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Four States and the Grand Canyon



 
 
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Old October 11th 04, 01:46 AM
Mary Daniel or David Grah
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Default Four States and the Grand Canyon

Four States and The Grand Canyon



David Grah



This story, with pictures, is at
http://home.inreach.com/grahdani/flights.html



I took off from the airport at Bishop, California in my H301 Libelle, N11GV,
at 1217 on Friday 25 June 2004. I towed behind Hangar One Aero Service's
Husky and released several minutes later a few miles east of the airport
about 3,000 feet above the ground. Lift was good over the airport but
instead of staying there to take advantage, I headed on course toward the
White Mountains where the lift turned out to be not quite so good. Further
north on the Whites cumulus clouds were beginning to build.



I climbed a little over a highpoint on the foothills of the Whites called
Red Hill. The lift wasn't great there so, after gaining about 1,000 feet, I
moved to the next ridge north that extended west from the Whites. I didn't
find much lift at this next ridge either, nor at the next several ridges.



Soon I was about 15miles northeast of Bishop at one of the larger ridges
extending west from the Whites, and home to the Paiute hang glider launch
point, and at not much over 9,000 feet. I was now west of the cumulus
clouds building over the spine of the Whites but no closer to them in terms
of altitude. There was enough south wind blowing so I was able to slowly
gain altitude working the mixed ridge and thermal lift on the south side of
this ridge. When I reached about 11,000 feet I again headed north and
contacted a good thermal a ridge or so north of Paiute that took me to over
16,000 feet at about 1310 and under the building cumulus over the spine of
the Whites. Now I had to determine where to go.



Just as forecast, the cumulus clouds near the north end of the White
Mountains were beginning to overdevelop and precipitation was starting to
fall there. Far to the northeast over the higher ranges in central Nevada
large thunderstorms were building. To the southeast, the skies were clear.
In between, on the other side of a big blue hole with no clouds, there were
nice healthy scattered cumulus clouds. So, despite the blue hole between
those healthy clouds and me that was the direction to go. If I could reach
them.



Isolated clouds were forming in the blue over the Silver Peak range, the
first range east of the Whites, so I headed that direction and was happy to
soon be climbing under those clouds. From cloud base there I headed for
some new puffs of clouds on the small range north of Tonopah and reached
those clouds and started to climb again without too much trouble. At 1413 I
reached about 17,000 feet under these clouds and headed further northeast.
After a climb under about one more isolated cloud I would reach the more
closely spaced cumulus clouds that extended far to the east where I would be
able to pick just the best lift. Lift under the isolated clouds was taking
me over 17,000 feet each time I stopped to climb.



I could now see what seemed to be general over development of the clouds
northwest through the east from my position. The over development was
nearer in the north and formed a solid line toward the east. Miles off to
the east there appeared to be isolated overdeveloped cells south of the
solid line of over development. As I headed further northeast, I got north
of those isolated cells. South and west of the over development was a swath
of excellent clouds. Southwest of this excellent swath was blue sky.



It was about this time I first heard my friend Jeff on the radio calling me
on 123.3. I was incredibly fortunate to have a friend like Jeff who had a
Cessna 150 fitted with a 150 horsepower motor who was willing to chase after
me on this flight and tow me home as long as I landed someplace suitable.
This was the third year in a row we did this and each year so far had been a
great adventure.



On the western slopes of the south end of the Monitor Range and northeast of
Tonopah, Nevada, I reached the last isolated cloud I would need to reach the
more closely spaced cumulus a few miles to the northeast. I found lift
under the cloud and climbed toward cloud base and then was headed northeast
again. Soon I reached the edge of the swath of excellent cumulus, and
although the flying so far had been straightforward, I looked forward to the
better condition s ahead. At about 1430 I reached the good clouds about 110
miles out of Bishop. The conditions really were great under the closer
spaced clouds and my progress really picked up. I changed my McCready Ring
setting from about 1 meter per second to 2meter per second and sped along
mostly at either rough air redline of 108 miles per hour or at minimum sink
speed of 45 miles per hour and seldom any speed between.



Once again I had to figure out which way to go. My idea for these flights
with Jeff always starts with the idea of a flight to Wyoming flying
northeast. So far I always have had to modify this though for various
reasons and today this course was straight into the line of dark
cumulonimbus. On the other hand, if I turned southeast it looked like I
could avoid the line of storms and pass by some of the isolated storms and
make good progress that way.



