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Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:33 pm

Monday, December 28, 2020:
We've been in quite a drought here in Southern New Mexico. I don't just mean the lack of water - I mean airtime! I haven't had a flight since our October Fun Fly, due to the weather never being quite right and not a lot of folks to fly with. Well, this past weekend Mario Manzo and Dave DeMill (with Theresa) came down from the frozen north (i.e., Albuquerque and other SSA locations) to fly in some warmer weather. Both Mario and Dave flew their PG's in mild, clear conditions on Sunday. Theresa would have been our driver, but I didn't like how switchy the winds were at Mag Rim launch and especially not in the LZ, so I left my Sport2 back at the fence. Mario stayed overnight at my house, and the next day, with Nancy Hastings as driver, we took our hang gliders and tried Mag Rim again. Dave and Theresa came driving out along the road as we were driving in - they enjoyed camping out and seeing some really clear skies, with a nearly full moon. Conditions this day again were clear, with some distant clouds to the north, and pleasant temperatures - about 65-70 degrees F at launch. Yesterday's winds were (minus the switches) pretty much west; today's were stronger, and south-southwest. Ideal for HG's, I thought. I was first off, at 1:00 pm, with Mario on my nose wires. In two steps I was magically ascending in my Sport2-155. The lift was bumpy but abundant, and I had no problem getting up and staying up. A redtail hawk came by while I was over at the south face, seeming to be enjoying the air and the prospect of a jackrabbit dinner. I flew for 45 minutes and was 1000 feet overhead when Mario launched - the winds got considerably stronger (30 mph, maybe?) right after I went off, but they finally let up enough for him to advance to the staging area. In his Icaro Piuma single surface he lifted off, slowly moving forward from the launch, but within 5 minutes he was above me over on the south face of the hill. We enjoyed soaring together for the next 15 minutes, then I headed to the Arroyo LZ and had a perfect touchdown for an hour in the air. Mario made his first HG landing at the site about 10 minutes later - the winds were strong but steady, and his landing was excellent. Nancy was on hand in the truck before we really got busy tearing down the gliders. By 5:00 pm we were back at Casa de Hastings, and Mario insisted on getting dinner for us from one of the best Mexican restaurants in Mesilla. All in all, a delightful day, and I am sure grateful to have some good friends (and wife!) to fly with.
-Robin
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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:34 pm

Here's a few pictures from December 27 (PG's) and December 28 (HG's) at Magdalena Rim. It was a pretty nice couple of days!
-Robin

DaveDeMill_Launch_12-27-20.JPG
Dave DeMill making his first launch at Magdalena Rim. December 27, 2020.
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Mario Manzo, in his first flight at Mag Rim. 12-27-20.
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The view eastward from Magdalena Rim. 12-28-2020.


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Robin's WW Sport2 and Mario's Icaro Piuma. Looking west. 12-28-2020
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Nancy Hastings, and Robin in flight. 12-28-20.
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Robin in his WW Sport2-155, Dec. 28, 2020.
RobinMagRim-12-28-20.JPG (44.81 KiB) Viewed 754 times
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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:45 pm

