Final Glide

Final Glide
Final Glide by Bob Katz

As we approached the last weekend of the 2009 Lake Placid season Sunday looked like the honey. That said, most participants headed down Saturday despite rain in the forecast because at Lake Placid, you never know when a window will present itself. Dealing with mountain weather systems is always interesting with opportunities arising when least predicted. The opportunities did arise, for a socializing. And where better than on the numbers. 32 that is of the runway threshold where panoramic views were best offered during sunset.

Sunday morning was a waiting game for the Sentinel Range peaks to become clear of cloud with a margin. Wave holes over Heart Lake and the parking lot at Whiteface teased, but the solid overcast deck denied safe access and above all egress. We waited for the predicted clearing trend to roll in. Consistent winds of about 13-15 kts from 270 degrees ensured ridge flying. Feeling pity for a tow pilot turned soaring pilot, the gang let me take the front of the grid to maximize my flight. A short 2,000' tow dropped me and XS on the Sentinels which gave positive varios off release. Everyone else followed.

Position Taken
Position Taken by Bob Katz

Despite the wave surely working at Whiteface (huge wave hole) the overcast layer was still denying access considering a safe return. The was opening up but we could not delay as the Towplane driven by Pierre Gavillet was scheduled for a mid afternoon flight plan home. Ridge it was. John Firth in his brand new previously owned PIK-20E joined me and at cloud base as we scooted into the Whiteface hole looking for rotor or some form of wave lift. We were simply too low to skyhook in. The boys managed to transition from ridge to wave a couple of weeks earlier but today it wasn't about to happen. Wouter Beerman had his 1st mountain soaring flight in the RVSS Twin. Yes, as you can imagine, he was a changed man absolutely not believing the ride he had.

CISTR-Canopy Please2
"CISTR - Uhh C- Canopy Please" by Bob Katz

The break up did come and cloud streets set up. I departed the Sentinels running a street and found I needed 90 kts at time to stay out of cloud. Out to Saranack Lake then over to the next street south with Algonquin and the Heart Lake Wave window as a target. On the way Street Mountain provided some ridge lift. Off to Whiteface where it was rock polishing time. Encountered Algonquin at about 4K' and ridged my way up to the summit, then cloud base where I pushed off to try the Heart Lake window. It was working, but again, I was too low to be in the energy sweet spot. I did get momentary 2.5 kts lift but the spot was too small to render results. Back to the Sentinels for a little more flying before heading in a derigging for the trip back to Hawkesbury. I left the Sentinels under cloud which would not let the glider down. Eventually I was at the Mackenzie range at the departure altitude. Well I had never flown the range in ridge lift before. Despite the sun approaching the horizon off I went. I could have transitioned to Whiteface and climbed it in ridge but the hour was getting late. Back down the ridge and then off to to the airport where spoilers were needed to get to pattern altitude. With a 2:00 pm start and 3.5 hours flown I turned in in thermals only 6% of the flight.

Rock Polishing
"Rock Polishing Adirondack Style"

Everyone was packed up ready to trailer out. All in all it was another great Lake Placid season. Despite our 2 seater not being available we managed with huge activity this year. The site has regained its popularity of a decade ago. Many new folks have been introduced to the region and all have invariably been awestruck by the quality of flying they experienced. We look forward to 2010.

Bob Katz

Rolling Runway 32
"Rolling Runway 32" Photographer Pierre Gavillet

LKP Memories

Now that we have closed our annual Lake Placid expedition, some historical notes and humorous stories might be of interest to our younger members....
The MSC 'ALTITUDE HUNTING' actually started not in Lake Placid but in Sugarbush VT. We had a very successful expedition there in 1968 and I managed a gold 'C' height in the 'DIAMANT, CF-SYL.
 The drive to Sugarbush was a bit long and we soon started looking for something closer and found a friendly home at the Lake Placid airport. Steve Short, President of ADIRONDACK FLYING SERVICE allowed us to use no-cost tie downs for our equipment. There was even a Supercub tow plane owned by a surgeon at the hospital. We could 'pager' him (no cell phones then) and he would rush out and give us a tow and then rush back for more surgery. This way an individual could drive out any day and get a tow. Dave Webb did just that and got his Diamond height.
There are many stories over the years but one of the more amusing ones took place after we stopped flying on Canadian Thanksgiving which also coincides with the USA Columbus day. Lots of tourists! It was 1989 and a group of us were looking for a good place to eat. A favourite place was an Italian restaurant in Lake Placid, on the way towards Saranac Lake.
 When we arrived, the ample parking lot was full and some cars were turning around and leaving. We, a group of fourteen from MSC, marched in, perhaps not the best dressed group of men. When I asked about the availability for such a large group, the maitre d' looked rather disapprovingly at us and said that there was absolutely no possibility before an hour and a half. We thought we would reserve anyway. I went to give the names for reservation and was told, in a very superior manner 'one name only'.
This attitude did not sit well with us and many wanted to leave. Instead, I turned  to the maitre d' and in the most pleasant but firm manner replied 'just put down a party of 14, for the SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND'.
This had an electrifying effect and I was already regretting getting us into this mess (even if Rhode Island is a very small state with little known senators). Perhaps we should just sneak out.
The owner, a very business like lady, appeared almost immediately and in a very chatty manner assured us that a table will be set up in five minutes. Things started to move very fast and very shortly the owner and the maitre d' were moving in the main part of the dining room, announcing several times in a loud voice 'senator from Rhode Island, party of 14'. She herself showed me to the end seat at the long table and moved the chair. Other guests in the dining area had stopped eating and were whispering to each other.
It was too late now to leave and I whispered that everyone had to play along and act in a reasonably sophisticated manner, appropriate to the presence of a US SENATOR.
Things moved along quite well with the owner appearing now and then to enquire in a laud voice 'is everything satisfactory SENATOR' to which I murmured 'quite'.
One of the members in our group was Eric Newsome, principal of a high school in the West Island. To our surprise two buses stopped on the main road outside the restaurant window and a lot of young men came out. Eric recognized one busload as the hockey team from his school. There must have been some kind of a dispute going on since they were so loud that we could hear them inside the restaurant and all the guests were now looking out the window. Then, totally unexpected, a group of Eric's boys lowered their pants and "mooned" somebody but it sure looked like they did it to us in the restaurant. There was just this very visible row of white 'posteriors' pointing at the window. A gasp went through the restaurant.
Eric, understandably, was very upset and started to get up to go outside. This would definitely give away our 'US senatorial game' but before I could calm Eric down, the owner came over and apologized explaining that they were 'just some CANADIAN hockey players'. Now it was even awkward for Eric to intervene and he promised to take up the matter back home. ...Poor guys!
We finished the dinner and complimented on the excellent service. As we were leaving, the owner rushed up to me with a fancy, gold embroidered Guest Book and, thrusting a silver pen in my hand, asked if the SENATOR would honour the restaurant with a few comments. So, there I was, with all eyes on me. What to do.... I finally did what I thought was a diplomatic way out. I said the meal was superb and the restaurant and staff excellent..... but not being in my home state, Rhode Island, it would be unfair to my constituents to put it in writing. I exited rather quickly and once in the parking lot advised every one to drive out by the far exit so as not to show our license plates.
I wonder if the restaurant still boasts about being favoured by a US Senator? 
Hillar Kurlents

LKP Thanksgiving Report

Bob Katz

The Thanksgiving day weekend was in one word, spectacular. Saturday was characterized by moderately high winds and huge instability. Combine the two and cloud streets come to mind. But these were not your average cloud streets. These streets went to both horizons. Flying cross country over upstate New York and the Adirondack High Peaks region is a task best done when lift is consistent. Lift was consistent. Nick Bonniere in ST flew over 70 km due west into the wind without turning once. Then all the way to Lake Champlain. Piece of cake.

Gatineau Gliding Club was out in force with approximately 24 members present. Training activities went on to create a few new LKP instructors and tow pilots. Both the L-19 and the Pawnee were doing double duty to keep up with the action. Other folks dropped in including Luke in SZ his SZD-55 form SOSA, and Jeff Shingleton from Finger Lakes gliding club flew up in his Lambada motorglider who was gracious enough to take whoever up in his plane.

Ridge was working as well. I hooked up with Carl flying SI over Algonquin's peak and ridgeline. Great lift. And more over the Sentinals which saw a slew of gliders cruising around. The whole gang got together for chinese food post flight.

Bob Katz

Sunday was even more amazing. Streets set up again in slightly higher winds, once again, to the horizon. Jeff gave me a ride in his Lambada in hope of having the Heart Lake wave presented to him. We tried, but the convection below was too strong. We did find a micro spot of +2 Kts on the leading edge of a cloud at 10,000'. It just wasn't doable in a straight glider. A couple of folks over at Mt. Washington had a wee bit more luck, with 1 busting Alpha airspace. Luck yes, but not necessarily more fun. Virga started to fall out of the cloud streets north. Ours stayed intact. Folks were running at ground speeds of 138 miles per hour or 220 Kph - without loosing any altitude at 7,500'.

Eventually I had to drop down to the Sentinel ridge in an attempt to warm up. Roger in AT told Luke to tell folks in his club about the spectacular conditions. He said he would when his mouth (and body) unfroze. The ridge was booming. The crab factor was high. Again at high speeds of over 200 kph. I soon backed off to get out of the yellow arc only to see the glider climb. Others dropped down onto the ridge as well probably way too cold from having been under cloud for the past 3+ hours. Close to 30 of us joined in for a turkey dinner to wrap up the day.

