308 & 309 Vance Brand Airport

X-Country at Vance Brand

Marek and I got there early and flew before everybody else showed. Both back tires were flat, probably from the tall weeds I’d been rolling in. A can of “Fix-A Flat and Marek’s air pump took care of that. We took off about the time Robert Kittilla and his student showed up. The winds were very light and steady. After about 30 minutes we landed and prepared for the cross country.

Vance Brand from 4 miles out

I blew the first launch when I let off the A’s too soon but the second attempt was perfect. It was starting to get thermal almost immediately and so I went for altitude and steered to avoid the blacktops and other heat sources. Beautiful country with lots of small ponds and country estates. Unfortunately we didn’t stay together because it would have been fun to travel as a flock but I did see John flying low and Mark off in the distance.

Hay Stack Mountain

Boulder Reservoir

When I got over the Reservoir I choked because it looked like two wings were in the water I flew closer and decided it was just a couple of boats rafted bow to bow. Both ways I concentrated on level flight and my throttle control is getting better. The earth was warming and I was flying through areas of lift and sink that were dramatic. The 4 stroke couldn’t overcome the sink and I was dropping at 80 ft./min. with full power.

I never used the foot steering because I had the trimmers out most of the time but I was allot more comfortable flying cross country in this machine than anything else I’ve flown.

When we got back I watched Robert’s student crash on take off. It was a combination of switchy light air. warm air and too full a gas tank. No injuries or equipment damage. John got back 20 minutes later than the rest of us and seemed to have no issues with the bumpy air. In fact he took a quick flight on Roberts Velvet. It’s the first wing he has flow other than his Paratoys “Muse”. He said, “It made me a little nervous to be so fast down low”. As talented a pilot as he is he should be flying a spice.

As usual there were swoop divers to entertain us.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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