Sunday, January 3, was another fine (and reasonably warm) day to be at Magdalena Rim. In fact, there was a spontaneous fly-in going on! Some 10 PG pilots, and 3 HG pilots, were all on the launch by noon. Myself, Brian Reindl, and Gilles Truwalter were there for the hang gliding community. Steve Crye (El Paso), Forger Stuckey (Las Cruces) and 8 or 9 visitors from Colorado had their PG's out. Some of the Coloradans had been here last year - Dan Corley and his son Ryan, for instance - and Forger is a long time HG and PG pilot (who also flies a spaceship, when he's getting paid). Everyone had as much airtime as they wanted in the PG's. By the time we had our HG's set up, though, the winds were getting stronger and stronger, and trending from southwest (straight in) more to westerly. I had to give Dan Corley, on his final flight, a substantial push from behind as he launched, to get him going forward instead of back. Gilles got off first, about 2:30 pm I think, in over 20 mph; he blasted upward, pulled in hard, and then had a fine flight of an hour or so, getting about 1200 feet over launch. He found a good bit of turbulence and winds from the west when he landed in the Arroyo LZ. Brian tried next, with Forger on his nose wires, but with the winds getting into the high 20's (and more, with gusts) he finally backed off. That left me, in the same situation, with too much west and too much speed; Forger held my nose wires for half an hour before good sense finally prevailed, and I backed it off as well. At that point, the spectating PG pilots took their gear and said adieu. Gilles showed up as Brian and I were zipping up our gliders in the bags - if I understand it right, Gilles WALKED up the road from the LZ to our launch. That guy (who also flies planes when somebody hands him money) is really fit! Brian looked at the winds lulling and straightening out, though, got tempted, and within minutes we had his glider set up again - but alas, it was not to be, they started howling once more, and we finally bowed to reality, packed it up, and rolled our two gliders back down to the waiting 4WD van. We picked up flags and one more glider from the LZ, and hit the road to Las Cruces, making it home in time for my wife's birthday at 6:00 pm. (Last year, it was a party at Bill and Terry Cummings' house - ah, but there was no pandemic then. Maybe next year, folks.) Despite our lack of airtime for the day, Brian and I were pretty satisfied, and I expect that the reputation of this site is now firmly cemented in the minds of the PG community, at least. Since a lot of the country is freezing right now - what's not to like?
-Robin

BrianAtMagRim_01-03-21.JPG
Brian Reindl suiting up. Blue Mesa to the west in background.
BrianAtMagRim_01-03-21.JPG (82.61 KiB) Viewed 750 times
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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:48 pm

Thursday, January 21, 2021 (12121, an anagram)
I guided Joe Gamerisfelder, Tony Conger and Chris Chaney of Texas out to Magdalena Rim today. None of the three had yet flown it. We'd had rain overnight and sprinkles of rain on the way to the site, but the rain quit about noon and we saw sunshine as the afternoon went on. Chris and Tony set up their U2's and Joe set up his Falcon 3 195. High temperature was about 55 degrees today. Winds cycled from strong, to light, to over the back, and finally settled in to decent, up the face southwest by about 3:15 pm. Tony was the first to launch, in lighter winds, and had a sled run of about 5 minutes to the Arroyo LZ. Chris had had a brief, bad launch before Tony, but both he and his glider were OK, and he had a fine flight after Tony, getting up several hundred feet over launch and finally landing well in the Arroyo also, after 15 minutes or so. I was planning to get Joe into the air, but he chose not to fly a site where he couldn't see the LZ from launch. (Wise, I think - he's a new Hang 2. Flies a private jet for a living, though.) He generously let me have a flight on his Falcon instead, which I accepted with alacrity. At 4:10 pm I took off with Joe on the nose wires, and with a very nice spectator named Mike who was camping in the area. I immediately went up, turned left, and enjoyed smooth ridge lift and beautiful scenery as the sun sank down towards evening. I gained 500 feet over launch in the ridge lift and light thermals, while Joe and Mike went back down with the glider cart. Eventually I had to head out; I set up a good approach, right into a 10 mph wind at the arroyo's end, and had a perfect touchdown near the flag. It was 21 minutes of delightful, relaxing airtime, and not a white-knuckle moment in the flight. Joe arrived with the truck soon after I landed, and eventually we all had dinner together at the Ramada Hotel in Las Cruces. Tomorrow we'll head for Dry Canyon, and who knows what adventures that will bring?

