My Best Flight At Mossy Bank Park in Bath, NY

South Central New York Hang Glider Pilots' Association

My Best Flight At Mossy Bank Park in Bath, NY

Postby wingspan33 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:19 pm

(*The title should include "So Far")

This was originally posted elsewhere, but as the author, I'm re-posting it here to document the amazing nature of Mossy Bank. At the very least, as a geologic feature great at triggering thermals and producing limited ridge lift. (Find it on Google Earth at Lat. 42° 19’ 23.45” N, Long. 77° 18’ 54.43” W)

. . . . .

Here's my favorite low save story. It took place almost nine years ago -

The site was Mossy Bank, located just south of Bath, NY. Mossy faces due north with launch altitude of only about 410 ft above the LZ (LZ MSL = 1100 ft). The hill's total hight is ~ 450 ft. Overall it's a small but very steep slope with launch being from a 50 ft cliff face.

The day was May, 2nd '07. Launch time - 4:02 pm, Glider - WW 141 Fusion SP.

After launching I didn't hit significant lift right off and lost 100+ ft in the first pass or so. And at this site, if you don't get ridge or thermal lift fairly quickly, you DO have to begin your set up for landing.

There is a nice thermal source just up wind of the site, that being the village of Bath, NY. On this day I happened into a SWEET thermal, fed by the village center and being triggered in it's upward journey by a highway, river and finally, the slopes of Mossy Bank itself.

While this is not unusual for the site, to have such a strong and continual feed, resulting in one (basically) smooth, large and powerful thermal, is something that surprised me - in a VERY nice way. Once in the lift, I made passes until I was quickly over the hill, I then began 360ing. The situation was idiot proof.

Unfortunately, it was the middle of the week and I was flying by myself with no company. Still, I just kept on, lonesome as I was, circling and going up and up.

There were nice cummies all over and it became clear that I was being drawn to the base of one forming above and just behind launch. I reached cloud base (around 7200 ft AGL/ 8,300 ASL) within about 20 minutes of launching. That's a climb out of 6,900 ft up from about 300 ft above the LZ.

Once under the cloud I maintained clear visibility in at least a 170 degree arc beneath me at all times. I'm certain I could have gone higher, and this was not a dangerous cloud (as in Cu-Nimb). Still, I didn't want to become enveloped by the mist (and it isn't legal either!). And while dressed for chilly weather, my fingers were getting numb.

At this point, feeling completely overjoyed by the conditions, beautiful view and just generally amazed, but also feeling pretty cold, I decided to do something I'd never tried before. That being an upwind XC flight. So I yanked on the VG, pulled in, and headed toward Hammondsport, NY about 8 miles due north.

While the thermal I had been in was great, it was by no means isolated. I was able to make way without much trouble - and since I didn't mind getting lower - I more or less flew through other lift on my short but fun XC north.

I eventually got down to the nice, warmer air and 4000 ft about 1/2 mile south of Hammondsport, NY and figured, to be on the safe side, to use my remaining altitude to head back south to Mossy Bank and the option of the LZs it offers (I had no one to do retrieval).

I arrived back over Bath with 3K and finally touched down nicely at a top landable LZ not too far behind the launch at Mossy at 5:12 pm. What can I say, . . . one of my best flights ever.

If I'd had a chase crew, and launched a bit earlier, I (anyone!) could have gone big miles that day - down wind!
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Re: My Best Flight At Mossy Bank Park in Bath, NY

Postby JoeF » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:27 pm

Scott wrote:Here's my favorite low save story. It took place almost nine years ago -

... but still lives now and may live forever.
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at

View pilots' hang gliding rating at: US Hang Gliding Rating System
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