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Sunday, 11/23/2014

First flight on Niviuk Icepeak 6.  20 minutes airtime in smooth weak air at Bates.

I picked up the glider from Rob Sporrer over a couple weeks ago, then kited it at the park the next day.  I hadn't had a chance to fly the glider yet because but my last two mountain flights were tandem.  Went over to Bates on Saturday looking for a launch and landing to confirm the speed bar adjustments, but it was weak and cross from the east.  Peter Richner called from Bates Sunday morning to let me know it looked good enough, so I want over to evaluate at midday.  Tom Livingstone had launched earlier into light SE and searched to the west.  He was hiking up from the beach.

It was light and cross from the west when I arrived.  Likely not soarable.  No signs of pending wind further out on the water, and the freeway flag was limp.  There was some texture mixed with big glassy zones.  After 15 minutes of wishful thinking, the texture toward the pier filled in some, the direction straightened enough, and the velocity built into the upper single digits, so I got the wing out of the car.

Boated around on the main cliff for 20 minutes.  Tried some speed bar and mild gyrations, but nothing near the limits due to limited terrain clearance.  After 15 minutes it started getting weak but I held on for a while before opting to put it down on the grass in the park below.  Peter retrieved me.  Hoping to give it another go, but the wind was less when we got back to launch.  Went over to Viola Field for a couple of pull-ups and packed up on the grass.

The glider performed well in the weak smooth conditions.  Trim speed seemed faster than my Trango.  The max all up weight is 115 KG (254 pounds), so I'm loaded near the top end, which I prefer. The handling was conventional and it retained energy well when carving turns.  Wasn't able to evaluate how it behaves in lumpy air because there wasn't any to be had.