Soaring Is Learning
Soaring is about learning all the time. Here are some tips on becoming a better soaring pilot. Brought to you by Southern California Soaring Academy.
Soaring is about learning all the time. Here are some tips on becoming a better soaring pilot. Brought to you by Southern California Soaring Academy.
Friday, July 14: Barry McGarraugh & Karl Sommer, Austin, NV 352 miles
On Friday July 14th, Karl and I made it to Austin, NV. After some debate, we decided to head north rather than toward Las Vegas and subject Sue and Rose to the heat in Las Vegas. We waited for a late start to allow the thermal heights in the desert to get above 8,000’ and I launched at 11:45. After a quick climb to just under 13,000’ over Mt Lewis, l headed out across the desert about 10 minutes behind Karl. I caught up with him at the southwest corner of Rosamond dry lake where we worked nice thermals between 8,000’-10,000’ to Cache Peak. There I dropped down to ~7,000’, and struggled a bit to stay on top of the ridge in some turbulent lift as Karl climbed out to 11,500’ on Cache Peak. I finally connected with Karl’s thermal and headed into Kelso Valley and on to the Rock Pile where Karl had reported another thermal. I left Cache Peak lower than Karl, arrived over the Rock Pile at ~7,000’ and found more turbulent lift that got me up to 8,000’. There were some nice-looking clouds working about 3 miles to the west that I headed to, and I finally got a good climb up to 14,000’. This got me on my way to Walker Pass and on up the southern Sierras where things got significantly better the further north we headed. I connected with a nice cloud street near Olancha Peak and followed it north to Coyote Flats where I crossed over to a better looking cloud street on the Whites near Schulman Grove. After a good climb up to 17,000’, that was the last time I had to circle until I got to Mina 70 miles later. One last good climb to 17,600’ to the south of Gabbs and I was on glide to Austin. There was good lift between Gabbs and Austin and I crossed over the airport at 12,000’ just as Karl landed. I glided about 10 miles to the north to burn off the excess altitude and allow Karl to clear the runway, and landed about 25 minutes later at 7:21. Sue and Rose got to Austin a little after 9 PM, so we camped on the ramp at the airport that evening. Again, Rose had dinner in the ice chest, so we ate under the stars and drank a few cold beers in the cool evening.
The next morning we took the gliders apart and headed to the Toquima Cave after breakfast in town. The Toquima Cave was a temporary dwelling used by Native Americans about 2,000 years ago that is covered with pictographs. This is another interesting out-of-the-way place that is well worth visiting if you happen to be in the neighborhood.
We watched the weather closely and came to the conclusion to be nice to our crews, not to chase them out into the HOT and humid directions and try North. Started 11:40, via second ridge to Mt. Lewis, topping out at 13.2K. We knew not to push off to early. At 12:30 I radioed, “Barry are you ready to dive into the smoke?”
“Might as well”.
The brownish smoke layer was stretching W – E, turned out it was not bad at all and visibility improved. Crossing the desert worked well. We circled short of Rosamond dry Lake in some week lift and bagged about 200’. Short of Mojave I got 10k, on the ridge 11k, arrived at Kelso Rock pile at 8k- 9k clawing up to the plateau, wow 12k, short of walker pass 14k.
Sacatar 13.6K, cruising along up the ridge to the switchbacks, trying to find the sweet spot under a not so good looking 1st cloud, still 13.6K. The Inyos showed one or two wanabe clouds. What the heck, crossing, connected abeam Manzanar 13.7kK. More and more clouds formed up ahead, and the Whites looked good.
My first cloud Mazurka Pk 16K. Oh what a life. Westgard 16k, White Mt 15kK up to 17K, passing Boundary Pk 16.5 at 5PM. Hawthorne looked discouraging, nice clouds towards Austin. Passing Luning Dry Lake I got under a growing CU back to 17K, landed at Austin short of 7 PM, flight time 7.14 hrs. Fire dept. was present with flame-retardant and several trucks. Base for the fires in the surrounding area.
By about 9 PM our crews showed up with the most welcomed food and drinks, we set up camp on the new transient parking and had a nice dinner under the stars topped off with a bottle of wine to calm the nerves.
