August Fun Fly: Early clouds turn to lift

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Video courtesy of Ethan Bador- Instagram

Yesterday, six members and a film school grad went to the field for the monthly Food Folks and Fun flying event.

Rich R. and Bill R. stood at the Northeast corner of the field surveying the conditions around 9:30 AM. A cloud layer moved east revealing a coral-colored sky. After a short conversation, Rich R. walked his hi-start out and Bill R. assembled a vintage glider. The wind was 8 mph from the west and the temperature felt like an early fall day. They were the first.

Dan G. arrived and assembled his Aspire followed by Bob G. with his Viking II and Ava Pro. With planes in the air, Bill O. and Larry A. arrived along with recent film school grad and Dan’s friend – Ethan.

At a point five planes circled like vultures – the field sounded like a windy library with an occasional “whoosh” of a launching plane. The sky – a mess of clouds looking like either blankets of greyish cotton candy or stretched cotton balls against a blue background. Ethan got out his camera and began filming. He would say later, “it is hard to describe what this looks like in words.”

“That was 33,” Larry A. was overheard saying about a recent flight. – The whirl of an electric motor grew quieter as Bill R. launched skyward. Walled in by trees and corn – the air was buoyant over the Northeast corner of the field. Minutes later spoiler less/flapless white glider with blue stripes hurled in for a landing slipping to a halt.

The familiar red and white electric 2-meter circled high above the same corner. Bill O. sat under the umbrella shade with Larry A.

“Pop-Off”, Dan G. shouted as his Aspire crossed the field and popped off the hi-start. A wide right turn, flaps out, nose down, over flew the hi-start area and landed upwind. The left aileron was stuck down causing a “forever” right bank. The plane was undamaged in landing but was “grounded” after the servo was unresponsive after numerous tests.

Rich R. circled his Ava Pro from thermal to thermal and after a radio issue brought the plane back down over the cornfield bordering the field and landing area. It was a little more dramatic on the field but for the purposes of this writing – he made it back.

Bob G. launched his Viking II on Rich R.’s hi-start as if it arrived at the field from 1980. The wood fuselage and blue winged glider circled back to the ground like a wild kid flying a kite only to cross the field back and forth before the chute ruffled off the plane high above the field. The chute slowed to a normal speed falling downwind to the ground. The plane circled and circled until it was on approach 40-feet above the corn. The plane rose slightly and began to circle. Slowly it began to go back up – over the corn back into the semi-clouded sky. Sometime later it made another approach and floated 10-15 feet above the early fall tall corn wall next to the road bordering the field. Larry A. watched as the plane-maintained altitude slowly cutting back and forth.

“Nice corn ridge,” Larry A. shouted from the umbrella shade.

“As we were finishing up Bob G was bringing in one of his older Vikings,” Larry would write to the club’s Google Group. “As he was on final he noticed some lift at the edge of the corn field. He proceeded to slope the edge of the corn. The prevailing wind was just right and he was able to fly up and down the edge of the corn just a few feet above the stalks. I have sloped a tree line many times but never a row of corn stalks. Very cool to witness.”

The pre-fall had turned to humid summer-lite with just enough heat. A few good hours of flying under their belts either the chores of life or the heat or the mental tiredness of concentration or hours of good flying – they began to pack up one by one.

“Bob and Dan G, Bill O, Rich R, Bill R. and I flew the [field] today,” Larry A. wrote to the club’s Google Group. “Lift was spotty and the weather was pleasant.  We flew hi start and electric launch gliders. There were no adverse incidents, and all gliders went home unscathed.”

The next club event is the September Hand Launch contest on Saturday, September 3.