Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A day at Yoshimatsu

Uono flight (blue) and hike-up (green).

Detail of the hike-up from the LZ to the Uono launch.

We spent Sunday in Yoshimatsu, Kagoshima Prefecture, which is perhaps Kyushu's best XC spot, although the overly stable conditions allowed only about a 6km out-and return flight from the Uono launch, pictured above.  I ended up running up twice from the LZ to the launch (1.9km, 300m elevation gain, about 23min without the pack), for training.  Although most of the local flyers do not know or use this route, even in its rough state it's quite runnable and interesting, involving pieces of abandoned logging roads, old trails, and a short section each of active road and trail-less slope climbing.  We spent a bit of time last year finding the correct combination.  We wish the local flyers got a bit more into hike-and-fly!  Of course the launch is accessible by car but the way is too circuitous for running.  On the other hand, tons of interesting MTB exploring can be had in the moutain range behind the launch.

The Yatake flight (Uono can be seen in the background in this view looking West).

Yoshimatsu's second launch, Yatake, is south-facing, and comes in handy later on in the day when the east-facing Uono shuts down.  An ESE wind began blowing toward evening, gradually increasing in strength perhaps due to a giant venturi effect through the large valley that stretches to the east basically all the way across Kyushu island.  This was not an ideal direction for Yatake but I had an interesting flight along the line where the wind was shearing and leeside thermals of sorts were spawning from the slopes lit up by the evening sun.  It was possible to go about 5km against the wind before I became stuck against a ridge that projected too far into the valley.  Here I hovered for a while until sunset meant it was time to go down.  Pretty good training for cheating the valley winds!

Flying off into the sunset - it was a good day!

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