Monday was a calmer day. Sun turned to overcast. Lost of pilot training in great familiarization conditions. Only Nick managed to to stay up.

We look forward to next weekend. Two more to go.

Bring your plastic plane and come fly.


Bob K.

Bob Katz

Be there,Be ready

Lenticular Clouds and Stratus Fractus Above the High Peaks
Lennies Only. No Little Green Men by George Domaradzki

After a very late departure from Montreal Friday night found us setting up our 2 tents at 01:00hrs at KLKP. The cold air has set up a large fog bank over Lake Placid which spread over the town as well, with another extending from the golf course along the river fronting The Sentinels.Our reward for all this exercise,was a spectacular light show of the Milky Way in its unique LPK airfield glory. Due homage was paid, stomping about the 27 apron, sharing a duty free mickey of C&C. Time for zzzs.

The hoar frost, at predawn liberally coated the tents leaving no doubt of the frost's depth, setting up a clear windless sunrise raising the temperature to 23C by the time gliders were rigged and in line for Runway 14 departure. George Domaradzki, Kar's wave anchorman had gratiously agreed to come down and fly with me in their Twin,while Bob pulled yeoman duty as Tug Pilot.
Richard Hackket, a reporter for the Adirondack, a regional news paper as well as a Saratoga Soaring Club member/Cirrus owner, arrived to do an article on soaring in the Adirondack High Peaks Region. Perfect timing to help rig the Twin in near record time and get P2 time with George around 1300hrs. No wave but a very happy participant was he. After a short repose for lunch at the flightline,George and I were off towards The Sawtooths,taking a 6000' tow through low lying wave we mistook for a thermal, then releasing upwind of the lift in nothing. George had marked the "thermal"on his trusty GPS which we returned to circle, then lost considerable height while watching the experimental farm fields rising up downwind of us. Our 'thermal" even behaved properly, smoother air and steadier vario needle readings assured us, with the gain in height. We eventually "got it", by flying straight into the wind, trimming slowly back to 45kts. almost stationary over a fingerlike bog on the backside of the western ridge facing Algonquin, about 8km. from it's peak.

George's technique was to fly 45 degrees off the wind, alternating sides, by making 270 degree turns downwind to reposition over the marker. My preference, in the front seat and focused on the compass,was to fly reciprocals of 120&300,making rt. angles (normal) to the wind. We both worked 2-3 kt. lift up to and then in a band 7-7500 asl. until my reciprocals flying got us to 8000. At 1600hrs there was still lots of lift left, probably until sundown, but the high altitude lenticular overhead, probably in Alpha, was slowly dissipating as the western sky filled with the advancing weather then over Michigan.
We reluctantly agreed to head home as Bob had to leave by 5 for a "pressing engagement" in Montreal, and one doesn't need to piss off the Intrepid Lake Placid Camp Torchbearer with more indulgences of wave flying, hors temps, flagrantly ignoring promises made of departure cooperation. That is, unless you happen to be George who is not to be denied the satisfaction of proving his diehard belief that Heart Lake wave is also working. Besides "it's almost on the way home". After flying adjacent Algonquin peak,and snapping a beautiful shot of 3 stacked lennies to the east, George entered -10kts.down between the peak and the lake (nothing like a little reality check,eh George?) and a few seconds later was blessed for his faith with +4kts in wave above the south side of Heart Lake,maybe a kilometer inland. My whining about Bob, the time, and the distance to home was sniffed at as George determined that no guest pilot was going to have rights to High Climb of the Day, making short work of punching through 8,300 ft. and passing over controls to the chastened P2 for a full spoilers expedited return. While following a trajectory in front of the Sentinels to aquire visual of Marcy Airfield for reference, more wave was found, more or less positioned where it should be on a Southerly wave day. No time to linger,another day in paradise,f ull stop in front of the trailer at 1645hrs.,the wings were off the Twin faster than you can say "Punctuality is my middle name" and we were on the road home at 1705hrs !!! Oh ye of liitle faith....
I should mention, my only flight at LPK last year, on the last day of the camp was with George on an equally splendid sun filled day to 13,500ft. He's some kind of pilot, eh?
So, 2 weekends in a row of wave this season. 4 more to go. As Alex was fond to say of our wave camp,"Be there,Be ready".

Elliot Coltin

It's the 2009 Wave Season Baby!

Doing Alpha Tango by Bob Katz

Sept 19th provided solid (but weak) conditions which pushed our intrepid bunch of pilots (Bob, George, Jim, James & Roger) to up over 10,000 ft. AT topped out at 11,800. The NNE wind direction set up classic textbook primary, secondary and tertiary wave downwind from Whiteface mountain. After derigging, everyone headed out to the local Chinese/Japanese/Mexican restaurant (yes…you heard right!) on Main St. and toasted the start of the 2009 season with a glass of Sapporo beer! (Hey, we are quite a diverse bunch)
Special thanks to Tony for his expert towing skills in the L-19 and Lucile and Sonia for helping get everyone launched. Only 3 more sleeps until next weekend!


There goes the neighborhood by Bob Katz

2008 Season Wrap Up

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The following two weekends provided great wave conditions for those who rode the 2008 wave camp out to the bitter (and cold end). Connecting with wave to over 15,000 ft west of the airport near the Sawtooth mountains surprised everyone when the wind was blowing out of 220 degrees. Lake Placid was the only place in the East where wave was happening. But that is becoming a usual occurrence. Distinct rotor clouds were clear markers of where to release (above said rotor ; ) Mr. Lake Placid himself, Rolly Niklaus towed everyone perfectly into the wave, tow after tow. The glider pilots could have had their eyes shut in the process. The more we explore the more we realize, no matter what the conditions, all we need is some wind from any direction. The High Peaks Region is a complex system that will provide the elevator up. As Alex Powell said amy years ago, all you have to do is be rigged and ready. There are so many more wave generators to explore in the high peaks regions. Ah but that will be for 2009. So much to explore.

Roger - Bob

10 Days of Non-Stop Flying!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Too much of a good never enough....
By all accounts, the 2008 edition of the Lake Placid mountain & wave flying camp was a stunning success. A mix of thermal, ridge and wave conditions prevailed throughout the camp. On some days, a combination of all three where used by pilots. Where else but in the mountains can you still find 2 kt lift at 5:30 PM in October or climb to 11,000 ft on a day with solid overcast! A short summary of each day follows.


Sat. Oct. 4th

The Puchacz and L33 were trailered to Lake Placid on Friday so rigging proceeded quickly on Saturday morning. Martin and Tommy (in the Stinson) and Paul (in the Pawnee) arrived around 10:00 AM and by noon the flight line was in full swing. Nick and Tim also arrived later with their able aircraft and were quickly airborne. A combination of thermal cloud streets and ridge lift over the Sentinel Mts. kept everyone airborne. The Puchacz and L33 were tied down beside Andrew’s campsite, a true glider pilot haven…


Sunday Oct. 5th

Flight operations were underway by 11:00 with similar calm wind conditions and slightly more cloud. Ridge and thermal lift (go figure) kept folks up for the day. The Sentinel Mts. looked to kicking up a wave over the Keene valley but no one connected, even though the wave window was quite evident (as shown in the photo).


Monday Oct. 6th

The temperature dropped quite radically on Monday as the clouds cleared out Sunday evening. Andrew captured the frosty morning scene best with a picture. Ridge, thermal and weak wave (over Heart Lake) where the order of the day. As the wind died later in the day, thermal lift over the Sentinel Mts. kept working until almost 6:00 PM.
Tuesday Oct. 7th
Our first real wave day! Although the winds were weak and variable, wave to 8000 ft. was present in the vicinity of Algonquin Mountain. Flying continued until 17:30.


Wednesday Oct. 8th

Another wave day! The calm winds of the morning changed by 13:00 to a WSW flow. Carl and George (RVSS) launched in their Twin Astir with Andrew D. and Wolfgang in hot pursuit with the Puchacz. Carl and George connected first over Heart Lake and rode the wave to over 11,000 while Wolfgang and Andrew in the Puchacz capped out at 9300 ft. Later team A2 (Andrew D. and Andrew K.) launched in the Puchacz at 17:00 and also connected with wave to 8500 ft landing with the runway lights at 18:30. On landing, the grins on the faces of all the pilots were priceless! As the photo shows, life of a tow pilot when the wave is working can be quite relaxing after the gliders are launched!

Thursday Oct. 9th

The day started and remained sunny but with much stronger winds (10 kts with gusts to 20 kts). The only disappointing part was that the wind direction of 240 degrees was good only for wave off the smaller peaks. That being said we still had three flights all over an hour in a mix of wave and thermal conditions.


Friday Oct. 10th

The first of the big three days of the long weekend. Another sunny day with light NW winds. 11 flights with the longest over 4 hours. Strong thermals (2 - 4 kts avg.) choked off any wave activity below 6000 ft. Flights durations and XC flying through the high peaks region was the activity of the day. Andre Pepin (MSC) took off on a short XC flight to Elizabethtown and Saranac Lake airport. Sunny, upwind, rocky sides and peaks of mountains generated thermals through to 18:00 hrs.

Saturday Oct. 11th

A sixteen flight wave and thermal day! A few pilots went off and explored the MacKenzie mountain range NE of Lake Placid and were rewarded with strong thermals and wave. Ian grant connected with wave directly over the Lake moved over the Whiteface mountain and climbed to 11,000 ft. As the wind died down later in the day, pilots migrated to the Sentinel Mts. to take advantage of the prevailing winds kicking off late day thermals. High level wave activity was visible in the cirrus clouds near the end of the day. A boisterous campfire party at Andrew & Brenda’s campsite finished the day off with a bang!