I passed by the Base Camp airport and picked out the site of the underground
nuclear test nearby the airport was apparently built to serve. In this area
I reached my highpoint of the flight at about 18,000 feet now headed east.



As I crossed to Railroad valley I got closer to a small-overdeveloped cell
over the west slopes of the Grant Range. It looked like I could get around
either the north or the south of this cell but it also looked likely to
overdevelop soon north and east of the cell while south and east of the cell
the clouds looked good still. So I completed my turn to the southeast here
and headed off in that direction.



The cell seemed small and, although precipitation was falling out of it, I
expected to get by it without much trouble. Looking at the bottom of the
cloud I could see that south and east of the precipitation was a broad area
of healthy flat cloud bottom where I was fairly certain to find excellent
lift. I flew through a little bit of soft hail on my way to the
good-looking cloud bottom north of the community of Adaven (Nevada
backwards). There was some sink associated with the precipitation though I
was pretty sure I was going to get through unscathed. I didn't expect
lightning from this little cloud but about this time out of the corner of my
eye I saw a big healthy lightning bolt a mile or so to the east of me along
the edge of the precipitation. This showed the cell had a lot more life in
it than I had given it credit for. I was uncomfortable to learn the cloud
could put out lightning because I was well under it with no quick way out.
I sped way up and was soon under the strong lift feeding the large
flat-bottomed part of the cloud. I needed to climb and to climb I should
slow down, but at the same time wanted to get out from under this cell.
Near the southeast edge of the cloud I stopped to climb some, but the clouds
ahead looked good and the memory of the lightning was still on my mind so I
headed on before reaching cloud base, contrary to what I had earlier hoped
to do.



Lift under the next few clouds was good and I flew aggressively making good
progress but not climbing high. Whenever I fly aggressively, I usually
regret it soon and this was true once again this day.



I didn't find good lift under one of the next clouds and pressed on through
one of the larger blue holes I would see over central and eastern Nevada.
The sink was moderate in the hole but the promise of lift under the next
good cloud dissipated along with the cloud. The sink continued under the
dissipating cloud and all I could do was to press on at rough air red line
in accordance with the McCready ring.



Flying through the extended sink I reached my lowest point on the flight
since the initial climb out. I continued on southeast toward Black Cliff
peak at the north end of Timber Mountain, which despite my focus on how to
correct this situation of being so low, I couldn't help but notice was a
nice looking mountain. Black Cliff got nearer and nearer and I got lower
and lower and got a better and better view of the peak. I was headed for
the cloud east of the range this peak was in. Unfortunately this cloud was
now looking like it was falling apart. The closet good-looking cloud was
now over the valley west of the peak. The good clouds were 10 or miles off
to the southeast, a little too far away for me to think about reaching
because I had no clear places to land nearby. If it came to landing my best
bet seemed to be highway 318 though I noted a surprisingly large volume of
traffic on it (in relative terms at least). There were some grassy areas I
could reach but based on my review of similar areas on the ground in the
past I was pretty sure these would be rough enough to damage my landing
gear.



The highway seemed the best bet for landing and its route carried it south.
I flew southeast staying near the highway and working toward those clouds to
the southeast. Soon I was flying through reduced sink, then zero sink, then
weak lift and then I was circling again and climbing well. My small crisis
had passed.



As I climbed I was only a few miles from the over development to left of my
course and I could see that over development had a good deck of flat
bottomed cloud along its southwest edge. This deck extended on toward Saint
George 80 or 90 miles ahead. I didn't want to repeat my recent experience
with lightning near Adaven but still decided to head toward this deck once I
was high enough. Soon I was flying under this deck and this strategy worked
perfectly and I was able to fly straight toward Saint George at high speed
and covered distance quickly. Jeff and I talked while I zipped along under
the deck. He had stopped at Tonopah for fuel and was now 50 miles behind me
and would be stopping again at Saint George for fuel. We wondered where we
should head next.



The over development I was now skirting curved east and then northeast north
of Saint George and then 20 miles or so northeast of Saint George curved
back south or almost southwest. This put Saint George near the mouth of a
sort bay in the over development. In this area there wasn't the nice swath
of good-looking clouds between the over development and the blue sky to its
southwest. Here it was pretty much fly along the edge of the over
development or fly in the blue.



