Skydog Sports

Florida Trip

Wallaby February and March 2019

 

 

The Skydog Report

Maureen and Finnegan and myself head to Wallaby Ranch and arrive Sunday February 17 late in the evening. Monday has a cloudy morning but the sun breaks through by one pm. We go for a bike ride and organize things in the hooch. Tuesday is a sunny day and we again go biking on the Van Fleet trail for two hours. I have a nasty head cold and hope it clears soon. Wednesday, another 20 mile bike ride.

Thursday February 21st and we have a nice sunny day. Chris Christopherson is here from Michigan and Mick Robson also takes a flight. We get airborne around 4 pm. and I am off first then Chris and next Captain Mick comes up with his sailplane. My first flight is a sixteen minute sledder but on the second one I stayed up one hour and thirteen minutes and got up to 5,526 feet way above base. Chris had a 1 hour and 45 minute flight up to 4,500 feet ato and Mick had 2 hours but I think that I may have got the highest and up the face of the clouds. It was a beautiful day at Wallaby Ranch.

Photos Below

Mark Johnson Tows

 

Chris Christopherson

 

Chris Christopherson

 

Skydog

Rick Bremer

 

Skydog

 

Mark Johnson

Pete Kneble

 

Chris Christopherson

 

Skydog Bob Landing

 

The Skydog Report

Friday February 22nd and we have a nice sunny day again. We have about twenty pilots anxious to fly today and the line forms around 1:30. I get off third and the three of us sink out with 16 minute flights. I get in line again and Pete Knebel has just got off before me and is climbing well. Fay Barber puts me into some great lift and at twenty minutes I am at 4,500 feet ato. Pete and I play around together for a while over the sand pitts and then Pete takes off across the valley while I stay with the cloud that we had been using. I got good and high like 4.500 feet and then I followed Pete toward the warehouses where I see four other gliders up high. I join them and we are all sticking to base and drifting to the north. Pete and I take a run toward the cloverleaf and finally I don't see much lift so I head back to the north and better lift in the valley of trees. I hang out there for a while and fly with Gregg Linneman for a bit down low at 800 feet and finally we both land. My flight was 1 hour and 27 minutes and up to 4,820 feet ato.

Good Day.

 

Photos Below

Pete Knebel

 

Fay Tows Bob

 

Gregg Linneman

 

 

Skydog Bob

 

 

Chips Christopherson

 

 

 

Pete Knebel

 

Pete Knebel

 

 

 

 

Mark Johnson

Walt

 

Matt

 

Walt

 

 

Spec Out

 

Matt

 

 

 

Matt Jackson

 

 

Jason Williams

 

Jimmy Tows Walt

Linda and Stacey

 

 

 

Walt

 

Raven

 

 

Pretty Day

 

Rick Bremer

 

 

Matt

 

Finnegan

Walt

 

 

The Skydog Report

Saturday and Sunday have been to windy so we went biking and swimming. When we arrived back at the Ranch the Land sailors were running down the road so I went for a spin. Monday was another windy day so we went biking and used the blow carts on the driveway. Tuesday was a rainy day and Wednesday we went to the beach at Dunedin and in the evening I joined in at a Ukulele class.

Photos Below

Finnegan - A Laid Back Biker

 

On The Van Fleet Trail

 

A Face In The Clouds

 

Neff and John Rounding The Corner With The Wallaby

 

John

Neff

 

John and Neff Racing

 

On the Gulf Coast Beach

 

The Skydog Report

Thursday February 28th and we finally have a flyable day. Lee, John, Alex and I get ready just after one pm and I get off first. Mark tows me up into what looks to be a sky with some cumulous clouds and I pin off in a good one and soon lose this one and I get down to 1,700 feet before finding another climb. I see Lee Sheridan being towed up and she stays up pretty well for about twenty five minutes. Alex is next and he catches up with me at 2,800 feet ato and I try to get some good shots with the GoPro as Alex zooms in close. I don't notice John Minkle being towed but soon John is right up there with me and coming in close for the shoot. We get up close to base at 3,700 feet and as the day goes on the lift is much more consistent and I get 1 hour and 42 minutes airtime. Alex later told me that he stayed up over one hour and John likely got one and one half hours. A pretty darn nice day to be in the air.

