Hurricane Harvey / Thermal Thoughts

8/19/17:  My first XC flight since Refugio.  The winds were light and Nate and I had set a 100km triangle task.  Wharton, East Bernard, Garwood, Wharton.  I was able to keep up with Nate to the first turnpoint and when we got there I lost sight of him.  We had radio communications but they were jammed by people on the ground using our freq.   Anyways, I got to East Bernard and the clouds were few and far between.  Also, many clouds were developing quickly and dissipating rather fast.  It took me an hour and a half to make it to East Bernard, at 4 o’clock I thought I was going to be pushing it to try and make it to Garwood, then fight a head wind home.  So I decided to just make it an out and return.

This flight was challenging, anybody can drift downwind, when you add upwind/crosswind tasks to you XC you have to really be on your game!  I made some good progress back to Wharton and on this flight I made a pretty cool realization.  I was more aware of my surroundings than ever before.  As I was up in the air I could look around and recognize all the towns and roads, even ones way off in the distance.  I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but I realized how much I have become familiar with this area where we fly.  Anyways, I was almost back to Wharton and I sank out.  One thermal away, so I found a nice landing field and then another landing field.  At,700′ with a couple of good options I decided to land at the field that offered some shade to break down the glider in.  Both fields were equally safe to land in, I just went with the one that had shade.  Did I mention that it has been BLAZING hot down here in south Texas!

 

 

 

I used my groundspeed indicator on my Garmin to help reassure myself of the wind direction while I circled the LZ.  There was a scrappy little thermal coming off the barn but it wasn’t sustainable.   300′ a guy in his truck pulls off the road and rolls down his window to watch my landing.   On final, the wind had pretty much disappeared and I flared and ran a few steps.  Downtubes came down and rested on my shoulders, I give a thumbs up to the guy in the truck and hoot “whoo hoooo”.  The guy in the truck gives me a thumbs up and drives off.  I then break down in the shade of a HUGE cottonwood tree!  Thanks Mark and Carl for the swift retrieve!  Congrats to Nate for completing the  100km task and gliding into goal at dusk, WELL DONE NATE! 

HURRICANE HARVEY-

Here are some photos from my whatsapp group.  Photos by Omer and Christopher