Rio Grande Soaring Association Forum
Rio Grande Soaring Association Forum
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26:
A pleasant addition to the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend was a chance to fly at Dry Canyon today. Earlier in the day a new hang glider student (who actually tried it out 20 years ago) came for some mentoring at my house. Mike Townsand has an excellent launch run and I think he will be a soaring pilot soon if he follows through. After we put away the RGSA Gemini 134 we drove off to Alamogordo and the Dry Canyon launch. Winds were very light when we arrived, but by the time I was set up and ready to go, they were coming in at 10 to 12 mph. Skies held a thin overcast when I launched at 1:45 pm MST. The air was buoyant but thermals were not very large or strong. I worked one near the West Face and gained a few hundred feet in it, then eked out another minute or two in a small thermal over Plateau Espresso on Scenic Drive. I had a very pleasant, low-stress extended sled ride, and arrived at Cox Field with plenty of altitude. I set up a good, southwest approach and timed my flare pretty decently for a good landing in the middle of the field. I had 15 minutes of airtime, and Mike was intrigued enough to want some more mentoring tomorrow morning. I'd call that a pretty good day!
Robin hasn't posted yet with the specifics but the short of it is in his test to me:
SUNDAY, FEB. 5, 2017:
We had nice flying at Dry Canyon today. Taro Nihonyanagi had his last hang glider flight there before going to Japan and then Detroit, with a fine takeoff and an excellent landing. Ty Bonnel flew twice in his paraglider, getting about an hour and a half of airtime total, and Jan Zschenderlein made two PG tandem flights today (one was with me, the other with Dan, a PG pilot in training). Good air, smooth and with good lift - we had no problem staying up, or reaching the Cox Field LZ. T-shirt temperatures, too, at least in the LZ. And sometime in the last month or so, the Dry Canyon road has been graded. Thank you, Lincoln National Forest! The rains have packed it down, too - I took out a few leftover rocks on my drive back down, but it's in fine shape now. It was a great way to spend Superbowl Sunday.
Robin and I met Mike E. at 10:00 am in the Cox LZ. I was the driver for this day and also took some pictures and video.
Robin and Mike launched before launch was blown out. Jan took off with his PG before the wind picked up to much for PG.
He called up from the LZ that it was strong and gusty for landing.
When my video from Robin's stinger (rear keel tube) is finished up loading to YouTube at about 11:00 pm tonight (2/25/2017)
you will be able to see it. It will be at:
I hope embedding the address here before it's finished uploading doesn't mess things up. We shall see.
That's a good account of the day's events, Bill. Thanks a lot for the video, too! It shows what I'm doing on my landings, which are always something I need to know more about. I was trying to get Mike into some of it, too, and it looks like that succeeded. Well edited! Let's see if we can go again next Saturday; the winds will be calmer that day, and I have a driver who wants to go. Time flies - and so do we.
SATURDAY, MARCH 4:
We had another good day of soaring at Dry Canyon. An abundance of people met in the Cox Field LZ at 10:00 am or so. Bill Cummings and I, with Keighley Hastings as our driver, arrived just before 10. Jan Zschenderlein, with his friend Jan, came shortly afterwards. Next to arrive was Andy Belk, a physicist and Hang 4 from Los Alamos, with his friend Eric. Finally, my friend Kerry Guthrie, with his friend Matt Niederhaus from Cedar Rapids, Iowa along, came in about 10:20. We started up the mountain in two cars and found good launch conditions at the top. Jan & Jan tried a PG tandem at the HG launch, and had troubles with inflation in the rotor there. Ultimately, they went down to the PG launch, waited for a calmer cycle, and got a good, half-hour soaring flight together. They landed well at Cox Field. I was first off among the hang glider pilots, using the Formula 144. I launched at 1:07 pm MST, with Keighley on the nose wires, and immediately found thermals. Conditions were pretty much clear, with some small cumulus, and lift was plentiful, though inconsistent. Getting to 8000 ft MSL, 1000 over launch, was the best I could manage today. I found lift along the ridge, over the West Face, and over Plateau Espresso later in the flight. Andy was the second pilot off the ramp, in his UltraSport, and he had the flight of the day. Andy soared about an hour and 10 minutes, reached 8500 ft MSL, and finished up with a pretty good landing, keeping his right wing tip off the ground by sheer determination. Finally Bill Cummings took a flight, launching at 1:40 pm. He and I both wound up with 50 minutes of flight time, and like me he rose up to 8000 ft MSL. Winds in Cox Field were up to 10, and down to zero, and in direction anywhere from west to southeast. But Bill brought in his Sport 2 beautifully, with a perfect flare and touchdown. This was fortunate - Bill had sink of 2000 ft per minute, as he plummeted from the West Face to Scenic Drive and Cox Field. Kerry and Keighley, with various friends, arrived with trucks shortly afterwards. Both Jans departed for home, Kerry & Matt left for Ruidoso, and the rest of us had exemplary hamburgers at the Rockin' BZ Burger place on White Sands Blvd. With clear skies, gentle winds and temps near 70 degrees, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this.
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