Montag, 23. März 2015

16. November 2014 - Tocopilla > > Iquique

Alex and I went half way up yesterday and we slept in the desert above the railroad track. In the morning we end our ascent to the peak and wait for the upwinds, which usually start very early on Cerro Cruz. Today it takes a bit longer and cloud base is very low as we decide to start. The fight for altitude in the first hour between Tocopilla and Cabo Paciqua is already known, but today is takes place at an even lower level than when I flew 10 days ago. During the ongoing flight the level of the cloud base turns better but not really good. But the southerly winds are getting strong and stronger. After Punto Patache I have to fly fully accelerated towards the west to get blown from the winds along the ridge to the north and not back easterly into the desert. After having passed leesides, blown towards air collision hillsides I am flying with 80+km/h low over ground. Sounds dangerous, but does not seem to be so as there the air flow is very homogen on those places, just ground rush is breathtaking. Punta Gruesa shows the awaited turbulences, but Punta Redonda presents the big surprise : I cannot overcome it because of strong northerly winds ! So I decide to fly back to the airport to beef up my flight. But at Punta Gruesa I cannot overcome this corner against the strong southerly winds. So I am captured on a sea ridge of 7-8 km length between Punta Gruesa and Punta Redonda. I spend the rest of the day there in the air and as the day slows down it is possible to soar up high and higher and finally I am above the costal ridge. Now I can overcome Punta Redonda and proceed towards the Alto Hospicio take off, but cannot reach it as winds form Alto Hospicio keep me in a sink and I have to land just behind the container depot next to the flight park. The locals tell me, that the phenomenon I was facing is a very common one for the month of january and february, called the mega-rotor. Just so early in the season, in november, it usually does not occur …   I am really sorry about that, because I would have liked to enlarge my flight further to the north and time would have been really enough to do so.