Sunday Oct. 12th

Another sunny day with a more stable air mass. Weak winds would not allow for wave conditions so pilots once again resorted to thermal flying throughout the high peaks region. 15 flights with flight operations closing down at 18:00 hrs.


Monday Oct. 13th

The surprising last day. The day remained overcast (clouds at 13,000 ft) but the lack of thermal activity and calm but steady winds set up wave conditions at Whiteface Mt. Soon the skies over Whiteface were filled with gliders on what would be considered back at Pendleton a “sled ride” day. Martin (flying the L33) even managed to capture some beautiful video of the Puchacz in wave over Whiteface. After politely reminding everyone that the Puchacz and L33 needed to be derigged and the Pawnee flown home, flight operations ended at 14:00 and the glider trailers and Pawnee


So ended the 2008 Lake Placid wave/mountain flying camp. 10 straight days of thermal, ridge and wave flying.
By the last weekend there were 10 gliders on site along with the GGC Pawnee and MSC L-19 tow plane. The Pawnee helped out the L-19 with the launch backlog on Sat. and Sunday to get anyone who wanted to fly up in the air. The Puchacz and Twin Grob (RVSS) provided yeoman service in checking out new pilots and sharing learning experiences of flying in the mountains. At one point late in the week, a glider pilot was even heard to mutter one morning, “do we have to fly again”. The great weather provided little opportunity for hiking or playing ground based tourist activities for most pilots. That being said, Andrew D. still managed to hike to the top of Algonquin Mountain, Brendra and Andrew K. took a ride down the Olympic bobsled run at Mt. Van Hovenburg while Joan and Lucile climbed Cascade Mt.

Thanks to everyone who helped and participated in making this year’s camp such a success! Special thanks to the pilots and staff of Adirondack Flying Services at Lake Placid airport for their first rate hospitality.


2007 Wrap Up / Résumé de la saison 2007

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"Diamond Stairway" by Roger Hildesheim

Well another great autumn flying fest at Lake Placid has come to a close. Thanks go out primarily to all members at MSC for their support of this long standing MSC operation, as well as the members of the various clubs that have made Lake Placid their autumn home. And of course our friends at Adirondack Flying Service who always roll out the red carpet for us. The Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) were great opening up our 2 wave windows when needed.
A very special thanks to Gordy Hicks. It was his and a select few others’ enthusiasm, curiosity, spirit and love for the sport that brought us to Lake Placid in the first place. Thanks big time Gord’O.
This year was another banner year for wave and ridge and thermal flying. Only 2 rainy weekends with virtually all other weekends offering up true mountain flying conditions. Very consistent rig and go conditions. The close out weekend (last weekend) saw great ridge flying as well as very strong thermals in a very instable lower layer. Pressing issues and business travel has Roger and Ian Grant obliged to trailer out when things were developing. Those left to fly initially hit the Sentinel ridge, then managed to go ridge hopping touring the High Peaks region. 6 knot thermals provided the hop and then the ridges permitted consistent lift at lower levels until another thermal carried the glider over to the next ridge. Some fun mountain flying and a nice tour of the playground. Wave was not entirely present as strong thermalstook over in the lower altitudes. US visitors in a Lambada motor glider from Finger Lakes NY popped in for some ridge flying with us and ensured their club’s participation in 2008.
4 Diamond climbs and 4 golds. Had the window been open 2 weeks ago it would have been 5 diamonds. This number could have easily doubled if not tripled with more participation. Certainly next year will see many more of our members out at our Lake Placid operation to experience and learn whole new ways of fly gliders. On certain days 100% of the pilots hit diamond altitude (1 was 100m off actually – close enough). Being there pays off in rich flying experiences. Also there was lots more ridge training this year. Many LKP pilots had no idea how to fly ridge at the start of this season but became familiar and enjoyed the magic in no time.
See you in 2008.
Bob Katz

Un autre excellente saison a Lake Placid a pris fin. Des gros remerciements a tous les membres de CVVM pour le support donné en vertu de cette tradition CVVM qui entre dans sa 4e décennie, ainsi qu'à tous les membres des autres clubs qui maintenant ont adopté Lake Placid comme base automnale. On peut sûrement pas oublier toute l’équipe au Adirondack Flying service pour leur aide. Les contrôleurs de Boston doivent être mentionnés pour leur bonne volonté quand la demande est placé d’ouvrir nos « fenêtres d'onde».
Un remerciment special a Gory Hicks. Il faisait parti du groupe select de pilotes CVVM qui a lancé l’opération à Lake Placid. Son enthousiasme, curiosité, attitude positive et adoration pour le sport ont contribué à notre présence ici.
Cette saison était une saison faramineuse pour l’onde, vol sur pente et thermique (style montagne). Il y avait que deux fin de semaines ou les averses on mis l’opération en pause. Sinon, chaque fin de semaine offrait des excellentes conditions de vol de montage. Très consistant. La fin de semaine dernière (dernière fin de semaine 2007) offrait des condition très intéressantes dimanche. Plusieurs on du quitter tôt pour des raisons personnelles, mais ceux qui sont restés ont bénéficié d'excellentes conditions de vol sur pente et des thermiques de 6 kts qui ont permis aux pilotes de sauter d’une arête à l'autre tout en faisant un vrai tour de la région. TD a pu voler partout et est descendu après 4 heures les pieds gelés mais avec un grand sourire. Des visiteurs américains en provenance du Finger Lakes NY, en motoplaneur se sont joint à nous sur l'arête. Ils nous ont dit que leur club va se joindre au camp de Lake Placid l’année prochaine.
4 ascensions à une hauteur diamant plus 4 or. Si la fenêtre d’onde avait été ouverte il y a 2 fin de semaines ce serait 5 diamants. Ces chiffres pourrait être le double sinon triple avec plus de participation. Certainement on verra encore plus de nos membres l’année prochaine pour apprendre ces autres façons fascinantes de voler en planeur. Un journée, 100% des pilotes ont atteint une hauteur diamant (1 moins 100m – donc assez près). Beaucoup ont appris comment faire du vol sur pente (fun!), et sans doute, aussi avec de l’onde.

On se revera en 2008.
Au plaisir,
Bob Katz

More Gold at L.P.

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Wave again at Lake Placid this past weekend (October. 20  and 21). What looks terrible at home can often turn out to be golden at Lake Placid due to the mountain flying environment. That turned out to be the case Saturday. Strong wind and a moist lower layer brought in overcast conditions in the morning, but by noon the Whiteface wave was punching a hole through the cloud cover. Eventually the sky became broken and even scattered for a period. Eric was numero uno and was towed into very large window where he popped up to 17,500’ for a Gold climb. Ian was second out of the blocks and opted for some nice ridge flying on the Sentinels. After many laps he came back and landed to de-rig. De-rig? A wave tow was on the menu and was offered up. In the late afternoon he was off to what was became an FAI Gold climb. His account will be posted shortly on the Lake Placid blog. It was quite the flight. As the wave window was not open he was stuck just below 18,000’ with 5 to 6 knots still on the clock! Yikes.
Sunday was a sunny day starting off calm at ground level with strong upper level winds. We started late with the first customer off at 11:15 despite the tow plane ready at 8:30 (hint Winking. By that time the winds had increased significantly at ground level and were a perfect 90 degrees to the runway,… and gusty . TD flown by Francis and Tim flying TUB (yes Bill’s TUB) both connected into low level wave. The grid was full with pilots and gliders from everywhere with everyone raring to get airborne. That said, the gusty and turbulent cross wind was not helping yours truly land the L-19. After only 6 tows the towplane was grounded for safety reasons. Squirrels and nuts were topical. Landings could be squirrelly and you had to be nuts to push Lady Luck. At least it wasn’t snowing while it was blowing. Shorts and flip flops could have even been the attire of choice. What’s with that? Next weekend is the last weekend for the 2007 season. And what a season it has been. 2008 is a ways away… 
Bob Katz

Gold Conditions

Rising to The Occasion

2 weekends so far and FAI Diamond and Gold conditions on both!
The forecast looked good for wave and this was confirmed by everyone hooking in last Saturday. 13,500’ to 15,000’ was the standard over Whiteface. Up at 15,000’ I knew more was available and found the Whiteface secondary wave just over the north end of the Sentinels. The secondary pack more energy and took XS just over 18,000’ justifying opening up the wave windows earlier.
A small note: last weekend there were actually 4 diamond climbs (one 100m short). AT, VXQ, TD and XS pulled it off. This past weekend a gold height. The ridge was working as well for some late day fun that caused us to have to pull off the ridge because of the onset of night. The long w/e is almost here, and we should have 2 towplanes to make the event fun for everyone.
Deux fin de semaines, 4 diamants et une ascendance Or FAI. Les previsions nous montrait que la probabilité pour l’onde existait, et on a réussi avec tout  le monde au dessus de Whiteface en respirant de l’oxygene. XS a trouvé l’onde secondaire de Whiteface qui avait plus d’energie que la primaire et a ammené le planeur au dessus du 18,000’ pour un ascendence FAI Or. Un note : la fin du semaine passé il y avait 4 diamants (une à moins de 100m). On aura un deuxième remorqueur pour aider la fin de semaine prochaine. En bonus, l'onde de pente fonctionnait! Très ammusant.

