearance. Very strong thermals were mixed in with the strong head wind, and we had to cross several huge canyons, it was the most committing flying I have ever done, and we were only 1/3 into the course.

Lone peak is a high point in the range, and has a small lake in back of it, we climbed in the lee of the pinnacle - there was no other way. The top of lift was about 12k, but the drift put us behind the ridge and it was hard to fly over the ridge as we still had to push into a NW wind. I cleared it, which was the crux of the task for me, probably because I had to clear a small cravat while en route. Now more into the wind to the TP at Hounds, which is a pinnacle of rock lower down on the face of the front range. Not long after I hit hounds, I heard the wind picked up and very few gliders were able to get the Hounds TP.

After Hounds it was downwind to the North side of the Point of the Mountain flight park. The wind picked up a lot. For the last leg, I hung onto any lift cause I was getting low, and I let Darius get out in front where he found a boomer that got us high enough to go on final glide, thanks Darius. About 15 minutes later we landed with very little penetration, that makes 2 days in a row. I think Josh won the day at just under 90 mins. Many people were happy with the shorter task (it was originally longer). about 20 in goal.

The temps go way up for the next couple of days and we should get much higher. Time for the 02 system, thanks to Joe Evans for lending it to me.



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