This week’s cross-country de-brief comes from Peter Kovari (6PK):

Richard (TW) and I were the only two participants of the Crystal Squadron

and after a short debate as to which-way-Jose, Richard decided to go north

and I thought the Utah direction looked more promising so we each went

different ways (hindsight being 2020 Richard had the better idea).

The forecast from all three sources; Skysight, XCskies and Dr. Jack more or

less agreed on southwesterly winds 10-12kn in the boundary layer and

thermals about 12k which pretty much equaled cloud base for the entire



I launched about 11:30 and towed to the second ridge. After release I

quickly moved under a nice-looking cloud just north of the Labor Camp and

climbed to 12k and cloud base in 2-4kt average lift which I later discovered

was pretty much the norm for the day, and much less than was predicted. So,

I went on the way to Apple Valley.


I encountered kind air, and time-to-time scrappy hard to center lift. When

arrived at Barstow there were some good-looking clouds that looked promising,

but unfortunately I was only able to climb a couple of thousand feet in

scrappy and light lift to about 9k but far from cloud base. I did not want

to waste any more time so I pushed on to the high ground south of Baker –

not finding anything but lots of sink arriving way low just before Baker

airport I finally find a nice thermal.


Tip-toeing between 6-7 k all the way to Cima with some light choppy thermals,

here and there and lots of pucker factor sink- making it to Clark Mountain

(just northeast of Cima) where I was able to climb to 9k.

Going on the lee side of Clark I anticipated sink but it was more than that

which lasted all the way to state line where I contemplated landing on Roach

dry lake for a while since down to below 6k.


Finally started climbing again under cloud bases but still not much more

than 3-4kt average but I did get to just below 13k over the high ground east

of Jean.


The clouds ran both north as well as east. However, the clouds going north

pretty much stopped a little way passed Boulder with a clear visible blue

hole still very much over the Vegas 10k high class Bravo. This concerned me

going forward north so I once again turned east toward Triangle Airpark and

Aileron Orchards (AZ49) with hopes of Williams again.


I arrived at the plateau south east of Aileron Orchards and Red Lake about

8500′   There was some shear line activity with good cloud markers but they once

again were not producing fast enough climbs, and given low cloud bases and

the time of the day and late in the season I opted to throw in the towel and

limped south to Kingman again.


Strange season for me; two flights to Kingman and two flights to Austin,

better luck next year- for me at least this season is over.






This is the week of the autumnal equinox, which means our nights will soon be longer than our days… Even so, we can expect still more very consistent soaring weather this weekend, with moderate westerlies and blue thermals each day.
Your prayers have been appreciated — we did get measurable rain last midweek, but only a little, and the ground is already dry again. Think of it: the water level in Lake Mead is at an all-time low, so don’t stop now, keep on PRAYING FOR RAIN !!


There were no diamond distance flights from Crystal last week, but Sean Eckstein‘s tale of woe is well worth the telling:
  The thermals at Crystal were not very well formed when I launched, but if you stuck with them they would top out at 9k and 10k. I finally locked into one thermal that got me to 11.2k as predicted, so I didn’t waste time and headed out on course.
  I backed my airspeed down crossing the desert to Mojave, trying to conserve all the altitude I could since the thermals in the mountains were not that impressive, and by the time I reached Backus I would be low trying to scratch my way back to the high ground.
  The conditions were not good, TW and I basically scratched our way north across the desert floor, occasionally getting to 8k – 9.5k in the mountains dealing with sink while trying to push north. Eventually both Richard (TW) and I would find ourselves working lift in Red Rock Canyon. I got enough altitude with a small margin to Inyokern, but as I started heading north I would encounter strong sink, and if the sink didn’t ease off I wouldn’t make it to Inyokern. I tried a few times but conditions were not going to improve so I called Cantil and landed.
  Cantil field is in good shape and I landed safely and came to a stop, I immediately noticed a car on the road behind some trees next to the field stopping, blocking another car behind them. The car from behind passed but the car that had stopped pulled forward a couple of times trying to get a better view.
  I flashed back to a time when me and another pilot landed in an empty industrial lot in view of the public near a freeway. I was last to land and as I opened my canopy a helicopter flew over the top of us, a police car came around the corner, followed by the paramedics, a fire truck, and another police car.
  I hopped out of my glider like a 61 yr. old and waved once. The two occupants in the car were almost climbing out the drivers window, waving  enthusiastically. It’s nice to know I gave someone a story to tell when they got home. And most important, no one called 911!
  Once again Richard (TW) and his wife Anna, Peter (6PK) and myself headed to a cool restaurant before heading back to Crystal.


Stable weather will continue this weekend, with brisk westerlies, near total sun, and highs in the nineties. Atmospheric pressure is forecast to be high, which is not ideal for convective activity, but it also means that any cumuli you do see will probably mark very good (and very tall) thermals…