Rio Grande Soaring Association Forum
Rio Grande Soaring Association Forum
Thanks, Bill! It was fun flying with you. It's good to know, when you're in traffic, that the other pilot knows the rules and knows what he's doing. It was great when you started spiraling up and called out, "I smell coffee!" Plateau Espresso is getting to be a pretty reliable thermal location. It was a real good day of flying. Let's hope we get some more good times when Ann comes down this weekend.
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017:
This was a tough day for flying at Dry Canyon. Nonetheless Mike Ellsworth, Robin Hastings and our visitor Ann Dunlap all got some airtime there this afternoon. Mike went up with Bill Cummings driving, in the late morning. He launched and went right up, at first, but thermalling in the strong winds there took him too far back. He had to leave those thermals and unfortunately there weren't a whole lot of others that could be worked. Mike had to come out and land with a flight of 10 to 15 minutes. Ann was there by the time I arrive, just after 2:00 pm; we all helped Mike get his gear to his truck, then he drove for me and Ann to the launch once again. (Bill decided to be LZ director, and catch a nap in the interim.) Winds were pretty strong at the ramp. Ann launched a little before 5:00 pm, and I took off about 5:05. We both shot up from the launch ramp, where Mike held our nose wires. I was 1000 feet over launch within 5 minutes - and Ann may have done the same even more quickly. The air was pretty choppy, however. I soon headed west towards the LZ, working lift when I could, but mostly sinking fast and having trouble penetrating. I lost sight of Ann as I pushed forward towards the West Face, and then as I headed southwest and plummeted towards Cox Field. I finally made it there with several hundred feet to spare. Bill used paper towels to show me the wind (about 15 mph, SW) and I had a perfect touchdown, hardly needing a flare - I just walked it out and set the bar down. As Bill and I took down my glider (the U2-160, returned by Ann from its annual inspection) we finally caught sight of Ann in her Sport 2-135. She was a good deal north of Cox Field, and getting low. Bill finally advised her to "head for the open dirt field!" He might have meant the La Luz LZ, but she flew west to one near Scenic Drive, where Mike awaited her. Ann had a perfect landing. She reached 8800 ft MSL (1800 over launch) and had 53 minutes in the air, compared to my 20 minutes. We all regathered, finally, at Cox Field, and headed out from there - Mike to Ruidoso, the rest of us to Smiley's Chinese Buffet at White Sands Mall, and then Las Cruces. Tomorrow looks like a La Luz (i.e., northwest winds) kind of day, and we'll probably be assembling out there about 9:30 or 10:00 am. Here's to airtime - another good day of it!
Here is a 2011 video that Gene Cornwell made. I was his guide for his first flight at Dry Canyon. Only Gene, myself and Gene's driver were there for an epic day. At altitude it was glassy smooth but kicked our butts coming down through the shear to land. Wind up top was 270º and as you can see the landing was 180º
Found a picture of Gene in this short video of him wiring me off the launch.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017:
We had a pretty good day at Dry Canyon today. Bill Cummings, Mike Ellsworth and I went to soar there, with Jesse Cone as our driver. Skies were clear and cloudless all day long Bill took off first at about 2:50 pm MDT, with me following around 3:05 and Mike about 15 minutes after me. Winds were northerly when we first got up to launch, then moved around to the west and finally the southwest. Strong in the gusts. Thermals were tight and strong, but didn't go up all that high today. Still, they were abundant. Bill and Mike reached about 9,000 feet MSL (2000 over launch), while I only got to about 7700 in the flight. We all landed in the Cox Field LZ, where the sprinklers were going, but no gliders were soaked and no aluminum was bent. Bill and Mike each flew for over an hour - I decided the air was rough, for my taste, and went out after about 20 minutes or so. All in all, not a bad day to be in the air, and Jesse enjoyed seeing it again as well. Let's see what the weekend brings!
SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 2017:
Bill Cummings volunteered to be the driver today, so how could I refuse? We probably can't fly in the week to come, as the winds are scheduled to howl for the next five days. When we reached the Dry Canyon launch, about 10:30 am, the winds were light and the skies were clear. But by the time I launched in my U2-160, at 12:20, the winds were gusting up to 25 mph or more. I shot right up and soared for several passes, back and forth, then hit the sink that goes with all the lift. I cruised the ridge, then, looking for thermals, finding them tight and turbulent, but didn't get up all that high. (Skies were still clear.) I spent most of the flight between 6000 and 7000 ft MSL - launch height is 7000. I found some strong south winds when I headed to the Cox Field LZ - from the north, of course - but at least they were steady, when I finally made my landing. For me, it wasn't bad! I landed between the sprinklers that turn the LZ green, and never got the glider wet. Bill was down shortly with the truck, and with his help we soon had the U2 packed, despite 15 mph winds gusting across the field. Home by 3:30 pm, and glad to have had another day in the sunshine and the open sky.
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