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FlyBC "Site of the Day" - February 11/2001

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Date Site Forecast Precip. Winds Aloft
3000 ft.
January 31 Woodside Rain possible until noon 80% POP 210° at 16 knots Forecast conditions look soarable, as long as the rain stops by noon.
January 30 Whidbey Island Rain possible 30% POP 250° at 23 knots Whidbey Report - there was a 2 hour window from 1:00 - 3:00 pm with no rain and soarable winds, did anyone get a flight?
January 29 Whidbey Island (or stay home) Rain tapering to sunny breaks in the PM 100% POP 250° at 25 knots No pilot reports from Whidbey but the NOAA reports showed strong SW winds until after dusk, probably too strong for most PG pilots!
January 28 Woodside Sunny 0% POP 180° at 6 knots Sled Rides until 2:00 when it started to rain
January 27 Woodside Sunny 0% POP 180° at 6 knots Crowded at launch, light wind launches and no thermals but pilots are staying current.
January 26 Woodside Sunny 0% POP Light and Variable Woodside Report - Kelly had MAGIC sled rides at Woodside!
January 25 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP Light and Variable Last flying day in Mexico for Colleen due to us flying out Friday. Tapalpa was less thermic than other days due to haze and clouds. The clouds were the first I had seen in two weeks.

More pilots arrived from Seattle today, so launch was getting busy. One small crash in the trees by a member of the new group (he was okay).

Off to PVR for the airport!

FlyBC Mexico Photo Gallery Photos of flying action from 14 days of continuous flying in Mexico.

January 24 San Marcos, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP Light and Variable We met up with Bob White at his place in Ajijic, near San Marcos, and he drove us up to San Marcos launch at 3:00 pm. I left my car at the Pemex station between Joco and launch to ease the retrieve, hoping to be able to land there. When we arrived at launch the Colorado boys, and a group of hangies from Quebec were assessing conditions. It was blowing in nicely at 20-25 km/hr perfect! So I laid out and launched climbing nicely but not too fast. I caught a nice thermal up to 2800 meters and decided to go for the crossing. All was going well until the 8 km mark when I hit huge sink. I made it to the Pemex station, but couldn't have gone further.

Colleen had launched after I went over the back so I never got to see her in the air. The last report had her scratching below launch, so I started driving back to the LZ. When I arrived at the LZ, I found out she had gotten enough lift to get above launch and top-land! When I finally met up with her, I had a cerveza ready for her to celebrate with.
January 23 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP Light and Variable Colleen flew first skying out some Colorado pilots. I was getting ready to launch when a huge dust devil blew through launch. I quickly gathered my wing and hid behind a tree as this monster kept circling around looking for me. It subsided after several minutes and I bagged up and drove down.

We headed to San Marcos and Colleen climbed out to 3300 meters and headed over the back to Joco, mirroring my flight last week. The Colorado pilots could barely stay up launching after her.

January 22 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP Light and Variable I decided to fly with top-landing as an option again, getting strong thermal lift as I got well above launch. I did some wingovers to descend and buzzed launch several times getting lifted up everytime, making it hard to touch down. On my last pass, in mid-wingover, the thermals cycled down allowing me to land right on launch.

I relaunched and flew again for 40 minutes, landing on the bench below as things cycled down.
January 21 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable Free flying day for Colleen and me. Colleen went high, landing in the LZ.

I flew for about 40 minutes then, top-landed in the fields behind launch to retrive Colleen in the LZ.
January 20 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable Last Day of the pre-PWC Comp

Colleen got to fly for her first time at Tapalpa, and had a great flight getting high above launch before the comp opened.

Task was called to fly from Tapalpa Launch to TP22, then north to TP38, back to TP24 (Microwave towers near Tapalpa Launch), south to TP8, back to TP38 and then goal field at Frontera on the plateau west of Tapalpa launch (42 kms).

Launch window opened but not too many pilots took off because conditions looked quite stable, not a bird in the sky. The Swiss team started to launch and we were not inspired by their scratching below launch, too low even for the start tarp. Gradually they got above launch and the rest of pilots started to launch.

There were several loosely formed gaggles all waiting for the start tarp to open at 12:30 and everyone drove to the start sector at once. I circled over the sector a few times to ensure my GPS had captured the start, took a photo and was off towards Tepec.

Two pilots in front of me started to circle in a thermal while most others drove straight to the turnpoint. I chose to thermal with them gaining altitude before I went for the turnpoint. As they topped out they flew straight to TP38 and appeared to be climbing so I headed off too. I arrived at TP38 pretty high, took my photo and headed to the ridge west of town and watched several pilots scratching very low (not good).

