I never thought I’d jump out of a plane but there is a time and place for everything.
Today is the birthday of my beautiful first borns. I had to do something to celebrate…. so I flew …….like a rock.
This was under a chute but it was a tandem skydive instead of the usual PPG. I had met my instructor, Carlos, a couple of days ago when I stopped at the field to drop off a waiver. Actually we had been waving to each other from across the LZ for a couple of years while I was packing up from a flight and he was opening the Skydiving Business. Talking with him I got the idea that the best way to retain my rights at Shell Creek was to let the people get to know me. So… I booked a jump.
Everything went off perfectly. After a 10 minute video explaining the rights I was signing away with the waiver and a 5 minute orientation with Roy on how to exit the plane we were ready to go. I was the first to board and sat facing back behind the pilot. Carlos sat opposite me and two other jumpers sat by the door. It took about 15 minutes to climb through a layer of cumulus to 13,000 ft. The other guys exited first and Carlos and I took position at the door. He gave me two rocking moves and on the third, we were out. I’m not sure I had my arch just right but we stabilized quickly and he tapped my shoulder to indicate that I could release the harness and use my hands to steer. I have to admit that I was looking at my hands, and his, more than the scenery. It was surprisingly easy to turn just by using my hand like a rudder. I was just about to experiment with pitching down when he pulled the chute.
I was expecting to be jerked but the chute didn’t inflate that quickly, in fact, Carlos had to use some brake to get one side open. The decent was a blast. The first thing we did was pull full brake to make sure the lines were running free. Then we pulled some hard spirals. I was surprised by the huge amount of pressure and length of pull required to get some response. I could barely hold it in the full drawn position and even then I think he was helping me. So we did a few turns. Nothing too dramatic but I guess it was unusual for a first time jumper to go for a second and third spiral. The landing was quick we overshot by a couple of feet and I came down gently on my butt, as requested.
On landing I was greeted by a group of 70 somethings who had obviously been jumping for years. My response to, “How wiz it?” Was, “Its like flying a school bus!” That got a few laughs and we chatted a bit more while we stripped off our gear. Anne presented me with a certificate and advised me to drive carefully on the way home.
A good time was had by all… and I think there will be no problems with securing the rights to fly my rig at Shell Creek Airpark.
This afternoon I checked out Simms, it is covered with tangle weed and worse there are new “No Trespassing” signs posted at the entrance to the field. It’s looking grim…I might be able to find a place to launch over by the school but probably not for long. With Titan and Simms gone all that is left is Snowflake and the Southern sites. What a drag…I have to find some place close to home.
Taking down the windsock for the “last time” at Titan
Greg and I met at Titan, we watched Steve Alley launch from his house shortly after. I thought he was going see us and land but he turned North West and that was the last we saw of him. Later I found out that he had flown to work. “Lucky guy” to have an LZ right next to the fire station.
Before we were able to set-up and launch the fellow from RUSH Soccer came along and told us we couldn’t fly from there. He let us go today… but “NO MORE”. He claims to still own the land but also said that he was not going to build a soccer field because of some zoning issues. So… for the time being Titan is closed… Steve and I have to check on some issues with Douglas County Zoning and the ownership of Titan…perhaps something can be arranged so that area will still be open to us.
Two flights, the first was 30+ minutes. I flew over to the balloon port and checked out the corn maze. Both times I crossed over the inlet to Chatfield ..it was bumpy. I’ll never forget that place because it was the site of my worst collapse. I tried it at 1000 feet on the way in and 500 feet on the way out, no difference…bumpy as hell but worth it because I was able to check out the balloon. It hovered close to the ground for a long time and eventually climbed to about 1500. The air over the port was pretty calm but it was a fresh Easterly closer to the hogbacks.
My hands were really getting cold so I landed and put on the heated gloves. They are a pain in the ass and bulky as hell but my hands were warm.
The second flight was shorter. Lots of sinking air on takeoff and getting whacked shortly after liftoff kinda took the joy out of the flight. I lapped the field a couple of times ….went North to find smoother air and when it was looked like the conditions were deteriorating, I landed back at the truck. For awhile the winds picked up and a few small gusts blew through but to mellowed and I was wishing that I had not put the rig away while waiting for Greg to land. He got in a marvelous flight, well over an hour and a half. Got behind the hogbacks and covered lots of ground.
I’m thinking about talking with John Fetz about putting winglets on the prop blades, He seems to think it will ad significant thrust it will be interesting to hear what Terry thoughts are.
Goodbye Lucent…I hardly knew ya
Last night I drove to the Lucent site and discovered that they plowed half of it. The north south “runway” is two thirds shorter. Damn it! I talked with Jerry Kerr and Marek and we decided to go for it anyway.
I got out there at 5:15 with almost nil winds. It built slowly and when Jerry showed up it was light breeze from the south east. I had set up and launched shortly after he arrived and loitered overhead until he got airborne. My launch was a bit unusual I recovered the wing going far right and far left before getting it stabilized. Then… when I did get up and over the grass there was some serious sink and I didn’t get above 30 feet up until I was well out over the next field and my first turn was a tad low for my taste.
I circled the field several times to get altitude and wait for Jerry. I did see him take off and noticed that his wing seemed to be “hanging back”. I didn’t think much of it and circled for a bit longer when it looked like he was planning to stay around the “patch ” , I headed off to Chatfield. Great ride, nice air …bump scale of 2…Flew out over the ol marina and it sure felt great to be back at my first home field. On the way out I did a circle and took a 360 degree panorama series. That’s gonna be fun to mess with.
The landing was cool, the wind had come up considerably and I did a quick turn to a short final and landed dead on. Throttle control is getting better. Later Jerry & hit a bad Waffle House, and on the way out I took him to see South Park ….only to find that it has been fenced out and the church doesn’t want any stinking paragliders….:(