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Durango, CO



 
 
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  #11  
Old May 23rd 18, 02:08 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Roy B.
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Posts: 131
Default Durango, CO

Flew there with my old Phoebus for a week in 1983 - just after the Hobbs WGC where I helped out. I remember they had a L-13 Blanik that was tied out on ropes that ran through stacked auto tires. Dropped the rope into the tire stack and I reached in for it without looking or thinking. That was when a Boston boy heard his first rattlesnake in anger. I was still running 20 minutes later . . .

It was a good place to fly with nice people. I think there was a tourist train that went by the field from time to time. Sad that it is gone.

ROY

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  #12  
Old May 23rd 18, 04:03 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
AS
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Posts: 294
Default Durango, CO

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:08:34 PM UTC-4, Roy B. wrote:
Flew there with my old Phoebus for a week in 1983 - just after the Hobbs WGC where I helped out. I remember they had a L-13 Blanik that was tied out on ropes that ran through stacked auto tires. Dropped the rope into the tire stack and I reached in for it without looking or thinking. That was when a Boston boy heard his first rattlesnake in anger. I was still running 20 minutes later . . .

It was a good place to fly with nice people. I think there was a tourist train that went by the field from time to time. Sad that it is gone.

ROY


ROY,

the tourist train was (still is?) the Durango narrow gauge steam rail line and the owner of the field (forgot his name) would time it's arrival and buzz the train with the Blanik. Good advertising!

Uli
'AS'
  #13  
Old May 23rd 18, 04:22 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Renny[_2_]
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Posts: 243
Default Durango, CO

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:03:37 PM UTC-6, AS wrote:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:08:34 PM UTC-4, Roy B. wrote:
Flew there with my old Phoebus for a week in 1983 - just after the Hobbs WGC where I helped out. I remember they had a L-13 Blanik that was tied out on ropes that ran through stacked auto tires. Dropped the rope into the tire stack and I reached in for it without looking or thinking. That was when a Boston boy heard his first rattlesnake in anger. I was still running 20 minutes later . . .

It was a good place to fly with nice people. I think there was a tourist train that went by the field from time to time. Sad that it is gone.

ROY


ROY,

the tourist train was (still is?) the Durango narrow gauge steam rail line and the owner of the field (forgot his name) would time it's arrival and buzz the train with the Blanik. Good advertising!

Uli
'AS'


Uli,
His name was LaVern St.Clair. LaVern and his wife Beverly owned Val Air for many years and they were great folks. Giving rides was their bread and butter, but long before the OLC came into being, folks from the Albuquerque Soaring Club would have an annual tip to Durango to fly at their airport. I flew there in the early 80's and they were always very friendly and it was always a great experience to fly in the San Juan Mountains. Yes, indeed the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge RR, which went right by the runway, was often buzzed by LaVern's gliders and also by visiting pilots! It was a great place to soar and now it sadly is another gliderport lost forever......Thx - Renny
  #14  
Old May 23rd 18, 03:07 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Posts: 3
Default Durango, CO

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 10:22:22 PM UTC-5, Renny wrote:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:03:37 PM UTC-6, AS wrote:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:08:34 PM UTC-4, Roy B. wrote:
Flew there with my old Phoebus for a week in 1983 - just after the Hobbs WGC where I helped out. I remember they had a L-13 Blanik that was tied out on ropes that ran through stacked auto tires. Dropped the rope into the tire stack and I reached in for it without looking or thinking. That was when a Boston boy heard his first rattlesnake in anger. I was still running 20 minutes later . . .

It was a good place to fly with nice people. I think there was a tourist train that went by the field from time to time. Sad that it is gone.

ROY


ROY,

the tourist train was (still is?) the Durango narrow gauge steam rail line and the owner of the field (forgot his name) would time it's arrival and buzz the train with the Blanik. Good advertising!

Uli
'AS'


Uli,
His name was LaVern St.Clair. LaVern and his wife Beverly owned Val Air for many years and they were great folks. Giving rides was their bread and butter, but long before the OLC came into being, folks from the Albuquerque Soaring Club would have an annual tip to Durango to fly at their airport. I flew there in the early 80's and they were always very friendly and it was always a great experience to fly in the San Juan Mountains. Yes, indeed the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge RR, which went right by the runway, was often buzzed by LaVern's gliders and also by visiting pilots! It was a great place to soar and now it sadly is another gliderport lost forever.......Thx - Renny


LaVern was a terrific ride pilot. My teenage son and I enjoyed breath-taking flights from this field in the 90s. LaVern was very laid back and although I was a stranger to him, he let me conduct the entire flight in his Blanik. It was a terrific introduction to mountain flying for this flat-lander from Chicago.
  #15  
Old May 23rd 18, 04:04 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Dan Marotta
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Posts: 3,237
Default Durango, CO

I completed my Gold Badge at Val Air in the late 80s in my ASW-19b. What
a thrill it was for a flat-lander from Dallas to fly so high! I also
recall the sight-seeing flights flying low along the tracks as the
tourist train chugged along on its way to or from Silverton. He would
make a low observation pass on the grass strip, pull up and turn base to
final over the river, and and roll up to the launch point for the next
excited tourist.* I also recall an angry hawk stooping at my canopy,
talons outstretched.* He stopped at about mid wing, but that was a
picture I'll not forget!

