Quest - New Smyrna 2nd attempt

Relaxing at JB's Fish Camp across the street from the beach south of New Smyrna

The first try a few weeks ago got me less than half way with heavy over development on course and all around. Yesterday, conditions lined up perfectly with breezy WSW winds, plenty of clouds and no overdevelopment on course.

After a morning of towing and tandems I was able to talk Mitch and Campbell into attempting the New Smyrna route. We all checked out the sectional and plugged in key airspace locations and set off around 2pm.

Mitch had bad luck and landed early, while Campbell and I blazed the first leg - it seemed too easy, and it was. From the moment we turned the corner at the edge of Sanford airspace and started heading east to the beach, the lift turned to crap and the clouds were rarely working. Nothing was making sense to me and I spent an hour stuck just southeast of Deland airport while Campbell eased ahead as if he was in completely different conditions.

After dodging the huge Deland jump plane on its five mile finals and sawtoothing back and forth into the wind in order to stay out of Daytona airspace, the fourth or fifth perfect cloud I flew under started to work. 3000 feet seemed high by then and this allowed me to head south back onto the original course and get into good clouds again. I took a very conservative 5200 foot final glide in case the seabreeze was strong. I made it at 6pm with 2000 feet to play over the Atlantic before landing on the white sand and having a bucket of shrimp across the road. Even swam with a random manatee that was cruising the waves heading south.

Turns out Campbell couldn't get high in the last climb and was being conservative as well, aborting his final across the 1.5 mile swampy inland waterway thinking there could be a strong seabreeze. The seabreeze ended up only being from the south and what got me there so high could have carried him over the swamp as well, but he ended up landing on 95 in the end.

Two coasts in three days, attempting Cuba tomorrow.


Quest - Venice Beach

The daily storm pattern took a break yesterday and the wind clocked around from the east northeast so I decided to head down to Curt's homeland 200kms to the southwest for a swim and some seafood.

Thermals were very rarely 5-600 fpm, more often 2-300. Wind was cross from the east but always had some sort of tailwind component. Cloudbase rose from 3500 feet near Quest at takeoff time to 5500 feet at the coast at 6 pm.

Conditions at the beach were identical to the first time I flew there with the Brits and Davis last year. The convergence line was within a couple miles of shore and the seabreeze was more cross than onshore so final glide and landing conditions were awesome.

Outskirts of Lakeland looking back north toward Quest and thinning clouds.

South of Lakeland heading into sparsely populated areas. Asphalt roads under me the entire way.

Getting into the convergence line for the drag race down the coast, looking west into Sarasota.

Final glide into the seabreeze over the Curt Warren spawning grounds.

Fisherman's Wharf right in the center of the picture, better food than Sharkey's.

Looking south down the coast to Venice airport.

Playing chicken with the coast, landing was at Sharkey's restaurant on the pier.