Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Wave Day 12/2 With First Land out

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Trinity
    Posts
    42

    Wave Day 12/2 With First Land out

    Interesting wave day, actually there are a number of adjectives I could use to describe it for myself. In a time line: great, confident, concerning, anxiety, denial with panic knocking on the door and finally acceptance. I write this from a relatively new pilots perspective with his first land out. Experienced pilots have likely been thru similar scenarios and this may not provide much insight. For me it was huge.
    In my personal debrief there were obviously things I could/would have done differently. In the beginning the wave appeared to follow the rasp as forecasted, releasing at 6700 at tree farm then climbing quickly to 12,2K near St. Johns. Lift became weaker north of Siron but recalling the forecast, wave was to be leaning more NNW towards Black Butte and strong. Following the old wave adage, if in doubt go up wind, so I turned NW north of Siron. However, sink went from mild to serious. Cloud formations didn't provide much direction. A radio call to PK , a number of mi’s ahead, confirmed not much there. I turned back at 9500, thinking still well within glide of Willows and I could make it back to the St Johns area where there was good lift. However, new clouds now blocked the most direct route and sink continued to increase. At 5400 ft about 4 mis NE of St johns, Willows was doubtful with the tremendous sink experienced thus far and panic was knocking very loudly at my door. At this point I likely made the best decision of the flight by resigning to Montgomery. At least it would buy me time, relieve the tremendous stress of “get-backitis” and allow clearer thinking. I was surprised at the relief this provided. Fortunately, I arrived at Montgomery high enough and was somewhat able to maintain by working bits of rotor lift (?). This gave me a chance to study the field and determine strategy; two ridges on each flank but a clear approach, horses were in the corral, runway and sides appeared clear and smooth. I couldn't see the windsock but nearby ponds didnt indicate much concern. And, thanks to Pat Alford’s earlier land out write up, I felt some familiarity of the strip. That was invaluable to me. I landed to the south with a left pattern. I chose this partly because it seemed the best option but likely I was most comfortable with the left approach. The rest was uneventful, thankfully. I stopped short of the horse corrals at the south end so as not upset them.The ground was dry, relatively smooth and firm.The foreman, Santino came out to greet me.Very friendly and said he wasn’t too concerned about spooking the horses.He also mentioned the that the runway holds up relatively well in wet weather.
    Do overs/lessons learned: 1. Not be aggressive based on the forecast, 2. climb higher in the strong wave before going forward; 3. return to the strong lift when first becoming unsure and reassess routes; 4. Keep situational awareness with regard to cloud formations; 5.. allow an extra, extra altitude margin to a safe landout airport (Willows) in wave conditions, (hope is not a good co-pilot.). Many basic mistakes but likely due to compliancy from a number of previous easier wave days.
    Also, a big thanks for Rex and the WSC staff for the aero tow rescue. A ground retrieve would have added 3 hours to the day.


    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Rio Vista, CA
    Posts
    65

    Re: Wave Day 12/2 With First Land out

    Jim,
    Thanks for a most concise and thoughtful write-up. I'm reading it over-and-over to learn from your experience.

    >>
    with the tremendous sink experienced thus far and panic was knocking very loudly at my door.

    This is the same feeling I experience. I should add, the downdrafts I encounter are much smaller in scale compared to what you experienced.

    Flying with Peter Kelly has been most helpful in this regard.
    When I encounter sink, I start to look around to see how to get out of this.
    Whereas Peter is always thinking ahead. Always thinking ahead (..worth repeating).
    When Peter encounters sink, he doesn't look around. He's already steering us towards his predetermined option A.

    Tom Jue

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Fremont, CA
    Posts
    213

    Re: Wave Day 12/2 With First Land out

    Jim,

    Great write-up! I'm glad my experience was of help to you. Likewise, when I was faced with a landout there I was relieved by knowing Peter's experience. This is why it is important for us to share these landout experiences. They benefit all others who may some day find themselves in similar situations.

    Pat

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    214

    Re: Wave Day 12/2 With First Land out

    Jim,

    Wonderful write up!

    I try to remember the following:
    1) Fly the soaring you HAVE, not the soaring you want.
    The soaring forecasting tools have become very good, but they are only forecasts. The sky is a very dynamic place. Especially, during wave conditions which you can see with all of the photos people have posted.

    2) Retreating to the last good spot is sometimes required to regroup when things are not working out.
    Pete Alexander -- 98

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Trinity
    Posts
    42

    Re: Wave Day 12/2 With First Land out

    Thanks for the input Pete. This month's Soaring magazine has an article about wave flying trappings. I can see where its easy to fall into some of those.
    Jim

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •