My first 2008 OLC Flight

10/28/07

Well, to my surprise we're on 2008 for the Online Contest (OLC). The OLC for 2007 ran until October 8th. My flight yesterday (10/27/07), got uploaded as a 2008 flight.

Yesterday was my second attempt to retrieve the Delbert. Unfortunately, I misjudged the day, and got a too-early start. I made my first launch shortly after noon, but couldn't stay up. With Eric Bluhm again towing, I launched again around 1pm (thanks to Tyler Hastings for noting, just before I launched, that I still had my tail dolley on the glider!), and managed to start finding reasonable lift. The day was blue, and thermals allowed climbs only to around 4,000 MSL. At the tail end of my first flight that day, I'd started getting reasonably strong sink (around 400 fpm down), wondered if there was good corresponding lift that I was not finding, and this was confirmed on my second flight.

I headed away from Osceola (OEO), towards New Richmond. My plan was to see if I could stay up at least that distance, and if I was having severe problems, land at New Richmond. I was staying between 3 and 4,000 at New Richmond, so called back to OEO that I was going to start my task, and switch over to 123.5 MHz on my radio. I had decided to do this Delbert attempt late -- I was scheduled to be FOO for the day, but when I got to the airfield, the soaring forecast looked like a cross-country might be possible so I abandoned my responsibilities. Again, sorry to those who took over for me!

Getting farther South, I didn't find that next thermal after getting below 3,000 MSL. I picked out my farmers field, and was heading towards it to land when I saw a wind sock on the field immediately to the West. Aha!! A private strip? A nice strip of green, with some hangar-like building structures confirmed it. Still hopeful for a low save I kept going about a mile more South, but headed back, getting to around 1,400 MSL. Still finding no low thermals, I headed into my downwind leg. Gear was down, landing checks were completed. On final I noted that there was a nice section cut out of the power lines to the immediate South of the field (later I learned that the strip owner had had these buried). Great!! No wire obstructions seemed apparent. I touched down and rolled to a stop about mid-field. (This field is located at the following coordinates: N 44 54' 32" W 092 24' 06" and seems to be the strip marked as "BALDWIN (Pvt)" on the Green Bay sectional).

Closing up shop at my glider, and leaving it at the East edge of the field, I walked back to the house at the South end of the field. I knocked, asked if the field was in active use (I hadn't cleared the glider from the field), and the lady very kindly invited me in for a beverage. Her husband was due back shortly. He was a pilot and an aircraft mechanic. She suggested that he might be willing to fly me back to Osceola in his plane! Wow! A great pick for a landing site! As promised, her husband, Brad, arrived shortly. We chatted and he very kindly said that he'd give me a ride back to OEO in his power plane.

It was now around 3pm, and the sky was laughing at me. Cumulus clouds were popping. It seems that somehow the day happened in two phases. At around 1pm there was moderate lift to around 4,000 MSL with a blue sky. At around 3pm there was cumulus clouds and lift to around 6 or 7, 000 MSL (I was to hear the lift and altitude part of this later from pilots at OEO).

In no time at all we were in his ship, and enroute back to OEO. We saw the Baldwin parachute operation in action, and skirted that to the West. Heading towards OEO, this was to be the first time I've set down at the OEO airfield in a power plane. Getting back on the ground, Brad gave me directions back to his home, and I asked around for people at RWSA to help me bring the glider back in its trailer. Steve Kennedy came to my rescue. Shortly thereafter we were on the road, with the glider trailer, to derig.

We hung out with Brad for a while in his hangar after derigging. A great place to land, excellent people offering their help, and the commeraderie of pilots. What more can one want? The day didn't hold the Delbert for me, but it was a success in other ways.

This flight had a duration of about 50 minutes, and amounted to 59.59 km according to the OLC-Classic, with a speed of 68.56 km/h. Link to OLC.