Archive for April, 2010

Spring Fling 2010, Day five:task 3/ 52km dogleg

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Well we finally got a good wind direction that we are used to flying in so we called a task to the north with a 7km exit cyl around the Florida ridge flight park, then a 15 km leg north to the junction of the Hwy29 and Hwy 27 at the north edge of the triangle of doom, before heading to goal in lake Placid straight up Hwy 27.

We did’nt start till after 1:00 as the sky was a milky grey, but once the sky started to clear we could see great cu’s forming north of us about 20 miles and over the next hour they just got closer but they never seememd to be forming directly overhead.

Several pilots stuck on the early tows and those were the pilots that made it out the furthest, Terry B won the day landing north of the first TP part ways to goal, DJ was second.

Around 3:00 the sly became milky again as some high scud overran our posistion but we kept the faith and were still slingin although no pilots had stuck in over an hour, so we decided to tow for another 45 minutes and if no pilot stayed up we would call the day off. Around 4:15 all the pilots had enough towing for the day and they started to pack up, i told them that i needed to fly in order to bring up the overall points for the day instead of getting a DNF for the day. I got ready and Luis A from paragliding Florida towed me to 900 ft at 4:45 and after release i just worbled in 0’s for a while as i drifted downwind toward the trees and over the trees i found a bug fart of 50fpm up and i circled for a few minutes while Adam got towede aloft and when he got off tow he seemed to climb even better then i did, but my thermal was starting to show stronger potential and i was fianlly climbing out at 200 fpm but soon i could see Adam out climbing me so i shifted over under him and found 350 fpm lift which took us to 2,000 ft. Adam is a very new pilot never even thermalling before this event. I out climbed him as he was making odd circles but soon the lift was over and we headed downwind, we were unable to connect with the next thermal as it was getting very late int he day and Adam landed about 6 km the start for his first ever thermal x-c flight.

I was flying my SR8 proto and had an amazing glide out over the triangle of doom as i searched under a bird for lift i decided not to risk a long hike out of hte triangle of doom and turned back gliding south back to a easy retrieve road, i made 9kms form the start.

We should have some task results to post today.

Conditions for next week look steller, and there is plenty of room for more pilots in the ECPC.

See you here,


Spring Fling,2010 Day four, task two 39.5 km

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Todays forecast showed weak lift,light northwest winds which is the worst direction for flying here as it takes you out over some no mans land where there is not much or any retrieve options.

We set a task to the S.E. with a TP on Hwy 833 then a goal at Hwy 832, this task will allow pilots to go mostly downwind.

We started to pull pilots up at 12:30 with many pilots waiting to see better conditions but those better conditions seemed to never arrive, Terry B and Lee B both got away around 1:30 and were high heading downwind but they seemed to loose the lift a few miles south and they were both getting low. Lee B landed and had a foreman from Alico corp.(large Agribusiness) stop by and offer him a ride to the gate, they then saw Terry B flying not far away as he was scratching up in a light thermal, but the foreman requested that Terry B land there with them so the foreman could give them both a ride to the gate, Terry reluctantly went down and landed, the foreman had requested Terry land nearby so as not to land on any crop. Lee landed on the road so he did’nt damage any crop. About 30 minutes later they both arrived back at the tow paddock and reported the friendly foreman had given them a ride out. About an hour later as we headed back to give another tow we were stopped by an undercover policeman who took my ID and told us that we were not allowed to land on Alico property and that the next person would be charged with trasspassing.

I informed all the pilots that they could still fly the task but now they would need to fly straight east first over to Hwy 833 before heading south so as to not land on Alico property. Most pilots had already taken several tows and had not found any lift, we were not able to get pilots very high with the light winds and short north tow roads. So many pilots decided to just pack it up but a few pilots were still eager to get some and at 3:30 just 30 minutes before the launch window closed three pilots slowly climbed out with Dj D leading the way nice and high.

DJ ended up over on HWy 833 south of 80 which got him the top honors for the day, Tom M, Matt W, and Les B all made it out on x-c flights but the majority of the pilots were scored for Min distance.

