This was a very satisfying flight. Yesterday, I was at Lake Suzi and decided not to fly, it just didn’t feel right. The wind was cycling between 3 and 8 mph and shifting randomly through 45 degrees. I didn’t want to have another 2 minute pucker flight because I was being thrashed as soon as I cleared the trees. So, with not a small amount of reluctance, I turned back and headed for home.
It’s early in daylight savings time, the sun is rising at 7:30. Like yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and was out the door an hour later. The predicted winds were 30 degrees off the forecast, making for a cross wind launch at Suzi so at the last minute, I changed plans and skipped Suzi and went to Placida instead.
There was a beautiful pink full moon setting as I drove over the El Jobean Bridge. When we hit the dew point of 70 degrees the windshield fogged up. It was certainly a much warmer morning than usual.
The inflation and runout was,” the best overall “ in a long time. It took about 150 feet to reach takeoff speed but the rotation was clean. It was a little twitchy up to 300 ft and the winds aloft were 45 degrees further south. The clouds were coming in bands. Flying just above them, it looked like a total overcast. The cloud bands were moving southwest at about 12 mph. I’m adverse to landing blind, so, I paid close attention. I was confident that I would not lose sight of the surface but the overcast illusion was persistent until I was 1000 feet above the clouds. They were thickest to the north and very light over the Gaspirilla causeway.
I quit climbing about 15minutes into the flight and enjoyed “buttery air”. The only turbulence I encountered was my own prop wash after some button hook turns. The decent was smooth to 500 feet where it got spicy real quick. I setup to flyby the windsock and hit some nasty sink at 200 feet. In a heartbeat I was 100 feet lower and still descending . I powered up and flew level through some strong rotor coming off the jungle. Eventually I got above it and circled back to a surprising soft and slow landing.
The APCO Lift EZ did really well with the turbulence despite being trims in for landing. I was getting pushed around pretty bad but the wing didn’t oscillate. Today would have been a good day to experiment with 2D steering while I was at altitude in smooth air, I really should have tried flying the wing with both wing tip and brakes together.
After the flight I kited for a bit. Again, the wing felt great. It was a bit damp but still came up nicely. Another point of note; this was the first time I flew with the new flight suit and swamp boots. No bugs or wet feet. No weeds snagging my legs and at altitude I was warm and comfortable. It fits great, even after I landed and tied the top part around my waist. (The alterations cost more than the suit). I’m not sure I care for the color (red) but performance wise …. I’m happy.