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Flying possibilities

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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bill Cummings » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:53 pm

RGSA, Hawks, Drivers and all,
I continue the November 8th flying expedition to Magdalena Rim, northwest of Las Cruces NM (USA).
I was just about to step into the shower when Robin pulled in.
Not that I was timing him, and only in the interest of clarity, Robin arrived at, plus or minus 00:00:01, 08:32:51 (GPS atomic clock calibration.)

I met Robin at my front door. He had a loaf of his sourdough bread for me that saved him from my teeth marks on his buttocks, as in “chewing his butt“ for being “late“. (He’s no dummy. He knows how to handle me.)

Off we went for the Rim; no-man’s-land, at the ragged fringe of cell phone coverage with rescue a mere half a day and one helicopter away. Rattling around in my small, mostly-empty first aid pouch, was the ever-important bullet to bite down on while waiting for the helicopter.
Ahhh…. the adventures of flying in the remote desert wilderness.

We parked the Toyota at the fence and, still lacking permission for motor vehicle access, we flipped the glider cart over the fence and tied on two gliders, two harness bags, and three flags.

Robin would be pulling the cart while I was supposed to be pushing it.
It’s a 10 to 12 minute, uphill climb to the rim for Robin. With me along, it takes about 22 to 24 minutes. Using me as a comparison, at age 64, I would rate this site 59 and under.

My first mistake was forgetting to take my knee guards out of my harness bag before securely fastening the bag to the cart. Before the first of my four mandatory rest stops, I was cursing myself for this mistake. Lost at this point amongst the cacti was my option to drop and drag with the hope that Robin wouldn’t notice.

Then the axle took a slight bend allowing the left tire to rub the wood framed cart. That had the effect of applying a brake on one side. Robin made the call to push on to the Rim and fix the cart at home. (That “fix” could be handled after my funeral, I was thinking.)

At the Rim, I was ecstatic to have survived Colonel Robin Hastings’ forced march. I couldn’t find any signal bars on my cell phone or I would have canceled my next cardiologist appointment, the treadmill, there, serving as a redundant stress test!!

It looked like a marginal wind for soaring, so I offered to let Robin (The Grim Reaper) launch first. At 11:31 he picked a good thermal to launch into and had a very good launch, beaming up to about 100 feet. After several passes along the Rim, he disappeared behind the hill to the southeast on the Rim.
After 10 minutes, I gave a call on the radio, but received no response. I took my GPS, vario and radio, in case I had to drag Robin to the doctor, walked down to the truck, and drove to the bottom. Robin had had a good landing, so we knocked down his glider and rushed back to the top.

I had snuck my GPS, vario and radio into Robin’s back pack and he carried it to the Rim, none the wiser. ;)

It was still looking marginal to me and I waited until Robin convinced me that a sled ride to the bottom would be better than hauling my glider back to the Toyota.
I set up with Robin’s help, for which my exhaustion allowed me to be able to drag out the setup time to forty minutes. I picked a good cycle to launch into and beamed up to about 100 feet. Once the thermal ended I scratched along the Rim slowly sinking out.

I was only able to squeeze 12 minutes out of the face of the cliff. :cry:
(If this were a job I would have been complaining about the working conditions.)

The ribbons in the landing zone were revealing a severe wind gradient. Probably as a result of all the knee deep greasewood brush. I held on extra speed and when I hit ground effect, I had to flare immediately, dropping me straight into the brush for a no-step landing. This was really good since one step wouldn’t have been possible. 8-)

Two good things, we didn’t get back too late and the oil companies made a profit. :roll:

Sorry, everyone, you’ll get no pictures until I get a lighter camera.

Platform towing is still my favorite method of flying. :thumbup:
Robin just called and we are going to make Sam jealous at Dry Canyon tomorrow. He will pick me up at 08:00 :| :wave:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby RobinHastings » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:43 am

The day at Dry Canyon on Sunday, Nov. 9th worked out pretty well. Bill and I had a good time driving out to Alamogordo at 8:30 that morning, occasionally interrupting our animated conversations to pay attention to NPR's Marketplace Money show (talking about something New Mexicans commonly see very little of, money - but in exchange, we do get lots of airtime.) We met Mike Ellsworth in the Cox Field LZ, which the City of Alamogordo has recently mowed and begun to water again - it looks great! When Jesse Cone, our driver, arrived, we quickly loaded our Wills Wing U2's and Sport2 onto my Toyota Tacoma and took the road to launch. Jesse, 71 (and looks like early 60's) grew up on a New Mexico ranch, and knows how to handle obstinate roads. I always like to have the driver drive the truck UP this road, so there are no surprises on the way back DOWN. Bill, Mike and I were all set up and ready by 1:00 pm. Temperatures at launch were about 70 degrees, the winds were right up the face (southwest) about 10 to 15 mph, and the skies were cloudless. Mike went first, with a beautiful launch into blue skies. Unfortunately, clear blue sky often means high pressure and inversions, and Mike had trouble breaking 7500 ft MSL (about 500 feet over launch). By 1:22 he was down safe in the nice-looking LZ. I went next at 1:35, with Jesse on my nose wires. I charged off and just elevatored up to 100 feet over launch. I turned left, looking for that golden thermal to 12,000 ft and a big XC flight north. Instead I was back at launch height within the minute, and trolling for thermals along the ridge. I found some and made it up to 7500, just like Mike; improving upon his successful flight plan, I was easily able to eke out 3 more minutes than he did! I finished with a nice, comfortable landing on my wheels and my buttocks at 2:00 pm. (Grass is better than cactus, that way...) Bill could see that conditions were obviously improving, and took off at 1:55. Up he went - all the way to 7500 ft. And being the master pilot he is, he blew us out of the air with a whole 29 minutes of airtime, before making a beautiful flare and landing at 2:24. Masters of the air we are, and make no mistake about it! T-shirt weather in the landing zone, as we boasted about our soaring prowess. Jesse soon arrived and we were all packed up and ready to head home by 4:00 pm. Mike took off, but Bill and I got delayed by returning our driver's sweatshirt - and then joining him and his wife Julie for a very nice dinner at the best eating place in the town, in Jesse's estimation. Free food? How could we say no? And very nice people, too. We made it home to Las Cruces by 7:00 pm, our wives glad to see us whole and uncrashed (and already fed). I got back to grading Astronomy 110 papers and Bill to doing whatever he does in the evenings (who am I to inquire?) with both of us glowing in the warmth of good airtime. November in New Mexico - it's hard to beat!
-Robin
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:30 pm