Saturday morning Barry served freshly brewed coffee, to box up the flying machines. We all piled into the van going Down Town Austin to get gas and breakfast. The unanimous excursion decision was Toquima cave and maybe the castle on the way back.
The castle lost out to lunch and a bit of window rock shopping. We then picked up our gliders said goodbye to the firemen and headed south passing Fritz’s dry Lake, the scenic route.
It got kind of late to trek all the way home and Sue was able to secure rooms in Lone Pine, where a shower felt good. We enjoyed a nice dinner which the Ladies organized nearby, in the Hotel Patio.
After a good night’s sleep and more coffee, we drove up the switchbacks to the Horse shoe Meadows for a breakfast picnic with all the trimmings and cool fresh air, pine tree scents and sunshine. Back at Lone Pine, the girls window shopping, the boys went to the airport to chat with the 1-26er group finishing a week of flying vacation. After Lunch at the Grill, got home at 6 PM. Very enjoyable outing again.
Saturday, July 15: Randy Shumaker Hemet, CA 63 miles, Chuck Coyne, Jean, NV 168 miles, Bradley Baum, Boulder, City, NV 196 miles, Mike Koerner, Hurricane, NV 314 miles
Thanks to the coaching and advice from Peter, Sean and especially Scott Lance, I was able to make my first cross country effort successfully from Crystal to Hemet on July 15th.
After the pilots’ briefing from Peter and Sean, Chuck and Bradley made the decision to go toward NV. My decision to try for Hemet was based somewhat on the forecast but with emphasis on a business trip departure at 0 dark thirty the next morning.
At approximately 1:30 I released near the first ridge into what I thought was solid lift and quickly found myself low and heading back to the home field. Luckily, at about 4500’ over the golf course there was a nice thermal to about 9k and from there I just followed the forming cloud bases up to the Wrightwood ski resort and then up to Baldy at about 13,000’.
Already advised that there would likely be no lift across Cajon Pass, I pointed the nose at Big Bear and started the glide, arriving at the Arrowhead with Rabbit Dry Lake made if needed. After searching, unable to find lift in Arrowhead or make it comfortably to the cloud bases forming over Big Bear City, I ended up over Rabbit Dry Lake at approx. 6000’-6500’. I had just called Scott to let him know that this might be it, when I got a nice thermal that got me back over the ridge and shortly thereafter under the clouds at Big Bear City at about 13,500’. From there it just a hop to the top of Gorgonio and an easy glide into Hemet arriving with plenty of altitude to spare.
Understanding that this wasn’t a stretch as far as cross country goes, I’m definitely sucked in now and really excited about the next one. Thank you again to Peter, Sean, Scott and Art. I guess it does take a village.
I made my third solo cross country attempt from Crystal on Saturday, July 16. My second attempt, the Saturday before, ended at Rosamond Airpark with the most beautiful and precise landing that never had an audience.
This time, after Peter’s Crystal Squadron pilots meeting, I concurred that the east route towards Baker/Jean/Vegas looked like the way to go. I launched after Bradley (ES) and was aided in finding lift in the mountains from his reports. I spent some time on the second ridge, working over to the area of Mt. Lewis/Baden Powell. Got up to about 12,500’ and left the mountains aimed for Apple Valley Airport. En route, stopped a couple of times west of the SoCal Logistics Airport for some thermal practice, then proceeded towards the mining area northeast of Apple Valley. Stopped and gassed up a couple of miles northeast of Oro Grande, high enough to see Barstow/Daggett. Stopped again just before Slash X, then moved a bit deeper into the hills southeast of Barstow to pick up more altitude. Tanked up again east of Harvard. Another stop over the old Airmail Navigation Arrow brought me up to almost 11,000’ and beginning to feel pretty confident I’d make it to Baker. Worked another thermal in the foothills before the small mountain range south of Baker up to a bit over 11,500’ and headed for Baker. Southeast of Baker, worked more lift a few miles west to almost 12,500’ and pretty much had final glide to Jean made. Stopped a couple more times to thermal under the clouds that were in the area on the way to Jean, then had a lot of altitude to lose in order to land at Jean. Peter had coached Bradley and I about transiting the Las Vegas airspace, and I had the altitude, time and conditions to press on to Boulder, but, as Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” This was only my seventh flight in 5K, and Jean Airport was the simple and easy way to end my longest cross country flight. Baby steps for me and the PIK 20D.
