Spring XC Flying!

June 22, 2017

April started with a Wave flight by Ward Odenwald

The flight was scary good. Read his write-up on the forums here.

Wave over Woodstock

May brought a mixture of Ridge, Thermal, and Wave lift

Ward Odenwald had his eyes set on a ridge run from Woodstock south to the end of the ridge at Massanutten with hopes of jumping downwind towards Chesapeake!  He didn’t make it to his goal, but still pulled off an awesome flight.  John Dorrance also followed down the ridge and landed near Harrisonburg!

Watch the action on the Doarama and read the writeup and see more pictures on the forum.

Ward Odenwald over the Massanutten

June delivered stellar East Coast flying

  • High Cloudbases – Up to 8000 feet above sea level

  • Amazing cloud streets

  • Long down-wind XC flights
  • And Sweet, Sunset Glass-Offs

More than a few lucky pilots were in the right place at the right time to capture the best East Coast cross country flying conditions available.

The longest flights were launched from Woodstock, VA.  More XC was had from Dickey Ridge in the Shenandoah National Park and Daniels Mountain.

Photo by Tom Ceunen

Krista Auchenbach at cloudbase over Dickey Ridge

But the Best Flight of Spring goes to…

Richard Elder for his ~100k flight from Woodstock, VA to Stafford, VA on a Paraglider!

My longest flight, just under 100km!

It was a challenging day, strangely hard to get over the ridges and out of the valleys and got stuck a number of times in barely sustaining lift but found, and was shown, that elusive boomer to get me up and over and into the flatlands.

Woodstock, VA to Stafford, VA

The thermals were tight and punchy but there was a cloud street of sorts running downwind so went for it.

Tried to stay high and let the wind push me along and the thermals under each cloud were in the same relative position so could lily pad from one to the other. As the flight progressed the spacing between clouds opened and the thermals got tighter and rowdier – very strong tiny cores with lots of trashy air around them – first time I’ve been thrown out of a thermal!

Air traffic also increased towards Stafford and a couple of commuter jets, as well as a number of small aircraft, passed under me. This was a little concerning and I thought about landing but working on the ‘big sky, small target’ principle I pushed on. Approaching Stafford it was a balance between how far can I get versus airspace and a safe landing so chose the latter.

None of this would have been possible without the gaggle that launched with me and made getting out of the valleys possible. Sadly they sank out one by one but they were instrumental in unlocking the route over the ridges so a huge thank you to Jim, Michael, Kris and Pilot X.

Congrats Richard!

And evenings capped off with Sunset Glass-Offs and Synchronized Wingovers

Video by Randy Weber from Woodstock, VA