I was so sad to hear that Val Air had closed.* Too bad there was nobody
available to step up, buy the operation, and keep it alive.

On 5/23/2018 8:07 AM, wrote:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 10:22:22 PM UTC-5, Renny wrote:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:03:37 PM UTC-6, AS wrote:
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 9:08:34 PM UTC-4, Roy B. wrote:
Flew there with my old Phoebus for a week in 1983 - just after the Hobbs WGC where I helped out. I remember they had a L-13 Blanik that was tied out on ropes that ran through stacked auto tires. Dropped the rope into the tire stack and I reached in for it without looking or thinking. That was when a Boston boy heard his first rattlesnake in anger. I was still running 20 minutes later . . .

It was a good place to fly with nice people. I think there was a tourist train that went by the field from time to time. Sad that it is gone.

ROY
ROY,

the tourist train was (still is?) the Durango narrow gauge steam rail line and the owner of the field (forgot his name) would time it's arrival and buzz the train with the Blanik. Good advertising!

Uli
'AS'

Uli,
His name was LaVern St.Clair. LaVern and his wife Beverly owned Val Air for many years and they were great folks. Giving rides was their bread and butter, but long before the OLC came into being, folks from the Albuquerque Soaring Club would have an annual tip to Durango to fly at their airport. I flew there in the early 80's and they were always very friendly and it was always a great experience to fly in the San Juan Mountains. Yes, indeed the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge RR, which went right by the runway, was often buzzed by LaVern's gliders and also by visiting pilots! It was a great place to soar and now it sadly is another gliderport lost forever......Thx - Renny

LaVern was a terrific ride pilot. My teenage son and I enjoyed breath-taking flights from this field in the 90s. LaVern was very laid back and although I was a stranger to him, he let me conduct the entire flight in his Blanik. It was a terrific introduction to mountain flying for this flat-lander from Chicago.


--
Dan, 5J
  #16  
Old May 23rd 18, 06:36 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
[email protected]
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Posts: 442
Default Durango, CO

After the Std. Class Nats in 2007, I dropped off my ASW 24 with Bif Huss in Colorado Springs and picked up my family in Denver. We spent the next 3 weeks doing a giant loop of National Parks and state parks, tent camping out of my soaring van every night with our 11-year-old twin daughters. Glorious trip, one of the highlights of which was overnighting at a campground in Durango. We hit the state fair that night and my daughters got to see their first tractor pull, among many other sights.

The next morning, we heard the steam locomotive coming and crawled out of the tent to watch it go by less than 50m away. The track went right through the campground. Later that morning as we were leaving for Ouray, one of the girls spotted a glider on tow. Sorry to hear the operation is no more. I didn't fly there but the area is spectacular.

Chip Bearden
  #17  
Old May 24th 18, 01:47 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
son_of_flubber
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Posts: 1,356
Default Durango, CO

Durango sounds like it was a wonderful place to fly.

Too bad the people who enjoyed it did not step up and establish some sort of gliderport land trust.

That's been done at other sites.

There are other legacy sites that may be lost in the near future.



  #18  
Old May 28th 18, 07:18 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Bob T
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Posts: 32
Default Durango, CO

On Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 10:46:15 AM UTC-7, wrote:
Is the glider port still active in Durango Colorado? Asking for someone traveling through there next month who wants to get a ride


Val air GliderPort was was one of the great soaring sites of America. A number of us local pilots put together a consortium to purchase and run the site, but the offer, which was very carefully worked out, and fair, was rejected by the owners. A number of out of state offers were also rejected. We'll never know why. The site was lost, but certainly not because no one tried buy it and keep it going. This was a great loss to both the soaring community and the local tourist economy.

I spent 15 summers flying out of that gorgeous green strip, logging several thousand hours of looking down from 17,000' at the stupendous colorful San Juan Mountains and surrounding areas. Handily, I accumulated thousands of digital photos to help remember the fun times. I even shared a number of them in presentations at SSA annual meetings and with many other organizations in SW Colorado and Arizona. Lots of great memories.

19

 




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