Bob K.

Lake Placid '07 Kicks of with Diamonds

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Yves Suckin O's at FL210. Photo by Yves Bastien

High All,
Surf’s up! All of the preparation and anticipation is worth it, when Mother Nature serves up the flying we received last Sunday. The Lake Placid 2007 Wave and Mountain Flying camp kicked off with a huge bang. Pilots filtered in Saturday with aircraft in tow. A weak cold front swept the area in the course of the afternoon producing a broken layer at about 6,000’ and high winds at a generous angle from the runway. Due to the combination of factors, pilots elected to play safe and take the day to set up. The exception was Hans Baeggli who brought his spanking new DG-800C motroglider. Getting back was less of a worry as a thermal manufacturing device was stowed in Hans’ fuselage. He managed 2 flights, the second connecting in thermal/ridge lift off Whiteface.
The Sunday forecast for winds were from the NW proved spot on. Rigging commenced at zero dark hundred. Actually by 7:30 several ships were rigged and ready. Sensing pending fun, I opened the wave window with Boston ARTCC prior to flying. They were kind enough to give us FL250 -flight level at 25,000’- as a ceiling in both LKP north and south windows. As it turns out, we needed all of it.
Winds were about max 10 kts down the runway and it was a sunny blue day. Temps were not “dawn the ski suit” cold, but quite the opposite. A shorts day. Alain Orfilla towed Roger Hildesheim flying AT smack into wave at Whiteface. Like a line of ants, the rest of us followed. 2-3 kts, at times 4 kts tapered to 1.5 to 2 at higher altitudes. Roger didn’t quite know then that this was the day he has been fantasizing about. No need for a pick ax as it would throw the glider’s CG out. That said, he was on his way to mining his diamond height gain of at least 5,000 meters from his low point.
Most of the gliders got into alpha airspace over Whiteface. Hans, went looking for more at Marcy and Heart Lake but didn’t connect. It had to be there… I left Whiteface at about FL190 and poked around Marcy knowing it would take us higher. AT followed soon after. As the sky was blue, no lennies were present to lend obvious clues. I finally found a spot where 6-8kts down tapered to zero. I could smell wave in the vicinity, and there it was 1, 2 then 3-4 kts. Nice. AT hooking in at about the same time. Up we went. At about FL210 AT and XS  found each other flying wing to wing at the same altitude. Nice. Open formation flying in rarified air where the curvature of the planet becomes visible, save for my already bent perspective.
Our club Twin flown by Real and Yves made it up to over FL190 at Whiteface. This was Yves “intro” flight at LKP. And what a flight it was. Real really showed him around the playground. They left Whiteface and came over to the Marcy wave, managing to take the Twin to FL210. As just reported, Real and Yves missed an unofficial diamond height gain by 100 meters. Nat bad at all. All the while TD flown by Eric was also high over Whiteface.
Now above FL210 Roger and I were occasionally finding 2 kts. In the end Rog called in that he thought he made his diamond. Great! Adding a buffer, he made it to 23,270’ -Read Roger’s Diamond report…- . XS and I were close at hand at 22,900’, an unofficial diamond, the first being bagged at the same site a few years ago. Cold feet (not what it may imply) had Roger start a slow descent - gelcoat decompression mode - to get to warmer climes. I soon followed.
My next objective was the Sentinel ridge… TD beat me to it and as suspected reported it working. Eventually TD, XS and VXQ were doing laps close to tree top level. Spectacular. Up in jet territory, and down in the weeds. Sustained flight at both extremes that could have kept us up well past dark. After over 6:45 of flight time I left the ridge for terra firma.
Many more weekends to come, but being there is what its all about.
Bob Katz

Lake Placid Diamond Mine – Open for Business

Pasted Graphic 2
FL232 Ahhhhh by Roger Hildesheim

Sunday Sept. 23rd signaled the grand re-opening of the LP diamond mine after a 7 year hiatus.
A weak cold front passing through the Adirondacks on Saturday left the winds on Sunday blowing out of the NNW ideal for Whiteface or Marcy wave. This proved to be accurate and produced one of the best wave days in recent Lake Placid history.
Rigging started at 8:15 and everyone was ready to go by 10:30. I had the good fortune of being the first in the air and Alain towed me toward Whiteface, directly into weak wave at 5700 ft. A slight shift eastward planted me in the core and up to 17,700 ft. Soon the entire fleet was at Whiteface climbing in the 2 to 4 kt lift. After trying unsuccessfully to find a better “sweet” spot in the Whiteface wave, it time to move on. Bob and I took off down the Keene valley to Mt. Marcy. After a couple of teasing surges, things finally clicked and soon we had 2 to 4 kts to FL210. However, the ride to FL230 was a study of patience and riding cyclical surges of wave activity. At times the usually smooth wave produced small lower frequency undulations. Sometime these undulations would surge for 5 to 6 minutes and provide another 500 ft of altitude. You really had the feeling that you were floating on an air mattress, riding these small wavelets.
Bob found some better wave upwind but I was unable to stay in it and returned over Marcy in time to ride another surge, up to FL232. This provided more than enough margin for a solid diamond climb. After a few minutes of enjoying the moment, my nearly frozen feet started to cramp up, it was time. A ride down to some warmer air at 12,000 ft was just what the doctor ordered and soon I was again in wave over Heart Lake, warming up and enjoying the view. Shortly after 5:00 pm the main wheel of AT touched the grass but my mind was still over Mt. Marcy.

The 2007 edition of the LP wave camp is now underway. This is gliding like it was meant to be. The camaraderie this past weekend was beyond description. The smiles on everyone’s face at the end of the day, priceless.

Thanks folks for one helluva ride …

Roger Hildesheim

Attaches ta tuque!

Pasted Graphic
Photo by Mark Arsenault in a PIK 20

We pick up where we left off,…. great mountain and wave flying at the Montreal Soaring Council’s and Lake Placid Soaring’s 2007 wave camp.

Some news of note for this year: bigger and better.

The start of the 2007 Wave-fest will begin on Saturday September 22 to the end of October. Last year we experienced some excellent flying, and we hope this year will be no exception. Or should I say “exceptional”… GGC is looking into bringing their Pawnee down during the Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving) weekend and possibly offering it  during the entire Thanksgiving week. The kind folks at Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) are renewing our agreement so it will be up, up, and away. Please,… no capes as they may foul the controls. The new agreement will be posted in the documents section as mandatory reading.

Also I will be looking into posting the Lake Placid power point presentation in the documents section highlighting the following “need to know” wave flying items, if in a cursory fashion:

What is wave
Mountain weather
Local terrain
Local wave phenomena
Land out options
Clouds formations
True airspeed at altitude
Let down procedures
LKP tows
Airport layout and procedures
Radio procedures
Boston Center (ARTCC) procedures
The “typical” day – what to expect
Oxygen is your friend. Why?
What to wear, so many choices…
Accommodations (3 star to million star)
Best bars in town

For more information feel free to contact me, Bob Katz at 514.989.2212 or

Also please take a look at photos:

pertinent safety related documents at:
as well as

for a gripp'n read regarding a diamond height climb, and for more information.

And remember, the earth is round, so don’t be surprised when you see its curvature way up there in your cockpit Happy

More as we approach.

Bob Katz

Lake Placid 2006 Final Report

Flaps Check - Speed Check - Hat Secure on Hook Check -
Flaps - Check, Speed - Check, Hat Secure on Hook - Check!

High All,
Well all good things do come to and end, as is the case of the 2006 MSC Lake Placid Mountain Soaring and Wave Camp. Listening to the weather guy on tee-vee, it was noted that October 2006 was the wettest October on record since records have been kept – with one exception: October 2005.
That said, all of your sacrifices to the Wave Gods have paid off in spades. We had one of the best years, in years. Wave was present every weekend since the start of the operation. We are learning more about the “playground” each year. What is being learned, and can now be stated quite conclusively, is that the High Peaks Region will offer up wave conditions with wind emanating from just about every direction. There was lots of low level wave found in 2006. The magic about low level wave is that you are served up an excellent perspective of the local geography. Just look at the crop of pics from this year to understand that statement fully. Who else get to hover above the landscape watching shadows grow? OK, if you own a helicopter you can, but last check has a Bell 206-B coming at about $600 per hour. We have it pretty good….

Note to Self - Pull Up After Liftoff -
Note to self: Pull UP after liftoff

As time progresses, we are cultivating a new foundation of supporting pilots, with more joining in each year. Word is spreading. There isn’t any secret to be kept,… we have a great wave site within hollering distance of Hawkesbury. A few new American compatriots were baptized at the site, as well as a bunch of new Canadian pilots. The RVS Twin has become a fixture along side the MSC Twin. Next year, GGC has vouched to have their Puchacz on site as well. There were times when a second towplane would have been useful to launch the very full grid this year, especially on Thanksgiving w/e. Nice to see the support growing. After all, where else are you going to get this level of quality soaring in late September and October??
Hicham’s award winning photo, complete with commemorative plaque, is now present at the site in the terminal building for all to see. A very small token of thanks for the decades of support by the team at Adirondack Flying Service, the airport’s fixed based operator.
Thanks go out to the MSC membership for their support of the operation whether or not they managed to visit the site, as well as the hands on members acting as tow pilots, organizers, hauling equipment down and back, prepping aircraft for the event, and lending a hand to run the operation. You know who you are. Thanks. What could be a complex affair is quickly becoming simple, and as efficient as a Swiss watch (plug for the Swiss members!) Thanks also go out to all the participating pilots who without, we wouldn’t have an operation. Of course, as usual, the folks at Adirondack Flying Service. When we need fuel to equipment for deicing a towplane, to a place to wait out bad weather, its offered up with a smile. They always make everyone feel at home.
Well there will always be next year. Hope to so you out for some fun.
Bob Katz

T Minus 4...

