The wind strength and direction are of utmost importance on any wave mission. On Tuesday the 13th (Argentine equivalent to American Friday 13th) we decided to practice a wave mission, first celebrating Doug and Hector's joint birthdays. But, we really needed a practice day with a long tow and full telemetry testing.
The winds were all wrong - calm on the surface, too strong at ridge top, slower above that, and wrong direction throughout all altitudes. At launch there were lenticular clouds way high and oriented perpendicular to the Andes (parallel is optimum) Better to practice and learn what needs tweaking before the weather is ideal. Of course non-optimal conditions mean the pilots will work much harder to stay airborne.
Jim and Morgan buckled in and we pressurized in front of the hangar. Ed Warnock was Cap Comm; cross training was another desirable practice item. They launched behind Laviasa tow plane only 14 minutes after towing from the hangar. They released near the only decent local cloud near where they had seen a brief indication of lift. Weather forecasting is difficult in this area. Jim found the winds at ridge top were 60 knots instead of the forecast 30 knots. So flying at 52 knots pointed into the wind meant the glider was moving backwards! No safe way to cruise around upwind and search for better lift at those altitudes. They were able to maintain altitude, but not really climb. Morgan got several flutter vibration scenarios run and downloaded via our telemetry. After 1.8 hours it was time to return to base.
We took the calm surface winds opportunity to get some photos of all 4 pilots and ground crew. Perlan Se Eleva! Jackie