As we closed the launch window and packed our gear to head back to the flight park, we were stopped again by a Florida division of wildlife officer(game warden)/cop who sternly told us to gather in a group so he would not ahve to tell us but only once that the next person who lands on Alico property would be charged with trasspassing and sent to court in front of a judge. I explained to the officer that we had a similar situation a few years ago with the Lykes brothers 40,000 acres property and when it got to court the judge threw out the case because to prove a trasspassing  has occured it requires that it be proven the trasspasser entered the private property intentionally with malice intent, which they could not do since the pilot launched with a different distination in mind. He replied that every case was different. We again told him that we did not intend to land on Alico property and that we would do our best to not land there again.  So two police officers in less then two hours, seems like Alico has a few people in their pockets. The real story is the Foreman who gave them a ride out was very friendly but his boss was very upset that his foremans time was being wated giving us pilots a ride out of his private property instead of working. Neither pilot asked for help or a ride. Does a property owner have the right to demand you land on his property when you are flying overhead?

Task one scores are provisional now with a few issues we are still working on but the winnner for the day got only 150 points and min distance pilots got 78 points just for launching.

Today and tomorrow look better although they are forecasting 50% chance of showers tomorrow.

Next week the ECPC weather is looking about as good as we have seen it here in Florida this year with SE winds everyday. 


Spring Fling 2010, day 3:Task 1: 52.3 km dog leg

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

After two days of strong winds and heavy downpours finally we got a chance to put our machine madness to the test, with five rigs slingin in two different locations. I have to admit i was very surprised at how smooth our system was working. at one point  we had three pilots on tow at the same time and all three of those pilots stuck in lift and climbed away from the paddock.

In terms of lift it was not a great not even a good day but a mediocre day at best and as the winds picked up what lift was out there got shredded up.

I think we did around 50 tows in 4 hrs and around 20 pilots we able to get away for an x-c flight. Only one pilot made goal Hadley from El Paso, and there were several pilots who were about 15 kms short.

I finally got towed up at 3:40 and was able to climb out in 100 fpm lift after a 1,000 ft tow, i topped out at 2,050 and went on glide downwind to the deck, without hitting a burble, the ground below was mostly covered with water.

Chandler topped out at 5,000 ft agl which was the highest anyone got all day.

Most pilots had a few tows and good flights so it was a nice transistion after two non flying days.

Tomorrow we plan a task to the SE around 45.5 kms which about as far as you can go with out landing in swamp.

More soon,


Spring Fling 2010, day two

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

This morning started with a dazzling light show, the snap crack of close proxemity lightening strikes, and a terrencial downpour that dropped four inches of rain in just two hours.

We were forced out of our tent at 6:30 a.m. with the lightening strikes just too close for comfort, the field was mostly flooded and it was still flooded at sunset today.

We obviously called the task off for today, as the winds were still 25 knots at 3,000 ft. The front had passed us by 12:00 and the sky was clearing. I gave another two hour talk, on a little bit of everything from a good tree landing  to speeds to fly theory.  We took a few hours for lunch and then again at 4:00 we had another GPS class and got all the pilots GPS’s downloaded, and then we set the task for tomorrow since the winds aloft will be taking us straight to goal in South Bay.

We  will have a 52 km task with a 3km entry cyl around the Ridge flight park and then a 2km TP cyl before heading downwind to the second TP at HWY 80n, (400 m cyl) on the way to a 1km goal around South Bay. Launch will open at 11:00 and the start will open at 11:30. Launch will close at 4:00 and goal will close at 6:00.

Winds are expected to be west,10 knots at 3,000 ft.


Spring Fling 2010, day one

Monday, April 26th, 2010

The winds aloft were predicted to be 25knots at 3,000 ft and at 7:00 a.m. it was starting to show signs of wind and when they towed up the first HG it was easy to see that the forecast was right on, the HG was going backwards on tow.

We decided that it was not going to be good for the Spring Fling pilots to give it a go, so instead we finished our registration meeting and then went right into a 3 hr briefing about all kinds of x-c  knowledge and some weather and soaring theory. After a several hour lunch break pilots gathered back here at the ridge flight park and many had a hour plus kiting session and then we did a mock task with gps Turnpoints so pilots could practice going thru the steps of flying a task.

Around 7:30 we all headed into LA Belle for a nice Mexican dinner and while we were at dinner we got a weather report that heavy rain was falling in Tampa just 100 miles n.w. of our locations and it is headed our way.

Tomorrow looks like 60% chance of rain and winds at 3,000 ft of 25 knots, but after the rain passes it will get better.


More soon,


Spring Fling 2010 practice day.

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Tomorrow is the practice day for the Spring Fling and lucky for me the winds look like thaey will be cranking from the s.e. and most pilots will not want to give it a go with the 20 mph gusts that will be associated with the epic conditions that accompany those big days.

