Tracy takes off a day of work to fly at Crystal Ridge

Crystal Ridge- Milwaukee, WI

Tracy’s Report – 04/13/01

I took Friday off to do nothing other than fly my planes. Bright and early Friday I went to Crystal Ridge to fly the Zagi off of the west face of the hill. Nice westerly wind, not too fast, but just right for my first try with this plane. The hawks were VERY interested in this new bird in their sky. I had one that flew about three feet off of the wing, mirroring every turn I made. He flew off after a while but returned with wings folded doing about 50mph! He screamed to a halt right along side the Zagi and again mirrored every movement. It was definitely the best soaring moment I’ve ever had!

Later on, I saw a group of four of them in a tight circle, thermalling over the trees below the hill. I flew over to them to get in their lift and none of them seemed to mind except a really bright red one. He descended to get a better look, then after deciding that I wasn’t much of a threat, let out a cry which was echoed by the other three. Too cool.

I also flew the Majestic with my new high-start to some amazing heights and one incredible 24 minute flight that could have gone much longer. I got nervous when a curiously low Sun Country jet flew almost right over the ski-hill. I came in for a landing immediately after that. I’m sure that the jet was over 6,000 feet and my plane never got above 2,000, but better safe than to be the cause of a disaster.

Later that day I flew the Xterminator at the local school. It was going great until I hit a light pole 50 feet off the ground with the wing. Depth perception was incredibly difficult against the clear blue sky. I thought I was well beyond the light pole. The plane skidded down along the pole toward the concrete base and shattered the fuse when it hit. Believe it or not, the plane still flew after the accident, even with the nose section splintered from the plane. After an hour repair job, I was back at the school with about 25 more flights (the next day my arm was so sore that I thought it would fall off!)

I went back to the ski hill on Saturday morning with the Zagi. The wind was blowing a lot more than the day before, so there was a LOT more lift. I had some incredible flights, very fast. Faster I think than I’ve ever flown before…which explains the crashes. It’s very easy to get disoriented with a flying wing. Did I mention that I love EPP? No damage done. I just tossed it out again for more abuse. I practiced bleeding off speed by coming up the face of the hill and plopping it down on the ridge on which I was standing. Got pretty good at it too. Landing a foam and glass ship will be tricky as the hill face is nothing but dirt and broken concrete. I think I’ll watch you do it before I try it with a plane of my own. The hill is excellent in northwest to southeast winds. You’ve got to try it.

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