Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Unusual Tandem

I got back from a trip to the States this weekend and went for a flight today. The flight was pretty routine, pleasant but nothing to write home (or online) about. The highpoint of the day happened on launch. It was a dog telling its owner it wanted to fly now. As soon as the dog had his harness on, he could barely contain himself - super excited, trembling and yelping. At one point the pilot pointed out to his friend that 'my dog has more hours than you this year' and his friend had to agree (this year has been pretty dire, the dog is lucky). I talked to the pilot's partner and she told me the dog had been flying at 3 months - even in dog years, that's pretty young!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Storms or Overdevelopment?

We're into summer and my flying routine has changed. It's too hot to enjoyably hike up to launch with an aircraft on my back, so I'm taking the shuttle or riding up with locals. This changes my flying days' workout to an early morning run when it's still relatively cool.

Unfortunately the forecasts this weekend were for afternoon overdevelopment with a substantial risk (depending on the forecast you choose) of storms. Over three days, I flew the first two. Both days, I immediately headed out to the west of St Andre where the lower mountains and a wide valley reduce the risk of storms. Both flights involved a lot of cloud monitoring and avoidance; as the afternoons went on that became harder and I landed just short of 3 hours on both flights rather than risk any drama. 

On Sunday the forecasts more clearly showed storms and I took a bike ride. The clouds didn't actually build as quickly as they did the previous two days. But by the time I got back to St Andre they clouds were growing very tall. The storm broke very suddenly 30 minutes later, with hail, winds and lots of rain. I'm glad I wasn't on my bike, never mind in the air.