 

Photos Below

Sailplane Comes In close As He passes By On His Way South

 

Alex Close To Base With An Eagle Above

 

Alex Thermalling

 

John Coming In Close

 

John

 

John

 

The Skydog Report

Friday March 1st 2019 another sunny day but no cummies today. I get off first but a bit to early and I sink out after 24 minutes. About six others get into the air and one pilot tells me that he stayed up for one and one half hours. I take a second flight after four pm. lunch break and this time Mark puts me into something good but after twenty minutes I am down to 1,600 feet and stumbling around when I find a small thermal that builds and takes me up to 3,940 feet ato. This time I last for 59 minutes and enjoy a last flight for a couple of days as we are off to the ocean for some swimming and other fun. Saturday morning we head over to the Gulf coast at Dunedin and find the nicest dog beach where Finnegan swam and ran in the shallows for hours. Maureen swam and we enjoyed the warm days. Monday started out sunny but became overcast by one pm so we went the beach early and then for a twenty two mile bike ride along the Pinellas trail. In the evening we joined a group of eighty eight Ukulele players for two hours of fun and music.

Photos Below

Pete Knebel

 

Bob Pulls Maureen With Glider

 

# 1

 

Mark Johnson and Bob Grant

 

# 2

 

Tom Nejame

# 3

 

# 4

 

Bob

 

# 5

Jason Williams

 

Jason Williams Landing

 

Bob Slipping In

 

Pete Knebel

 

Jason Williams

 

Pete Knebel

 

Scott

 

Skydog Bob

 

The Skydog Report

Thursday March 7, 2019 and finally a good flying day. Last Saturday was a great day and many pilots got up to six grand while we went to the beach. Today has blue skies and the tandems are off early. We expect a blue day with a late start and we have about 12 pilots ready to fly. I am first off and Mark drags me all over looking for lift and finally over the pasture to the south we hit a boomer and we circle in it for three turns and I drop off. Well, it lasts for a few minutes and I am sinking again looking for another thermal but no luck and I land with a 25 minute flight. While I was in the sink a few others take off and they are doing well so I get in line again and up we go. This time Mark puts me into a nice one and I get more comfortable although the air is quite choppy. Alex joins me early and later Pierre Michaud comes in and we work together for a few minutes. Later on I see Oded down below and Oded circles p to me and above. Moritz is in the air with us too and doing well. Oded has a 2-1/2 hour flight and Moritz has 1-1/2 hours. Oded and Pierre report getting up over six grand whereas I only top out at 5,125 feet. My second flight lasted 1 hour and 58 minutes. Talking with Mark later he mentioned that I that first boomer after I released that he came back looking for the lift and could not find it so we wondered where it went. Lots of smiling faces at the end of the day. Friday's forecast looks great so we will see how it goes.

Photos Below

Oded - Take Off

 

Oded

Oded

 

?

 

Bob and Hawk

Harry

 

?

 

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Bob

 

Moritz

 

?

 

Bob

Oded

 

Sandhill Crane Jumping

 

Mark Johnson and His Pups

Moritz Wagner

 

?

 

 

 

 

Maureen Shoots Flowers at Wallaby Ranch

 

The Skydog Report

Friday March 8, 2019 another great day for flying. Steve Arndt is off early to the Seminole sailplane field as the competition starts Saturday and Friday is a practice day. The balloons are landing at Wallaby Ranch and the Tandems get rolling early. Scott gives us details on the great weather forecast a says that the lift should be great from 12:30 until 4:30. Oded tells me that Davis Straub has posted that he and other pilots at Willowtree Park are planning to try long XC flights to the north into Georgia. At 12:45 I start out down the driveway with Maureen assisting my push and other quickly follow us. I try to convince another young pilot to go first but he says no you go for it Bob and next I convince Oded who is right behind me to go firs but as Oded gets ready to launch he finds that his pro tow bridle need fixing so I am elected to go first with Brian Jackson to follow. Our tow pilot today Bob McFee buts me into a boomer at 1,00 feet and we circle in it up to 1,700 where I kick off and continue to go up to 3,800 feet ato. I see Brian launch and I watch to see how he does as Bob takes him over the warehouses and I have drifted back over the sand pitts. I see that Brian is doing very well east of 27 so I scoot over there and come in a grand below Brian. I am working my way up to Brian but soon I can't see him anymore so he must have headed north for a n XC experience. Oded takes a tow and has a weak link break at 600 feet and is not able to get up. I am watching the take off area and the action has slowed down and later I find out that the first tow plane has a problem so a second plane is put into action and then the others start coming up. Most of them stay over the orange groves so I can barely see them but I am getting up to five grand and I see a sailplane coming from Seminole and he circles with me for two turns and then zooms off to the south with the wind. I am feeling rather lonely flying by myself so I go for a run south to just past the hospital and as I am coming back I get down to 2,300 feet and get concerned but as soon as I get to the cloverleaf I hit a great climb and take it up to 5,300 feet. Gregg Linneman joins me for a few minutes and Jason Williams also joins me. Another sailplane heading south passes under me. Well getting bored again I decided to fly north and make it to Sand Mine road and Publix and come back with no problem all the time staying well above four grand so I take another run south to the hospital and back. The lift is getting more consistent as the day progresses and I get my best climb up to 5,836 feet. Around 4:30 I see more that twenty sailplanes making their way back north to Seminole airport all passing under me. I am getting pretty tired and decided to head over to Wallaby Ranch and when I get closer I see Rick Mullins and Jason about a grand below me over the orange groves so now I finally have a reason to try to hang in there as the lift is slowing some. I watch as they both get lower and lower and finally Rick lands and a few minutes later Jason lands and I still have 700 feet to burn off and I land with a 4 hour and 23 minute flight. Moritz logs one hour and twenty minutes. When I get down and talk to Oded he tells me that Davis has just landed about one hundred and forty miles north of Willowtree park in Georgian and that Cory Barnwell made it 112 miles. I expect that others also made the XC challenge on this fantastic day in Florida.

