Prepping for Cross-Country Season

This is it. The first year where I am ready to cross-country from the very beginning. In 2012, my first year flying, every flight was a new first. First flight above launch. First hour flight. First two hour flight. First landing in what we call the postage stamp. Later in the year came first flight above 10,000 feet. What more could a fledgling want in her first year? Well, San Diego kept giving.

XC Season in San Diego @ Mt. Laguna

Late September back in 2012, my power purple Northwing EZY and I went on a trip. On an amazing climb to 11,500+ feet, with a friend and his T2C on my wing, we went on glide for new territories. Correction. He went on glide. I mainly just sank like a somewhat aerodynamic rock. I pulled in for best glide–or what I guessed was best glide–and aimed for the next LZ. Now from the highest I had ever been, I felt like I could go anywhere. I could smell the salty air from the coast, see Catalina island, and peer far east into the desert–Arizona must be out there somewhere. But my single-surface glider had other plans. Seeing the T2C pulling away and nearly disappear above me I immediately gained appreciation for double-surface wings (oh I can’t wait for the triple surface wing!). Having passed the point of no return, I watched intently as the LZ seemed to move up in front of me.

Pushing onward I had no choice. Certainly on a big air day there must be another thermal around here. But where? The moments slowed. Wondering if I would ever near the LZ I began to look for alternatives. Not that I was super low, but on my first flight away from the local pattern I wanted a full report on my options. Now, Butch Peachy tells me, there are more thermals than LZs. Too bad I had not yet met him. He was right though (don’t tell him I said that). Just as I seriously began to wonder whether I could make the LZ, my vario began to chirp. Up. Up. Up until I knew the LZ was mine. As if to add an exclamation point, over the field another thermal rocketed me back up to 9,000! For a few moments I considered whether I could continue on. Tired, and unsure where exactly to go I found sink and floated down. 11 miles from launch, my first cross-country was complete.

Of course, what is a cross-country flight without a long retrieve, packed between gear and guys in a dusty old SUV? Perhaps it was midnight before I half-asleep/half-reliving every circle of my flight opened the door to my home and flared into my bed.

2014 – The Year of the XC
Skipping ahead to today, with an upgraded glider (Sport 2, check), instruments that rival a Cessna 150’s cockpit (Flytec 6030 and Garmin 76S in a cool pod, check), an amateur radio license (call sign, check), and hopefully a slick new harness on order soon (my current harness has so many lines it might as well be called the Flying Spaghetti Monster), I cannot wait for San Diego to once again breath life into the air. This year is the year to hone my skills and soar beyond new horizons.

Butch also tells me he counts Super Bowl Sunday as the kickoff to cross-country season. And he would know. So let me be the first to say, screw football, let’s go fly!

The Ranchita Yeti says, “Y’all fly back soon!”

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