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Old 04-14-2009, 03:59 AM
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CHassan CHassan is offline
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Default Don't I wish this was mine!

Posted by a pilot in Florida. Who is the Mysterious Lightspeed??

The day started out ... with a breakfast of course.

We looked outside and the trees around the house were moving pretty good. Hmmm... We want to fly but driving 150 miles to look at clouds zipping by is not the thing to do on a Sunday. So Squidlette started calling up some guys at the Ranch to find out what's going on in Central Florida. Bob thought the winds are dying down at about 11 and told us some guys from Norway stayed up for an hour before breakfast.
That was it. Packing up the gliders, getting all the junk together and down the road we went.

A the Ranch we were setting up and pushing out to launch without delay.
Tom mentioned he planned to go to the coast. Squidlette asked me if I wanted to go XC and I said I'm not sure. It was my first flight with the new harness and we had a stiff breeze from the east.

Paul towed me one big circle and off I was at 1.800 finding good lift. I saw Tom and an Atos leaving toward the west and I went with them thinking of turning around as soon as I reach highway 33.
Damn, the harness was feeling good and the climbs were good so I pushed in front of the gaggle further west finding great lift under little wisps whit a lifespan of about 10 min. I had the impression I'm not able to get head down all he way. I will have to adjust the kick butt mechanism at the simulator before I launch the next time.
I usually don't have a problem turning right but the hardest time climbing out doing it and it seemed to be everybody was doing it. So I tried to stay in front of the group to determine the turning direction. Haha, Tom and Dennis were catching up quick and soon I was a bit behind with another topless way above me. I had no Idea who hat could be.

We crossed the green swamp area to the north east of Zhephyrhills and ended up not low but in need of another climb to the south east of Dade City.
I was smelling the landfill there and thought there has to be some lift. No birds in sight and only light lift. Dennis flew further to the north and I watched him closely catching a nice climb above some shallow black swampy area. As soon as I hit base I saw him and the mystery litespeed heading straight north.
Dennis sunk out and I lost sight of him, Tom was about half a mile behind and slightly lower than me when I decided to stay with the liftline going further west with a little touch of north crossing the city.
North west of Dade City I found good lift but couldn't find Dennis anymore. Tom was still hanging out behind and the other litespeed seemed to be waiting about 500 feet above me.
I never managed to wire my harness with he radio so I wasn't able to talk to anyone and I didn't have the waypoint Cristal River in my GPS either.
What to do?
I saw I 75 in reach to the west of me and this is were I went pushing further west. Every once in a while i did a turn to check where the others are but saw only the mysterious litespeed. At this point I made the decision to just scrap the plan to go to Cristal River and go as far west as I could make it to make the pick up easier.
I spotted Hernando County airport and I knew and was able to see that there are no more landing areas to the west of it.
That was it. I wanted to land there, close to the airport and just 30 miles north of HOME. Going south was out of the question because of the Tampa airspace. West would work but no landing fields and realizing the time of the day and the sea breeze eventually kicking in I didn't wan to jump further north making the drive home longer.
The airport looked way to big to land a hangglider and as soon as I got closer I noticed the 2.000 acres were going off like a elevator. the litespeed was still following me about 1k above me. I saw a school with some fields next to it with huge flood lights but thought about NMERider's last landing and ignored his landing zone...

I did a huge circle around the airport to loose alitude keeping a close eye on both about 5k ft and 7k ft runways and dropped in on the westside in some nicely groomed field. I had to run a bit to not let he nose touch the ground...again...
No wonder, no wind here at all.
I turned my glider around to let the guy above me know that I'm O.K. but I couldn't find him.
I called Squidlette to let her know I'm well and on the ground after 2:50 hour flight and there he was. He was coming in from the west and touched down about 50 feet from me.
I walked his way to find out who I was flying with and found out it was our RD Phillipe from Cleveland.
After 5 minutes shaking hands and telling each other what great pilots we are we started breaking down and and walked the long, long way to the office building on the east side with a light sea breeze from the west giving us support tailwind on our 30 min walk.
Tom and Dennis landed north of Dade City. I guess we will be able to read up on this on Tom's blog and Dennis will tell us also as soon as he gets back home...

A big thank you to Sqidlette for picking me up, I owe you more than a dinner

if you find any grammar mistakes, you can keep 'em
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