Lake Placid Report - 4B

Hey guys - lets wear blue today!
Hey Guys, let's wear blue today!

KLKP, Saturday October 21

On the drive down to Lake Placid, a strong westerly wind and holes starting to appear in the overcast Sc cloud deck were promising signs of possibly good wave conditions. The snow covered tops of the Adirondacks came in sight soon, so visibility was very good as well.
Arriving in Lake Placid from the Keene valley, low clouds and some light snow fall tempered the excitement a bit though. Flying didn't seem to be happening very soon...
Despite the low clouds, but hopeful for the skies to clear eventually, we started rigging shortly after 9am; first both Twin Astirs, MSC's and Rideau's, and finally our DG300.
Then began the waiting...
Cloud base was at an estimated 3000ft msl, that is below any tops of the Sentinels, east of the airport.
Some sunshine was spotted in the direction of Heart Lake... a wave hole in the St cloud deck got us all excited!!!
Another delightful event was the unexpected and cheerful visit from Peter and Dee Trent, bringing support and encouragement.
The wave hole over Heart Lake disappeared again...
More waiting, getting cold feet, wondering what the day could still bring.
It was almost noon when we decided to leave the runway and get inside, after securing the gliders of course.
With a group of people we went to town for lunch, others preferred to stay at the airport.
At lunch, Mark declared that he wanted to make a sacrifice... drinking a pint of Lake Placid's local Ubu Ale, asking for the wave gods' favor. It helped!
Soon after another wave hole appeared, and then another...
Around 2pm we were back at the airport. Roger Hildesheim from Pendleton showed us a very nice slide show with some stunning photos from previous weeks and last year's season at Lake Placid.
Meanwhile outside... still low clouds, though somewhat broken, and a big wave hole east of Whiteface, showing blue sky overhead. Further hangar flying talk, about jet streams, dynamic soaring etc.
It was getting late, almost 4pm, when the sky started to clear, finally! We quickly returned to the runway, getting everything ready to go. Alain was towing, while Martin was taking pictures from the back seat of the L19.
We still managed to do 4 flights, two with each of the Twin Astirs. The DG300 did not get airborne unfortunately, what a pity...
Eric and Elliot did the first flight with the MSC Twin; they found wave over the Sentinels and stayed up for about 40 minutes. A huge wall of cloud over the northern end of the Sentinels clearly marked the presence of wave!
At 5:45 pm, Real and I took off with VXQ for the last flight of the day, with now Hicham at the controls in the L19.
Flying towards the setting sun, breathtaking views on the snow covered mountain slopes unfolded. We got off tow at 6000ft msl, practically over the town, and slightly lower than the cloud tops. We headed further north, towards the upwind side of a lenticular stretching up to Whiteface. Soon enough, the variometer was showing 1kt climbing, 2kts, then 3kts. We found a sweet spot over the southern end of Lake Placid (the lake, not the town), clearly wave coming off from the McKenzie’s, which is apparently not so common!
Flying lazy S-turns in air smooth as silk, we watched the sun set. Just beautiful... Well, it had been a long day waiting, but this was definitely very much worth waiting for!
By 6:15 pm we had reached 7200ft and it was getting pretty dark underneath us. A big 360 to enjoy the view and then we pressed down to descend at the down-side of the wave, at 90kts, very smooth. Real keyed the mike five times to switch on the runway lights and then announced for landing. At 6:26 pm VXQ landed, returning from another flight in paradise...

KLKP RWY 32 Short Final

Thanks a lot to everyone who helped making these flights happen.
See you next weekend for the last days of this year's LKP wave soaring camp!

Lake Placid Report - 4A

Preparing aviator brain performance enhancing gas
Preparing aviator brain performance

Still batting close to 1000...  Wave yet again this past weekend at Lake Placid.  The forecast had a weather window open up for us on Saturday after many days of clag and precip. On top of that,... wind. Up and on the road an hour before sun up had me and Elliot C. anticipating good things as the car actually rocked in the wind gusts on the way down.
Overcast, but thin overcast until Wilmington (found at the base of Whiteface). A hole. Blue sky in the early orange sun. But not just any hole. What we were witnessing was a large wave hole coming off Whiteface and its northern ridgeline. The opening exposed a beautifully formed cap cloud sitting on the mountain. Wave. No question.

Head for the hills!!
Head for the Hills!
As we drove deeper into the mountains, the terrain rose closer to the deck. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. At the airport 2 inches of white stuff covered everything including our tug. Deice time. At about 9:30 the low ceiling started to rise. We could see the Whiteface wave hole which was there – all day long, taunting us at a distance. Still the ceiling was too low to consider a safe return under the deck. A good measure of patience was exhibited by everyone. If the clouds were only a bit higher or scattered... If only.
Mid afternoon showed hope as some sun pierced the deck until finally, a clear open path was created from the airport to Whiteface. We didn’t know it at the time but the opening was induced by a long line of wave set up by the Mackenzie’s west of the airport. Another first, to my eyes at least.
The unpredictability of where wave may set up in the High Peaks Region is what drew MSC members to explore there 37 years ago. 38 year ago in Vermont and while waiting for wind to turn to the singular wave producing direction (and stuck on the ground) Gunther, Gordie and the others witnessed lennies almost all the time over the Adirondacks. Well, guess what they did.... To this day we are still reaping the benefits of a complex mountain “system” in our backyard. Wave from the east, south east, south, south west, west - last Saturday , north west and north. Not bad, and all this witnessed in the past 3 years only.

Dymamic Duo
Dynamic Duo

The boys launched into wave at about 4:00 pm. My only reproach (and Francis’s) is that a glider utilization schedule was not respected, and as a result the DG-300 sat on the ground while FM drove home.  Other than that, those who were present and ready (rig at all cost!) had the benefit of getting wave over a whole new area. And +3 knots at that. Who knows, if there was more time, maybe it could have taken them into alpha airspace.  Only the shadow knows, as it was the shadows and the approaching night which cased them to vacate. 
Kurts story below fills in the blanks with regard to a pilots perspective. His landing photograph demonstrates a bit of magic.   Thanks go out to everyone present to make the operation Saturday happen, not to mention the photographers (see nice pictures).
This coming weekend there will be a plaque presentation to the all those in Lake Placid who have helped make it happen for us for 37 years (and counting).  Hicham’s world winning glider photo has been beautifully framed with an engraved with an  inscription which reads as follows:
With thanks to the staff of Adirondack Flying Service, Lake Placid Soaring and the Town of Lake Placid from the Montreal Soaring Council and the greater soaring community for your steadfast support since 1969 in helping further The High Peaks Region as one of the country’s premiere soaring sites.
Presented October 28, 2006.
The presentation will be made Saturday at about 10:30. If weather fails, we try for Sunday. One more weekend to go. At this rate, there will be flying! Come on down.
Bob Katz

Lake Placid Report – 3

Breakfast Of Champions 1
Breakfast of Champions by Bob Katz

We are on a roll. More soaring at Lake Placid this past weekend. One thing I can say, any and all soaring done there is a little (or a lot) out of the ordinary. Saturday was no exception offering surprising and exceptional conditions.

Lennies were visible on the drive in. On the field very early with Eric Dupinet, we found Francis Miquet not with his hands under the cowl of an L-19, but extremely focused on the rigging of our club DG-300. This man was intent on getting airborne.  Yes, a rigging frenzy did ensue. The forecast said rain and overcast was going to visit the playground at 1:00pm. Everyone shared the same perspective: get it while the getting is good. Easy to say, but rigging a couple of Grob Twin’s (always a team effort), and a handful of single’s will keep you ground bound for awhile.

Yes, Lots of Lift 2
Yes, Lots of lift! by Bob Katz

At last we saw a convoy of ships being towed down field to runway 14. Wind was clearly SE. I tried to coerce Francis to take the first tow, but more pressing matters were on his mind, like getting the ground station radio, and whatever else. Lock and load, into the cockpit of XS that is. Rolly towed me out through lots of mild turbulence / rotor. Not difficult but you had to be present and accounted for while on tow. The air smelled of wave. For a fair bit of time I was being towed at 300 feet per minute. Uh,… down. Maybe Rolly needs to loose some weight. A very high tow almost left me high enough to hook in. Weak lift followed by sink. Poke around some more, weak lift, circle back, gone. This small drama took place out past the Sawtooth’s. Just in front was a nice laminar flowing cloud sitting on top of a Cu. Too far to chance getting in front of what was  a relatively large cloud mass – away from home and not high enough. The net sum total left me below cloudbase, but that wasn’t bad either.  Lots of wind and ragged thermal, but what thermals. 7 kts on the averager. Rotor seemed to have been mechanically inducing instability, forcing thermals to be created, until finally thermals took over.
The western sky did start to fill in pretty quickly. Big sucking Cu’s at first, followed by the forecasted overcast. Tim Tuck in SI did manage to find good lift in the Heart Lake area, initially climbing under a Cu, up the windward side, and then into wave. Nothing like wave over Cu. 9,500’ was nosebleed territory for Tim that day. Eventually the overcast had Tim changing his game plan to a very sensible and safe one. SI was seen spoilers pulled all the way out, ducking under the deck close to home.
As the layer moved east Andre Pepin and I managed to poke around the high peaks region still unaffected, with an unlimited passport to go where we pleased. DB made it up to 8,300’ in strong thermals. It was hard to find sink. Mt. Dix, typically a tough get on a thermal day, was a piece of cake. Both Andre and I, Nick and George from Rideau Valley, and everyone else were soon obliged to stay close to home under the now 100% covered sky as the solid cloud deck pushed in. Virga could be seen all around. Ceilings were now at 6,000’ max, varying under the descending virga. The objective was clear, stay VFR. This set up a very interesting phenomena. Good VFR meant you were not only enjoying the view, but were in near constant lift. I literally did not have to stop to thermal for the last 2 hours of my flight! The instability was forcing moisture down and out if the clouds (virga), where adjacent massive up heaving (lift) did quite the opposite. Huge open corridors through the sky marked lift. Lots of surprised hikers as I and the others made it to Algonquin and Whiteface in the “inclement” weather, a bunch of times. These were mountain conditions, or at least yet another facet of the varied mountain conditions.