A big thanks to Peter Kovari and Sean Eckstein for crewing and coaching. It was a great learning opportunity and they have been invaluable help to my cross country journeys.
I launched at 1:30, released at the second ridge and climbed in weak lift at the Work Camp. I moved South to Baden Powell where the lift strengthened and once above the summit topped out at 13,500’. By 2:00 I headed east on my first straight out flight.
Chuck Coyne and I had decided ahead of time that if everything went well Jean was our goal for the day, but Peter Kovari had more optimistic plans. Sean Eckstein, on the other hand, had money on the table that I would remain in glide distance to Crystal. The glide to Apple Valley and then Barstow-Daggett was uneventful. Truth is I never looked back. Over Baker and on to Clark Mountain where I expected to climb.
I felt confident in my piloting skills and centered thermals that I stopped for. My crew was communicating and moving well. Cumulus clouds, though not on course, were there if I needed them. Everything was working. Surprise, no lift on the northwest side of Clark Mountain or the south. Got low and my above reserve altitude back to Baker disappeared.
Finally a thermal that got me up and moving forward. Nothing like being low with temperatures at Baker 117 degrees to make for perfect thermalling technique.
Cruised on to Jean with good altitude where Chuck landed as planned. I was next in line. Then over the radio, Peter and Sean who were crewing for Chuck, offered a carrot. Achieve gold distance by landing at Boulder City. With plenty of altitude and confidence to boot, I radioed down to my crew gold alternate Boulder City.
The real challenge of the day was negotiating Las Vegas Class B airspace. Mind you airspace is not one of my strong suits. So with sectional opened I received a very practical first hand lesson on airspace and brought ES to a perfect landing at Boulder City at 5:45. My crew arrived fifteen minutes later and with glider in trailer we headed home.
Thank you Crystal Squadron for your encouragement. Sean pay up.
I landed at Hurricane on Saturday. Didn’t launch until 11 A.M. and still had to dump my water to stay afloat, but the lift improved quickly thereafter. l left Mt. Lewis at 12,600 feet at 11:50. The desert was soft at first but kept getting better. I topped out over Boulder at 16,000 feet.
This was my first time east of Vegas in many years… I still like the west side better.
Overdevelopment blocked the way north and west of Hurricane. A corridor in between looked nice, but lead directly into the giant TFR for the Brian Head fire.
Though the finish was the same as my last outing, the flight was not. I did a much better job of centering and thermal selection this time. I still need to work on cruise speed but avoided the mental lapses and equipment problems that plagued my earlier flight.
Fran and I will be off the next couple weeks.
June 30, 2017
On Friday June 30th, Karl and I made it to Yerington Nv again. After studying the weather, we decided that Friday had less forecast wind and a better chance to make 500K than Saturday. I launched at ~11:45 and saw Karl working up in the vicinity of Mt Lewis. I topped out just under 12,000’ over Baden Powell and chased Karl across the desert to Rosamond. There, we joined up and worked some really tight thermals up to around 7,500’. In order to achieve any sort of reasonable climb, I found that I needed to bank >450 to maintain a positive rate of climb around a turn. One last thermal to ~9,000’ over Silver Queen got me up to the mountains north of Mojave where things got a bit better with climbs to ~10,000’ in Kelso Valley. Conditions steadily improved as we moved up the Sierras, and I eventually topped out at 17,300’ over Mt Whitney. Karl had decided to cross over to the Inyos at the switchbacks, but I continued to follow the clouds up the Sierras until they petered out abeam of Independence. Clouds were forming on the White Mtns near Schulemann Grove, so I left the Sierras to the southwest of Big Pine and angled over to Black Mtn where I met up with Karl again. Karl reported that he was in a good thermal to the east of Black Mtn, so I pushed further into Westgard Pass when I finally spotted him several thousand feet above me. After topping out at just under 16,000’ we connected with the clouds and ran up to Boundary Peak in fairly short order. While heading to Boundary Peak, Sue was reporting trouble starting the truck after getting fuel in Bishop. I was ready to turn back to Bishop just after I maxed out at 17,900’ over Boundary Peak when she reported that she gotten it started. At this point, Karl was way ahead of me under an awesome flat bottomed cloud street that headed directly from Boundary Peak to the Hilton Ranch. Once Sue got the truck running, we declared Yerrington as our destination and I started chasing Karl to the north west while Sue teamed up with Rose and caravanned to Yerington via Hawthorne Nv. I pushed the speed up to burn off excess altitude and I caught up with Karl about 20 miles out of Yerington. Since I was below Karl at this point I landed first at 6:55, and Karl landed shortly after at 7:10.
