Pilot Down ! ?
I launched into light Westerly breeze just as the sun was coming up. The lift was amazing, 150 to 250 ft/min climb everywhere I went. I was thinking I shouldn’t have ordered the Power Fins, but no…if they can give me a 25% increase in thrust, it’s going to be well worth it. Conditions like this morning are few and far between.
About 20 minutes into the flight I noticed a pick-up truck pulling up next to mine and since I didn’t see a motor I assumed that it was an observer. I stayed around to keep an eye on the guy and eventually he started laying out a wing so I came in to say hi. It turned out to be Greg who had flown with the gang a few times before moving to Arizona. I remember that we had hooked-up at the Flying Circus and stood under a tent in the rain and chatted for quiet awhile. Anyway Greg has moved back to Colorado and saw my post about flying this morning, so he came out to join me. We talked for a bit and watch the wind go nil and then switch from the West to East by North East. I had already set up the wing and buggy, heading into the west, I figured that it was less than a knot and I would be able to do a down wind launch… but it didn’t work this time. The wing came up crooked and I never was able to get it pressurized enough to get control. Since it was pretty close to my time limit I started to pack-up and before leaving I helped Greg get into the air. He did a couple of laps and took of to the North West. Twenty minutes later, no Greg…thirty minutes later, no Greg. I waited a while longer and drove Morrison Road trying to spot him. When that didn’t work I stopped at the Bear Creek Park entrance and asked it they had a paraglider down in the park. No Joy… By now I was certain that Greg had gone down and was walking out through hip deep weeds. After leaving the park I continued around in a big circle and returned to the field, I saw his truck, but no Greg.
Tracy had come out and was getting ready to fly his RC Copter and while we chatted I caught a glimpse of Greg flying low in the depression to the South West. Now that I knew he had not been forced down I felt free to leave and did so.
…But that is not the end of the story. I spoke with Greg later in the day and after we saw him he circumnavigated Bear Creek and worked his was East of the Prison. Somewhere by the prison Greg’s motor died ( maybe he ran out of gas because he had been up for well over two hours by then ) and he was forced down in Federal Property. He was greeted by some agents and escorted off the property. In situations where the field is bumpy or overgrown with weeds, I lay out my
loading ramps to give me a few feet of smooth surface to build some inertia.