It looked a long way around the bay but also looked like a long glide across
the mouth of the bay, especially if I had to double back to Saint George and
land if I didn't find lift. From the other side of this bay southeast of
Saint George the good cloud deck continued off toward Tuweep and beyond. On
the far side of the mouth of the bay there were some cloud islands that
looked like my best bet to fly toward. These cloud islands were releasing
some virga so I wasn't really sure which they would offer, lift or sink, but
they seemed like the right way to go.



I was flying over areas I hadn't flown over before and was not very familiar
with my landing options besides the charted airports. It's about 60 miles
between Saint George and Tuweep and beyond Tuweep is the Grand Canyon and a
long ways to the next airport. Depending on flying conditions, continued
flight the southeast could be stressful. Still I set out across the Bay of
Saint George, Utah, and passed the airport at about 1630 just a few minutes
before Jeff landed there to get fuel.



Crossing the bay I detoured to make a couple circles under a cloud that
formed just a little ways west of my course. I flew through some virga and
sink as I got close to the clouds on the other side of the mouth of the bay.
But before I had to worry about being too low to be able to fly back to
Saint George I found good lift and climbed up toward cloud base southeast of
Saint George and drifted over some towers. I could reach Tuweep now
according to my glide card and a swath of good-looking clouds was forming
again along the edge of the over development. From my vantage point the
over development seemed to curve to the east near the Grand Canyon. I
called Flight Service to get the current weather observed at Kanab, but the
weather report confirmed Kanab was under the over development, so that didn'
t seem to be the way to head. Soon Jeff was back in the air and we
discussed the Tuweep airport and how it would be to tow from. Jeff's Flight
Guide mentioned ruts in the runway but otherwise the description of the
airport made it seem like a great place to end the flight, and tow from the
next day especially considering its location near the rim of the Grand
Canyon. The day still seemed like it had some life in it though and an
ending at Tuweep would cut it short.



I made good progress on toward Tuweep near cloud base and between 15 and 16
thousand feet and before too long could make out the runway at Tuweep,
Arizona. From cloud base the runway looked kind of green and I got the
impression the green wasn't grass but green tumble weeds which typically
grow 2 to 3 feet high. I could tell for sure that was what I was looking at
and Jeff was still 20 minutes behind me so it would be a while before he
could take a look from lower down. But I was pretty sure I didn't want to
land at Tuweep. The next airports on ahead were at the South Rim of the
Grand Canyon, Williams, and Seligman. At cloud base with good clouds ahead,
I was pretty confident I could reach one of these airports and probably go
further. I only had a World Aeronautical Chart that showed the top of the
Grand Canyon special airspace at 14,500 feet and I was pretty confident I
could cross the airspace above that altitude.



Jeff and I talked about where we should go. Jeff had been flying a lot
lower than I had all day, down in the turbulent air a few thousand feet off
the ground, and in a noisy little plane to boot. I could tell he was
getting a little cranky. Jeff said his wife wouldn't want him flying over
the Grand Canyon and since he wasn't up where he could fly over the special
airspace, there was the concern about neither of us having the Grand Canyon
chart that details this airspace and its requirements. We talked about
options including back to Saint George or on toward Las Vegas, to Temple Bar
airport for example. We decided to fly toward Temple Bar. One comforting
aspect of this direction of flight was there were charted airports along the
course of flight toward Temple Bar



Before turning toward Temple Bar I flew out over the Colorado River and took
one picture. Clouds extended part of the way toward Temple Bar so the first
part of the flight was easy and I stayed up near could base. Soon the
clouds ended though and there was just one last scrap of cloud near where
the Colorado River enters Lake Mead. I could tell I was flying into a bit
of a headwind and my progress seemed slow with 30 miles or so to Temple Bar.
I had only lost a couple of thousand of feet when I reached the last scrap
of cloud and I was able to climbed a little bit here. Soon though I left
this scrap and flew on toward Temple Bar. Jeff was just landing at Temple
Bar and reported the airport to be good although sloping with a wind out of
the south straight down the runway. I was close to being able to glide on
to Boulder airport near Las Vegas. Although we had planned to camp, and
although I looked forward to camping under the wing of my glider, flying on
closer to Las Vegas had significant allure. If I found enough lift to get
over the ridge near Boulder Dam between the Boulder airport and me I was
going to fly on past Temple Bar.



I didn't find much lift though and at about 1950 I flew on past Temple Bar
at about 8,000 feet and not high enough to get over the ridge to Boulder. I
flew on to the southwest anyway and then headed back toward Temple Bar. I
flew out over the boat ramp at Temple Bar and then out over the lake and
then entered the pattern to land on runway 18.



