The Sac! (Nov 8th, 2003)

The turnout today at the Sac was great. For local pilots we had the standard contingent along with several infrequent flyers (at least, of the mountains) combined with a good showing from Maryland. The crew included Doug Rogers, Tom Gartlan, Shawn McDuff, Bob Beck, Karen and Joe Gorrie, Dave Fink, Christian Titone, Danny Broto, Tom McGowan, Bacil, Pat (didn't get the last name), Richard Hayes and myself (please let me know who I forgot and I'll add them). We even had a visit from an old pilot that doesn't fly HG anymore (now just PG and PPG), Mike MacPherson.

The setup area was crowded to say the least. The day started off strong so we kicked stones for a while ... well most of us did. Gusts were to 25 or more so Bacil was disappointed that he might only get a sledder so he launched before it got any lighter.

A few shots of the setup area prior to most of us (with one exception) flying:

We watched Doug get kicked around for a while and then I got on launch ... then off launch .... then on launch ... then off launch. Then Bob finally went to show me how it's done. Following his lead I launched in some of the strongest air I've been in in a long time. Tom recorded over 1300 ft/min up over a 30 second average and I had many thermals that peaked well of 1000 ft/min up and averaged 800 all the way around. The other point of note was the fact the it was FRIGGIN COLD and I lost the feeling in the fingers on my right hand at altitude (probably 3500-4000 based on what others were saying). Flying around with my right hand curled up in one glove and fumbling with the camera in the other I manage to get these shots:

It was so strong it was almost impossible to get down. Every time I went out into the valley during the flight I seemed to get slammed as if I fell off of a cliff, but now that I wanted to go land there was nothing but lift over the landing field. It took me quite a while to find sink consistent enough to circle down below launch level. The landing was pretty challenging given the fact that it was still blowing pretty good in the LZ and, with all of the turbulence, it seemed like I was trying to set up my approach in a washing machine. I managed to put it down safely in and was relieved to be on the ground (and warming up). With minor mishaps, resulting in no scrap aluminum and no blood or bruises, everyone else put it down safely also.

Some shots from the landing field

After we all got packed up, several of us headed over to Jacks for dinner.

Joe and Karen

Shawn, Lori, and Tom

Our waitress (can't remember her name) and Cook.


Then to top off the evening (pun intended) we all got to watch a metamorphosis that would rival that of the most elegant butterfly. The following sequence of photos were taken seconds apart:

To begin with, there is Bob ....

And finally ... “Dickhead.” From Bob to Dickhead in seconds (I know, I know, it wasn't that far a trip).