By Gisele Dierks
Thank you all so much for your kind feedback on my first post. I love hearing your stories and learning more about Morningside.
Open Season/Spring Air
Last weekend was a bit windy, but we got some good flights in for springtime air. On that note I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone,, that we can’t be too hasty. This is especially pertinent to newer pilots who are anxious to get back in the sky. For some pilots it has been over a year since our last flights, with COVID keeping us grounded (physically). For others, it has still been a long winter, and it is easy to overdo it early on. Even for those fortunate enough to keep flying all winter in warmer places (you lucky little…) remember that this is the time of year in New England when thermals get crazy.
As the ground greens up and the white blanket of winter is forgotten that dark ground is a magnet for the sun’s energy. In a month or so once all of the leaves are out, transpiration will cause some more interesting air patterns and rain showers. The moral of the story is that spring air tends to be a lot stronger than summer air. When flying after a break in fresh situations, do us all a favor and learn from mistakes that have already been made, rather than re-enacting them yourself.
Flying is a Privilege
I recently found an old publication Jeff wrote in January 1986 called “Birdseed” which I will echo here. Essentially, we are guests at most of our launch sites and even more so in our landing zones! With an increasingly busy world, free flight is arguably in an even more precarious position than it was thirty or forty years ago. Regulating and insuring the sports seems to only become more complicated with each season. Keep in mind that every mistake you make from set up to launch to landing could endanger you, and everyone else in the flying community as well.
One example I have heard in safety briefings here at the park: several tree landings around Mt. Ascutney with local emergency response teams may end well for everyone the day of, but in the budget meeting several months later, they may scratch their heads and start asking why they let those crazy pilots launch the mountain and create so much extra work for the rescue team. If it were ever to become too much of a burden, they could tell us to stop launching there.
The same goes for landing zones… we rarely own them, and it is only due to good relations with land owners that we have them! If one person becomes a nuisance to them and they revoke their permission we all suffer. Laces, leg loops, lines, lock, and now… am I making a good and safe decision for myself and my community standing here?
While we wait for stable skies, it is a good idea to check and make sure everything else is in order. If you are flying other sites, make sure your memberships are up to date, your chute has been repacked, and for hang gliders, it may be a good idea to get your glider an annual inspection. We have Bobby Hastings back at the park and he will be doing glider annuals when he is not on the hill. In an effort to keep the knowledge alive, I think some of us younger HG pilots will be helping as well.
With so many experienced pilots around, I think the culture of formal yearly glider inspections has kind of fallen by the wayside, but I don’t think it is ever a bad idea to have another pair of trusted eyes on your aircraft, even if you can technically do it by yourself. If you are not familiar with your glider’s history, or if it got a few good whacks, I would recommend getting someone to look at it before you head to the skies! Like other preventative measures, this one is a bit less expensive than dealing with the consequences of a faulty aircraft.
I think that’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you in the skies!
I’m looking forward to a great season of flying and learning!