Type of glider: Std. Libelle,

Takeoff location: Avenal (US / 11)


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Flight details

Points for the flight 498.63
Points for the flight 450.04
scoring distance 441.0
Speed 70.3 km/h
Duration 06:16:28
Points for the flight 48.59
scoring distance 158.7 km
Speed 24.7 km/h
Duration 06:25:47
Scoring class club
Scoring start 18:33:19
Scoring end 01:04:28
Index: 98.0
Club Central California Soaring Club
Date of claim 21.05.2020 04:22:11
state IGC-File: Flight:

Flight path

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This was probably one of my all-time favorite flights and my best by far flying out of Avenal.

Launched around 11:30 with good cu already building over Black and a few wisps around the airport. Alex towed me about halfway out to Tar Peak and I got off in decent lift. It worked well with a decent climb rate but cut off around 3300ft. I made one attempt to reach the clouds over the hills but was met with lots of sink on the way and high tailed it back toward Avenal. I then climbed back up in the same spot but held on to the thermal a little higher and was able to connect with the clouds in the mountains and they were booming. Cloud base was about 6500ft when I got my first good climb and rose throughout the day to about 8000ft. I cruised under the well-marked convergence from Black around the horn to EL4. At EL4 with cloud base still only about 6500ft I couldn’t go any further north without committing to New Idria as a landout so I turned around. This also worked out because about this time the Hollister guys were just getting their first climbs at EL1 and so I figured I would get a head start on all the modern glass that was going to be chasing me down in my 50-year-old Libelle. The run back to Black was again very strong with very little circling needed. Past Black, I initially took a to far east rout and found a few dead clouds. I then met up with TG and continued on towards the California Valley. Once on the correct line, the run south was again uneventful staying above 6000ft and only stopping for climbs around 5kts or better. Just north of Caliente Mountain, the line turned from fully developed cu to wispies. TG reported they were working but I decided not to push my luck and turned around. The run back north was again uneventful and I spent a decent bit of it flying with HV and 1KS. I continued north past Avenal with my goal of getting to EL4 again before turning around. As I got close to EL4 a few climbs didn’t work and I started to get worried. Getting towards the edge of glide to New Coalinga I started heading east. I realize now that I was probably too far east of the convergence line and flying under dead clouds. I kept getting lower and started going into survival soaring mode, taking anything that felt like a thermal just trying to make it back to Avenal. About this time my glider battery also took a dump (I had been flying for about 6 hours) so I turned everything off but the Vario and switched to a handheld radio. After two broken climbs in the hills that didn’t work out, I figured I was destined to land at New Coalinga, then about 2 miles from the edge of the town of Coalinga I hit my 2knot savior. I climbed as high as it would go which was about 50ft above a Macready 4 glide back to Avenal and set off. Not ideal but as long as I hit some good air I could make it and worst case I could turn around and go back to New Coalinga. Luckily I hit good air and was able to float my way back. I closed off my trace and headed into land touching down right around 6:05. Big thanks to Alex Caldwell for towing today and Ethan Ronat for helping me put WE away.


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