I flew a good pattern but I could tell I was pretty tired because I didn't
judge the combined effect of the slope of the runway and the wind very well.
Still quite some distance from the end of the runway I had to close my
spoilers completely to make the runway. Even with the spoilers closed I
didn't have enough height or speed to roll to the turnoff to the tie down
area a third of the way up the runway. At 2003 I came to a stop at Temple
Bar 435 miles from Bishop by way of Base Camp, Saint George, and Tuweep.



Jeff walked out to meet me and helped me push the glider up the substantial
slope of the runway and tie down area until I could park the glider next to
Jeff's Cessna. It was hot and the wind was blowing over 20 miles per hour
with gusts. My feet and legs were pretty cold soaked from sitting in the
glider for over 8 hours at high altitude so the heat felt good, at least
initially. We got the glider tied down and walked the mile or so to the
restaurant and bar near the boat ramp. We had a couple drinks and then, in
darkness, walked down to the lake for a swim. After that we walked back to
the airport, nullifying the coolness the swim had provided, had some dinner,
and bedded down for the night under the wings of our aircraft.



I say "under the wings" but since the hot wind was still blowing for me it
was more important for me to be behind the fuselage of my glider to help
block the hot wind a little. We were lying on the pavement which had baked
all day in the hot sun so I lay on top of my sleeping bag on top of my
insulating pad and tried to sleep with the wind blowing over my skin. The
sensation of the wind made it hard to sleep, as did the thought of take off
the next morning. The wind was still blowing pretty hard down the runway.
To take off into the wind would mean taking off up the steep incline of the
runway. I didn't want to depend on Jeff's plane being able to out climb the
terrain. The wind seemed much too strong to take off down wind even though
the steep slope would allow us to accelerate quickly. After midnight the
wind was still blowing hard.



Luckily at dawn the wind had subsided. We had a quick breakfast of muffins
and juice untied the aircraft and pushed the glider out onto the runway. We
wanted to use the whole runway but didn't want to have to push my glider all
the way uphill to the far end so we did a fast taxi tow with the plane to
get me there more quickly. That worked great except that I didn't put my
shoulder belts inside the cockpit and they banged the side of the fuselage
as I zipped up the runway behind Jeff's plane. At 0550 26 June we took off
from Temple Bar runway 36 headed for Jean Nevada. After a fuel stop at Jean
we headed on to Bishop flying over Death Valley along the way. Flying over
the White Mountains southeast of Bishop I released and we maneuvered so Jeff
had a chance to see my glider in flight and had a chance to see a view of
his plane different than a view of his tail while in tow behind him. Around
0900 I touched down back at the Bishop airport followed by Jeff. Soon my
glider was back in the trailer and Jeff and I were headed back to our homes
after a great tour of four states, and the Grand Canyon too.


Ads
  #2  
Old October 11th 04, 08:26 PM
Dave
external usenet poster
 
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Amazing trek! As a propeller-head with only a few (albeit very
enjoyable) glider flights I had a few questions...

- For these high flights (you mentioned 17k) are you using some sort
of oxygen system?

- Isn't there a certain altitude that requires a flight plan?

- What sort of equipment do you use for these XC flights (transponder,
gps, etc)?
  #3  
Old October 11th 04, 10:02 PM
Ulrich Neumann
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"Mary Daniel or David Grah" wrote in message ...
Great Report. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Goes to show that the old Libelles still have some life in them!


Uli Neumann
H301 'GM'


Four States and The Grand Canyon



David Grah



This story, with pictures, is at
http://home.inreach.com/grahdani/flights.html



I took off from the airport at Bishop, California in my H301 Libelle, N11GV,
at 1217 on Friday 25 June 2004. I towed behind Hangar One Aero Service's
Husky and released several minutes later a few miles east of the airport
about 3,000 feet above the ground. Lift was good over the airport but
instead of staying there to take advantage, I headed on course toward the
White Mountains where the lift turned out to be not quite so good. Further
north on the Whites cumulus clouds were beginning to build.



I climbed a little over a highpoint on the foothills of the Whites called
Red Hill. The lift wasn't great there so, after gaining about 1,000 feet, I
moved to the next ridge north that extended west from the Whites. I didn't
find much lift at this next ridge either, nor at the next several ridges.