Since Sue and Rose were not going to get there until ~9, we decided to tie the gliders down and head into town to get a couple of rooms and find a cold beer somewhere. While we were tying the gliders down, a local rancher/pilot had seen us land and came out to meet us. It turns out that she had started her flying career as a commercial pilot flying twin Otters in Alaska by flying tow planes out of Minden some years ago. After some discussion about our flight, she offered to give us a lift into town which was greatly appreciated. After checking in to the motel and two beers later, Sue and Rose pulled into Yerrington at 9 and we ate a nice Korean BBQ dinner that Rose had prepared. After eating breakfast in town the following morning, we headed over to Smith Valley to visit another retired Lockheed co-worker who is building a house there. Afterward we followed Karl and Rose down to Bridgeport where we had lunch at the Bridgeport Inn, and then headed down to Bishop where we parted ways. A nice time was had by all…!
Last Friday looked more promising again compared to Sat. or Sun..
So we, 01Q and C3 opted that Friday is the day.
I got started 11:20. Thermals were narrow got lift on Mt Lewis, ventured to Baden Powell nothing good, back to Lewis, left at 12:15, 12k.
Silver Queen not in a good mood, working over the first windmills, 8k was enough to venture to the hills, Barry reported 10k S of me, while I was grinding close to the ridge getting up to easier breathing altitude at 10k.
Anyway, slow going. Left Kelso 14:20, Inyokern 15:00 up the ridge towards Olancha Pk, gusty lift hard to center. Just short of the peak got to 16k under a Cu. TFR no problem.
I crossed over, 16:10 at Mt Inyo.
Barry took the Sierra’s with some clouds, we met again E of Black Mtn where he was able to enter into “my” thermal about 5k lower. White Mtn Pk found me close to 18k good cloud, Barry not far behind at 17k.
01Q’s crew car did not start a few times while hot, again in Bishop. Radio conversation was 01Q to land at Bishop or continue, I offered to bring Barry back with us. Luckily the car started again and Sue and Rose headed together to Yerington.
About 17:40 I left Boundary Pk heading for Yerington, 90 Miles. Good looking cloud street that ended at the Hilton Ranch, some welcomed warmth from the sun.
Barry was catching up but was lower so he landed first. I did loiter around N looking at the mine, enjoying the scenery relaxing and winding down, landed 19:10.
While tying our ships down a nice Lady Pilot that saw us landing drove over to chat and then gave us a ride to the Motel.
At the Casino we found a place to replenish some of the lost fluid. Crews arrived at 21:00 and we enjoyed a nice dinner prepared by Rose with more fluid replenishing.
Saturday morning the pilots boxed up the gliders while the ladies caught up on some more earned sleep.
A visit in Smith Valley, friends of the McGaurragh’s, late lunch in Bridgeport, via 395, lot of smoke Independence to Olancha (Lake Isabella fire). Arriving home 21:00. 01Q overnighted at Lone Pine.
An other nice outing for the 301 teams
Saturday, July 1, Hurricane, UT, 315 miles
I made it to Hurricane on.
I’m happy to have the diamond but it was not a good day and I did not do a good job of flying. I made a lot of mistakes and had lots of problems. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I have plenty to work on next time.
