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Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

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Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby Bill Cummings » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:01 pm

Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend.
Usually pilots flock to Alamogordo New Mexico during Columbus Day weekend.
In the high country north of here it gets cold at night and it takes awhile to warm up in the morning.
Like most things that fly there is a tendency to head south to stay warm as the sun appears to fall off to the south.
Escaping the cold is why I moved here and why I always see more pilots here as winter gets closer.
Most pilots have already been longing for a trip to Alamogordo as the days get colder.
Here we will need shade so I dug out my big 20' x 12' tarp to add to the shade structure.
As usual I'm planing on having along my LP BBQ, four card tables, and all my chairs. Robin usually
has all of his chairs along too and Mike always has his tables along for the three and almost four day weekend.
Last year at this time we saw just over 30 PG and HG pilots and a few PPG as well. Some radio controlled models were
also adding to the airtime fun.
For the last two big gatherings we didn't charge a fee but were able to afford food for the BBQ just from donations that pilots tossed into an ice cream pail. (Empty pail --- and thanks for waiting until the ice cream was all gone.)
Any overflow donations will be given to the local RGSA Club.
Mike told me he would line up a port-o-jon for Friday through Monday.
I'll stay in the LZ to watch over all the toys at the bottom for pilots that don't want to haul all their stuff up the mountain.
My wife bought me a measuring wheel last year so I'll have that along for any pilots that want to show off their spot landing abilities.
I'll put out a tarp in the middle of the field so that pilots with target fixation don't land on my BBQ.
So I think I'll get off of the keyboard and start putting flour in baggies for a bomb drop contest. (At ease NSA).
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby RobinHastings » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:38 pm

WEDNESDAY EVENING, OCT. 5:
Bill Cummings, Mike Ellsworth and I are evaluating the weather models. We might get rain this weekend! We haven't decided yet whether (or is that "weather") to postpone our Columbus Day Gathering to the next weekend. We hope that we'll wake up tomorrow and find out that the moisture predicted, up from Mexico, was really just a bad dream. (Wait, wait - I'm not saying rain is BAD, no... But if it could wait until Tuesday, we would be ever so much more grateful.) The predicted southwest winds might turn east and southeast as well. Look for my forecast tomorrow morning! We will make a decision sometime around then.
-Robin
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:08 am

Here is a Snipping Tool capture of the 9:00 am Thursday forecast through Columbus Day.
If the text is cut off on the right hold the Ctrl key while hitting the minus key (-) that should make the text fit the window.
Alamogordo NM WX through Columbus Day (NWS).JPG
Alamogordo NM WX through Columbus Day (NWS).JPG (86.24 KiB) Viewed 526 times
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby RobinHastings » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:15 am

If the predicted precipitation follows its usual pattern for the Great Southwest, this means that we keep an eye on the overdevelopment and fly when it's not coming down - which it typically does only for an hour or so. Dry Canyon, due to its terrain, is still launchable even in southeast winds. In light and variable conditions, it is also usually launchable, because then it's thermal cycles coming up the hill that brings the winds into the ramp. No guarantees, especially with the forecast being what it is, but I plan to be there with my glider for the weekend starting on Friday, and we hope that a lot of other folks will be there, too. See you all then!
-Robin
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Oct 06, 2016 2:04 pm

Robin tells me that Chris Chaney (sp?) will be heading our way with some other pilots from Texas and a PG pilot, during his phone conversation with Robin, said that he will be down. That's seven that are for sure but I know others will show up. I made up 32 flour/balloon/bombs ( :wave: hello there NSA guys :wave: How's the meta data collection business going? :shh: :shifty: )
Mike Robin and I are going to try for 10:00 am Friday to be in the LZ.
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby macofromoc » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:11 pm

I'm heading down on Saturday early and Patrick is heading down on Friday evening. I overheard David Coleman say he was heading down. I thought I heard Bo say he was heading down. I was a little skeptical with the forecast, but you guys talked me into it. thanks!

greg clark
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:54 pm

Alright Greg! With the pilots you reported you make eleven and I just hung up with Lee Boone from El Paso. He will be pulling in Saturday afternoon with his truck camper -- that makes twelve pilots for sure that committed.
I just had Terry help me load the BBQ onto the drawbar luggage rack and earlier today Robin picked up my four card tables and four chairs.
Bring camp chairs if you have - em. I'll be picking up beef pre- cooked hot dogs and hamburgers. If you like you can throw on my BBQ any fancy tender loin and make us green with envy. :mrgreen: :lol:
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby PatrickHarveyCollard » Fri Oct 07, 2016 11:04 am

