Thursday, November 17, 2016

Leeside Flush with the Poison X-Alps

Flight and Slogs
An very low inversion and a moderate NE wind conspired to make Kuratake unsoarable (at least for me).  The inversion was forecasted to be at about 500m, which seemed to agree with reality, since from the TO (455m) the distant peaks of the Kyushu Central Mountains were peeking out above the haze, and even the kites did not seem to be able to top out Mt. Kuratake (682m).  And so the NE wind poured almost unimpeded over the shoulder of the mountain, with worrisome gusts and only occasional breaks. I had a work commitment in the morning and what with the hike-up with gear (32 min) , I did not get to the TO until 11:45.

Wind data for the day.  Vertical red line shows takeoff time.
I hopefully waited for things to calm down a bit, and after waiting out a longish period of downslope wind, ended up taking off at 12:53.  I hit a nice, safe little window but in retrospect perhaps around 12:10 would have resulted in a little more lift.  At that time, I was worried about the gusts (pink line), flying the new glider in rotor, and the fact that I was on my own today, with Leanne too having to work earlier than usual.

Heading to the beach!
I found some weak lift in the offing but it did not last long, so I went downwind looking for more but the lower I got the stronger the wind became, so there were no more thermals.  On the other hand it was not as rough as I expected, and  I suffered only one minor wingtip collapse.  I let the wind carry me to the beach where I misjudged the approach slightly and got caught in the sink and offshore blow behind the small hill, landing only meters from the shoreline and making a bit of a crater in the soft sand, as the sink continued unabated all the way to the ground.  A left-turning approach, where there is no hill in the way and therefore more wind but no sink, would have been smarter.  I guess I got a little greedy surfing the small wave upwind of the hill together with the local kites.

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