9/23/07

A Beautiful Place To Land

Yesterday (9/22/07) marked my 12th off-field landing, but very likely my best landing field ever, including real-life airports. I doubt any asphalt I have landed on has been quite as nice.

I launched from Osceola a little after noon, with Dan Whipple towing. Winds were predicted to be out of the SW, and relatively strong. I would have liked to have made another attempt for the Delbert, but it seemed hopeless for the day: No cumulus were appearing (as predicted by NOAA), the lift was not all that strong, and (as mentioned) the wind was relatively strong and not helping a flight to the South and West to Stanton. Hovering around OEO for about 1/2 an hour, I finally decided I would head out. I radioed down to my crew, Walt Johnson, and told him I would head to the North, to Rush City. The wind was almost exactly out of the SW, but it was predicted to shift around more to the South later in the day. So, off I went. Quickly, I got down low and nearly landed at Taylors Falls. I had the gear down and was looking over a landing field (not more than 1 mile away from another field I'd landed at in Taylors Falls earlier this year), but found lift, climbed back up, and continued on. For the most part that flight, I was only able to climb up to around 4,000 MSL. Only once did I make it significantly higher, to 5,100 MSL. Twice more I got down low. The first time I recovered, and climbed, but the third time getting low that flight was the charm. I ended up on final for my off-field landing. I was about 10 miles South of the Moose Lake airport, and saw lovely large green fields. I was initially wondering if they were tall green crops, but they had what appeared to be a mowing pattern (stripes), so I decided the crop might be short. It turns out that the field was just lovely. It was a sod farm, with about 2000 feet of the most lovely closely mown, exactly flat, grass:

My deep thanks go to the field owner, Willard Rehbein (W. C. Rehbein Sod Farm). Walter arrived shortly after I landed, and we pulled the glider by hand to the edge of the field to an access road, so as to not damage the beautiful gras, and proceeded to derig the glider on the access road. We arranged the glider perpendicularly to the trailer as the road was not wide enough to reach the wing tips otherwise. The flight was a little over 2 1/2 hours in duration, and some 129.45 km = 80.44 miles (OLC classic). My average speed was 51.63 km/h (32.08 mph). Link to OLC. This flight makes 10 cross-country flights I have made in 2007, doubling the total number of cross-country flights I made in past years (10 from 2003 to 2006).