Soon I was about 15miles northeast of Bishop at one of the larger ridges
extending west from the Whites, and home to the Paiute hang glider launch
point, and at not much over 9,000 feet. I was now west of the cumulus
clouds building over the spine of the Whites but no closer to them in terms
of altitude. There was enough south wind blowing so I was able to slowly
gain altitude working the mixed ridge and thermal lift on the south side of
this ridge. When I reached about 11,000 feet I again headed north and
contacted a good thermal a ridge or so north of Paiute that took me to over
16,000 feet at about 1310 and under the building cumulus over the spine of
the Whites. Now I had to determine where to go.



Just as forecast, the cumulus clouds near the north end of the White
Mountains were beginning to overdevelop and precipitation was starting to
fall there. Far to the northeast over the higher ranges in central Nevada
large thunderstorms were building. To the southeast, the skies were clear.
In between, on the other side of a big blue hole with no clouds, there were
nice healthy scattered cumulus clouds. So, despite the blue hole between
those healthy clouds and me that was the direction to go. If I could reach
them.



Isolated clouds were forming in the blue over the Silver Peak range, the
first range east of the Whites, so I headed that direction and was happy to
soon be climbing under those clouds. From cloud base there I headed for
some new puffs of clouds on the small range north of Tonopah and reached
those clouds and started to climb again without too much trouble. At 1413 I
reached about 17,000 feet under these clouds and headed further northeast.
After a climb under about one more isolated cloud I would reach the more
closely spaced cumulus clouds that extended far to the east where I would be
able to pick just the best lift. Lift under the isolated clouds was taking
me over 17,000 feet each time I stopped to climb.



I could now see what seemed to be general over development of the clouds
northwest through the east from my position. The over development was
nearer in the north and formed a solid line toward the east. Miles off to
the east there appeared to be isolated overdeveloped cells south of the
solid line of over development. As I headed further northeast, I got north
of those isolated cells. South and west of the over development was a swath
of excellent clouds. Southwest of this excellent swath was blue sky.



It was about this time I first heard my friend Jeff on the radio calling me
on 123.3. I was incredibly fortunate to have a friend like Jeff who had a
Cessna 150 fitted with a 150 horsepower motor who was willing to chase after
me on this flight and tow me home as long as I landed someplace suitable.
This was the third year in a row we did this and each year so far had been a
great adventure.



On the western slopes of the south end of the Monitor Range and northeast of
Tonopah, Nevada, I reached the last isolated cloud I would need to reach the
more closely spaced cumulus a few miles to the northeast. I found lift
under the cloud and climbed toward cloud base and then was headed northeast
again. Soon I reached the edge of the swath of excellent cumulus, and
although the flying so far had been straightforward, I looked forward to the
better condition s ahead. At about 1430 I reached the good clouds about 110
miles out of Bishop. The conditions really were great under the closer
spaced clouds and my progress really picked up. I changed my McCready Ring
setting from about 1 meter per second to 2meter per second and sped along
mostly at either rough air redline of 108 miles per hour or at minimum sink
speed of 45 miles per hour and seldom any speed between.



Once again I had to figure out which way to go. My idea for these flights
with Jeff always starts with the idea of a flight to Wyoming flying
northeast. So far I always have had to modify this though for various
reasons and today this course was straight into the line of dark
cumulonimbus. On the other hand, if I turned southeast it looked like I
could avoid the line of storms and pass by some of the isolated storms and
make good progress that way.



I passed by the Base Camp airport and picked out the site of the underground
nuclear test nearby the airport was apparently built to serve. In this area
I reached my highpoint of the flight at about 18,000 feet now headed east.



As I crossed to Railroad valley I got closer to a small-overdeveloped cell
over the west slopes of the Grant Range. It looked like I could get around
either the north or the south of this cell but it also looked likely to
overdevelop soon north and east of the cell while south and east of the cell
the clouds looked good still. So I completed my turn to the southeast here
and headed off in that direction.



