Wed-Thur June 6Wind was the word. And the word was with us.
This trip started with the windiest flight and landing I've ever made
in a small airplane. Wednesday I left Phoenix and, with the help of a 50
mph tailwind, made it to Albuquerque in just over 2 hours. But it was
epic turbulence and I couldn't outclimb it. Landing at Double Eagle
airport was in the face of a 35 - 50 mph wind on a runway chosen for
it's alignment. I was originally landing at Albuquerque International
but opted for the more wind-friendly runway at Double Eagle. Of course
that wasn't before I did one circle of Paramotor City just for fun.
Michelle, Jerry, Eric, Elisabeth and the entire Route 66 Club
continue to make this my favorite event. Being with these people puts a
smile on your face even without getting airtime.
The scenery out here is spectacular as always. It's been windy during
the day with flyable beginnings and ends. This morning (Fri) was to be a
cross country but alas some strong crossing winds made for early
turbulence that kept most pilots from going.
This morning also included one pilot who, flying a reflex wing, wound
up on the ground due to turbulence. Both he and his equipment are
surprisingly ok. I talked with the pilot and a number of witnesses and
will offer a more complete report. Hopefully the pilot will also write
his perspective because it's a good reminder that, no matter what wing
you're flying, there are limits. Secondly, it's a reminder on how we
should be students of this sometimes turbulent ocean we swim in.
So much more is planned and I'm looking forward what appears to be
beautiful weather for the campout.
1) Eric works with several pilots helping all to get
launched. 2) Chad cruises buy early in the afternoon before others have
launched. 3) A hang glider trikes takes on Thursday mornings bumps. 4)
Mike, Bob and Debbie of the Route 66 flyers prepare zip lock omelets. 6)
Ike helps direct traffic while several pilots prepare for launch.
me some serious airtime when Jim Doyle pulled me
backwards. Several "flights" topped 8 feet, caught by Eve Clarke
who captured the buffoonery. Joe Onofrio, pictured next, was
the only other pilot to join me as Chad Bastian sailed by on his kite
buggy. I tried one of his kite buggies and had a complete blast.
Paraglider pilots will immediately understand the workings although it
takes some getting used to. You fly this 4-line traction kite in such a
way that it pulls you across the wind. It's a great diversion in high
winds and is a lot of fun on it's own. I'd love to try it with roller
blades but the consensus is that I'd end up in a cast.
This morning was the cross country to Wild Horse Mesa. It's the
canyon that is most spectacular, though. Long time pilot "Bubba" Peters
describes this miniature grand canyon as the most gorgeous piece of
planet he's cruised. He's flown a lot of places--that's saying a lot.
Cool temperatures sidelined me, I don't do cold. Seeing 39.9F on my
thermometer kept me in bed.
Leftover wind made for lumpy rides so most pilots only went halfway.
a bumpy Morning's are gorgeous albeit a bit cool. Bright, clear, and
with a bit of very steady north breeze.
It wasn't too windy for the
Bonanza (4-place airplane) so several pilots, Joel, Chad, Jerry and
myself, went for a cruise. We loaded up with Milky Way bars and liquids
then launched into blue. Jerry is an expert in archeology and wanted to
check out a site he'd discovered some time ago. Obviously somebody else
found it, too, because it had been dynamited. It was extremely bumpy and
one barf bag did get filled. After landing, he held up the bulging bag
and offered "Milky Way" anyone? I about died laughing.
Launching at high elevation means running faster or using wheels.
Here in Albuquerque, an increasing number of pilots have chosen to be
high rollers. At one point, we had so many trikes on the field, that
Michelle and Jennifer organized them together for pictures. It was quite
First they lined up all the Paratour PPCg's then lined
everything else up. An impressive showing of wheels showed up.
1) Disorderly gaggle. 2) Orderly gaggle being filmed by Derick. 3)
Another lineup perspective. 4) Orderly Gaggle of PPCg's organized by
Morning flying, games, another afternoon flight in the bonanza,
hatchet and knife throwing by Randy "Bird" who showed us all how that
really works and then the banquet. Eric Dufour got roasted, bands
played, hail fell and a few even flew before the sun finally set. That's
the short version.
Perfect conditions outlasted the morning and a few pilots even
enjoyed some surprisingly mellow New Mexican thermals, even thermalling
in them until nearly noon. Then many pilots
prepared to go PPG Safaring.
1) The trip up to Albuquerque was the bumpiest flying I've yet ever
done, besides ending with the windiest landing. But the scenery was
spectacular. Circling Paramotor City and taking pictures presented a challenge.
Needing to keep one hand on the wheel meant the camera wanted to hit the
ceiling periodically. Fixed wing flying has it's place!
2) The turn from base to final at Double Eagle
airport. Dust in the upper left corner is coming from Paramotor City.
3) I was met instantly by
this young man and Bode Aviation at Double Eagle Airport Ii gave me the
best service I've ever enjoyed.
Dealing with convective
weather in a small airplane is a pain. You only fly through a
thunderstorm once and then not usually all the way through. Fortunately,
most of the trip was gorgeous. Without a good tailwind I had to stop for
fuel in Moline, IL.
1) Just past Santa Fe, NM
I caught some cool looking virga. That silver on my tip tank is tape.
The cap was loose and, even though I had a new seal installed, this was
added insurance. 2) After passing most of the Midwest's nasty whether,
it bade me farewell with this scene.