From September 15 - 22, 2013, the Francisco Grande Resort is once again welcoming us back for another week of great flying. If you're up for 7 out of 7 days of awesome technical flying conditions, come join us for the 7th Annual Santa Cruz Flats Race.
Registration opens at noon eastern time on April 15th.
The eastern penthouse suite is mine again, but the resort has set aside most of the tower rooms for us (including another penthouse suite on the west end of the tower, if you want to stay in style!).
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Giant congratulations to Robin Hamilton, former British team pilot who now (lucky for us!) flies for the US. Flying a Litespeed RS 3.5, Robin is the new US National Flexwing Champion. Last year's winner, Jeff O'Brien took second and we had yet another former Brit pilot, Ben Dunn in third place.
Jim Yocom, the nicest guy in hang gliding, is the new Rigid Wing National Champion. Well done and much deserved Jim!
Mulitple-time national and world champion Brian Porter won the Swift class flying a Bright Star Swift, proving that the old glider (and pilot ;-) have still got it!
US women's team captain Linda Salamone is the new (and reigning for the past several years) Women's National Champion. Grant Emary took the sport class flying his Wills Wing U2. (I think it may be time for Grant to move up to the open class!)
at 8:52 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
We opened launch 15 minutes earlier yesterday to try to make more time for everyone (even those at the end of the launch line) to get up into the nice cooler air. This worked brilliantly and we had everyone airborne in just over an hour. Unfortunately, just as the launch crew was packing up and the tugs were preparing to tie down back at the resort, we looked up to find the entire field of gliders not much more that 1000 feet off the deck, directly over the tow paddock :-(. We were quite sure we were going to have to launch the entire field ALL OVER AGAIN! Well luckily, we have a lot of very tenacious pilots. They fought for a solid half a hour and eventually most everyone got back up a reasonable altitude and out on course.
According to reports though, it was one of those very difficult, frustratingly low days we sometimes have here. Only 8 flex made it in to goal - two of which had to come in downwind to make the edge of the cylinder - and we're not talking about 1 or 2 mph downwind - it was a solid 10mph down wind at goal for Ricker and Pigpen (as we're now calling him). Ricker managed to catch a wingtip trying to bank it around 3 feet off the ground. He was lucky enough to slide around and catch his belly in the powdery dirt slowing him down a bit. Pigpen was so low he had zero hope of anything but straight downwind. He piled in so hard with a full speed turtle, stopping belly up in a giant dust cloud. He's lucky to have no broken arms or legs....he actually walked away from it laughing - dork!
at 10:18 AM
Gary continues to send these great, very detailed soaring forecasts to us each morning. Thanks so much Gary!!
Today looks like a fine day for a race! If anyone has time to give any feedback from yesterday or prior days, it would help me establish correction factors for any remaining weather calls.
Stronger lift, a little less wind, and I think there will be just enough moisture and heat to produce some clouds, depending upon where you go. You might even see a few clouds near home base later in the afternoon. Expect the strongest lift over toward the mountains you flew to yesterday, expect better chance of clouds to the mountains sw of you. I feel pretty certain about the clouds sw, and you will probably see wisps or limited clouds over the peak/s to the nw.
Lift: Noon hour- soarable earlier than yesterday, similar to prior days. When it switches on, look for climbs in the 250 to 500 fpm range; by mid-afternoon look for 450-700 fpm, possibility of 750 fpm in a spot or two near Casa Grande or the mountains near Estrella. Lift strengths in the higher gound to the sw will be about 100 fpm weaker but as stated above, you should have some cloud development over there so cloud suck may make up the difference.
Heights: During the best part of the day, 13,500' to 14,000' might be a reasonable call.
Winds: Similar wind speeds at launch, possibly a little less; Early afternoon, ese winds aloft about 5; As the day turns on, expect se winds aloft around 10, increasing to 12 from mid-afternoon to late afternoon. As you have seen before, its likely to expect stronger winds right at the tops of higher climbs, moderating as you glide down through the boundary layer. Stronger winds overall to the nw than to the sw by about 2-5 mph.
at 9:55 AM