Whiteface 1
White face by Bob Katz

Finally a wall of precip did encroach, leaving the sky empty of plastic airplanes. Sunday was characterized by patience, hanger talk at the FBO and anticipation. Lots more Rideau Valley folks showed up hoping to  - do it. The Heart Lake and Mt. Marcy wave window did bust through the overcast, only to close soon after. This cycle did repeat itself, so with a large measure of discretion we packed up.

 Rocks Below 1

Rocks below by Bob Katz

Saturday had some hugely surprising conditions roll through. Incredible instability. The sky was alive and yet completely overcast with virga. Everyone played safely and within reason. Of course 5 star dining is de rigeur when at Lake Placid, and the best spot in town was the picnic table on the field (see nice picture). And on a final note, I just checked the NOAA  forecast for Lake Placid for the weekend, and YES sun Saturday!! The Gods have been good to us this year. Hmmm, I thought I said no human sacrifices, didn’t I?
Two more week ends. No time for fence sitting. Tic, tic, tic…. Hope to see you there.
Bob Katz

Lake Placid 2006 Report – 2

Despite the threat of a large High sitting over our playground, it was a spectacular flying weekend at Lake Placid. A bumper crop of pilots turned up both from Canada and the US to enjoy the camp and the flying. The tent area looked like a regular campground. I have never seen so many folks camping on site before. The grid could have almost given our Nationals a run for its money too.

Saturday had us in the middle of the high. Despite that, good flights were had topping 2 hours. Friday night was spectacular as we watched a full moon rise over the Sentinel ridgeline. A frosty night, but nice to be sleeping outside.

Sunday had a packed grid as well. The team was a well oiled machine, as opposed to an oily machine. As a glider took off another was immediately placed on deck. Rope drop, hook up and go. Thanks to JP Gagnon for flying the Bird Dog. He barely had time to go to the bathroom (aka those trees, not these),…. he was so busy. 15 Lake Placid BIG tows until near sunset. We could have used another towplane!! And yes, wave did kick up.

Throwing some grass into the air just before my tow, it was clear wind direction favored Whiteface. I was dropped smack dab into lift. Weak, but lift non the less. It topped out at 8,000’ which was better than a kick in the pants. I hung out and watched the impressive shadows grow in the High Peaks area. Roger Hildesheim ( fellow brother of the Kahuna) was up for a late launch at Heart Lake. I suggest higher is better. He hooked into wave as well. Down below the Sentinel ridge was working as well. An attempt to transition over to Heart Lake to hook in left me 1,000’ too low. Well, the sun was about as low as I was so I headed in at 6:30 pm soon to be followed by Roger as night was on the way. More on this in Mr. Hildesheim’s article below and way cool pics.

Sunday had me dropping glider after glider into wave north and south as the Bird Dog had my name on it for the day. Lennies everywhere. Roger’s text below tells it all and more.

The weather for the upcoming weekend looks great! I will be there, how about you??

Bob Katz

Roger’s Point of View:

Bob asked me to write up something about this past weekend, so here we go…

What can you say? Three days of flying on the long weekend and two of them wave days.

Saturday was clear, warm, calm and sunny with no wave but thermal and weak ridge lift along the Sentinel Mts. The outdoor scenery continued into the evening with a full moon illuminating the airfield. Amazing

Sunday morning started with a fresh cup of coffee at the rigging/tie down area (merci Evangeliste!).

Sunday Coffee by Roger Hildesheim

Weak wave was present over Whiteface and a few pilots managed flights of 2-3 hours. I managed to get a late tow (after being shot down earlier in the day) and catch weak wave over Heart Lake and a sunset that will not be easily forgotten. We de-rigged using car headlights to illuminate the trailers.

High Peaks at Sunset by Roger Hildesheim

The weather on Monday gave us the full show. The day started clear and calm but by 12:00 the wind picked up a few knots and by 2:00 lennie and rotor clouds were everywhere with a few pilots reporting climbs between 8,000 - 11,000 ft. I managed to shoot a short video (along with some cool still pictures) while riding along the leading edge of the wave/rotor cloud near Mt. Colden. (video: Mt. Colden Lennie Ride) Later that afternoon a lower (6000 ft) layer of cloud moved in from the northwest and soon everyone was back down on the ground.

Adirondacks' Surf by Roger Hildesheim

Yellow Bird by Roger Hildesheim

Thanks to all who helped keep the flight line moving and to the tow pilots who just seemed to keep going and going and going…

Misc. notes:

A couple items of note for glider pilots flying @ LKP

After Lucile, Sonia and I hiked Blueberry Mountain on Friday (the trail entrance is at Marcy airfield) we can report with confidence that runway at Marcy airfield is in pristine shape with freshly mowed grass that would rival a golf green. The ice cream at the Noon Mark diner in Keene Valley (just south of Marcy airfield) is also really good!
Talking about landing out safely in the Adirondacks… If you would really like to get a stress free view of the landable fields and landmarks around LKP why not get together with a couple friends and take a scenic a scenic flight with one of the pilots at the LKP FBO. For $60 to $100 (depending on duration) you can fly directly over most of the major landmarks and landing fields in the area and get a feel for the terrain without the usual weather limitations of trying to do this in a two seat glider. The FBO pilots have a ton of local knowledge to share with you and it really is money well invested. Get there early in the morning so you won’t have to wait long.

Season 2006: Off with a Bang!

Pasted Graphic
Soaring Reflection by Bob Katz. Taken September 29, 2006

High All,

Well the 2006 Lake Placid season started with a bang. If 8 knots on the averager doesn’t constitute a bang, I don’t know what does…

The tug finally had VFR and touched down in the nick of time. Trailers flooded in during the morning hours, including our Twin. We did a communal rig and got things going. The Rideau Valley twin also made it down, as did many LKP usuals such as AT, and MK.

The Lake Placid Soaring folks (aka Adirondack Flying Services) did a super job rolling the airstrip – twice, and cutting the grass. As smooth as a par 5 fairway.

A frontal system started to invade the area in the morning and by noon was compromising the southern sky. Still by 1:00 pm beautiful flat base Cu’s could be found everywhere. Lots of streeting, and little turning. The High Peaks region, commonly known as “the playground” was open to all who cared to come out and play. 4-6 kt thermals where typical, with the occasional thermal registering 8 kts on the averager. Yee-ha. And in such a stunningly beautiful place. The leaves were at near peak on the peaks. Algonquin was full of hikers out to enjoy the good weather and could be clearly seen during a run close to ridge level. Consistent flying conditions was found very much north to the deep southern parts of the High Peaks region and beyond. If the flying trans-border was as easy as in Europe, one could imagine using Hawkesbury as a turn point and making it back to LKP for a beer could have been possible.

Pasted Graphic 1
Adirondack Dream Sky by Roger Hildesheim. Taken September 29, 2006

As the afternoon progressed, so did the front. Eventually we had overdevelopment, but not until a handful of good flying hours were in the bank. Sunday was a good day for the ducks, as the system brought wet conditions.

Thanksgiving week end approaches. Come on down for some fun.

Bob Katz

LKP 2005 Wrap Up

Pasted Graphic

High All,

Another Lake Placid season has come and gone. The month of October saw 28 days of precipitation in one form or another at Lake Placid. The Owner of Adirondack Flying service said in all his years, he has never seen an October that was half as bad as what we encountered this year.

That said, the Wave Gods did acknowledge our need to fly and on the last weekend of the operation, ensuring we would not soon forget what the Lake Placid operation brings to the greater soaring community. All good things come to those who wait. When I first got into this sport the experienced pilots gave me some advice which was summed up in to words, “patience, perseverance”. In this case I am not referring to sitting in zero sink until a thermal gets you back up, but the entire approach to the weather this year at Lake Placid.

A beautiful cap cloud over Whiteface welcomed us as we approached early Saturday morning. 6 inches of snow also welcomed all participants as we drove into the airport. The guys at Adirondack Flying Services (airport operators) were incredibly helpful and supportive as usual by loaning shovels to clear up car access to our site as well as a snow plow which literally allowed me to plow a runway on our landing field.

Those who launched early encountered very weak and narrow thermals which disrupted the laminar flow of the air at upper levels. At about 3:00 o’clock high cirrus moved in and cut heating just below trigger temperature which allowed the wave to establish itself. Our club Twin as well as Rideau Valley’s club Twin launched into Whiteface wave! 2 pilots acted as P1 on their first wave flight. Altitudes of 8,500’ were attained. As is often the case, the setting sun was the only reason for the gliders to descend.

