I haven’t committed aviation for 2 weeks and it was past time.
The goal for this flight was altitude. I’d like to get up to 10,000 ft in the next view months so this could be considered an exploratory flight. I wore skins , fleece and the flight suit, except for my hands getting cold, it was all good.
What seemed like extremely calm air on the ground (as predicted), turned very quickly into 20 mph at 150 ft. I blew the first launch probably because of the twitchy wind 20 feet above the surface. The second attempt went better but it was still a fast downwind launch. I’m beginning to think that all the trouble I was having, (when I first purchased the wing), with slow climb outs was really me launching from the wind shadow into a downwind air. The terrian is so thick with twenty foot palms and other trees that the surface, even over the runway, appears calm. It’s not like I’m launching into a bunch of rotor but one minute it’s calm and then at 20-30 feet, I’m in a wind. If I ever see the Party size helium tanks again, I’m going to buy it to test my theory.
The strong Northerly breeze was limited to a layer 400 feet thick starting just above the surface. At 500 feet it began to decrease and when I was at 6200 msl it was only ten or twelve mph.
There were three distinct layers where my climb rate would decrease from 250 to 100 ft/ min. I didn’t notice dramatic changes in the air temp between the layers but I’m sure there was.
When I reached 6250 I was cold enough that I knew it made no sense to go higher so I took a few photos and pointed for home. On decent I turned off the motor and enjoyed listening to nothing but the sound of the wind. I was dropping at 400 to 500 ft/min with very little forward forward speed. When it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to get back to the field in a glide, I turned the Generac back on and finished the last mile under power at 100 AGL I would have liked to have done a power off landing but the last 300 feet were turbulent and so came in under power and landed without drama.
Since the breeze was a healthy 12+ straight down the runway I kited for 45 minutes. The APCO LIFT is not the greatest kiting wing but in these conditions it’s pretty good. I’m beginning to use the tip steering when kiting and it does very nicely.