Arnie Frankenberger’s report on his flight to Gabbs, April 2:
With the encouragement and generous offer to drive from Sean Eckstein and Peter Kovari I set off on a early spring XC flight. I was hoping to make Bishop but nice conditions on course allowed for quite a bit more.
I towed from Crystal at 12:30 and quickly found a climb to 11.5k over the second ridge and set off north. I stumbled onto a climb to almost 10k near Backus and made my way to Cache Peak. I didn’t find much there but gained enough height to push on towards Inyokern. Boomer ridge was turbulent and challenging but I was able to work my way back on to the higher terrain and find a nice climb to 11.5k at Owen’s Peak. From there it was off to the races. There were a few cloud markers along the Sierras and I was treated to good lift and spectacular views as I made my way to Walt’s Point. Found a nice climb to 14.5k just south of Walt’s and made the crossing to the Inyos. It was blue until Black Mountain but I managed to make good time. From Black Mountain north, a nice line of clouds allowed me to pick up the pace. I left Boundary peak at 15k and had Mina on glide. The glide was buoyant under fading clouds as the day began to die. I needed another 1500 feet to make Gabbs so I diverted to the hills west of Mina aiming for one of the remaining clouds within reach. There I found a weak climb that gave me enough height to make the smooth glide to Gabbs.
It was an amazing flight and my first straight out diamond. Not bad for April 2nd! A huge thanks to Sean Eckstein for chasing me. His enthusiasm kept me flying when I was feeling guilty about dragging him along on an unexpected two day retrieve adventure.
Sean Eckstein’s flight to Hurricane, UT, May 28:
This Saturday had great conditions for flying the Las Vegas route, conditions that we haven’t seen in that direction for some time. The desert had cloud markers all the way, and we encountered some very wide and strong lift. There were three other pilots that flew and learned that flying wasn’t the only challenge, Peter Kovari (6PK) was crewing for me and helped the other crews, and relayed messages.
One part of the flight worth mentioning is that altitudes around Las Vegas were good enough that it allowed me to fly over the Class B airspace with plenty of altitude, adding additional altitude from clouds on route. That’s much more fun than having to skirt around the east corner.
By the time I reached the Virgin Mountains conditions were getting soft and my path was blocked by light virga, I continued north on the range to where I had clear glide to Hurricane, UT. I landed at General Dick Stout Field Airport, where I was later joined by George Calvo (4M).
George Calvo’s report on his flight to Hurricane that same day:
I want to thank my son Kevin for crewing, Peter and Sean for giving me the little nudge I needed to start flying cross country otherwise I may have never left the nest area.
After our pilots meeting four gliders departed on our journey towards Las Vegas then onto Hurricane . Unfortunately two of the gliders had to land short due to crew issues. They needed to be back home. That night one of them landed at Barstow, the other made it to Jean. Sean and I moved on towards Echo Bay. Sean was way ahead of me as I pushed onto Perkins where I struggled for a while and then headed toward Mesquite within my margins. It looked like Mesquite was going to be it for me as it was getting very late in the day, and I was hitting nothing but sink. I was about 7 miles out of Mesquite on final glide when I hit a boomer of a thermal, and I was able to climb out high enough to have St. George well within my margins with Hurricane just outside my margins. As I headed to St. George, Hurricane was looking more and more doable, and so I headed towards Hurricane while still keeping St. George as an alternate. As I got closer to Hurricane I knew I could make it so basically I had final glide from Mesquite all the way to Hurricane. I made it!!!! What an awesome adventure!!!
Mike Koerner’s flight to Eureka, NV
We had some work done in our yard earlier this year. I moved the plane out to the desert to get it out of the way. I came out last week for practice flights only to find the plane had become a crash pad for the locals. My upturned hat, left in the cockpit, had been filed with a mix of padding from my Wing Rigger, pieces of a foam pad and shreddings from a fleece jacket I keep on the back deck. To my great relief there was no nylon, electrical insulation or composite material evident in the wad.
There was a similar bedding arrangement on the back deck suggest- ing the place had been sublet or perhaps used as a bordello. The large quantity of droppings throughout certainly indicated more than just one or two inhabitants – perhaps, at times, many party animals were involved. There were also liquid puddles indicating very recent use. Unlike the droppings, these seemed confined to, or at least concentrated in, several areas.
I got the plane cleaned up enough to make my practice flights, though still with a decidedly objectionable odor.
When I came back out on Sunday for my first cross-country of the year, there were enough new droppings to indicate the free-loaders had not been evicted. I’ll have to log those practice flights as PIC.
Sunday was a very good day anyway. Despite not getting off the ground until almost 11 am, by 1:30 I was on the Inyo’s at Lone Pine. I had cu’s the whole way and had stopped to thermal just 5 times. And though I had visions of at least a 1000 K, the view out the canopy was less clear. White Mountain was in clouds. As I passed under it, even though the vents were closed, there were snowflakes swirling around in the cockpit. A detour around Boundary Peak replaced that snow with rain drops. From there things really slowed down as I picked my way north. A little past Austin that became impossible. I turned east thinking there might be daylight that direction. Nope. l turned south toward Eureka and landed early.