I turned in a few small bullets before hitting the ridge but I arrived very low and nothing was large enough to gain any altitude. I watched Ryan land in a field below and I stayed on the small ridge hoping something would kick off but eventually I ad to land too. There was Ryan, Davide (Swiss Team), Shawn (British pilot) and myself all watching the pilots on the ridge that were higher heading south.

We got a ride back towards the goal field and arrived to find several pilots in goal, Chris and 6 or so others. We watched pilots on final drop like stones not making goal due to the high winds.

Tonight was the awards party and Chris Muller was 1st place, Patrick Berod 2nd place and Christian Maurer 3rd.

What a party!

January 19 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable Sixth Day of the pre-PWC Comp

Task was called to fly from Tapalpa launch to TP22 (start sector), north to TP38 (Tepec), back to TP24 (towers), then north to goal for 42 kms.

I landed at Tepec with 6 other pilots unable to scratch my way up the ridge after making the turnpoint. These turnpoints in the valley really test a pilots skill and decision making.

A car load of university grads (heading to Tapalpa to party) picked me up and took me back to launch where I met Krista and got the VW to drive to Guadalajara to pick up Colleen, who was arriving at the bus terminal at 8:00 pm.

Chris Muller makes goal again on his stock Simba!

January 18 Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP (it's the desert) 270° at 15 knots Fifth Day of the pre-PWC Comp

Day was called by 9:00 am, due to high west winds coming in from a Pacific disturbance (sounds like Vancouver).

A few brave souls went to the local lake and donned wet suits and went kite-surfing. Matt Taggart, Ryan Swan and Chris Muller all got wet and even got some jumps in the gusty conditions.

Lazy day all around, but pilots are getting antsy to go flying tomorrow, only two days left to prove our stuff, so we hope it is good.

January 17 San Marcos, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable Fourth Day of the pre-PWC Comp

San Marcos again due to west winds. Weather forecast is pre-frontal with high winds forecast.

As we crossed onto the dry lake bed we saw the bus surrounded by pilots sitting crookedly on the lake bed. The driver had taken the wrong route and was stuck up to the axles on one side. All the wings were removed and the plots were waiting for the other bus to arrive.

We followed Fabio's Jeep over the lakebed towards San Marcos as the other bus arrived.

Chris, Kristi and I arrived at launch in the trusty Beetle ahead of the rest of the pilots. Conditions didn't look too bad until 12:00 when strong 30-35 km/hr cycles blew through launch.

Task was called to open the start at 3:00 pm, fly to a new turnpoint 10km south, then to TP23 (Los Pozos), 3 kms in front of launch then over the back to goal at Chapala (62 kms). A few pilots had launched for free flying early on and had sunk out, but Fabio (local Guadalajara pilot) had gotten high and had crossed over the back towards goal (without doing the turnpoints). He reported moderate conditions but not too strong with lots of convergence lift on the ridge.

Launch window was opened and then postponed for 15 minutes as the wind picked up. When the window opened four Swiss Team pilots took off first followed by OJ Laurence (flying a new Ozone Proton GT prototype today).

As these pilots climbed out and back, speculation was that the day would be called. After 15 minutes of watching them fly straight upwind with no turns the day was called and the pilots in the air entertained us with aero moves, including OJ's SAT and several Loops.

Landing conditions were a gusty 35 km/hour on the lakebed below.

It was good to see these seasoned, expert pilots calling the day. Other competition committees in the past have run tasks regardless of conditions and pilots have been injured badly. You can always fly another day.

January 16 San Marcos, Jalisco Mexico Sunny 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable Third Day of the pre-PWC Comp

We arrived at Tapalpa Launch with strong tail winds. On to San Marcos.

Chris, Kristi and I are spoiled because we take the VW up to San Marcos while others have to bus to the town and wait for shuttle trucks up to launch which all takes two hours.

We will have a late start for this task. Fly from Launch southeast to TP 21 (30 kms) then northwest to TP27 (33 kms) and race back to goal below San Marcos Launch for 65 kms total.

Launch window opens at 2:00 pm with start trap open at 3:00 pm. The launch is small so it may take an hour to get everyone in the air. 2:00 comes and no one is rushing to launch. Finally the Swiss Team starts to launch at 2:15 pm. It is windy, gusting to 35 km/hr. so the launches are entertaining (especially the comp prototypes with floppy tips). A few flubs and small crashes but by 2:45 everyone has launched and are climbing out over the launch.

I climbed to 3200 meters and waited for the tarp to be called. A row of "termolinos" (dust devils) formed out on the dry lake bed and it was interesting to watch 15 gliders all head out from the mountain at my altitude to try and use the lift to get higher. Wrong call for most, because I saw them below scratching back up as it took too long to get to the lift and they lost height on the return trip.

