June 15, 2020 at 8:28 AM #9091David WebbGeneral Member
Was requested that I start a discussion here about recommended bug-out altitudes when behind the front range, as it was said that some Falcon pilots were very close to needing the bailout on Sunday. There have also been several pilots recently (HG and PG) that have not been able to penetrate enough to clear the front range.
I know nothing about hang gliders, but it might be a good discussion to have for both wing types and varying conditions.
So – have at it! Bring your expertise and let’s talk about our safety margins.June 15, 2020 at 7:26 PM #9126Jerome DaoustGeneral Member
General advice (unless you have some high-performance wing) is not to aim for Marshall launch when leaving Crestline from its ridge height. Instead aim for Regionals (or halfway down the West-most spine down from Cloud peak), so you can go around to the West if needed, instead of getting trapped behind Marshall.
One has to expect that the first half of the glide from Crestline towards the front range (Marshall or Cloud) will feel good (not too much altitude loss). But as you get into the last half, you enter the sinking airflow (not necessarily rotor) that happens downwind of the Marshall-Cloud ridge line, and at the same time realize it will now be challenging to go around to the West.
Not a bad plan anyway to first aim for Regionals (or just West of Cloud peak), as in addition to being a shorter route to safety, you are likely to find lift in that area that you can then use to complete your “L” shape path towards Marshall (if needed).
How much height over Crestline ridge makes it safe to head directly to Marshall? Depends on headwind and expected conditions, but if you are 1000′ over the Crestline launch, your odds are good.June 17, 2020 at 11:50 AM #9162
I flew my 235 Alpha from Crestline on Sunday and had also done so a few days earlier. I got out to the front ridge both times but it took some thermalling up before I got there to feel real comfortable about the glide. On both days there was no real ridge lift, just thermals. So you needed some luck with your launch timing and some thermal skills or you could find yourself relatively low fairly quickly. I launch from Marshall more often and likely will do so in the future on the Alpha. It’s just more comfortable doing so as you avoid having to make that glide out. The “nuclear reactor” in the canyon gave me nice saving thermals on both flights but I would have to have to count on it every time. On Sunday, a Sport 2 was well below me rounding the corner at last chance so it was obvious to me that there was a lot of sink going on and it was just a tough day for the glide out. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to predict the non-sinky days so be careful up there. On both days, I launched around 3:30 to 4:00 so it was still quite active air. Early flights or late flights are likely to provide you with much better gliding opportunities. So the question isn’t just how high you should be before you head out from Crestline but also should include consideration of whether you will even get above Crestline ridge to gain some altitude for your glide.June 20, 2020 at 1:59 PM #9225
We used to fly standard Rogallos off Crestline. Generally we landed somewhere along Devil’s Canyon Road. So modern equipment should make it out to AJX no problem.
The briefing I give to H2s is:
If you get lower than the ridge, consider going to the Billboard. If you’re lower than the houses by the house thermal, definitely go to the Billboard.
Never try to cross directly to Marshall. Marshall is well rounded, so while you won’t hit a well-defined rotor, you will have sink in the area behind it out to about the middle of the canyon or a little further. Think of it like a very large, very oddly shaped airfoil: the air wants to stick to the surface, so it goes up on the front side, and down on the back.
So if you don’t clear Marshall, and try to sneak around, you will be in sink the entire way. There’s a little bit of a venturi wind effect at the end if you’re below the top, too.
Instead, stay as tight along the back ridge as you reasonably/comfortably can. Even if you don’t climb back there, the air, in general, is going to be going up, and extending your glide.
Go down to the Billboard. There’s a ridge there that points toward the powerplant. If you’re at or below 4800 feet, head out to Marshall.
Fly along that ridge parallel to the big tubes. Generally a little to the left of the big tubes is where I’ve found the best lift. Bearing in mind that there can be some venturi effect in the mouth of the canyon, when you can clear Last Chance or Regionals, do so.
The bailout isn’t very good, but it’s the closest thing to landable terrain in the canyon. Figure on a crosswind uphill landing. There’s a steep dropoff next to the road. It’s fairly flat, though pretty bushy, next to the edge, but it gets steeper and steeper the higher you go.
More advice, I can’t give, because I’ve never landed there, only picked people up. But I think I’d try to set up diagonally, to try to get some headwind component and a shallower path up the hill.
I think it’s better to leave Crestline a little early and have some altitude to work with when you arrive at Marshall. Yes, it’s possible to get up from very low in the canyon, but I don’t think the risk is worth the reward.June 22, 2020 at 4:18 AM #9253Bille FloydGeneral Member
The Bailout , in fount of the Billboard, is a rather Easy landing , (IF) you
have an approach plan ; you must take the time to go walk it in the early am, if ya
want to keep the stress down , the day you need to use it. First time i
walked that landing aria was in 1978 ; Dang, where did the time go ? !!
BilleJune 23, 2020 at 6:37 AM #9263
Bille, is there any possible approach for a hg in the bailout other than down or cross wind fly on the wall? I do need to walk the bailout.
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