RobinHastings wrote:I always like to have the driver drive the truck UP this road, so there are no surprises on the way back DOWN.

That's thinking ahead!! I've driven a few times at new sites and gotten lost on the way down because I wasn't paying attention ... on the way up!

RobinHastings wrote:I finished with a nice, comfortable landing on my wheels and my buttocks at 2:00 pm. (Grass is better than cactus, that way...)

Wheels ... and buttocks? I can't quite figure that one out.    :?

RobinHastings wrote:We made it home to Las Cruces by 7:00 pm, our wives glad to see us whole and uncrashed (and already fed).

With extra emphasis on the "already fed"?    :srofl:

RobinHastings wrote:I got back to grading Astronomy 110 papers and Bill to doing whatever he does in the evenings (who am I to inquire?) with both of us glowing in the warmth of good airtime. November in New Mexico - it's hard to beat!
-Robin

Great write up, Robin!!!    :clap: :wave: :clap: :wave: :thumbup: :clap:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby SamKellner » Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:13 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bill Cummings » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:04 pm

Blast it all!! I’ve just finished a LEVEL TWO SEARCH for my Cannon camera’s download to lap top cord and the hiding demons get an A+ for their work this time.

I’ll order eight thousand cords and have a front end loader dump them all at my front door. Next I’ll scatter them throughout every room in the house. While I’m at it I might as well order four hundred new cameras and four hundred new laptops and six hundred pair of computer glasses. :cry: !
Oh crap! That means I’ll have to find my check book.
With any luck I’ll find the camera cord next to my cell phone’s ear bud cord with both laying on top of my check book.
(Odds are bad for posting any flying pictures.) :thumbdown:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bill Cummings » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:46 pm

Robin,
10 to 25 mph East at the East Potrillo Mountains tomorrow!!
????
Anapra?
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:25 am

billcummings wrote:Blast it all!! I’ve just finished a LEVEL TWO SEARCH for my Cannon camera’s download to lap top cord and the hiding demons get an A+ for their work this time.


I've had trouble losing my camera cord as well. Then I discovered that the memory card in my camera pops right out and my computer happens to have a matching slot. So I just pull out the card, put it in my computer, and all the pictures are right there!!

Now my only problem arises when I go to take a picture and the camera says there's no room because it doesn't have a memory card. Ooops, that's because it's still in the computer!!!    :lol:


billcummings wrote:10 to 25 mph East at the East Potrillo Mountains tomorrow!!


Have fun, and be safe!!!    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bill Cummings » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:15 am

I'll check out the memory card idea.
The East direction is taking place as I type but after talking to Lee Boone (the local for that area) Anapra wind is usually a little more there then at El Paso International Airport.
NWS is calling for 25 - 30 G= 41 I’m thinking we would only be able to spread the wings flat on the ground and drive spikes through the sail to anchor it to the Earth and shovel dirt and rocks on it to keep it from blowing away. (Best option for today.) :thumbdown:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:44 am

billcummings wrote:NWS is calling for 25 - 30 G= 41 I’m thinking we would only be able to spread the wings flat on the ground and drive spikes through the sail to anchor it to the Earth and shovel dirt and rocks on it to keep it from blowing away. (Best option for today.) :thumbdown:

If you search the forum for "Little Hawk", you'll find lots of photos of our 65 square foot, double surfaced, demonstration glider. If we could get it certified through the HGMA, it might be just what you need for a day like today!!

Here's a picture of it from our recent "Second Sunday" at Torrey (November 10th, 2013):

14_susi1s.jpeg
14_susi1s.jpeg (60.77 KiB) Viewed 2115 times


Isn't she a beauty!?!      ...    I meant the glider!!   :srofl:
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Re: Flying possibilities

Postby SamKellner » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

I been telling Ya since you first built Little Hawk. Get with John H. 'n start producing those, put all of us to work in the HG industry.

If top HG comp pilots are crossing over to mini/swoop PG wings, they would surely choose the performance of Little Hawk over flying a bed sheet. :P

Good work promoting the sport, Bob. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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