See you all down there!
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby RobinHastings » Sat Oct 08, 2016 10:18 pm

Saturday evening, October 8, 2016:
So far, so good. We have 11 pilots in attendance today, despite the dismal forecast. Yes, there was rain - about 30 seconds of it, at 6:00 am. When I flew my hang glider at 12:40 today, it was sunny all over the Dry Canyon launch. Patrick went about 15 miles, to a little past Tularosa, in his paraglider. Just about everyone got to fly today, including Taro Nihonyanagi, who hurried up from El Paso for an evening HG launch. He joined Jan Zschenderlein, Patrick, Bo Frazier, Ryan (from Salt Lake City), Greg Clark and Steve Schmidt (of Santa Fe) all scratching in their paragliders. All made it to the landing zone, too, in time for hamburgers and hot dogs from Bill's grill, there in the Cox Field LZ. Patrick was pleased to have had 41/2 hours of airtime on a day that was (in the forecasts) rained out. Most PG pilots flew from La Luz, early on, and from Dry Canyon in the late afternoon. Hey, come on out and fly on Sunday - there's still time to make it! (And to make the evening barbecue...)
-Robin
PS - There was good flying on Friday, too. Steve got an early flight, then flew again with Jan, Ryan, and Ty Bonnel, at sunset.
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Re: Columbus Day Weekend is this coming weekend

Postby RobinHastings » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:08 pm

Sunday, October 9, 2016:
We had another flyable day today. Not that we didn't have to exercise some patience, though. When I got to the Dry Canyon launch with Dave Coleman, Lee Boone and Taro Nihonyanagi we ran to the ramp (where the wind was blowing in nicely) to see... The Void. Featureless overcast stretched from the end of the ramp to the ends of the earth. Several PG pilots were already over at their launch, to the east of the hang gliding ramp, and eventually Lee, Taro and Dave went to see how that was going. I hung around the main launch area with Greg Clark. Eventually, though, the fog and clouds lifted enough to reveal Alamogordo, and then some blue sky and a lot of cumulus clouds, breaking up. Patrick was first among PG pilots, and Jan was probably second; soon we had 8 sky buoys cruising the ridge, getting a few hundred over launch and occasionally five or six hundred below it. We finally had Dave and Taro launch, about 12:30 pm when the finally burned off enough to reveal what looked like a pretty fun day. Taro and Dave both had extended sled runs, but by the time I'd driven Dave's Tacoma down to Cox Field, all of the PG's were heading from the mountain to the LZ. No XC records today, alas... Everyone had a wonderful time, however, and most of the PG pilots were up for 90 minutes or more. Dave convinced me to accompany him, with Mike Ellsworth as driver, up to the launch for a second flight (and my first of the day). We launched our hang gliders about 5:00 pm and found smooth, gentle lift all over the mountainside - if not an epic glassoff, it was a reasonable facsimile. The paragliding pilots were all down by then, kiting in the landing zone; Dave and I soared the mountain, and watched a distant thunderhead grow across the Tularosa Basin. We both finally decided, about 5:40, to put our feet back on the ground before the big storm had anything to say about it. We both had excellent landings, thanks to a 5 mph, steady breeze at Cox Field. We were so glad to have gone up to fly! We enjoyed a club barbecue after packing up, with hamburgers, bratwurst and hot dogs. A good visiting session was going on from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and then the invading thunderstorm really got out of hand. Lightning flashes and gust fronts all over town, and then a wind gust whipped our tarp off the hooks, at the top of the shade structure, and we scrambled to protect everything from the rain. That's about the time when I demonstrated leadership, and bugged out for home in Las Cruces. After all, I have to teach in the morning... There was flooding in parts of Alamogordo. It's been an interesting fly-in, and we have more of it to go; tomorrow (Columbus Day) may be the best of the weekend. Despite a lousy forecast, every day has been flyable so far. You shoulda been there... Keep that in mind when the Dry Canyon Memorial Day Fly-In comes around in May!
-Robin
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