Sunday was the best day of the season, and worth the wait. Light 5 knot winds on ground and warm sun made preparation pleasant. Lennies were present from the moment the fog lifted. Systems go. An easy tow brought the first glider into silky smooth air 2,500’ AGL. WAVE! All gliders connected easily over Heart Lake and Algonquin. A prominent rotor was hovered over the length of Algonquin rolling over the summit ridge which made locating the lift easy. (Pictures attached or see more in the photo album). A climb to 9 to 10,000’ was achieved by all. That wave diminished but more rotor clouds were seen a few kilometers SW of Algonquin over a large abandoned quarry. I ventured there only to see confirmation of good lift with 3 gliders a few thousand feet above me. Upwind of the rotor produced significant lift. At times 4 and even sporadically 5 knots! I have come to realize PIK-20D’s work well in wave. XS did carry me up into Alpha airspace with a GPS altitude of 18,234’.

Pasted Graphic 1
Adirondacks High Peaks Region From 18,200'

I am glad we went to the trouble of opening up our wave window with Boston ARTCC.
From that altitude, lennies could be seen over the Vermont Green Mountains as well as MASSIVE stacked lennies up to an estimated 35,000’ over New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Impressive.

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Post Flight Lennies

The thought of a downwind flight to connect over Sugerbush, climb and leave for the secondary enroute to the Whites was a concept contemplated for a future time. From there Kevin Brooker of Mt. Washington fame mentioned downwind to Sugerloaf wave in Maine is possible. That said, you would have to be more than very persuasive to manage to convince someone of a retrieve.

ST and DB went exploring over to Mt. Marcy and Whiteface. Both were producing wave. New lennies were setting up all over the place. I went back to try to connect with a lennie to the NE of the High Peaks regaion only to find the sink side of the wave. A push upwind put me into lift close to Marcy Field airport. Once back up it was time to see if the lennie had sustained lift along its leading edge which ran many kilometers to the SW. It did. If not 0.5 to 1 knot lift it was pretty much zero. At the edge of the High Peaks region, discretion dictated I head back to the playpen, even though the cloud ran all the way to Scroon Lake. A push back upwind to the quarry produced significant sink as could be imagined. The sun was getting low and packing up the camp and the drive back still lay ahead. One by one the gliders vacated the rarified air back home, not without trading off some altitude for distance. Andre P., Nick B. and Marc A. dropped onto the Sentinel ridge which was reported to be working “gangbusters” (technical glider pilot terminology). There was fun way up above and way down below. All we had to do is show up.

What was learned… Patience pays, and waiting pays off. It was reconfirmed that light winds at ground level do not mean there is no wave. Wave can be found left, right and center in the High Peaks, just make sure you have altitude to venture out. When lennies set up, they can act as highways in the sky. This of course is a know concept and should be approached carefully relative to the terrain producing the cloud. More to explore here as conditions permit in the future. And of course, flying wave of any kind is magical.

Thanks go out to all who helped with this year’s Montreal Soaring Council Lake Placid Wave and Mountain Soaring Camp, and most importantly all those who participated which included not just MSC members but numerous folks from many other clubs in Canada and the US. We are fortunate to have this jewel at are disposal and a club that supports all facets of glider flying. After all, our sport is all about exploring. Looking forward to seeing you out there next year.

Bob Katz

Lake Placid High Note

Good morning all,

Now that the operation in KLKP is winding down, I wish to thank Bob
K. and everyone involved for the operation there. Yesterday was a
glowing tribute to the great effort and joy our sport demands and
offers. As we had foreseen in the days coming, wave condition were
present. Climbs were made to 16k in beautiful sunny condition.

If some cannot understand what it as all about, just imagine
absolute oily calm air conditions with climb rates (modest
yesterday) at 3 kt. This from the 12 000 feet vantage point! One
can feel and hear drag of controls and lift, fly backwards at times
or fly like stink due to excellent true airspeeds (TAS) and
tailwinds. André P. was reporting 220 km/h groundspeeds at time. One
goes places if so desires.

To finish off the day, the Sentinel ridge was working gangbusters. I
personally parked myself there at 90 kt waiting for the traffic to
land at the airport. And why not, I stayed there for a while
enjoying desert!

Yes, there was snow on the ground over the last few days. Regardless
the ambiance was surreal. The taught of our beautiful summer warm
days is of memory for us now but the sport, it's promotion and
practice make the extra effort well worth the expanse.

Best regards and keep the blue side up!

Marc Arsenault

At last - LKP Action

Its been a challenging Lake Placid flying season to date. Really only 1 good day prior to this weekend (and of course the one weekend I had to be elsewhere) due to persistent nasty weather, so you can well imagine the relief of many participating pilots to actually have a chance to fly.
A great turn out Saturday. Lots of folks chomping at the bit. 4 visiting pilots, 2 from Saratoga Springs. We should be expecting a little more action form our friends to the south in the years to come... The forecast of winds shifting to the east and a system moving in the late afternoon were on the money. Weak conditions improved with the change in the wind direction during the course of the day.
We are perpetually learning what our playground has to offer us. Last year with SE winds I found wave off of the Sentinals. Saturday with a light easterly wind also produced weak wave. And as we know, wave of any kind is good. DB found ridge lift off of Street mountain just to the south of the airport only after a few hours of working limited thermals in a way that Andre can. To my knowledge, this is the first time I have heard of anyone flying ridge on the Street Mountain ridgeline.
Relegated to the towplane for the day I still managed to explore and hunt for wave for the clients on tow. Heart lake wasn’t producing so tows went to the north looking to find the elusive eastern wave. Weak - but there. Real managed to enjoy some of it as he exposed many MSC and non MSC pilots to the area as instructor in the twin.
Just as light was starting to fade, the Twin was packed away minutes before the rain started. Great timing and an end to a great day as flying sure beats wishing you were flying. Once again we inch up the learning curve, discovering more about the area and all it has to offer. Where north to south-west winds were what we looked for, now the scope has opened up significantly to east and south-east. With time I am sure we will discover how to fly in the area with almost all wind directions prevalent.
One more weekend to go! See you down there.

Alpha Tango

Well Mother Nature sent us a large wet low over the long weekend just so we can truly appreciate flyable conditions when we get them… soon. Low ceilings, mountain obscuration, and umbrellas were the topics on the flying agenda. That said our intrepid newly minted FAI Gold C Pilot – Roger Hildesheim (correct spelling this week) flying Alpha Tango filed the Lake Placid report below complete with photo to make up for his forgetting the camera on his Gold Altitude climb of last weekend. He was the only one to make it into a cockpit….

Bob K.

Pasted Graphic 1

Hi Bob,

As a way to redeem my oversight in not bringing along my camera on last weekend`s flight, I have attached a photo of the only type of glider that the weather allowed me to fly in Lake Placid this weekend.

I had to modify my SZD 55 somewhat to optimize performance in the wet and soggy Lake Placid conditions… in particular
shortened span to increase wing loading and stability when flying in cloud…
Beefed up suspension because, after all, when you enter cloud at 500 ft AGL, you don`t know were or what kind of field you may land in…
Removal of the control stick and rudder pedals because, hey, the clouds and mountains are all at the same height so why even try to fly around them…

That being said, let`s hope for next weekend. By the way, the photo was taken by Lucile at the playground near the public beach on Mirror Lake.


Alpha Wave

Despite the weak forecast, it was a great weekend at Lake Placid. Wave! Right up to the threshold of Alpha airspace. And given more time, Roger Hidesheim could have made it above 18,000’. But hey, his grabbing an FAI GOLD ain’t bad! Congratulations Roger, now within the fellowship of the Kahuna (please read Roger’s great email below). As stated many time, wave, even weak wave is more fun than….. Many visiting pilots both from the US and Canada all enjoyed Saturday’s wave. Unfortunately while rigging the twin there was a mishap and a control pushrod was damage. Sadly, the glider was rendered U/S for the weekend. On a positive note the glider should be easily repaired for next weekend, so come on out for some fun. We will have an instructor during the entire long weekend and all weekends moving forward. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Bob K.
Un grand weekend au Lac Placide. Vague ! Jus qu’au au seuil d'espace aérien d'Alpha. Roger Hidesheim aurait pu monter au-dessus de 18.000 s’il avait  un peu plus de temps. Mais un FAI OR (altitude) est pas sip ire que ca! Félicitations Roger, maintenant dans la camaraderie du Kahuna (SVP lire email ci-dessous). MSC a recu beaucoup de pilotes venant des Etats-Unis et Canada qui ont tout a apprécié la vague de samedi. Il y avait une petite mésaventure avec le Twin et un pushrod de contrôle était endommage. Tristement, le planeur etait donc pas disponible le weekend. Sur une note positive le domage etait mineur et le Twin devrait être facilement réparé pour le weekend prochain. Nous aurons un instructeur pendant le long weekend prochaine  et le restant de l’operation. Au plaisir de vous voir en grand nombre la fin de semaine prochine.
 In Roger’s Words:
Hi Bob,
Just to let you know that in spite of the dire predictions of poor conditions for Sat. in Lake Placid that I managed to climb to 17,300 ft in very weak wave.
A started at Heart Lake and climbed to about 9k and then moved over to the Sawtooth Mts. to the west. The Sawtooths took me to about 10.5k. I then went back to Heart Lake thinking that I might get a bump or two and call it a day. Instead, I connected again with weak wave 1-2 kts that took me up to 17,300 and my Gold Altitude. I could have climbed higher but it was about 6:00 PM and getting down before dark was a consideration along with the airspace not being open above 18k (none of us expected to get this high).
Winds between 10k and 17k were about 29 kts @ 288 degrees
Flight duration 5:15
At no point did I encounter wave stronger than 2kt. It was about 1kt avg. throughout the afternoon. The view was absolutely spectacular in a cloudless sky with the setting sun, breathtaking. If I would have had more daylight to explore, with that wind direction, Marcy would have been kicking up to diamond altitude. My flight file is on OLC for Oct. 1/05.
Just goes to show that with patience, even questionable days can be rewarding.
I`m hooked dude!  Long live the Lake Placid Kahuna!
(Fellowship of the Kuhuna)

Please pass me some tissues!