The cell seemed small and, although precipitation was falling out of it, I
expected to get by it without much trouble. Looking at the bottom of the
cloud I could see that south and east of the precipitation was a broad area
of healthy flat cloud bottom where I was fairly certain to find excellent
lift. I flew through a little bit of soft hail on my way to the
good-looking cloud bottom north of the community of Adaven (Nevada
backwards). There was some sink associated with the precipitation though I
was pretty sure I was going to get through unscathed. I didn't expect
lightning from this little cloud but about this time out of the corner of my
eye I saw a big healthy lightning bolt a mile or so to the east of me along
the edge of the precipitation. This showed the cell had a lot more life in
it than I had given it credit for. I was uncomfortable to learn the cloud
could put out lightning because I was well under it with no quick way out.
I sped way up and was soon under the strong lift feeding the large
flat-bottomed part of the cloud. I needed to climb and to climb I should
slow down, but at the same time wanted to get out from under this cell.
Near the southeast edge of the cloud I stopped to climb some, but the clouds
ahead looked good and the memory of the lightning was still on my mind so I
headed on before reaching cloud base, contrary to what I had earlier hoped
to do.



Lift under the next few clouds was good and I flew aggressively making good
progress but not climbing high. Whenever I fly aggressively, I usually
regret it soon and this was true once again this day.



I didn't find good lift under one of the next clouds and pressed on through
one of the larger blue holes I would see over central and eastern Nevada.
The sink was moderate in the hole but the promise of lift under the next
good cloud dissipated along with the cloud. The sink continued under the
dissipating cloud and all I could do was to press on at rough air red line
in accordance with the McCready ring.



Flying through the extended sink I reached my lowest point on the flight
since the initial climb out. I continued on southeast toward Black Cliff
peak at the north end of Timber Mountain, which despite my focus on how to
correct this situation of being so low, I couldn't help but notice was a
nice looking mountain. Black Cliff got nearer and nearer and I got lower
and lower and got a better and better view of the peak. I was headed for
the cloud east of the range this peak was in. Unfortunately this cloud was
now looking like it was falling apart. The closet good-looking cloud was
now over the valley west of the peak. The good clouds were 10 or miles off
to the southeast, a little too far away for me to think about reaching
because I had no clear places to land nearby. If it came to landing my best
bet seemed to be highway 318 though I noted a surprisingly large volume of
traffic on it (in relative terms at least). There were some grassy areas I
could reach but based on my review of similar areas on the ground in the
past I was pretty sure these would be rough enough to damage my landing
gear.



The highway seemed the best bet for landing and its route carried it south.
I flew southeast staying near the highway and working toward those clouds to
the southeast. Soon I was flying through reduced sink, then zero sink, then
weak lift and then I was circling again and climbing well. My small crisis
had passed.



As I climbed I was only a few miles from the over development to left of my
course and I could see that over development had a good deck of flat
bottomed cloud along its southwest edge. This deck extended on toward Saint
George 80 or 90 miles ahead. I didn't want to repeat my recent experience
with lightning near Adaven but still decided to head toward this deck once I
was high enough. Soon I was flying under this deck and this strategy worked
perfectly and I was able to fly straight toward Saint George at high speed
and covered distance quickly. Jeff and I talked while I zipped along under
the deck. He had stopped at Tonopah for fuel and was now 50 miles behind me
and would be stopping again at Saint George for fuel. We wondered where we
should head next.



The over development I was now skirting curved east and then northeast north
of Saint George and then 20 miles or so northeast of Saint George curved
back south or almost southwest. This put Saint George near the mouth of a
sort bay in the over development. In this area there wasn't the nice swath
of good-looking clouds between the over development and the blue sky to its
southwest. Here it was pretty much fly along the edge of the over
development or fly in the blue.



It looked a long way around the bay but also looked like a long glide across
the mouth of the bay, especially if I had to double back to Saint George and
land if I didn't find lift. From the other side of this bay southeast of
Saint George the good cloud deck continued off toward Tuweep and beyond. On
the far side of the mouth of the bay there were some cloud islands that
looked like my best bet to fly toward. These cloud islands were releasing
some virga so I wasn't really sure which they would offer, lift or sink, but
they seemed like the right way to go.



I was flying over areas I hadn't flown over before and was not very familiar
with my landing options besides the charted airports. It's about 60 miles
between Saint George and Tuweep and beyond Tuweep is the Grand Canyon and a
long ways to the next airport. Depending on flying conditions, continued
flight the southeast could be stressful. Still I set out across the Bay of
Saint George, Utah, and passed the airport at about 1630 just a few minutes
before Jeff landed there to get fuel.



