Our season for long cross-country soaring flights may be about over for this year, but Karl Sommer regails us with one more TRUE story from out there in the wild blue yonder:
Here we are, late in the season sun lower and cooler days. The blipmap was somewhat encouraging, altitude 12-14K with OD at the Sierras up to Reno. We decided to try it anyway, one never knows. Chris asked, when do you want to get towed? I will get you going as soon as you are ready, we opted 11:00 – 11:30, Dale reported lift in the Mts around 10:00 and clouds were forming, so I got pulled up at 11:10. I connected with a good thermal between 1st and 2nd ridge and Mt Lewis worked, so before I knew it I saw 13.5K (cloud base). I started the long glide toward a Cu N of Tehachapi. After a while I thought to myself “you left too early id…” No bumps, nothing. Made one turn close to Mojave (fooled you) and arrived not quite 6K at 6,600,-foot Cache Creek where I trashed around for ½ hr till I felt comfortable to go further west. Aha, here we go, up to 12.5K. Never got any higher until I reached Westgard Pass at 13.2K, Schulman 13.8K, top of White Mtn. 14.1 K. The whole White Mtn Range was in the shade with the Sierras all clouded too, so I became a “Sun seeker” arriving in the sun at Boundary Pk at 14K.
Now what? Very spotty sun towards Yerington where I wanted to go, and lots of sun towards Mina. A solid cloud street with a dark flat bottom (estimated 15K) over the White Mtns. did not really pay off. Also no other gliders in the vicinity on radio, so I opted for Gabbs. I had the whole world to myself and my crew, enjoying the majestic scenery and air currents provided by mother nature. What a super sport this is! As expected, the clouds had very weak lift, or none, yet the glide slope looked good. In the Gabbs Valley I tested a 400-footer that got me to only 12K, not enough for attempting Austin at 6 PM even with a few good looking clouds, appearances are not everything. Rose, my faithful wife and expert crew was waiting when I landed to the E at 6:16 (rather than landing into the sun). 7:06 hour flight, and I was very pleased.
Thanks again Karl, for another rousing yarn!