Friday, Jun 23 Karl’s report: Yerington, NV 327 miles
Making plans according to Soaring Weather we, 01Q and C3, concluded that Friday is the day to try. Got our trusty 301 Libelles rigged and I got a tow after 11AM not long after we heard JK leaving Baden Powel 14k, I had no problem to get to that altitude too and left at High Noon.
Arrived at Pontius with 6k lift to 8.5, short of Mojave 11k, 3 Sisters windmills 10k. Thought not bad, lift to be found, and pushed along the hills of Kelso getting nothing. Rock pile saved the day, 7k-12.8k. Via Boomer, abeam Little Lake 16k, Olancha Pk 16k, no problem to overfly the TFR of the drone crash at Lone Pine, then crossing to the Inyos.
Manzanar 14k, abeam Tinemaha Reservoir 17.8k, White Mtn Pk still 17k, Boundary 17.7k chasing towards Lucky Boy Pass under a wide dark cloud street, no problem to get sucked into it, all mostly negative, 59 Nautical Miles out of Yerington in the sun, again a few more turns to 17.9k then final glide, arrived with 2k safety, landed 18:03 Flight time 6h45’.
Crews arrived, gliders boxed up, motel checked in and out for dinner. Lots of Sandbags, Yerington was prepared for flooding; snow melting with that hot weather. Got an early start (no flooding) driving back through Smith Valley, Bridgeport (Breakfast at the Inn) Hwy 395 June Lake Loop.
With the sun hitting the snow capped Mountains, rivers and creeks up to the rim, everything green, cows grazing, no traffic, very beautiful, what a privilege to be able to enjoy it!
Friday, Jun 23 Barry’s report: Yerington, NV 327 miles
On Friday June 23th, Karl and I made it to Yerrington Nv. I launched at 11:30 and quickly climbed up to 13,900’ over Baden Powell and headed out across the desert at 12:15. After the usual slow decent to Backus Rd, I found Karl in a thermal and we climbed back up to ~9,400’ and headed up to the mountains to the west of Mojave. There, we found scrappy thermals to 11,000’ and managed to work our way into the Kelso Valley area. Karl headed to the rock pile to the east of the airport, and I headed to some clouds to the north of the field and climbed back up to 11,500’. I thought things were looking up as I headed up to Boomer Ridge, but once on the ridge I had a heck of a time staying on top of the ridge line. Modest climbs were filled with extended areas of sustained sink that kept me scratching along in the heat (and it was hot at 7,300’!) until I finally managed a good climb to 14,000’ near Little Lake. Now connected with clouds, things were starting to look up, and I easily cruised up to Olancha where I crossed over to the Inyo Mtns. Seeing text book clouds heading north, I again thought this was going to be an easy ride up to Boundary Peak. Again significant sink was found between moderate climbs that kept me at, or near, the top of the ridge line up to Waucoba Peak. I finally managed to find a thermal that got me up to 17,500’ and connected with that nice looking cloud street that I had been looking at for the past 30 miles. Near Westgard Pass, Karl and I decided to abandon our earlier plan to head into the blue toward Tonopah and up to Austin, and follow this nice looking cloud street up to Boundary Peak and head toward Hawthorne and Yerington.
Nice climbs to 17,500’ between Boundary Peak and the nether regions northeast of Mono Lake made for a quick trip to the south of Hilton Ranch where I made one last climb to 15,000’ and got on the 50 mile glide to Yerington. I left the clouds and pushed into blue sky over the Walker river valley where I increased my ground speed to 100 knots to burn off excess altitude. I arrived over the airport with 3,000’ AGL just as Karl was pushing his glider off the runway and I landed at 6:22. As I orbited overhead and Karl cleared the runway, I saw that the Walker river had flooded the valley just to the north on the airport. Later that night, we found out that the Yerington locals are preparing for an even bigger Sierra runoff from this past winter’s record snowfall…
Rose and Sue arrived about a half hour after we landed and we got the gliders put away and headed out to one of the Casinos for dinner. The next day, headed home via Hwy 338 since we had heard 395 was flooded and the highway patrol was running a single lane along the Walker river. We decided to head home via Hwy 338 and were making great time until we ran into a Nevada road jam near the California/Nevada border.
= = = = =
Sunday, Jun 25 Mike’s report: Price, UT, 529 miles
I landed at Carbon County Airport in Price Utah on Sunday.