Crossing the bay I detoured to make a couple circles under a cloud that
formed just a little ways west of my course. I flew through some virga and
sink as I got close to the clouds on the other side of the mouth of the bay.
But before I had to worry about being too low to be able to fly back to
Saint George I found good lift and climbed up toward cloud base southeast of
Saint George and drifted over some towers. I could reach Tuweep now
according to my glide card and a swath of good-looking clouds was forming
again along the edge of the over development. From my vantage point the
over development seemed to curve to the east near the Grand Canyon. I
called Flight Service to get the current weather observed at Kanab, but the
weather report confirmed Kanab was under the over development, so that didn'
t seem to be the way to head. Soon Jeff was back in the air and we
discussed the Tuweep airport and how it would be to tow from. Jeff's Flight
Guide mentioned ruts in the runway but otherwise the description of the
airport made it seem like a great place to end the flight, and tow from the
next day especially considering its location near the rim of the Grand
Canyon. The day still seemed like it had some life in it though and an
ending at Tuweep would cut it short.



I made good progress on toward Tuweep near cloud base and between 15 and 16
thousand feet and before too long could make out the runway at Tuweep,
Arizona. From cloud base the runway looked kind of green and I got the
impression the green wasn't grass but green tumble weeds which typically
grow 2 to 3 feet high. I could tell for sure that was what I was looking at
and Jeff was still 20 minutes behind me so it would be a while before he
could take a look from lower down. But I was pretty sure I didn't want to
land at Tuweep. The next airports on ahead were at the South Rim of the
Grand Canyon, Williams, and Seligman. At cloud base with good clouds ahead,
I was pretty confident I could reach one of these airports and probably go
further. I only had a World Aeronautical Chart that showed the top of the
Grand Canyon special airspace at 14,500 feet and I was pretty confident I
could cross the airspace above that altitude.



Jeff and I talked about where we should go. Jeff had been flying a lot
lower than I had all day, down in the turbulent air a few thousand feet off
the ground, and in a noisy little plane to boot. I could tell he was
getting a little cranky. Jeff said his wife wouldn't want him flying over
the Grand Canyon and since he wasn't up where he could fly over the special
airspace, there was the concern about neither of us having the Grand Canyon
chart that details this airspace and its requirements. We talked about
options including back to Saint George or on toward Las Vegas, to Temple Bar
airport for example. We decided to fly toward Temple Bar. One comforting
aspect of this direction of flight was there were charted airports along the
course of flight toward Temple Bar



Before turning toward Temple Bar I flew out over the Colorado River and took
one picture. Clouds extended part of the way toward Temple Bar so the first
part of the flight was easy and I stayed up near could base. Soon the
clouds ended though and there was just one last scrap of cloud near where
the Colorado River enters Lake Mead. I could tell I was flying into a bit
of a headwind and my progress seemed slow with 30 miles or so to Temple Bar.
I had only lost a couple of thousand of feet when I reached the last scrap
of cloud and I was able to climbed a little bit here. Soon though I left
this scrap and flew on toward Temple Bar. Jeff was just landing at Temple
Bar and reported the airport to be good although sloping with a wind out of
the south straight down the runway. I was close to being able to glide on
to Boulder airport near Las Vegas. Although we had planned to camp, and
although I looked forward to camping under the wing of my glider, flying on
closer to Las Vegas had significant allure. If I found enough lift to get
over the ridge near Boulder Dam between the Boulder airport and me I was
going to fly on past Temple Bar.



I didn't find much lift though and at about 1950 I flew on past Temple Bar
at about 8,000 feet and not high enough to get over the ridge to Boulder. I
flew on to the southwest anyway and then headed back toward Temple Bar. I
flew out over the boat ramp at Temple Bar and then out over the lake and
then entered the pattern to land on runway 18.



I flew a good pattern but I could tell I was pretty tired because I didn't
judge the combined effect of the slope of the runway and the wind very well.
Still quite some distance from the end of the runway I had to close my
spoilers completely to make the runway. Even with the spoilers closed I
didn't have enough height or speed to roll to the turnoff to the tie down
area a third of the way up the runway. At 2003 I came to a stop at Temple
Bar 435 miles from Bishop by way of Base Camp, Saint George, and Tuweep.



Jeff walked out to meet me and helped me push the glider up the substantial
slope of the runway and tie down area until I could park the glider next to
Jeff's Cessna. It was hot and the wind was blowing over 20 miles per hour
with gusts. My feet and legs were pretty cold soaked from sitting in the
glider for over 8 hours at high altitude so the heat felt good, at least
initially. We got the glider tied down and walked the mile or so to the
restaurant and bar near the boat ramp. We had a couple drinks and then, in
darkness, walked down to the lake for a swim. After that we walked back to
the airport, nullifying the coolness the swim had provided, had some dinner,
and bedded down for the night under the wings of our aircraft.



