Flyable wind direction NW NE SW
3200 ft (1250 AGL)
Glide to LZ
NE LZ 5:1
NW LZ 4.5 : 1
SW LZ 5.9 : 1
Location Stamford NY
FL shallow slope on NW, SW launches
H3 P3 for NE launch
H4 recommended for NW and SW launches
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Post flight reports
I ended up going to Uts. It was ODing on the drive there and by 12:30 when I arrived it was overcast. I could see on the satellite that this had happened over a broad area of southeast NY and NEPA, but there were also some signs that it might improve. I did some site work while waiting and met Vlad from E-ville who had ridden his motorcycle up from New Paltz to check out Uts. By 3:30 it had improved enough to tempt me to set up and take a crack at 10,000'. Launching a little after 4:00, it was going to be too late to bother with XC, so I made it a goal to just take it to base. I had to work through some areas of weaker climb but the other than those spots the ride up was quick. I reached base at 10'642' around 4:50. The clouds and sun to the east looked fantastic, but heading downwind so late would have been a big inconvenience for Jenny and the family, so I stayed local under increasingly overcast skies and landed at 6:15 under complete overcast, then hiked up. The skies to the east still looked good.
I've been to 10K in the east only twice before (many years ago) and both times it was just a little over 10K. I didn't have recording instruments then but my Peet Brothers altimeter had me in the 10's over 10K, and I know I've never cracked 10,100' before, so this flight was an eastern altitude personal best.
After some discussion with Aron about Katydid, I ended up going to Uts. After doing a little clearing on a some clumps of bushes on the right side of launch, I launched at 1:23. (This was after a first aborted launch a minute prior. This is the only local site where I'll stop after the first step or two if it's not feeling straight and level. I mention it here for everyone's safety; you cant' force it level here because there isn't room or slope to do so.) Anyway, after a little hunting I got a great climb up and away and had a wispy cu form above me but of course it was isolated in the blue with other cu's out of glide. I headed toward Gilboa where there were some dissipating cu's, but the terrain there was favorable for them to re-energize. I was able to work slowly up toward and eventually over the higher terrain where the upper Gilboa pumped reservoir is located. Here I reached base at 7800' and was able to work toward Albany going mostly cloud to cloud. None were as high as the one over Gilboa and I was even treated to wispy cloud forming around me at least 1500' below other cu's above.
The clouds stopped at the Hudson Valley, which was a huge blue sinkhole. I tried to work a low thermal in the valley near the massive CSX railyards, but the valley wind was SE and even if I had been able to hang with it, it would have taken me into ALB airspace, so the flight was basically over and I knew it, so I chose to land at South Albany Airport (which I had overflown back in April, again trying to skirt ALB airspace). There was a plane with it's prop running on the apron of the runway, so I put my shadow over the cockpit to alert them, then set up and landed in the grass next to runway 19. (That plane subsequently took off, but later returned and I was happy to hear that the CFI inside noticed my shadow and was like "What the hell was that?" and looked up and spotted me and was super excited to see a hang glider land there). As I broke down it seemed like the airport was about as active as Uts (basically dead), but a few people and planes showed up later as I was waiting for Jenny to get me. It was so civilized to sit on the deck in a rocking chair in the shade, use the restroom, get a cold Coke, sign in to the transitory pilots log, and chat with other pilots.
Overall I was very happy with this flight. I feel that I made good decisions throughout and had appropriate patience when needed. Distance was 68.5 km (42.5 miles) and 2:15 aloft.
Saturday 8/13 was due N around 10 mph and I took a shot at Uts. Great clouds, checkerboard skies, but N is a crapshoot there, I put my odds of getting up as 1 in 4. 1st flight was at about 12:30. I got a few hundred over at times but didn't connect with anything I could climb out in. Managed 24 minutes and sank out. Walked up and took a second try around 4:00. By then the odds were 1 in 10. Straight down to the LZ in 7 minutes. Skies looked awesome.
Tuesday 8/16 was forecast 3000' winds 70 degrees at 12 mph. I got off to a late start as I couldn't get the Jeep to start. Finally gave up and took the truck. Arrived at the LZ at 3 pm to great-looking skies. Wasn't able to to launch until about 4 in the tail end of the nice sun-and clouds mix. Winds were actually nearly due east, but I managed to get a good climb off an E-facing bowl S of the powerline. Got to 7400' (base looked to be over 8K, but I was mindfully keeping some distance below). Clouds were getting broad at that point and shaded out the whole Uts area. I returned to the ridge for the last hour, landing at about 6:15.
Friday 8/19 I went to Uts on a light due W day (3K winds 270 @ 7 mph). I put my odds of getting up at 1 in 8, but just as I stepped up to launch a perfect cycle arrived, I heard a raven squawk, and I launched right into that 1 in 8 and took it immediately to 6300'. I was all set! Perfect day, light winds, still early (2:30 pm), lots of flying to do cloud-to-cloud all afternoon. Nope! I bypassed some closer clouds to the N and headed directly upwind toward a long cloud that was breaking up before I even got there. I was on the ground a few minutes later. I had lots of time to gaze at the perfect sky and reflect on my cloud choice during the hike up.
It wondered at Uts. I flew from 3:30 to a little after 5, choosing to come down when the thermal activity was dying out and the wonder began. I got 1000' over launch a couple of times. Turkey vultures were abundant and I thermaled together with a bald eagle also. Very low base and weak conditions with so much moisture around, but the direction and velocity were perfect for a steady wonder until dark. David K.