I launched at 9:47. A couple club ships were already up and reporting lift, one coming down the second ridge from the labor camp and the other circling over Mount Lewis. I worked my way from the second ridge up along the northwest buttress of Baden Powell before swooping in over the peak. Halfway around my first turn a shadow moved across the summit… in the wrong direction! I looked up and saw an ASK thermaling right across from me. It must have been the glider that had been over Lewis. I busted into his thermal without seeing him. Sorry A6.
I rode up with the top of that thermal to 12,000’ and left Baden Powell at 10:40.
There were no clouds but the desert was working well enough to keep moving.
I reached the first cu at 1 pm on the ridge west of Vegas. My trace shows I averaged 970 ft/min from 9,200’ to 16,200’. I don’t recall ever climbing that far that fast before.
Until this point everything seemed to be going perfect. But a little past Vegas the tailwind I had enjoyed switched to a headwind. Then a bit further on the nice-looking cu morphed into a nimbostratus band running east and west with virga hanging below it. I turned off toward the east at first but the Brian Head fire, with its associated smoke and TFR, made that a difficult proposition. Confusion reigned.
About that time, I got low enough to see sunlight on the ground beyond the cloud band, so I got high again on the south side and punched under the cloud toward Milford, fully expecting to land there. And though there were no clouds north of the cloud band (for the remainder of my flight) there was still lift, though not as strong or consistent as it had been. That combined with lower tops and adverse winds, slowed progress markedly.
At one point my alternate was Mount Pleasant. Several Crystal Squadron pilots landed there years ago – on a day I missed. However, a database on my cell phone indicated the airport has been X’ed out. That meant back to Manti-Ephraim or on to Price. One more thermal and a bit of patience put me over the ridge to the east.
Though I landed in Price once before (back in ’89, in the Kestrel, out of Cal City) Fran didn’t remember how to get there. But thanks to Google Maps and some phone support from my son, she got to me around 9 pm (she deserves a respite).
We stopped in at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry on Monday. 12,000 bones were pulled from a pit no larger than a wading pool. It’s the densest concentration of Jurassic fossils ever found. They have no viable explanation as to how that happened.
On Saturday, June 17, Chuck Coyne made his first ever cross-country soaring flight – with no one else up there to share information with – and did well to reach California City. Then on Sunday Karl Sommer made diamond distance to Gabbs, NV, Barry McGarraugh got nearly as far, to Mina. Here are their stories of that weekend.
Thanks to lots of coaching and encouragement from Peter Kovari and Sean Eckstein, my first solo cross-country soaring flight was successfully conducted on Saturday, June 17, from Crystal to California City. Evidently, I was the only ‘Crystal Squad’ attemptee that day.
After launching around 12:45, I released from tow over the second ridge. After working my way up the ridge and then towards the Wrightwood ski resort, lift seemed to fall apart at 11,500’ so I decided to head out towards Rosamond dry lake. It looked to be a long way from where I was. In past flights I had edged out towards Rosamond, but always with plenty of altitude on tap for a retreat back to Crystal. This time, there would be no going back once the decision point was reached and off I went.
Having been forewarned about ‘sucker’ thermals on the route from Crystal to Rosamond, my inclination was to ignore any bumps along the way; nonetheless I couldn’t resist a few times. Luck- ily, those attempts worked out and I arrived at Rosamond at over 8,000’ and from there aimed at Backus/Silver Queen. Climbed to 2842 meters over the Silver Queen mine, then aimed towards Cache Mountain. Before getting to the mountain, I tried my luck first along the foothills south the mountain while contemplating my next leg.
After some consideration, I decided to call it a day and land at Cal City. I was a bit less familiar with the territory to the north than the route from Crystal to where I was, and making a longer flight on my first cross-country attempt didn’t seem necessary in order to feel successful. I had flown in and out of Cal City in the past, and the long, wide runway seemed like more of a sure thing than what might lie ahead if I pressed on.
