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Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby RobinHastings » Tue May 26, 2020 3:09 pm

The 2020 Coronavirus Fun Fly
by Robin Hastings
This year’s Memorial Day weekend event turned out to be one of the finest ever, despite the lack of trophies, contests, barbecue, or really any organizing on my part. We had 16 pilots come to the Cox Field LZ, plus Terry Cummings (RGSA President) with merchandise, Finis Miller and Steve Kinsel as drivers, and a few spectators including Byron Stevens (novice pilot) and my dear Nancy, whom I first met at the fly-in back in 1984. We all kept our proper distancing, some of us wore masks, and in general all the protocols of this weird time of plague were looked after. Every day, from Friday May 22 through Monday May 25, was flyable. And some of them were really flyable.
Friday started out with me in the LZ at 09:00, and a couple of Texas trucks appearing, plus Charlie Schneider and Vanessa in their super van. Rich Reinauer’s Nissan Armada was the only 4WD available (my Tacoma was being repaired) but we got 5 gliders onto it, and with me as driver we headed up to the launch. Lucky we had so many of us, crammed into that vehicle – the roadwork that Wyatt Lines and I had done two weeks before had fallen apart by now. But many hands lighten loads, and we soon got past the bad parts and had everyone up at Dry Canyon launch. Greg Chastain unfortunately had the wrong basetube for his Moyes Extralite, so ultimately he drove the Armada back down, but I was able to launch Tony Conger (Sport 2), Nate Wreyford (T2C), Rich (T2C) and Chris Chaney (U2). Conditions that day were clear and breezy and all four had fine flights. Nate went XC, thirty miles north to Three Rivers. Terry and Finis were in the LZ when I reached it with Greg – Terry had the first RGSA shirts, hats and other gear I’d seen in years. After the Texans went in chase of Nate, Tony Conger found that he had to head back home a day early (business) and the rest of us dispersed until the morrow. My family had retrieved my truck from the repair shop, and I was eager to be driving it with a glider on top. Curt, a PG pilot from Oklahoma, was willing to take hang gliders up to launch in his Honda Ridgeline, trailing the Armada. On the way up we met with the 4WD van that Brian Reindl of Albuquerque owns, with Josie at the wheel; Brian and Gills had already launched. My Tacoma wound up taking some gliders up when the Ridgeline hit some show stopper holes on the way, but everyone got up to launch and everyone flew. New local PG pilot Chris Mendoza helped me launch them, while Finis got video of the event. Finis was the nose man when I got to launch at last; I had a nice, 1-hour soaring flight, and landed at La Luz, 5 miles north, where Finis picked me up. Attila Plasch of Colorado flew with me a while (I was last off) and took a 2 and a half hour aerial tour of Alamogordo before landing at Cox Field. Everyone else went XC. That included Dan Jones from Colorado, as well as all the remaining Texans. Nate reached Carrizozo, his personal Dry Canyon best, and Rich made it up to Corona, quite a bit further. PG pilots Steve Crye, Max Montgomery, Wyatt Lines (our Meet Head) and Greg Clark were in the LZ visiting with Terry when Finis and I arrived from La Luz. There was some good visiting, and a bucket of chicken from KFC to assuage any hunger pangs when the XC chase crew made it back. Temperatures were very pleasant, so nobody needed a fire or even any lights as the evening went on. Since nobody seemed to have any concerns about this low-key gathering, we once again camped in the landing zone.
Sunday turned out to be a day that will live in Fly-In history. When getting breakfast, Max confided to me that it was surely going to be a good day, but nothing epic, with the conditions a bit milder than Saturday. The PG pilots went up the mountain at 08:30 and around 10:00 we saw gliders in the air – Terry, with her binoculars, missed nothing. Former H4 pilot Steve Kinsel came by that morning to see the festivities, and I used him for my driver when Steve Crye and Curt landed and wanted to go up to retrieve the trucks at launch. Yet again, we got enough holes filled in (that road is in dire need of grading!) that we could reach the launch, and I found that Nate was willing to drive one extra vehicle down – thus giving me a chance to soar. Brian, Gills and PG pilots were already skying out (including both Chris Mendoza and biwingual Chris Chaney). Again I was last man off, after launching everyone else (except Brian and Gills, who’d already flown that morning). Try as I might, though I reached 11,000+ MSL with Attila, I couldn’t get past La Luz again, and had a perfect touchdown there; Attila landed again at Cox Field. But, oh my! – did everyone else make the miles. Chris Chaney PG’d his way to Three Rivers, thirty miles north, and Max reached Carrizozo, his longest flight from Dry Canyon. Wyatt set a new PG site record by reaching Vaughn – a 6-hour marathon flight. Greg Chastain almost broke his site flex-wing record, which is 132 miles to a little past Vaughn – instead, he came down into that little town. Dan Jones came down at Duran, just short of the place. But the amazing flight of the day went to Rich Reinauer, in his Wills Wing T2C topless; he set a new site record by reaching Conchas, north of Santa Rosa, at 195 miles. (The record of 184 was set several years ago by B.J. Herring of Colorado in his rigid wing ATOS.) Greg confessed to me that seeing his record broken took a load off his mind – like finalizing a divorce, perhaps. The chase crew for the PG’s returned around 10:00 pm, but the ones who picked up Rich didn’t arrive until midnight. So if this was a “good” day, I wonder what the spectacular ones look like? I got to visit with everyone about their exploits the next morning, when everyone returned to the LZ before heading homeward. All except me and Attila – we had north winds, and he was up for one more flight, so I took him the La Luz site NW launch. He flew for an hour and a half from there, and finally did a bit of XC flying, landing in the Cox Field LZ. All in all, an exemplary intro to Southern New Mexico flying. I’d like to say “thank you!” to every person and pilot who came, and helped, and made this fun fly the sterling event it turned out to be. I have every hope that the COVID19 virus pandemic will be defeated by the time we do the Columbus Day Adventure in October – see you all then and there!

