21 May 2005

Quick flight - Très-le-Mont

The conditions aren't very good today. The windvanes are proclaiming strong South Westerly winds all around our region, and we know that our North Westerly is going to swing soon, so it's with a certain sense of urgency that we go to Très-le-Mont. As we get to the parking lot, we can immediately see that the windvane is already oriented from the South. As we mull about, we see the vane swing around, stay in that position for a few seconds, and then swing back. This is all we need. It will be a short flight, maybe even bumpy, but it'll be a flight nevertheless.

I help Alex kit up his passenger, let him take off, and then I'm on the slope, helped by Francis to layout. It's important to get ready quickly, the "good" cycles are getting shorter and shorter, and there's more and more time in-between, a sure indication that it's a matter of minutes before the site becomes unflyable.

I'm in the slope, ready, watching the windvane. After a few more oscillation, I see "my" cycle startup, and I get the wing inflated above my head. A quick run, and I'm airborne. No lift in front of the take-off today. I want to get away from that zone fairly quickly: when the wind swings to South, I want to be as far away as possible from this area where some nasty downdrafts develop. I cross the thalweg and near the front of the hill, and there is a feeble updraft in the area where I was expecting it. I take a couple of turns, but it's too bumpy to get any decent altitude gain, and I go to the next spot on the front of the hill. There it's the same story, so my flight gets summed up in a set of jumps between bumpy areas. I've lost too much altitude, so I head toward the landing field while I have some altitude. There are a couple of excercises I haven't ried in a while that I want to practice on this flight.

Technical data: Flight duration 0:17, Take-off altitude: 1349m, Maximum altitude reached: 1387m, Total climb during flight: 150m, Max rate of climb: +1m/s, Max descent rate: -3.2m/s, Landing altitude: 620m.


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