Photos Below

Sailplane Passing Through

 

? and Moritz

 

Skydog Bob

 

?

 

?

?

 

Mark Johnson Tows

Bob Dies Off Finnegan at the Beach - Dunedin

 

The Skydog Report

Saturday March 9, 2019 and the clouds are forming nicely by noon but Maureen and Finnegan and I are going to the beach on Saturday for a few days so I need to get my glider broke down. Oded and Moritz are going to fly along with two other pilots and do get off late finding no lift under the beautiful cummies and they all have short flights. In the evening we go to Disney Springs for a movie and a listen to the fantastic music by Nicolas Marks on the strip. After our beach adventure on Monday evening I join a group of one hundred Ukulele players in Dunedin for an evening of strumming and singing fun. When we return to the Ranch Tuesday morning, Oded tells me of the great flights that he and Moritz had while we were away. I am going to let Moritz fill us in on the details. Tuesday morning Maureen, Oded, Finnegan and I are on our way home and we arrive home just in time for me to go to my home Ukulele group here in London, Canada

Photos Below

Oded Ready For Take Off

 

Oded Films Bob

 

Wallaby Ranch

Oded Releases

 

Oded Thermals With Sailplane

 

Oded With Two Sailplanes

 

Oded With Three Sailplanes

 

?

Rick Bremer

 

Dragonfly Below

 

The Moritz Wagner Report
Wallaby Flying March 2019, by Moritz Wagner
On March 6th I took a flight down to Orlando to Wallaby with Oded and Skydog. The weather forecast looked decent and we were very lucky as we flew the next 5 days in a row!
After setting up the glider the next morning I was hoping to get an early morning flight in to practice towing, but I missed the window. So when the clouds showed up around 2 PM I got in line and had a fairly calm tow to 2400 ft AGL. The lift in the first thermal was marginal and I saw a cloud not too far that seemed to build nicely. That climb got me quickly up to cloud base at 5230 ft. The top of the thermals were pretty rowdy, so I flew over to some other gliders upwind from me and joined them lower down, yo-yoing between 1800 and 3300 ft for a while. Then my old problem of motion-sickness after about an hour got the better of me and I decided to go land. An hour and a half on the first day of flying made me very happy!
The next day was very similar with a slightly higher cloud base at 5630 ft AGL. But on this day I tried to get to a cloud that was too far away and I did not have the stomach to work pretty rowdy air at 1500 ft, so I landed after 1 hour and 10 minutes.
On the third day, I just got an extended sledder in beautifully smooth air and landing after a half hour.
On the last two days the cloud base was lower at about 4600 ft AGL, which made it a little more challenging to stay up. A lot of local pilots joined us on those days, so it was a lot of fun to fly together and join others in their thermals. I was surprised how often the best lift was 100 to 200 ft from where I was thermalling, but other times I had found the center. So it pays to explore and make some larger circles from time to time to check for better lift. Maybe I should invest in one of those fancy varios that tell you where the last thermal was and how to center a thermal. But some of the pilots that have them pay too much attention to them and do not look around very much! During our stay there was a sailplane competition going on in the area, and on the last day I joined a gaggle of sailplanes in a thermal. It was amazing as we were all going at about the same angular velocity around the circle, but I was closer to the center with a smaller radius. Watching those slick machines was beautiful! Both those days yielded over an hour flight. The two Atos' (Oded Kalir and Rick Bremer) were working little puffs till late in the afternoon, landing more than an hour after the last flex wings. A great trip,

Photo Below

Thermalling