So, after a 2 hour, 22 minute flight, I found myself on the ground at Cal City, feeling very happy with the flight. Les- sons learned; stay in better contact with my ground crew – seems like I forgot to tell my ground crew, Sean Eckstein, that I was leaving the mountains and heading for Rosamond. Also, plan any landing at Cal City to roll out at the cross taxiway – Joe had to push my PIK 20D a long way in the 103 degree heat to get off the runway. Thanks, again, to Sean for crewing and his advice before the flight.
Barry and I where planning to fly Sunday, fitting better into our plans and also looking more promising. Our crews where all for it, hope- fully getting somewhere to camp. Rose bringing dinner and Sue breakfast.
Dr. Jack, good going N, Sierras OD, Altitudes dropping to 11k Haw- thorne area we thought Austin could work. Anyway looked good for team flying with 2 301 Libelles. About 10:45 we pushed our Libelles into the staging area. No one else going XC. Barry got a tow at 11:00. By about 12:10 I got my tow. (Lucky for me that Rose shaded us with our umbrella)
Got up quick on Mt. Lewis, connected W of Mojave 10k. One of my Batteries decided to quit. Struggled via Kelso up to Boomer, up the ridge 14k, crossing to the Inyos at Olancha Pk, finally clouds, flying straight 14k Black Mt., dark looking cloud street up to Boundary, arrived 11k White Mt found strong lift up to 15k.
Sierras blowing up, spreading cirrus E. Few clouds on the way to Mina. Barry was about 7M short of Mina not finding much when I left Boundary at 14k. The clouds not much help, the sun just about to sink into the cirrus, I arrived NW of Mina in the hills 9k searching for the saving thermal. Just felt some bump, enough to maintain the 9k, when Barry reported he has to land at Mina, darn this does not look good.
Full concentration and clean flying, my Altimeter showed improvement, thank you thank you 12k is enough (not to be greedy) to counter 6 kts from the N. Landed 18:30 Rose was at Gabbs 10min later, glider in the Box, Barry and Sue arrived at the same time.
We set up for camping with all the trimmings, thanks Ladies. No stars, only lightening in the Sierras. Monday morning after Breakfast with fresh coffee and a beautiful sunrise we all got in the Van and headed to Berlin, but could not find anybody to practice our German. Finishing up with Lunch at Whiskey Creek in Bishop. Another nice weekend.
On Sunday June 18th, I landed at Mina, NV, after 6 1⁄2 hours of flying. I launched at 11:15 and took a high tow to the middle ridge and promptly climbed up to the ridge line. I pushed away from Baden Powell at 13,800’ and was pushed across the desert with a nice tailwind that produced 100+kt ground speeds. I settled down to ~7,500’ to the west of Mojave where I found some scrappy/moderate lift that got me up into Kelso Valley. Just to the north of Kelso valley I connected with clouds and had a good climb up to ~14,000’ that got me up to Boomer ridge.
The wind was now coming out of the east and the lift along the ridgeline was pretty choppy, but I was able to fly between 10-14,000’ up to Olancha Peak. I crossed the Owens Valley just past Olancha Peak and got up on the Inyos after a quick climb to ~15,000’ on the plateau east of Lone Pine. Conditions were strong, but cloud bases were fairly low along the Inyo and White mtns and I was not able to climb much above 15,000’ all the way to Boundry Peak. I left Boundary at ~14,000’ and headed to some clouds to the north with the intent to head toward Gabbs and Austin. Conditions softened considerably and the clouds that I was counting on dissipated as I approached them, and I sank lower into Mina/Lunning valley. I headed to the sunlit hills to the east of Mina, but only found sink that dropped me well below the ridge line. All I could find in the valley was zero sink and I eventually succumbed to gravity and landed at 5:45.
Karl managed to cross over the valley and find some lift to the north on Mina that got him over the mountains and into Gabbs. Sue got to the airport about 20 minutes after I landed and we got the glider put away and we headed off to Gabbs. We had previously agreed to meet Karl and Rose at Gabbs where we had a fantastic dinner that Rose pre- pared and we camped out at the airport again. Monday morning we drove over to the Berlin–Ichthyosaur State Park and spent some time investigating the numerous mine ruins and the Ichthyosaur fossils. This place is way out of the way, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood stop by and check it out!