March 16 – The pre-season opener was a blast, Dave and Mike stayed in the wave

Two very brave ( some would say crazy) pilots decided to try and catch some wave from our airfield on Friday, the day before the official start of M-AS’s flying season.  They flew 400 km (250 miles) in 6 hours.  Mike’s report and pictures:

Bob towed us at 0930 (thanks, Bob). 

Note – no other humans around – unassisted TO

We delayed the launch for about an hour to watch the weather and let snow showers pass (a quarter inch of snow fell and painted the runway white at 0700, and melted by take off).  Winds on take off were high but just within club limits.  Wave looked good early but even with our 5500′ tow we couldn’t connect near Fairfield so dove down on the High Rock Ridge, and headed down to I-70 looking for a good wave entry point.  The thermals were torn up, which delayed our climb into wave for about 2 hours.  Finally, connecting with wave near Hagerstown, we spent over an hour cruising down and back up the valley, and then penetrated upwind and flew the full Tuscarora Ridge, first up to Thompsontown, and then down to Lockings.  Finally, we thermalled off the ridge near McConnellsburg to about 5000′  and crossed the valley to come back home.

 Over Tuscarora Ridge

Climbing though 10K

Panorama from the back seat

Summary:  Dave and I are really pleased with how the K21 performed on the ridge and in the wave.  The upwind penetration performance is good (we made several upwind wave jumps, and the Honey Grove ridge transition without trouble)… not like a modern racing glider, but certainly good enough for long wave and ridge flights.   And after 6 hours in the cockpit, was very comfortable, too.   I look forward to more long cross country flights in our K21s, and Dave is tuned-up for the Nationals contest at Mifflin in May.

Triumphant return. Dave is to be complimented on his fashion sense – function over form.  He assures he did not get the orange overalls from a prison, but from a “outdoor store”.  Makes him easier to spot during a land out.  Dave added:

It was very cold at altitude.  I asked Mike to fly when I couldn’t keep my feet on the metal rudder pedals any longer for fear of frostbite.

Now that is dedication!  Thank you for inspiring us and taking us along for the ride.