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
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.