Greg&Gliders_May22.JPG
Greg Chastain at launch, May 22, 2020.
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TonyConger_May22.JPG
Tony Conger soaring Dry Canyon on Friday, May 22, 2020.
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LZ_SundayEvening.JPG
Brian and Gills in Cox Field, May 24, 2020.
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AttilaAboveLaLuz_May25.JPG
Attila Plasch above La Luz, New Mexico, May 25, 2020.
AttilaAboveLaLuz_May25.JPG (64.49 KiB) Viewed 2196 times
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Nate » Tue May 11, 2021 7:32 am

Howdy all!! Is there going to be an event at Memorial Day this year?
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu May 13, 2021 12:41 am

Hey Nate, We canceled the 2021 Memorial Day Fun Fly.
We were unable to put together a affordable plan to fix
the road up Dry Canyon. Robin’s Truck can barely make
it up. That’s how bad it is. The Forestry Service has no
plans to work on the road.
An alternative plan is to go to the Guadalupe Rim if the
wind is favorable (WSW TO WEST).
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby RikerDavis » Sun May 16, 2021 2:47 pm

So sad to hear the road is that bad. I hope the Forest will be open to a one time coop maintenance project like we did long ago. I believe we raised money and the Forest supplied the blade for a few days...
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Nate » Mon May 17, 2021 9:50 am

It is a reminder of how lucky we are to have (had) that site.

Over the weekend I hiked the Guadalupe Mts in the NP from the south entrance to the north entrance and back again. Some great views of little Dog and Big Dog Canyon along with the Guadalupe Rim. Manage to get 31 miles on the trails in one day.

I am guessing the mention of the Guads is just a mention. If anyone has real interest, please let me know.

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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Nate » Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:38 am

Any idea if there will be a Memorial Day fly-in this year? :wtf:
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Finis » Fri Apr 01, 2022 6:31 pm

Nate wrote:Any idea if there will be a Memorial Day fly-in this year? :wtf:

I don't know about plans. I hope it happens. I miss the fly in's. I enjoy driving, filming, and making movies for them and meeting the pilots. Pilots are good people.

Here is news about Dry Canyon.

THE ROAD
Steve Kry and some other paraglider pilots flew Dry Canyon on 3-26-22. They know about the road so they arranged with off road enthusiast friends to use these super jeeps. I drove one down. This is what it takes to navigate the road now.
JeepsSM.jpg
JeepsSM.jpg (131.21 KiB) Viewed 569 times


STEVE'S IDEAS, PLANS
He said he will contact the forest service about improving the roads with the club(s) work and funding. Also discussed was having a dual event with an off road driving club who would provide this kind of transportation to launch.
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Nate » Tue Apr 05, 2022 9:57 am

Really seems like it might be time to suss Long Ridge as a launch site again.

When I drove to it it is a much further drive than Dry Canyon but takes less time and can be done in a 2 wheel drive. I have flown just a few hundred feet over it and it looks very promising. I know if was used back in the day.
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Tue Apr 05, 2022 10:06 am

Nate wrote:Really seems like it might be time to suss Long Ridge as a launch site again.

When I drove to it it is a much further drive than Dry Canyon but takes less time and can be done in a 2 wheel drive. I have flown just a few hundred feet over it and it looks very promising. I know if was used back in the day.


Two wheel access is a pretty important point. It's one thing to pay a few thousand for a glider. It's another thing to pay a few tens of thousands for a truck!!
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Re: Memorial Day Fly-In in Alamogordo, New Mexico

Postby Bill Cummings » Thu Apr 07, 2022 6:41 pm

The last I heard the road to the towers on Long Ridge east of the golf course in Alamogordo, NM (USA)
was blocked further from the towers than it had been. It’s now an even longer walk into where the launch
had been. Launch was said to have been taken over with vegetation.
A GIS research should be done to see if any land swaps have taken place since
the local pilots last used Long Ridge launches (North face and South face.)
Landing at the golf course could be viewed in a different light with the next generation of golfers.
It seems to me that to be able to launch from Long Ridge again would require everyone to
start at square one.
The BLM has a special provision for opening airstrips. Meaning it may be less arduous than than normal.
The City is overly concerned with liability in spite of the recreational hold harmless act of New Mexico (USA).
My recommendation is to avoid city land and favor BLM land.
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