Start tarp was called at 3:00 pm sharp and I saw Chris fly over it at 100 meters.

It was a tough push south in head winds getting 25-30 km/hr on the borrowed Bagheera I am flying, I flew with Steve Han (British) and Sandie Cochepain (French) for most of the flight south. I used them to find thermals for the first two climbs, then ventured on south and found a boomer that they joined me in until we hit the end of the ridge when we got separated. I flew a course that kept me away from the ridge as it curved east gettting my thermals off the foothills (I was worried about getting blown over the back).

We rejoined about 5 kms later and they were getting hammered on the ridge, lots of up/down and yawing motions on both gliders. I was still higher on my route as I met them. I looked out on the lake bed and there were so many dust devils that a giant dust storm had kicked off and you could see the winds had picked up! And we were now leeside behind a small range of mountains in front of our flight path to TP 21.

I started to get slammed by mechanical turbulence and the sinkrate was -4 m/s with little forward speed. I NEED A THERMAL NOW! I took a full frontal falling out of something and the Bagheera opened up straight and immediate. I felt strong lift on my right tips so I buried the brakes on the right and cranked up in a mean thermal at about 7 m/s banked way over to stay in it. I fell out a few times but could always find it as I climbed back to 3000 meters.

I looked down and saw Sandie way down below scratching over the trees looking for a way out. I lost sight of Steve's Omega 5 for a while. There were gliders everywhere at this point; some at 4000 meters near cloudbase, some scratching below in gulleys in leeside trash. My GPS said I was 9 kms from TP21, but my forward speed was only 20 km/hr at best with 9 km/hr at times. Strong winds at altitude and on the ground. I followed two gliders towards TP21 and they had good zero sink glides so I followed behind them and watched them turn over TP21 and back past me to the ridge for the race to the next turnpoint.

It took me another 15 minutes to get to the turnpoint and mark it and photograph it as I was sinking out. I tried to turn in any lift but couldn't get out to the ridge behind me. Steve Han later made it to goal and he said it was smooth ridge soaring all the way back. What a difference a few minutes and a few hundred feet makes in a competition.

There were only three pilots at TP21. We boarded the bus as we entertained the town of La Milpillas (TP21), who donšt see many strangers dropping in from the sky.

We later heard that Chris Muller was #1 in goal again, along with Steve Han and a few others. Only three pilots made it to goal.

January 14 Tapalpa Jalisco Mexico Thermals 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable Second Day of the pre-PWC Comp

Task was called for Tapalpa Launch again. This task was to fly from the start tarp TP22 to TP27 South of Sayula, then north to TP20 across from San Marcos lake bed (75 kms).

Launch gaggle was smaller and more spread out today. Less thermic and tracking all over. When the race was on, several pilots left low and were scratching all the way south, I chose a safer route getting high at launch and then heading south and trying to use every thermal to the top.

I got cocky because I left one thermal when I saw pilots getting high under a big CU at the end of the ridge and I headed for them. I hit huge -4 m/s sink and when I turned back to get the thermal I was already below the trigger point so I wandered around for 15 minutes in a bowl trying to climb out in any scraps of lift. Not sure I could get out of the bowl flying towards the highway, so I picked a nice spot on a road clear of trees and cactus and set down about 6 kms hike from Sayula. As I packed up the pilots at cloudbase started heading to the first turnpoint.

When I arrived at Sayula town square the retrieve bus had already collected 6 pilots and then we headed back to Tapalpa.

Chirs Muller #1 again in goal followed by several other top European pilots. True genius!

No incidents today.

January 14 Tapalpa Jalisco Mexico Thermals 0% POP (it's the desert) Light and Variable First Day of the pre-PWC Comp!

Task was called with a launch window from 11:40 - 1:40 and a start tarp window of 12:30 - 2:00. I am way out of my league here, with the top team pilots from Switzerland, France, US and of course Chris Muller from Canada competing here!

Our job was to launch and gain altitude until the start window opened. There were 35 pilots in a tight gaggle that had me a bit concerned at times as I had other wings touching both my tips as I turned in the gaggle!

Task was north to TP22 then to TP 36 in the middle of the valley (28kms), then back south to TP 8 (30 kms), then back north landing at TP 20 (Tapalpa LZ).

I made the run up to the first turnpoint TP22 and circled over the town waiting for the GPS to track the position and as I headed back I saw my groundspeed deteriorate rapidly. Many pilots were decking it in front of me, so I headed back to the town thermal and climbed up before trying to head south to TP8. I eventually gave up and landed beside the highway after making 30 kms total.

