Road Trip to SF – Day 9 – Even more Funston

Another fun day at Funston. I made it to the setup area about 12:30 today – I’m getting better. There were only a few gliders there and one flying – but that would change. It was another overcast, low ceiling day. I haven’t seen the sun since the middle of last week.

I setup, dressed warm, and hooked in. I walked out to launch determined to have a good solid launch. It was blowing straight in again but it was about 18 or so. As I got close to launch the glider started to pull me forward. Not again. At least my wings were level. I took over and ran off with a nice launch. It just wasn’t quite started by me. I did the usual passes back and forth along the ridge for 30 minutes. Several others showed up while I was flying. Not yesterday’s crowd but a good turnout for a Monday. I decided to land and made sure it was all clear and I did a nice left hand pattern with a fun no stepper. I had good speed on final. You can tell you need the extra speed because I got bumped a bit as I descended.

I relaxed for about an hour and decided to go up again. This time I decided to launch using the basetube method. This worked out real well. I had much more control this time. I’m really sold on this technique for strong wind ridge launches.

So this was another 30 minutes of boating around in the big fat coastal air. One interesting thing this time around though. Near the North end of the ridge I hit a stronger spot of lift and decided to work it. There wasn’t anyone else nearby so I had some space. I did a few 180s. I had been mostly about 225 feet above launch. I was now 300 and still going up. A few more 180s and I broke 400 over. At about 430 over, and still going up, I started seeing some whispies. Uh oh! I pulled in fast and dove down. At first I wasn’t going down. Cloud suck! But I did some slipping turns and pulled in more and got back down to 200 over. Now that I safely out it was cool. I never got back up that high the rest of the day. This fun stint was ended with another great, easy no step landing. I’m getting spoiled with the fat, high wind landings.

After a half hour rest I decided to go up for a third time. I used the basetube launch again. So much easier. I spent another hour enjoying the views (despite the low ceiling). I did a few high speed runs and played with various turns. No good bird encounters today – oh well. It was getting cold. I was dressed warmer than some of my high altitude mountain flights. Time for one more landing. I got already for the usual setup. Another guy was landing ahead of me. I followed him in with plenty of distance. One more great landing.

What a fun day. Two hours of airtime. A trip to the clouds. Three great landings. It doesn’t get much better than this.

I asked a couple of locals over the course of the day how today (and the last 2 days) rated compared to typical Fort Funston days. I didn’t know if these were so-so days or amazing days. As it turns out both guys rated today a 9.5 and a 10. The 9.5 was due to the lower ceiling. After a slow start last week these last three days have really turned on and been great.

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