Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thermal Research Mexican Style

Just to let you all know, we are still alive and well.  JJ Jameson (as you know), found out we had an extra bed in our room.  We had hopes that Ike would surprise us but his shoulder has kept him grounded. Well, JJ Jameson has been pretty quiet.  We have had flights too. We are guessing the language barrier may just have him sqeltched.  It took him 4 days to pronounce the name of the hotel. Taxi drivers were a bit confused when we let him request our destination. So, maybe that's how we can mellow him out. We can all chip in and send him on a foreign assignment.  I personally like that idea!

Febuary 13th.  I woke up to JK saying,"Good morning, Thom, you're one card short of a full deck."  I can't get a break, even on my birthday.  Today was going to be different.  JK had reviewed my flights and my thermal searching was erratic, to say the least.  He gave me some pointers and showed me overlays of his and Paul's track logs. I was ready to try again.

I did much better, but the air was rough and the valley winds were picking up.  We all landed at Piscila, the bomb-out LZ.
Mi amigos picked up the tabs all day and presented me with some lucky socks.  51years old and flying in Mexico!

Febuary 14th, Valentines Day: my lucky red socks came out.  We arrived at launch to meet Richard (Reechard) and his wife Chantal, Quebec expats now living in Comala, the next town north.  He's a retired airline pilot, PG pilot, sailplane pilot, and a champion hang glider pilot. We understand he's a past Canadian National Champion. He knows Goto from his California days. Great guy to meet and gave us  additional pointers on flying this site.  It was another rowdy day but my turns kept me on the top of the stack.  I should have turned and followed Richard but hung too long over La Cumbre Stronger valley winds surged and some wild landings at Piscila were safely preformed.  We got a ride to the hotel from Chantal. After a fun debriefing with Richard, they invited us to their home for dinner the next day.

The Mayor and I went out to Valentine's Dinner at one of the local PG pilot's restaurant.  Pretty Mexican girls kept pouring through the front door.  I know at least one of my amigos back home would have required eye and neck surgery, had he been there.

February 15th: We met Richard, Piero and a few other local pilots at launch.   We got up.  JK lead the charge. The Mayor and Richard followed as I benched up.  Oh, here it's the "turn right"  club.   But there was a lot of sink with a mixed bag of unpredictable thermals. JK and The Mayor made it to the old airport. Richard and I settled for Policia field.

We bagged up fast and headed for our tour at The Nogueras Coffee, in Comala.  After this tour, it's going to be hard to swallow the regular brew at the club house. Again, JJ Jameson was silent, as taste of real coffee overtook any desire to read.

We headed up to Richard and Chantal's hacienda.  (It's just beyond a very interesting stretch of road that leads up the volcano called "Zona Mágica" north of Comala.) All I can say is their home is a stunning example of an environmentally-friendly, architecturally accurate Mexican country villa. Its details are intriguing; with a brass bell connected to a front door chain, it's own water collection for irrigation, an intricate water filtration system, and marvelously pleasing details and craftsmanship. There is an immense amount of concrete and the roof is one that Reaper would be in awe over. The evening was topped off with an excellent meal, conversations in three languages and a dice game that Richard invented (4-2-1). It was one of the highlights of the trip.

February 16th: Launch conditions were too strong. The thermal cycles would only back off to conditions we would begin thinking about launching. Then the cycles would ramp up to conditions that would easily lead to OTB. We had to hike down. Now with launch closed and the stand-by flights not looking good until the 20th, we may be stay flightless with non-flying options to pursue.  Perhaps, if the surveying sticks aren't as plentiful as a porcupine's quills, we may ask the workers to allow us to launch once more before we depart Colima.

The wind and rain in Hawaii are not doing much to pull us home.

1 comment:

  1. Nice writeup! Glad you guys are having fun over there. Now come back and break this XC hex you left for us back at home! The weather has been unsettled but t actually hasn't kept us out of the air more than a day or two at a time. We've been flying most days - but we've had zero XC opportunities. Very tricky hex you guys dreamed up. Now come back and lift the curse! Por favor! With cherries on top!