Chris Muller, Patrick Berod and Christian Maurer made goal in that order. I asked Chris how he made it back in the 20+ km headwinds and he just said he got some leeside thermals on the ridge and made the upwind task getting low a few times.

True skill on the part of those that made it!

There was one unfortunate pilot named Coco who ended up taking a full frontal and several collapses over the trees on the ridge in leeside turbulence and had to throw her reserve. She ended up in a huge tree and was there for four hours until she was lowered down. No injuries to her but the glider was destroyed. The glider was retrieved the next day by chainsaw.
January 13 San Marcos, Mexico Sunny 0% POP 270° at 5 knots San Marcos Report - Chris Muller and I headed up to San Marcos with a bunch of the comp pilots for a free flight day.

It became a competition with the Swiss Team leading the race to an undeclared goal! Chris and I had to be in Guadalajara to pick up Kristi at 8:00 pm, so we didn't really race, more of an out-and-return task to the south.

I followed Ryan Swan south for a while and when I climbed up to 3300 meters, I knew it was time to head over the back to Jocotepec. I got some good lift on the way and landed on the beach of Lake Chapala (15 kms). Chris eventually top-landed and retrieved me for our trip north.

January 8 Whidbey Sunny breaks in the PM.

Locally windy later in the day in the Fraser Valley! Also may be too low cloudbase for most sites in the Valley
40% POP for the AM 230° at 15 knots Stay Tuned.
January 7 Sumas (maybe just for the hike) Sunny, clouding in later in the day. Locally windy later in the day! 20% POP for the AM 140° at 29 knots too strong if it materializes! Sumas Report - Don Smith and Greg Buckmaster flew Sumas on their HGs, Charles drove down to ground handle his PG. We had students along so we didn't bother driving up as it was quite windy in the LZ at 11:00 am. Chilliwack Airport windtalker inticed us to go to Woodside where it sounded less windy, but we couldn't fly, too north.

Hemlock Report - Klaus and Monica flew Hemlock getting thermal cycles at launch but no lift in the air, at least they flew!

January 6 Whidbey Island Sunny 20% POP 090° at 21 knots
Alternate call was to go to Sumas, but it looks too strong!
Whidbey Island Report - Whidbey was on! The fort was soarable from 1 to 3 pm today. Not very strong but very smooth. I had the whole site to myself, used every bit of wind, right until the end, then was forced to land on the beach - JF Paradis.

Blanchard Report - Ian Porter called us as he arrived and proceeded to get 3 flights while we waited at Whidbey, we arrived at 3:00 pm at Blanchard and several pilots flew sled rides (with the exception of a scrappy thermal flight Ian P took last flight). Bruce got his feet in the air after 2 months - Jim

January 5 Whidbey Island Clearing 20% POP 220° at 26 knots Whidbey Report - Dion, Alex R and I took our chances and went to Whidbey. Arrived at the Fort around 1:00 after a uneventful drive. Being the first time at the site I got the low down on how to fly there. Winds where gusty and coming quite cross from the west. Alex was first in the air and began to search for lift. After about five minutes he began to get blown back so he descended under ears and speed bar, to the beach. Dion and I didn't fly but got some valuable ground handling in. Peak gusts 27mph - Duncan

P.S. The Fiesta is quite nice in strong winds.
January 4 Stay Home Rain by noon 80% POP late in the day 190° at 28 knots Stay Tuned
January 3 Stay Home Rain by noon 100% POP late in the day 220° at 19 knots Stay Tuned
January 2 Woodside Cloudy with sunny breaks. Chance of showers in the AM. 40% POP early in the day 220° at 17 knots Woodside Report - the winds never kicked in as forecast so it was sled rides again.
January 1 Woodside Cloudy with sunny breaks. Chance of showers in the AM. 40% POP early in the day 220° at 17 knots Woodside Report - 10 pilots had great 2001 first flights, just sled rides.

Elk Mtn Report - Great day on Elk to start the year off right. Eddy,Ivan, Kevin, Allan, Monica, Klaus, Chris started hiking around 7:00 am. I slept in, I started at 9:40. It ended up being soarable around 10:00 until noon. All thermals. It shut down because of haze moved in. Alan flew for 2 hours,couple hundred over. Kevin top landed once. No sure what he got but I think it was over 1 1/2 hrs. then flew out. Monica and Klaus both flew for 1:18. I just caught the last 40 min. of a fantastic day. The trail is in good shape, a few icy sections but not too bad - Glen Taylor

December 2000 Site of the Day archives

November 2000 Site of the Day archives (great month for airtime!)

October 2000 Site of the Day archives

September 2000 Site of the Day archives

July - August 2000 Site of the Day archives

June 2000 Site of the Day archives

March - May 2000 Site of the Day archives

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