By Peter Kelly
Ed Note: This is a report of some of the flights flown on Sunday May 1, 2016. I will change this intro if other pilots post their flight reports on the Forum or send me a story. The OLC publicly displays some particulars about each flight, it a pilot submits their recorded flight data. Graphic depiction of that data is displayed at the end of this report.
It was expected to be another great soaring day at Williams. Two days prior to the day, on Friday, April 29th at 9 AM John Cochrane posted the following on to Williams Today:
Sun May 1 Thermal day
Sunday is starting to look like a nice thermal day. Blue, likely; east wind putting the convergence on the west side of the mountains late in the day. It looks like one could thermal out of Williams and work towards the mountains rather than take the big tow. More opinions? I started a separate thread so we’d know what we’re talking about.
There wasn’t much to talk about since Dr Jack’s RASP, the ultimate atmospheric prediction model for soaring was emphatically illustrating that it was going to be a good day. A host of pilots jumped on the WSC schedule, all requesting tows…. Besides the Key personnel of WSC ( Rex, Noelle, and Charlie), Kerry was there to round out the fleet of four tow planes…
FNX, then 2T and 16 were first off. I followed them, flying 88, the ASW24.
It was not going to be a normal day. The wind was light, but from the east, and the flow continued in that directoin all the way to the Pacific Coast. A most unusual event. At our usual get started location of Tree Farm and Goat Mtn Ridge there were no cu overhead. There were plenty of cu, but they were all to the west of our normal lift line – west of snow and goat by nearly 10 miles. While on tow, I heard FNX was 10,000 feet over Snow Mtn and headed north. I listened to 2T as he went “over the hill” to the west, soon reporting a solid 7 kt thermal at 6,500 ft, over there in no man’s land west of Snow. I observed 16 some 7 or 8 miles to the NW of me. I was at 7,500 feet at Tree Farm and it was easy to see his glistening white ship against the dark green background as he looked for lift at 6,500 ft, chatting about the suitability of Gravely Valley runway as a landing option., but he was soon up and away.
As for me, I heard LA get off tow near Indian Ranch and then 1B and PS followed suit. Since they would be a while climbing up to where I was waiting for them, orbiting at the Tree Farm, I decided to go for it. I gingerly moved north to Snow Mt maintaining about 7,000 ft all the while. You can see by the lime green color of the flight trace line that I maintaining about 7,000 ft the entire time. I then decided to dive into the deep end of the pool – into no mans land. The cu were clearly marking the lift. Here is where the first cu was located:
All of the other pilots before me probably had a similar experience, but now it was even better. I climbed smartly to over 10,000 ft at an average of 7.9, but at one point was reading 16 kts in the climb. That’s my kind of lift!
From that thermal near Snow, I didn’t have a need to thermal again except for a half a dozen circles over the next 5 miles or so.
Couple of snap shots, that really show how easy it was to read the clouds.
About the same time that I was east of Ft Bragg, Luke in LA was well to the north of me and made it all the way to the beach.
Here are the two Flight Traces together of Luke in red and me in blue….
It was an exceptional soaring day and several pilots submitted their flight to OLC for May 1, 2016. The following is info that is publicly displayed on that web site, where sign in is not required. They are listed in the order of highest score for the day on OLC:
2T – Peter Deane Piloting an ASG 29
16 – David Greenhill Piloting a Discus 2a
BB – John Cochrane Piloting an ASG 29/18m
LA – Luke Ashcraft Piloting an ASG 29
9B – Andy Blackburn Piloting an ASW 27
88 – Peter Kelly Piloting an ASW 24