GO EAST, OLD MEN

Mike Koerner’s story:

I landed at Richfield, Utah… but I cheated.

Takeoff was at 10:30. I left Baden Powell at 11,000 at 11am. I dumped my water along the shores of Calico Dry Lake and spent an hour exploring mine shafts on my way up the mountain. (I should get one of those steerable spotlights like the highway patrol has).

C3 got ahead of me and reported tough conditions at Halloran Summit so I headed more northerly and hit a boomer on the way to Sky Ranch, Just as I was turning back toward Sillurian.

Nellis was real friendly but as always, it was hard to hear the controller over the roar of the my air vent and screaming vario. I heard “Cleared into class Bravo” anyway as I descended into their airspace.

But along about Mormon Mesa, at a comfortable altitude – with the low save at Calico, the turn back on the way to Sky Ranch and the airspace drama all beyond me – I started to slow down… mentally. I was still flying, safely I think, but not with the strategic outlook that racing experts such as Garrett Willat expound. Instead, soaring had become a rote process.

It was late afternoon. I had been up since 5 am and had been concentrating intently for several hours. Now with reduced urgency and the excitement associated with the hope of making a really long flight extinguished, it was hard to concentrate.

This is not a new problem. Over the years I’ve tried pouring water over my head, changing my sleep cycle, building the plane the night before, sleeping at the airport, abstaining from caffeine several days before, eating various foods during flight, etc. A couple years ago an IT friend of my daughter’s suggested Red Bull. Since then I’ve kept a can of it in my flight bag. This is the third time I’ve used it.

So there’s an asterisk on this flight; it was made with the aid of a performance enhancing drug. (Ed note: All future flight claims must be accompanied by a urine sample.)

It’s amazingly effective anyway. I could immediately see that I needed to head a little north of the course line to the first cu of the day on top of Pine Valley Mountain, and then continue north-east along that cloud street until the clouds and lift ran out. Garrett would have been proud.

Fran and I hiked up to Bullion Falls on the way back, collected rocks and took the scenic route home via Cedar Breaks.

 

Sean Eckstein’s story:

I made it to Williams, AZ. Mike (CF) and Karl (C3) and myself flew this Saturday. Conditions looked really good with high altitudes towards Las Vegas, but there would be a few areas that would be hurdles.

Got a tow around 11:15, and climbed out and headed towards Wrightwood and lost to much altitude due to a south wind, I went back to the Labor Camp and climbed to 11.5k then headed towards Apple Valley, different path this time. The flight progress pretty good from there, north of Baker to Clark Mt. had a cross wind, some sink, and some strong narrow lift to make things fun. Climbing out at Clark Mt. above 15k was fast, Karl and Mike were already heading towards Utah. I decided to try to fly towards Arizona on a route Peter (6PK) had spent time locating some required other than airport land- able areas. I headed east towards McCullough Mt. and climbed to 16k and headed across the river towards Triangle Airport.

Triangle Airport to Red Lake (dry lake) had some more sink to deal with, and as I was gliding towards Red Lake I could see clouds on a plateau that I need to connect with moving away. I got to the plateau and had to work scraps of lift to get high enough to glide back and connect with them.

Hualapai airstrip, Seligman airport, than HA Clark Memorial Field (Williams, AZ) had clouds all along the way, but even with a good margin flying downwind towards the next alternate landing area, I watched my margin disappear. My glide to Williams I had to work for, gaining my margin than losing it occupied my attention so much I forgot to tell my crew, Peter, my next alternate was Williams.

Now the next story, I landed at Williams and not a soul around. The terminal building was open, the gate had no key pad so I called the airport manager, no answer. I called FSS and talked to a briefer who gave me the managers cell phone number, which was not good. Peter arrived so we parked the trailer in front of the terminal building, disassemble the glider, and carried it to the trailer.

 

Karl’s story:

Had a good flight to Hurricane UT.

CF left early, my start was 11:10 left the Mtn 11k around SlashX 11k enough for 031 Drl (CF reported very low Calico) got up to 11k again going for Baker looking for good lift in the hills close to Razor no such luck, found myself 4.7k in the Foothills Halloran Grade working hard getting to 8k Cyma next, opted to run straight to Clark Mtn nothing along the way gusty lots of down, arriving 6k thinking soon you have to run to Cyma. Got bounces getting closer to the rocks finally found the sweet spot over 17k a few raggedy clouds short of Boulder back to 17k. Short of Echo Bay found enough to connect with Virgin Pk at 8k got only to 12k cruising along the ridges towards the Gorge, very gusty and turbulent,( bad memory) at the entrance I found a weak one, hard to center just enough to get to Hurricane, Mike reported good lift to the N.

I decided to count my blessings, straight line with the hope to find a saving thermal on the way, nothing, some little 100’ at Hurricane while CF reported “finally under a cloud 14k”.

Landed at 5:30 Crew arrived in no time, drove to Jean to overnight $90 incl. Breakfast, in Mesquite Virgin River Casino sold out, Best Western last room $144. (Sunday Morning I talked to Mike “ From Hurricane to Richfield was the easy part of the flight”.