I say "under the wings" but since the hot wind was still blowing for me it
was more important for me to be behind the fuselage of my glider to help
block the hot wind a little. We were lying on the pavement which had baked
all day in the hot sun so I lay on top of my sleeping bag on top of my
insulating pad and tried to sleep with the wind blowing over my skin. The
sensation of the wind made it hard to sleep, as did the thought of take off
the next morning. The wind was still blowing pretty hard down the runway.
To take off into the wind would mean taking off up the steep incline of the
runway. I didn't want to depend on Jeff's plane being able to out climb the
terrain. The wind seemed much too strong to take off down wind even though
the steep slope would allow us to accelerate quickly. After midnight the
wind was still blowing hard.



Luckily at dawn the wind had subsided. We had a quick breakfast of muffins
and juice untied the aircraft and pushed the glider out onto the runway. We
wanted to use the whole runway but didn't want to have to push my glider all
the way uphill to the far end so we did a fast taxi tow with the plane to
get me there more quickly. That worked great except that I didn't put my
shoulder belts inside the cockpit and they banged the side of the fuselage
as I zipped up the runway behind Jeff's plane. At 0550 26 June we took off
from Temple Bar runway 36 headed for Jean Nevada. After a fuel stop at Jean
we headed on to Bishop flying over Death Valley along the way. Flying over
the White Mountains southeast of Bishop I released and we maneuvered so Jeff
had a chance to see my glider in flight and had a chance to see a view of
his plane different than a view of his tail while in tow behind him. Around
0900 I touched down back at the Bishop airport followed by Jeff. Soon my
glider was back in the trailer and Jeff and I were headed back to our homes
after a great tour of four states, and the Grand Canyon too.

  #4  
Old October 12th 04, 04:01 AM
Mary Daniel or David Grah
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Thanks Dave. The flight was a lot of fun.

Yes, I use an oxygen system made by Nelson. I think they're out of business
now.

There are no flight plan requirements based on altitude.

I mostly use a World Aeronautical Chart but just this summer bought a GPS to
record a track of my flight.

"Dave" wrote in message
m...
Amazing trek! As a propeller-head with only a few (albeit very
enjoyable) glider flights I had a few questions...

- For these high flights (you mentioned 17k) are you using some sort
of oxygen system?

- Isn't there a certain altitude that requires a flight plan?

- What sort of equipment do you use for these XC flights (transponder,
gps, etc)?



  #5  
Old October 12th 04, 06:33 AM
Dave Cobb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I'd love to see a video documentary of these kinds of flights... (minus a
few circles of course) do you know of any such videos?

"Mary Daniel or David Grah" wrote in message
...
Thanks Dave. The flight was a lot of fun.

Yes, I use an oxygen system made by Nelson. I think they're out of
business
now.

There are no flight plan requirements based on altitude.

I mostly use a World Aeronautical Chart but just this summer bought a GPS
to
record a track of my flight.

"Dave" wrote in message
m...
Amazing trek! As a propeller-head with only a few (albeit very
enjoyable) glider flights I had a few questions...

- For these high flights (you mentioned 17k) are you using some sort
of oxygen system?

- Isn't there a certain altitude that requires a flight plan?

- What sort of equipment do you use for these XC flights (transponder,
gps, etc)?





  #6  
Old October 12th 04, 06:43 AM
F.L. Whiteley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Mary Daniel or David Grah" wrote in message
...
Thanks Dave. The flight was a lot of fun.

Yes, I use an oxygen system made by Nelson. I think they're out of

business
now.

There are no flight plan requirements based on altitude.

I mostly use a World Aeronautical Chart but just this summer bought a GPS

to
record a track of my flight.

"Dave" wrote in message
m...
Amazing trek! As a propeller-head with only a few (albeit very
enjoyable) glider flights I had a few questions...

- For these high flights (you mentioned 17k) are you using some sort
of oxygen system?

- Isn't there a certain altitude that requires a flight plan?

- What sort of equipment do you use for these XC flights (transponder,
gps, etc)?


Nelson was acquired by
http://www.preciseflight.com/

Systems remain widely available.

Frank


  #7  
Old December 6th 04, 11:36 AM
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

http://www.ardice.com/Regional/North...ties/A/Adaven/

 




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