#545 & #546 Vance Brand

I awoke early and decided to go for it.  The air was warm and still when I arrived at Vance Brand about 6 am.  The first launch was picture perfect.  I lined up on the dirt track and launched right down the runway.  There was a good strong breeze from the South West above 50 feet.   As I was setting up to land I noticed a couple of balloons to the south.  So I landed …. gassed … and set up to reach launch.
This one was a little different.  I didn’t damp the wing quick enough during the inflation and it folded up in a frontal.   I watched it in the mirror as it collapsed and fell behind.  I contemplated aborting the take off but I had plenty of room ahead and decided to see if I could save it.  I throttled down and rolled along for quite a long distance with half the wing but eventually  it inflated and I powered back up.  I was rolling over the grass and waiting for my speed to back up until I came adjacent to the swoop pond. Eventually I got off and went to chase the balloons.  There were 5 in the air with one playing very close to the ground.  Since he was the closest I headed that way and we danced together for a few minutes before I turned back toward the LZ.  I aborted the first landing attempt because the wing was oscillating.  I think it was the result of a hard turn as I descended through the temperature inversion.  Anyway it wasn’t settling down and rather than come in swinging I went around again and landed without trouble.
The balloon was landing east of the field so after packing my gear I drove over and said hello.  There was an FAA inspector who showed up shortly after I to do a “ramp inspection”.  The captain was an elderly gent who seemed a bit forgetful and I didn’t like the idea of the FAA guy quizzing him.  Or me!  I said a quick good by and was on my way back to the house.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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