Foot Raunch Flying - Oscars Longest Day July 2017

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Foot Raunch Flying - Oscars Longest Day July 2017

Postby lurker1 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:30 am

Foot Raunch Flying – Oscars’ Longest Day fly-in 2017
I’m convinced there’s nothing quite like foot launched flight. I’m also convinced we really pay our dues, the commitment of time and effort to learn how to put together the mental and physical, while forced to accept what mother nature deals out whenever we get to commit aviation. The critical timing of when to take your strides into flight, all the decisions to make while engaging with the thermals, and the finale of bringing everything back to rest on terra firma, unharmed, and hopefully in a convenient place. Yes, that’s how the International Field (Oscar’s landing zone) is such a fine blessing, wide open approaches and not much to create mechanical turbulence, oh, but there are trade offs. There can be foot raunching, not just foot launching!
The July long weekend gave us three soarable and cross country days. But what’s with the International landing zone this year, the speargrass has never been this bad. The wet spring conditions must have been responsible for a bumper crop, and now they are dry and ready to hitch a ride elsewhere. And it was really hot in that little piece of desert. With several folks to socialize with, it was several hours in the hot sun while packing up, on both of the first two days.
That little desert has taught me a couple of things, so let me share before going on with this. Whatever shoes you are going to fly in should have leather sides so that you do not have to watch every step you take to avoid the little cactus hitch hikers. Another trick that worked well for me was to pack a fresh set of socks in the harness bag, in order to have dry and warm feet in case you get to spend several hours near the freezing level.
It takes forever to pick speargrass from socks, and your feet are baking out in that desert sun, so why not take your socks off after landing? Why make the speargrass problem worse as you walk around packing up and socializing? Dave noticed my trick, and thought it was a good idea. Well, most things in life have pros and cons, and in this case what’s good for the socks isn’t so good for the shoes. And I never wear my newer shoes in the desert, so we’re not starting off all rosey here, but we are getting to the heart of the story.
Well, between camping and riding in different vehicles for a couple of days, things get a little disorganized, and perhaps they weren’t fresh socks when I did my final prep before launch on day 3. Then, it was hot on launch, and I ended up waiting for a couple of hours until finally the thermals were tracking through in a more consistent direction, all the while with my feet bundled up for staying near the freezing level. It was down to just Dave and I flying that day, with no ground crew (my polite term for a driver). Dave went first, and just like the last two days, there was a lot of sink out there. Eventually he was climbing, and I watched to see if there were shears preventing a non-stop climb to cloudbase. (my indicator for rating the cross country potential of the day) All was good, time to try catching up.
Now the third player for this day is Chris, who was having a few days off over there at the Freedom Flight Park. Chris had offered to retrieve anybody who made it the 150km to Lumby. Each day before launch I texted to seek confirmation that the offer was still “out there”. This day I even warned him, it looks like today is the day. Randy had also put out there, a free burger and beer for any arrivals. But yikes, with that switchy and fiesty air on launch, it was almost 1500 hours by the time I foot launched.
It was nice to be reporting 10 grand while passing over the Kamloops control zone, the ATC crew always seem pleased (or entertained?) to hear from me. The cloud streets and valleys made it a dog leg route, with only two major slow downs after crossing the two widest valleys. It was a 7000 ASL arrival over the Freedom Flight Park, 4 hours, then a half hour on descent, landing in front of an appreciative audience of fellow foot launchers. A half hour later we heard from Dave, he enjoyed 5.5 hours but he couldn’t pass up that beautiful golf course at about km60 that he had used on a flight a couple of weeks earlier (it wasn’t foot raunching that time, but that’s his story to tell).
I packed up as quick as possible, Bala had cooked some excellent curry, and of course the beer went down easy. Poor Chris, it was going to be a late night, 225km each way. An hour and a half drive then we were loading up Dave and on to Savona. I offered Dave the front seat so Chris could hear some different stories, but wow were my feet ever talking to me, they were still bound up. I took off my shoes, that felt better, then the socks came off too. But gad, what a reek. I could see Chris operating his window, and glancing at Dave. Well, hey, he must think this new odour is from Dave. I was able to muffle my chuckles but just couldn’t imagine having to tie up my runners again. It was another hour drive to the International, with Chris frequently adjusting the cabin ventilation.
We transfer our gear into Dave’s vehicle, and say thanks and goodbye to Chris as he gets to start the return trip to Lumby. Dave and I start the drive up to launch and my abandoned vehicle, and right away Dave is remarking how Chris was always messing with his window. I laughed, as I was wondering how I was going to start into the story of how I had just let him take the rap for my raunchy footware! If I remember right, Dave said he didn’t notice the foot raunch, so Chris, if there is a next time, try using the passengers’ window!
Then there was another laugh, back in Lumby the next day, as I confessed to Chris what had really transpired. Now I think this is one of Chris’ favorite stories, as he seems to love telling it, especially whenever I’m in the circle and there is someone new to hear his perspective of what you have to put up with when helping your hang gliding friends. Ok, he paid his dues, he can tell it over and over again … but in my defence, the circumstances were exceptional this time, trust me, I’ve usually got fresh socks and alternate the old desert shoes, so give me a chance if I need a lift (you can always roll down the window)!

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Re: Foot Raunch Flying - Oscars Longest Day July 2017

Postby tnankie » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:20 am

Canadians eh?

Elsewhere in the world raunchy means sexy....
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Re: Foot Raunch Flying - Oscars Longest Day July 2017

Postby silentflight » Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:02 pm

I'm too sexy for my socks ,too sexy for my socks ,too sexy for my socks ,too sexy :)

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