I enclose a really unique picture of Chris Chaney that Mike took from the launch. I have no idea how it came out that way - but doesn't it look like a giant planet in the background?
-Robin

ChrisChaney_MagRim_12121.JPG
Chris Chaney at Magdalena Rim, January 21, 2021. How did that giant planet in the background escape our notice until now?
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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:10 pm

Friday, January 29, 2021:
Brian Reindl and Gilles Truwalter wanted to head for Valle de Bravo, Mexico this week. Warmer down there, no? Well, COVID-19 restrictions put a stop to those plans! Instead, they came south from Albuquerque to see about some airtime with the RGSA. They went to La Luz on Thursday, but it was pretty light so they didn't set up their Sport3's. Mag Rim, though - was a little different than planned, as well. Dave Church came by my house at 09:00 today (Friday) and Brian & Gilles showed up right after he did. The forecasted conditions were for partly sunny skies, high temperatures about 65 degrees, and winds from the south-southwest at 10-12 mph, getting stronger in the evening. Instead we had heavy overcast with occasional rain, temperatures in the 40-50 degree range, and winds that started off light and were 30 mph by mid-afternoon. Gilles got off about 2:30 for a short sled run to the LZ (and a perfect landing). Dave Church went down to retrieve him, while I held the nose wires for Brian at launch, with Mike Isaacs (still camped up there) assisting and photographing. Brian had a window of about 1 minute, when he first stepped up to the takeoff area, and wisely paused to assess the situation - but that's all it took. The winds abruptly increased about 10 mph to 30+ mph, and once again we had to call it off and pack up the glider after half an hour (which gave Dave and Gilles time to get back and help). The sun was still a very rare sight as we wended our way back to Las Cruces. Of course, by 5:30 pm the skies were blue and the winds had calmed, with a lovely sunset over my home town - but that didn't help out our visitors very much, who were on their way to Albuquerque. Alas, it could have been better - but nobody got hurt, and it was great to visit with everybody for a day. We'll all be hoping for a good weekend at the Guadalupes in another two weeks - and meanwhile, don't forget our RGSA Club Meeting on Saturday evening at 7:00 pm. (On Zoom - check your email for the link!)
-Robin
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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:48 pm

Friday, February 12, 2021:
You know how, to quote Robert Burns, "The best-laid plans o' mice and men gang aft agley"? Well, today that didn't happen. Paul Mizzoni, a Hang 4 pilot from Kitty Hawk Kites in North Carolina, was in El Paso on a jaunt across the country with his girlfriend Lauren. He called me up on Wednesday, just to visit with pilots in our area - he had a harness and gear, but no glider. Was he surprised when I said, "Sure, let's get you in the air - you can use mine!" With a cold front coming in, I was afraid the day was going to "gang aft agley", but for a miracle, everything worked out perfectly this time. He launched Mag Rim at 4:15 pm today, in beautiful conditions. Temperatures were about 65 degrees, winds were 10 to 15 from the southwest, skies were blue with a few pre-frontal clouds. Mike Isaacs was up at the site again, and he got a lovely shot of Paul clearing the launch in my Sport2-155. Paul didn't miss a moment in climbing out, and before Mike and I headed back to our trucks he was at least 1000 feet over. I got to the LZ by 4:45 or so, and Paul finally lost the lift (he got to 2000 over launch) and came in for a perfect touchdown at 5:00 pm. We were back in Las Cruces by 7:00, after a stop in Mesilla for a tour of our area's better attractions. Paul was thoroughly impressed by a) The flying and b) The welcome that he has found in RGSA country, and really hopes to be back soon. We aims to please...

Here's a few photos from the day.
-Robin

PaulMizzoni_Feb12-2021.JPG
Paul Mizzoni with Robin's Sport2-155. Mag Rim, Feb. 12, 2021.
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Paul with a perfect launch. Photo by Mike Isaacs.
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Paul Mizzoni on final approach into the Arroyo LZ.
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PaulLanding_02-12-21.JPG
A perfect flare on a perfect day. What's not to like?
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Re: Magdalena Rim NW of Las Cruces NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:09 pm

Hey, everyone, have a look at this video that Mike Isaacs created of the Magdalena Rim area (and its flying). This is ART!
-Robin

https://gopro.com/v/ED37BWqaJlpX0
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