Tennessee Tree Toppers

Sequatchie Skies
by Dan Shell
February 1, 1997

Low pressure at the NE end of an occluded front shut the door on the arctic air, so temps behind it were much warmer than forecast earlier in the week. A dry front not far behind veered the wind to westerly by Saturday, raised the pressure, and reduced velocity enough to make a launch at Henson's an acceptable, if mostly sinking, proposition.

Jeff Dodgen launched in pursuit of a gaggle of buzzards he spotted breaking the horizon out front, but they pulled up the string and he was unable to find much of their lift despite heroic efforts. Katie Dunn and Paul from Kentucky had more luck in the quarry next to Hwy 111, but only enough to maintain a few extra minutes. It was basically sled runs all around, but the warm sunny day relieved months of airtime deprivation and a good time was had by all.

The wind had backed to SW again by Sunday, but Chris Smith was on a mission. This weekend was his 25th anniversary in hang gliding and he was determined to celebrate it with a flight. By the time he was set up the wind was going catabatic (downslope), but Jeff Laughrey, Tom Prouhet, and I were able to see him off in a calm cycle. Chris is well known as a premiere hang gliding harness manufacturer and is actually the first person ever to fly Henson's. Congratulations Chris for a long and well respected career in the sport.

The forecast calls for soarable NW winds Wednesday behind Monday and Tuesday's frontal passage. NE to E Thursday with cirrus moving in by afternoon. More clouds and southerly winds Friday. Good chance of rain Saturday.