Greetings from Dalhart!
A quick post updating activity at the Soaring Society of Boulder's Dalhart XC camp, Days 4 and 5.
Day 4 ended up being a bust for my buddy Lane Coleman (4Q) and I, as I had previously posted we were treated to thunder, lightening and rain and had thought for sure Monday would be a washout. With that thought in mind, both of us had a couple of nagging glider maintenance problems that we'd wanted to address, Lane's being wiring his nav system into ship's power so that it wouldn't die after 2 hours of internal battery use and for me, squaring away the oxygen system of my ASW-19. I had used it last Friday for the first time and quite frankly, hadn't thought it would have come into play so early in the camp and so getting things organized "on the fly" during the flight was a real hassle. I was determined not to have a repeat of that, so spent the day running lines, making a run for parts, mounting the pulse-dose unit, etc; as both of us had thought (from looking at the prelim weather) that the day was going to go south.
Arriving at the airport that morning, and a big line of weather off to the west was just waiting to move in (so we thought!) We felt affirmed in our decision to call a work day...Not the case...in a case of what passes for "normal Dalhart weather" according to Camp Counselor Bob Whelan the storms abated and moved south and west. While I was upside down in the cockpit of my glider running O2 lines, fellow Fault Line Flyer Dave Kammeyer (XLT) goes out and flies a 400k!!!
Determined to avoid a repeat today, I was prepped and ready for a Diamond Goal attempt from DHT-Castelberry-Guymon-DHT. The forecast was looking like a crapshoot, (the weather I expected to shut us down yesterday ended up hosing me today!) and it turned out to not be my day on several fronts...I didn't make the Diamond Goal as I landed out about 25 miles NE of Dalhart in a beautiful field of low wheat after completing the DHT-Castleberry-Guymon run. To add insult to injury, I was only 8 minutes short of the time needed for my Silver/Gold duration!! Frustrating!!!
BUT, one primo thing that was accomplished this flight was my first ever/no kidding off-airport landing. In other words.."To the Cows" I went...
An off-airport landout has been something I'd been really worrying about and so have tried to do as much possible to prepare for...but you always wonder if, during "crunch time"...will I have studied/prepared/practiced enough to result in a successful outcome?
Thankfully for me this time, the answer was yes! As T-storms in the area ended the flying day, I selected a beautiful looking field, examined it from all sides and found it acceptable and then committed to doing the best I could do by flying as precisely as I could. The result, happily was a safe touchdown and no damage to plane or pilot! Soon, my FLF buddies Lane and Dave were on the scene with my trailer, de-rigging took only 30 minutes and and after a quick trip back to the DHT airport to stash my trailer we headed to the hotel. The dinners I owe for the retrieve will have to occur after tomorrow's flying, as there is very little offered in the way of a decent meal after 9pm in town.
Tomorrow, back to the airport to rig, then another attempt at the duration and Goal flight! Rain chances decline for the rest of the week, so I am hopeful that I can get it done before camp adjourns Friday!
Safe Flying All!