Lightning Strikes Twice In Phoenix

Sept 16, 2007 Cool Scenes while Inspecting A Potential Home Site

This is an exploratory mission for property in Phoenix. Not that I'm actually going to do anything, I mean I've been talking about this for years. But here I am on a very short hop and just had to check out one of the free flight sites. I'm familiar with many of the motor sites and any place I'm interested in will have to let me launch from.

Being close to soaring is unique and it's just a gorgeous place to be here at the top of South Mountain overlooking the sprawling lights of Phoenix and burbs. Adding to the show is an impressive line of lightning happy storms. So I had to get some time-lapse pictures to go along with the regular land panoramas that I've been snapping.

This is a beautiful area if you don't need green. That's one color that has a short half-life but it's there. Don't force it, though, watering a lawn can cost hundreds per month.

I'm told that South Mountain park is one of, if not the, largest city park in the country. I'm not surprised, it's huge. But the coolest part is having a free flight launch site here. Drive up to boot.

The site is small but well manicured gravel. It looks like there's basically one launch at a time and you'd want to be reasonably adept at ground handling. Hungry rocks await the fumble footed just off the groomed portion. Wires are strategically placed behind the launch to catch those who run afoul of strong winds. I'll fly with some conservative locals before I tackle this one. Topping things off is a parking lot full of curious spectators. Don't screw it up, either, or the site could be in jeopardy. No pressure, really, none at all.

I have no idea where the LZ's are although I saw some nice looking candidates. Top landing would be sporty but looks doable in the right conditions. Don't crash on the road. Overall, it's beautiful site with a basically easy launch and I'm glad the AHGA maintains it. If I come here I'll certainly support their effort.

1. I'd hate to be standing in those places. On another occasion I saw a green glow burst forth as a power transformer gave up its ghost. 2) The Idaho Street launch gets lit up by this one. 3) Looking south down the barrel of the free flight launch. It's smooth and small. Screwing it up won't kill you but you'll leave blood behind. And don't get blown back--much nastiness awaits that unfortunate soul. 4. The view from lot six. A panorama that goes from looking due west on the left to looking due east on the right. You can see a new house is going up and would be my eastern neighbor. It doesn't do justice to the views.

1. The drive up South Mountain is curvy but smooth. New pavement is adorned with guardrail protection from the more gnarly drop offs. Too bad about some holes punched through--reminders to watch thy speed lest gravity rise up and smite thee.

2. Jim Eskildsen snapped this pilot launching from the morning. Too bad I missed that session, he talked of pilots getting smooth (for the area) ridge lift flights before the upslope died off.

3. Don't be fooled by the panoramic distortion—it isn't very big. Lovers launch, I'll call it. This photo spans from due east on the left to due south on the right.

© 2015 Jeff Goin   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!