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         IGC Trace (there are a couple of flat lines where my logger failed - I was having battery issues)

Finally, my 1st 500k solo flight. 504K from release - 7:17 hrs

Saturday 4/19/03 was another great day. The task was Elevator1 to New Cayuma and back to Hollister.

I was the 1st towed and started the task just after 12pm. After maxing out at 7,000 at EL1, next climb was EL2, I sped off on task, however the next cloud had cycled and was dumping, and the next, and the next, I slowed down and conserved altitude west of Hernandez, where I finally connected and Ramy caught up with me already! The street ended before black MT, and we decided to cross the paso robles valley and connect with the convergence to the SW. It was slow going and blue across the valley, Ramy and myself played tag each marking the lift in turn.

I decided to continue West over the hills where there was a small convergence paralleling the coast over the hills east of Santa Marina, Ramy continued straight down calif valley and made way better time, gaining about 15 miles on me. I still enjoyed the security of the clouds and the ocean view. I ended up in the CA valley for a bit while I took the turnpoint in the blue, and saw 2 hanggliders at 6000 ft+


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I got low on the way back to the west convergence, and ended up ridge soaring for a few minutes until I connected with it. Continued toward Paso Robles - Ahead looked bleak, no clouds left, I figured oh well, may as well get as close to avenal as possible, I hoped I could get an aero retrieve from avenal. I left the last cloud over the west mountains west of Calif Valley and headed across the great liftless valley with Paso Robles just in glide. I passed just east of Paso Robles and Tip toed across to the foothills east of San Miguel, finally a climb!. I was just at the edge of the decaying convergence that went from priest to hernandez. I could never quite get to could base, and the clouds seemed to die as i got close, but pressed in, and hello, met Ramy again as he left a cloud I was joining several thousand feet lower, 15 minutes later I left at cloud base and headed for hernandez (wow I though, now I have hernandez in glide, that's much closer to home!) Everything was dying, and it was tricky, I again got low before hernandez and again Say Ramy leave the cloud just as I arrived low, this was my last big climb and I took every foot leaving for a final glide to hollister 54miles out at 8950ft (I had bickle made for sure). I flew zero mcradey all the way home and took every bump there was, I followed the hills in west of Bumb,and gained 600ft in the last thermal I ever found, yippie, now I had Christensen made safely, onward at best l/d with 90% bugs and a headwind. As I'm rigidly focused on the bumps and the vario, Tim Kurreck flys past me in his new 180 and waves, a nice surprise!


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I managed to find good air all the way home and continued to gain on my glide, Tim radioed me and mentioned Ramy had landed in a field just short of 31, so I continued slowly until I had Hollister with 1000 pattern. (incase I got the same sink Ramy did). Made it home easily arrived at 1200 feet.

I was mentally exhausted. I still did not believe I made it home that late in the day. I felt bad for Ramy, since he really deserved to win, since he flew so much faster than I did and made much better tactical decisions.

Lessons learned: As a 300hr pilot, I am getting close to automaticly flying my glider and thermaling, but now I need to work on my decision making much more. I had tried so hard to make all the right decisions, but ended up making many bad decisions that cost me time and altitude, in the end I had given up the race and just switched to survival mode with the objective to get to an aero retrievable airport.

Brian DG3
Screen shots from SEEYOU software (now with 3D flight analysis!)

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