Congratulations on another great flight.
Another reminder that the wings we fly are not 100 percent safe and are
subject to deflations, crevats and other bad things. Glad you were able to
recover without throwing.
I'm really impressed with your composure to keep flying after your "event"
I guess next flight you will be wearing warmer gloves.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 7:55 PM
To: Cascade Paragliding Club
Subject: CPC: Pine Mtn Flight report
On Saturday Johnny Van Duzer and I flew Pine Mountain.
I had checked the forecast and it looked good but not great. Johnny's call
on Friday evening convinced me to make the trip down just to see what would
Two images below are of the MM5 forecast at 2pm and 5pm. The first one shows
good wind speed and direction at the ground for being able to start off at
an early hour. Both Johnny and I were hoping to get to the summit hang
launch early(ish) to avoid strong winds as the day developed. It also shows
good lift to about 670mb (3,460m/11,400') which is decent but not the upper
limit potential for Pine. The upper level winds were not strong which bode
well for smooth climbs (we hoped) and the changes in wind direction meant
that hanging out at different altitudes could help/hinder the XC flying. The
moisture shown on the forecast seemed about right for maybe forming some
Cu's to mark the climbs.
The second picture of the 5pm MM5 didn't look quite as good, with higher
winds at the surface and good lift to only about 700mb (3,100m/10,200') and
increased moisture availability.
We met at the Y at around 10:15am, took my Suby to the summit and I took a
few extra minutes to stretch my B lines in the hope that should any large
event happen my wing might want to restart in a timely fashion (I believe
this is called foreshadowing in literature.) There were medium strength
cycles rolling through the summit with regularity and I lauched around
The first half of the flight was straightforward, although climbs weren't
very high and both Johnny and I agreed later that the air was not super
relaxing. We were doing pretty well and making slow progress to the East
whilst sticking together for the most part. Johnny out-climbed the bejesus
out of me near the Brothers and I ended up going on a death glide low and a
bit deeper into the terrain. I got absolutely drilled in what I imagine was
the lee of a large thermal because it was marked by a nicely formed Cu just
overhead/upwind of me.
As got low it just felt like I was being blown down into the ground my wing
persisted in a state of uncivility while I just continued to sink. It was
one of those 'weird air' times when the wing just doesn't seem to be flying
and pressurized like it normally should be. The air was so unsettled that I
had a hard time staying on bar to try and escape the bad patch I was in. I
was flying at about 600'AGL with little or no bar and at nearly trim with
brakes when suddenly the wing completely frontaled and disappeared behind
me. As I looked back to view it I saw that it was in horseshoe shape. I
don't remember having any reaction at all as it collapsed because it was so
sudden. When I saw the wing behind me and snaking about I went hands up and
hoped for a quick restart as I knew my ground clearance wasn't super high.
The wing made a violent snapping sound as it re-pressurized and flew forward
asymmetrically. I'm not sure what I did as far as reactions up to this
point, I'm thinking it was mostly hands up still - I was just waiting for a
recognizable configuration at this point. As the wing flew forward and well
below me while at about a 45 degree angle to the horizon I definitely had
pulled a bunch of brakes but the energy of the wing and probably my delayed
reaction (didn't know I was about to throw a tumble into the mix..) meant it
was mostly man handling me at this point. As the lines went a bit slack the
risers twisted a full twist and at this point I turned my attention to
getting the reserve out. I distinctly remember grinning a huge grin as I
grabbed my red reserve handle and thought about my conversation with Matt
Wear a few days earlier. I had told him how jealous I was that he got to
throw his reserve and I couldn't wait until I had the chance - this was my
very next flight after that conversation. I chuckled at the irony of how
soon I was now hungrily eating my words.
Suddenly I felt a shock load on the lines and I paused just long enough to
realize that my wing was now flying and inflated - albeit with a full twist
still. I had both hands out of the brakes and I was listening to the
separation of velcro in my right hand as I pulled on the handle. What the
heck, I'll give it a quick try... I reached up and pushed on my lines above
the twist and I easily untwisted.
I grabbed the brakes and quickly radioed Johnny to ask if he has seen my
shitshow and he replied he had. I told him it would be a miracle to climb
out now but I was going to try. I was still sinking at this point and I
didn't know how much of a miracle it was going to be. Take a Google Earth
look at the track log around Brothers to see how low I got. Not only was I
kicked out of the pod but I was leaning forward and putting my chest over my
cockpit and eyeing the bush I was going to spot land when I felt a bump of
lift. I honestly think I climbed out from 50' AGL but who knows from the
adrenaline maybe it seemed lower than it was. As I frisbee'd back past the
small hill I hung on to the lift for all it was worth and eventually
connected with a proper thermal. I noticed Johnny coming over to join me and
it really felt good to have a friend nearby after just experiencing 2 of the
most intense events I've ever had on a paraglider.
From that low point to my high point of 14,700' (almost 10,000' higher) a
couple hours later things got easier. I reconnected with my wing (after she
let me down like that) and now we're nearly completely good again. Also
during this flight I experienced intense frozen hands and painful rewarming,
some minor hypoxia which Johnny coached me through with an over-the-radio
impromptu breathing class not unlike Lamaz, and another low(ish) save near
highway 395 which wasn't very low but my flight instrument was showing
30+kph wind speed and I was really not looking forward to having to land in
such high winds.
I made the cursory call to Nick Blizzard to get the wind speed conditions
further down my course line and of course to check for any possible airspace
infringements. He mentioned that the thunderstorms I could see were on the
Idaho border and they looked almost within reach. I would have kept going if
I could have but unfortunately I got into Burns low and being blown downwind
with a ground speed of 80-90 kph just meant there were not a lot of un-torn
thermals left to grab.
I caught a small bubble just before town which enabled me to glide over to
the golf course and I luckily landed in between cycles in only moderately
Several golfers took short detours on their golf carts to see what I was all
about. I felt like an alien visitor who just landed and was now encountering
strange, drunken terrestrial beings talking a foreign language.
Quote of the day was from golf cart driver #3: "Dang, whatcha got there? Hot
air balloon?" and as he caught himself identifying the wrong craft he
quickly corrected himself: "Or a tent?"
"Yeah, it's basically a suped-up tent, I replied." which is a phrase I
actually often jokingly use to describe what I fly around through the air.
Fun day and a PR for me. Super thanks to Johnny for the support and the
retrieve. We were enjoying margaritas in town by 8:30pm.
Let's go flying!
503 877 4448 <tel:503%20877%204448> (w.)
206 679 1963 <tel:206%20679%201963> (c.)