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July - December 2007 Soaring Logbook
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July 5, 2007 - Parowan Utah Region 9 contest day with Karl Striedieck  4+ hour flight.  :)  :)  :)  :)

When I heard that Karl was offering rides for a small donation in the back of his Duo Discus during the Region 9 contest down in Parowan a few months back I quickly jumped at the chance.  I am glad I acted quickly because the contest was full with both gliders and rides for Karl months in advance.

I flew the Diamond Star down to Parowan the morning of the 5th with my good friend and soaring buddy Kirk.  He decided close to the last minute that it would be fun to go and I was glad to have his company.  The flight down was uneventful but fun.  I am still enjoying the thrill of flying myself somewhere even though I have been doing it now for over 13 years.  When we got there I was blown away at the number of gliders.  Luckily, there was one more tie down spot for an airplane.  There were 56 registered for the contest.  I have seen pictures of glider contests but when you see your first in person you can’t help but be impressed by the sight of so many of these rare birds all together at once.

I was impressed at how nice and friendly everyone I met there was.  The mood was a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be.  I am assuming that it was just because there were so many veterans there who have flown many contests.  Karl was very friendly and unassuming from the start.  He was relaxed and easy to talk to but you also feel an instant respect for him both from his accomplishments and the way he carries himself.

Now for the flight…we were one of the last to take off.  The Duo has a good amount of room in the back for the passenger which is nice.  The only complaint I would have is that after about 3 hours in the air the very upright position started to make me stiff instead of the more reclined position of the ASW20 or the Phoebus.  As soon as we were airborn after a very smooth launch you could just feel how nice the Duo Discus flies.  Karl stayed right behind the tow plane even through the rough summer bumps.  We released into a very tight thermal and I got to see the magic of Karl thermalling.  He keeps his head looking outside the ship almost the entire time and doesn’t rely on any electronics other than an audio vario to help him thermal or center in the lift.  Just spending an afternoon with him I think will help anyone who pays attention thermal better and more efficiently.

We took off away from the rest of the gliders in the start cylinder amazingly early in my opinion and headed out into the blue skies towards our first turn point 40 miles to the northwest.  This turned out to be the biggest mistake of the day.  Many of the other pilots circled up from the start cylinder below the clouds and the lift until reaching 17,000+ before taking off.  We took off at about 13,000.  It cost us after the first turn point valuable time when we got low and struggled for 15 minutes to get high again.  I was impressed that even when we were down under 4,000 ft agl Karl would not turn in a thermal that wasn’t at least 4 knots.  We did lose precious time and therefore speed at the end during this time but the rest of the flight we did well.

Two things about Karl’s flying surprised me.  First, he wasn’t going around the course the whole time at 110+ knots indicated airspeed.  Unless we were high and in screaming great lift we cruised around at only 75-80 knots indicated.  It didn’t feel like racing at all!  We had a day where the task was pilot chosen turn points.  After getting clear of our initial low point we just spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the clouds and deciding where would be the best places to fly.  The lift was strong under the clouds and many times we were flying in 10+ knot lift at 125 knots indicated at 17,300 ft to stay below the 17,500 ft ceiling of the contest.

The second surprise was that there wasn’t any magic way that Karl was flying that would show someone how to fly twice as fast as they did before.  He does not porpoise in the lift and sink but does follow the wings and when one lifts a little bit he turns in that direction a little and sees if there is something more to be had.  He just does all the basics really, really well.  He does not stay in lift below his McCready goal.  He centers lift quickly and if not leaves lift quickly to find better.  He keeps his head outside the cockpit and does very little messing with his electronics.  He is very fun to fly with!

Our final glide started with plenty of altitude and we knew we would fly through an area of heavy lift.  We cinched our belts in preparation for the bumps and flew at 140+ knots in them.  I was impressed at the pounding gliders can take and still keep their wings on!  I have been a little hesitant to fly much in the yellow arch of the speed zone in my own glider and it was comforting to see that the wings won’t fall off on the first bump at the higher speeds.  Our landing was smooth but completely aerobatic.  We flew the pattern at about 85 knots and pulled 60+ degree banked turns on base and final.  We touched down at 70 knots with less than a thousand feet of runway left.  No joke!  I am pleased to report that the Duo has very good brakes.  I never could have imagined an older glider with drum brakes getting anywhere near close to stopping in that short of distance.

Kirk and I stayed for dinner and then flew home that night.  The sky and sunset was amazing on the ride home.  Wow, what a day!  I would recommend anyone who does not easily get airsick to go for a ride with Karl if you ever get the chance.  Just remember that once you take off with him you are going for a 3-4 hour ride during a contest and it doesn’t matter if you have puked your left lung out you have to tough it out till the task is done.  I am grateful I didn’t need to use the bag but I did turn pretty green about 3 hours into the flight when I had to fish for something over my shoulder for about 5 minutes while we were thermalling.  It took a solid 20 minutes of my staring out at the horizon and willing myself to not puke to keep it down.  I was not going to puke in front of Karl!  I have never gotten airsick or sea sick before but I now have more empathy for my passengers that do.  The feeling did pass so it is nice to see that you can overcome it and keep flying and having fun.  Thanks Karl for the opportunity to fly with you and I learned a lot.  I can’t wait for next time!  - Bruno

July 20, 2007 - Cedar Valley, Utah in my ASW20B, One 1,500 ft tow, 6.1 hour flight.  Completed my first declared 500km triangle!  Entire distance ended up at 627km.  To see my OLC claim for this flight click here.

My good friend Kirk flew his first badge flight a week ago and his talking about it got me interested to finally think about trying my own.  Over the winter I got my GPS NAV calibrated and resealed so equipment wise I was ready.  I thought it would be fun to go for a big triangle right off the start.

My triangle started at Cedar Valley airport.  The first leg ended with the Beaver Mountain ski resort as a turn point 141 miles to the southeast.  The second turn point was Joes Valley reservoir that is 19 miles east of Manti, Utah and 88.5 miles from the first turn point.  Cedar Valley airport (home) was the finishing turn point 84 miles north west of Joes Valley.  The triangle distance added up to 313.7 miles (505km).  I have flown a half dozen or so flights where the total distance was more than 500km but never with a specific task in mind and never a proper FAI triangle.  The rules are fairly simple.  The minimal finish altitude needs to be no more than 1000 meters (3281 feet) below the start altitude.  Since Class B airspace starts 4,000 ft above Cedar Valley airport I knew I would not have a problem with this rule unless I came back into the airport very low.  The other rule was that the smallest leg of the task could not be less than 25% of the total distance.  My task in mind worked. Click Next below to continue...

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