So needless to say i’m getting a good nights rest and i’kll be ready for a early departure hopefully with a late finish well past the 100 mile mark.

It looks like we may suffer a couple days a strong conditions although i’ve seen conflicting reports about Monday and Tuesday before it returns to more moderate conditions.

Today we had 5 pg piltos out on x-c flights with DJ cracking the 25 mile mark, It was a good day with Brian M hitting some 1,400 fpm lift to 5,000 ft agl. The HG pilots flew 85 miles to the edge of Tampa.

There will be a pilots meeting tomorrow noght at 6:00 but if i’m not back form my 100 plus flight then it will be abbreviated and the pilots breifing will be again on Sunday morning starting at 8:00 a.m.

This years Spring Fling is now full at 25 pilots.

All pilots remember to bring any GPS download cables that you have for your GPS’s

any questions or problems i can be reached at 505-720-5436


Spring Fling 2010, May 25-30th.

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The Florida weather is improving and i expect excellent weather for the start of this years Sping Fling.

There are still two spots available for the Fun comp.

There will be a registration meeting Sat the 24th at 6:00 p.m. here at the Florida ridge.

Please remember to bring your GPS and any download cables you may have for it.

Florida ridge is located off HWY 80 east of LA Belle Florida about 13 miles, look for the large sign on the south side of the road with the hangglider on it.

There will be a mandatory pilot briefing Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m. and the first task will start around 12:00.

Camping is available on site for $15 a night and a nice room at the port La Belle inn goes for $50 a night.

If anyone has questions please call 505-720-5436

See you soon,

David Prentice.

wind,rain and more wind!

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Well as usual the weekend rolls around and the pilots are all lined up ready to fly, and of course the weather turns to crap!

Saturday it was windy and some small rain showers shut us down although we did get in a early flight with Adam his first high flight and shortly after the winds cranked up.

Sunday started out with rain showers at 5:00 a.m. and it continued thru out the day with brief heavy downpours.

Monday was a complete wash as the winds gusted over 20 all day and now Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. it’s already getting strong and it looks like this is what we get till Friday, which is all good by me as we have a full SIV session planned for lake Jackson.

Weather should improve dramatically as the weekend progresses.

Spring Fling is right around the corner!



Triangle of Doom!

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Well those of you who have flown x-c down here with us before know exactly where i’m talking about.

After you top out of the first thermal and head north you are faced with about a 10 mile stretch which we call the triangle of doom because there is no way to get retrieved and if you land in the center of that triangle you might have to walk several miles to get to a usable road.

The Triangle of doom has more water in it then i have seen in many years despite having an appreance that it is dry. Yesterday i started early trying to get the 100 mile mark set here in Florida but i was getting low over the center of the Triangle of doom and it looked like i wopuld land smack in the center but i was able to worble for a while and that 50fpm lift drifted me to a large clearing where i eventually landed and then i only had a two mile walkout. But the best thing is that now when you land in the triangle of doom you won’t get a ticket for trasspassing and then have to go infront of a judge like it used to be over there, so many thanks to the Lykes brothers agrisbusiness for relaxing their stance and allowing us to land without hassles.

The hike out took about 45 minutes, it was hot and sandy.

Reminder to self do not land in the triangle of doom ever again.

After many years of flying here it was my first outlanding inside the triangle of Doom.

There is a cold front approaching and it will mess up the weather over the weekend but it should pass quickily.



First flight in Florida!

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Yesterday was my firsst flight in Florida this year and the first since i had my crash last year.

The cu’s set up good around 11:30 and i towed Carlos up to 1,000 ft where he quickly climbed out to cloudbase. It took me some time to get ready and i was away at 12:20. I towed to 922 ft and climbed out in nice 400 fpm. i had a two good transistions into strong lift as i headed over the triangle of doom which by the way is alot more full of water then i’ve seen in a long time. I was west of 27 as i headed past lake Placid and then i flew straight over lake Jackson in Sebring Fl and was having an easy time of staying high with couldbase over 4,500 and climbs up to 800fpm but mostly 400fpm lift. It was rough in a few places but overall real nice as you expect from Florida air.

I landed at 62 miles out right at 4:00 onthe Polk county line with a nice cloud street still forming overhead i just got too impatient and pushed on when i should have stayed in my 150fpm up till i got back over 3,000ft.

Today looks even better with much nicer clouds and winds then yesterday, i’ll try to get started by 10:30 or 11:00.