Well the 1st of many LKP Wave weekends turned out to be wet. Its an odds game… Patience pays as it did for Bernie. He did lock into wave,…. Monday. His report is:

Monday flying: One flight; 3:08hrs; wave to 7.5k.ft.; track log distance 331km; thermals to 6500ft with streeting. Wish you were there!

Lets all cry together. Over 300km, streeting, and wave…..  Someone pass me a tissue. Everyone who was in the office, raise their hand.

Now how about today…. Winds ranging from 27 kts at 3,000’ to 52 kts at 18,000’. Gotta be BIG wave out there.

Come out and play this weekend. The forecast looks good.

See you out there.


Preparing for Lake Placid 2005

Pasted GraphicHi All,


This is a reminder that The MSC Lake Placid Wave and Mountain Soaring Camp will be starting shortly on September 17 on through to the end of October. It is a great opportunity to change your flying environment to one of the most beautiful in the east. All MSC members can get valuable P2 experience in the back of the Twin and exposure to high altitude flying. If qualified, the DG-300 and P1 on the twin are there for the taking… Its all good. Plan on coming down for some of the best flying available.

The pictures are of Lake Placid from 16,500’ in our very own DG-300, and the other of Real in the Twin going to 20,000’ with Evangeliste. How pretty is that?!

Accommodations: Very reduced “Pilot Rates” at Schulteslodge $48 – for 2 people (2 beds) including continental breakfast, 2 minutes from the airport (call to reserve 518-523-3532), or sleep on the field in your tent, camper or car.

A reminder that we will be putting the Twin in the trailer Sunday afternoon. Your lending a hand is appreciated.


Ceci est un rappel que le CVVM Camp d’Onde et vol en Montagne commencera bientôt le 17 septembre jus qu’a la fin d'octobre. C'est une grande occasion de changer votre environnement volant à un des plus beau endroits dans l'est. Tous membres de MSC peuvent voller en P2 pour aqueir de l’expérience dans le Twin et d’avoir du l’experience de voller en l'haute altitude. Si qualifié, le DG-300 et P1 dans le Twin est disponible pour tout le monde. Planifier de descendre…

Les images sont de Lac Placide de 16.500’ dans notre propre DG-300, et l'autre de le Twin à 20.000’ pilote par Real avec Evangeliste. Joli, n’est ce pas?

Hebergement : Très réduit “Tarif Pilote” à $48 – pour 2 personnes (2 lits) y compris le petit déjeuner continental, 2 minutes de l'aéroport (telephoner pour réserver 518-523-3532), ou camper sur l’aeroport dans votre tente, votre campeur ou votre voiture.

Un rappel que nous mettrons le Twin dans son - trailer de dimanche en après. Votre aide est apprécié.


Lake Placid 2004 Summary

Another Lake Placid season has come and gone. 2004 was not the best of seasons from a weather standpoint. Tom Knauff summed it up recently in one of his newsletters saying "This has been the worst fall soaring weather in memory,...", and his memory goes back a ways. The whole north-east was affected by less than perfect conditions on most week-ends.
Not to dwell in the negative, persistence pays as I have often preached. I will attest to that by saying there was still wave to be had on numerous occasions. I actually had the best flight I have ever had from a pure aesthetic standpoint as the season opener in wave at Lake Placid in totally new wave locations. Equally, my last flight was one which simply defied the expected and understood parameters for wave flying, and which brought about another beautiful flight. Underscoring these experiences is the fact that there is much to learn about the MSC-LKP wave site, the surrounding mountains, the conditions they offer and most importantly what they can teach us.
Driving down last Sunday to bring back equipment, huge stacked lennies filled the sky above Vermont, and through a few blue holes I could see the same over the Adirondacks. Unfortunately, 3000' OVC and rain showers created a barrier between us and them. Could have been the BIG wave day we have been waiting for... Unfortunately it will remain another fish that got away. The need to fly and anticipation felt knowing there was big wave out there Sunday will have to be put on ice until next year. Winter will no doubt help with the ice.
Thanks goes out to all that have participated as well as those who have lent there support if not in a flying capacity. Lots to look forward to in 2005 at our next MSC Wave Camp. See you then.
Bob K.

LKP Wave

Well as you all may already know, to help increase the probability for mountain wave, a periodic offering* is to be made to the wave gods. A simple statement, but going through the Red Book, I have yet to find protocols to this effect. I may have a new motion for our next AGM....
The weekend kicked off with a bang. As I camped close to the A/P Friday night, I thought a few trees may be uprooted from the very high winds. Jean Richard was on the money with his forecast for wave. Unfortunately low ceilings and rain moved into the area by mid afternoon. Mountain weather. Go figure. Rigged and ready to go very early, there was a pronounced lenticular running E-W over the field with southerly winds (please refer to Bernie's "Lake Placid Wave Area Data" document for reference to places to go and things to do). If an early tow was available we could have probably seen some action. Late morning launches had the gliders towed through some true low level mechanical turbulence. Unable to hook into any wave despite high tows, we had to settle for scraping around in not very sustainable conditions. The clouds moved in and with it rain for the rest of the weekend.
Had there been good wave we would have seen lots of action as numerous MSC pilots as well as numerous visitors from other clubs who had all converged on the camp in effort to taste some of that sweet LKP wave. 3 more weekends to get lucky and add to the wave already found this year. Command and control of the upcoming weekend will be handled by André R. Pepin.
*Please note: the aforementioned "periodic offering" should not include living organisms, including goats and sheep.
See you there.

Accomodations Info

The Shultes Motor Inn at Lake Placid still has rooms at $58 / night this weekend for members of the MSC..
Tel:   518 523 3532
I will not be able to make it to Lake Placid this long weekend, but I'm hoping sometime this fall...

Rainy Day

Saturday was a wash as due to the passage of a cold front. Mountain obscuration and rain was the order of the day. That said the winds were just right for Heart Lake wave. 
Sunday was a beautiful day. MSC pilots were joined by George, Peter, Tim and Wolfgang from  Rideau Valley as well as Uli and Roger from GGC. It was very nice to have so many visitors come and share the wealth. The general conditions could be described as sunny, warm and great vis. Winds were negligible. The ridge of high pressure overtook the region and was characterized by a very, very stable air mass. No much to write about, with the exception of setting our sights on next weekend...
Thanksgiving weekend is at the threshold. This is typically a great weekend to come down as there will be 3 full days of flying (Sat., Sun., Mon). Book your accommodations now or pull out the tent. See you then.

Off to a Great Start!

This weekend was an excellent start to the MSC 2004 Lake Placid wave camp. Thanks go out to the MSC crew that came out to assist with ferrying equipment and helping with set up. Alain, Andre Pepin, Albert, Christian, Hicham, Francis, Steve, Hans, (hope I'm not forgetting anyone...) all pitched in to kick off the operation.
Small tow plane glitches were repaired Saturday under the direction and control of Francis, diagnosed very astutely by Andre R. Pepin, and repaired by Hischam. We launched into a furry of area check flights to familiarize many welcome newcomers to the Adirondack High Peaks Region and our playground.
XS got off the ground finally at 3:15 and was towed to Whiteface. Francis (tow pilot) snugged up to a cloud in the area. I requested a 180 degree turn around the "rotor" hoping it was just that and not just any other cloud. Half way through coming about I say IMJ move out of position slightly - not a bad sign, and yes rotor. I released and hooked the more laminar flow on the upwind side. The Wave petered out at close to 14,000'. Not expecting wave that day I did not have my trusty long johns on or my camera for that matter. Something I was only to regret more and more as the flight continued.
I practiced benign spiral dives to get down to warmer air and moved over to Algonquin to take a looksee. Still considerably above the scattered layer, I notice a pronounced opening over Mt Colden. Hmmm. As I flew over I saw a long line of rotor cloud below. Positioning XS over the leading edge my vario went positive again. The sun was getting low to the horizon while I was still 2,000 over the clouds a well within glide range to LKP. Heading out at 120 mph I tried hard to burn off altitude to get closer to the clouds. Eventually I was where I wanted to be. I pushed the stick forward in completely smooth air that registered +4 kts at 110 kph. I continued to push as the glider accelerated to 260 kph at almost level flight! A gentle pull up and wing over set me up for another pass at the same speed. I repeated this several time and lets say I did not get bored with it. Dancing on clouds at 260 kph in the setting sun - VFR on top and not loosing altitude. Spectacular. If I only had my camera.... The legal day was coming to a close and reluctantly I had to come down.
Sunday's skies eventually opened up to scattered to broken and strong thermals. Another good day to just be there.
Looking forward to seeing all interested pilots down there. If you have any questions, drop me a line.