Another ridge day, another landout...

Posted 7 years, 3 months ago    3 comments

Yesterday was an interesting ridge day. Up top at 5000' there was 20-30 knots all day, but down at ground level, things started off very still, but picked up after lunch. I mentioned to Bill before leaving that today would be a good day to avoid getting too low...

I launched around quarter to 3, and had a 100km task to do, from the Tauranga road, to an airstrip just north of Te Aroha and return (more details about this special task coming soon).

It was all going swimmingly up to Te Aroha, and then it all fell apart quickly. I arrived on Te Aroha at 2700', and did notice there wasn't much up. We'll take it slowly and see how it goes. Carl in GXA passed underneath me the other way, and didn't seem to have any problems. Soon we were at the turnpoint and had only lost 300 feet getting there, so was feeling pretty confident.

As we started tracking towards Te Aroha again we hit some sink in behind the hill. I realised my mistake at the time, and should have kept out of this area. This dropped us down to 1500', and little did I know, the wind at lower level had died to 5 knots and below. I was expecting something on the side of the hill to be working, but alas, the wind has a habit of going around Te Aroha when light, rather than up.

We had trekked around the base of the mountain, and realised our game was up. There was no up, only down, and it didn't take long to get to 1000' with no where else to go.

So we made a prompt decision to put it down at the racecourse, and on turning around we hit a good amount of sink, loosing another 500'. Due to that we didn't have height to do a full circuit, so joined finals and landed safely on a freshly mown piece of track.

Stepping out it was obvious just how light the wind was, nothing more than a gentle breeze, while up higher the clouds were motoring still.

A tip for landing at the racecourse, ensure you land on one of the tracks rather than the paddocks in the middle. The middle is cut in half with a fence, and it's rough and boggy if wet.

A big thanks to Bill and Dave for coming to pick me up, as far as retrieves go it was a very easy one. A fun day, and it was great to have a good flyable day for a change.

It all happened pretty quick
It all happened pretty quick

Almost a runway
Almost a runway

I think I won, but I was the only entrant
I think I won, but I was the only entrant

The crowds went wild
The crowds went wild


Comments

7 years, 3 months ago
Good to share these experiences!
Saw an example of the friction layer this morning (0830ish) in Hamilton when a hot air balloon tracked over home. Dead calm on the ground yet the balloon was making at about 10 knots while somewhere between 500 to 1000 feet agl.
Anonymous
7 years, 3 months ago
Was talk at the AGM of setting a blog up like this for people nationwide to tell what they did on the weekend/whenever.
You up for that Tim? Please offer to help set it up.
I think it would be great. You'd get the I went up the ridge and down the ridge and it was great, stories like this one and occassionally if we're lucky people crowing about record flights and big diamonds.
Jill McCaw
7 years, 3 months ago
That anonymous comment was me btw. Thought it would recognise my google name but I was wrong.

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