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Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:15 pm

Sunday, April 14, 2019:
Today, the weather was good. Some four or five paraglider pilots flew Dry Canyon, launching in the late morning with Keith Campbell as their driver. They all flew well - Steve Crye, Jim Stelzer, Bo Frazier, Max Montgomery, and a new P3 whose name I didn't catch. Steve went XC about 12 miles; Max went over to Long Ridge, before landing back at Cox Field. Jim MacNutt and I came out to fly. We picked up Jim Mott from his home in High Rolls, then went straight to the Dry Canyon launch. Jim MacNutt, our visitor from Vermont, took off at 2:55 pm and immediately went right up; ultimately he reached 9400 ft MSL (2400 above launch) and had an hour in the air, with a decent landing at Cox Field. After various problems getting into my harness, I launched at 3:40 pm MDT and immediately went up and left. I flew for 30 minutes, making low saves at the West Face and over the Cox Field LZ - my highest altitude today was 7900 ft MSL. My landing wasn't perfect, but it was one I don't feel badly about. We visited afterwards with the Motts, then scooted back to Las Cruces by 8:45 pm. Not a bad day at all - sunny, gentle southwest winds, temperatures about 70 degrees. And lots of good people as well!
-Robin
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:53 pm

Friday, April 19, 2019:
Wednesday's storm put a lovely coat of snow onto Sierra Blanca, which Steve Crye, Jim MacNutt and I enjoyed as we drove up to the Dry Canyon launch today (Good Friday). It didn't take either one long to set up, and by 2:35 Jim had launched into a fine cycle in his Falcon 4 170. Steve launched just after that. Steve very soon had a partial collapse, but quickly corrected it and had a beautiful flight in his PG with Jim. Both got thousands of feet over launch height, though they said the thermals were punchy and the sink between them was pretty strong. (Another warm, blue-sky day, with winds about 10 to 15 mph on launch.) Steve was up for 53 minutes, he said, and had an excellent landing at La Luz. A couple of kids with bikes were there, watching and waiting for him to descend - which he had trouble doing, the lift was everywhere by then. When he landed, they naturally asked, "Did you jump out of a plane, mister?" Not long after, Jim made a perfect landing at Cox Field (I wasn't there, I was picking up Steve) that he wished I'd gotten on video. Well, better luck next time. Jim reached 9500 feet MSL (2500 over launch) and was airborne about an hour and ten minutes. He and I visited with Keith and Rena Campbell afterwards - very nice people! - and made it home about 7:00 pm. What a nice Easter weekend it is, so far...
-Robin
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sun Apr 28, 2019 9:54 pm

Sunday, April 28, 2019:
At the RGSA meeting last night, Jim MacNutt asked me if Dry Canyon might be flyable on Sunday. I said yes - but get an early start, it was due to get strong in the afternoon. So we hit the road that morning about 9:15, Jim with his Falcon 4 170 and me with my U2 160. Finis Miller met us at the Cox Field LZ at 10:30, ready to be our driver. By 11:30 we were at the Dry Canyon launch and setting up. Conditions were clear, with a bit of high cirrus, and winds south to southwest at 15 mph with gusts to 20+. I launched first, at 12:50 pm MDT. I didn't shoot up over the launch, so I headed west down the ridge. I found a good thermal just short of the Bowl, and took it up to 8300 ft MSL (1300 over launch). I went back to launch to see Jim take off, but strong winds kept him waiting, so I went back west to the West Face. I saw Jim launch about the time I got there, and saw that he was doing OK. I was getting low, but finally found a GOOD thermal. I took that one up to 9500 ft, then went over to Curt's Bluff to see how Jim was getting along. We shared thermals for a while, with me about 2000 feet above him. I got the Coffee House thermal, near Plateau Espresso, and the Jesus Saves thermal over the church further north; I took the latter up to 10,600, then left to join Jim by the landing zone. There he suddenly caught his best of the day, and since I was now below him at 7000 ft, I set up an approach and landed perfectly in 15 mph west winds. Finis arrived just as I touched down - he was my witness, I really can land a hang glider! Jim, by this time, was specked out above the two of us. About 10 minutes later my wife Nancy and Jim's wife Pam arrived, from Las Cruces, and got to witness his very competent landing, with a strong flare into lots less wind than I'd enjoyed. Good work - even though he touched down on his belly. Everyone was suitably impressed... Jim took all of us to lunch at Smiley's Chinese Buffet at White Sands Mall, where Finis was well rewarded for his time and skill as a driver this day. It was Jim's last flight before he and Pam move on from Las Cruces, as they tour the nation (and a lot of its flying sites) in their home on wheels. We will certainly miss them!
-Robin
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:03 pm

Photo from Sunday, April 28th.

FinisJim&Pam_04-28-19.JPG
Finis Miller, Jim & Pam MacNutt. Cox Field, 4-28-19.
FinisJim&Pam_04-28-19.JPG (78.11 KiB) Viewed 800 times
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:40 pm

Thanks Robin. I always enjoy reading your detailed reports!!    :thumbup:
"People talk about the sport of hang gliding dying. It's not dying. It's being murdered. By the U$hPA." - Rick Masters

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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sat May 04, 2019 10:03 pm

Saturday, May 4, 2019:
Six days after flying Dry Canyon successfully - we did it again. A different cast of pilots this time. Juan Mira drove out from Hobbs with two of his friends/fellow students from the University of the Southwest. Juan, Brian and Juan arrived at 11:30 in the Cox Field LZ. Bill Cummings, Juan and his friends loaded up Juan's gear and Airwaves Vision Mark 4 beside Bill's Sport 2 and my U2-160, then we all headed up the mountain to the Dry Canyon launch. Conditions were clear, but gusty. I was glad that the gliders were tied down as we set them up. Bill launched first at 2:07 pm MDT, Juan was next about 10 minutes later. I didn't take off until 2:30, as I waited for a smooth enough cycle to make it safely, with Brian on my left wing and Juan on the nose wires. When I did, I shot up amazingly fast, much as the previous two had done. I was 200 feet over the launch in less than a minute. The three of us flew together near the launch at first. I worked a thermal up and back, to 10,700 ft MSL (3700 over launch). Bill was further back of the launch, and even higher. The three of us shared the air for an hour, working the abundant thermals over the launch, the West Face and the LZ itself. When we all approached Cox Field at about the same time, I realized that Juan was finally going down first, at which point I worked a big thermal over Cox Field to stay up and stay out of his way. When he touched down, just west of the grass, then I went down, going over to the Griggs Field baseball diamond to find some sink. From there I went back east of the field, where I set up a west approach, but too far back - I cleared the fence by maybe 5 feet, had no flare, and rolled to a quick stop on the grassy field. Hooray for wheels! Bill did something similar, but while I had a west/southwest wind to land in, he came in southeast. He, too, made use of his basetube wheels, and landed right by the flag. We all had at least an hour in the air this day, and got out of turbulent conditions still smiling. We all enjoyed supper at Smiley's Chinese Buffet (Juan's choice - college men need a lot of provender!) and then parted. They had a 3 to 4 hour drive ahead of them, after all. Bill and I made it home by 9:00. Almost 12 hours spent on a hang gliding expedition - but can you think of something better to do with those 12 hours? And don't forget our Fun Fly at this site in another three weeks!
-Robin
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby Bill Cummings » Mon May 06, 2019 9:15 pm

RobinHastings wrote:Saturday, May 4, 2019:
Six days after flying Dry Canyon successfully - we did it again. A different cast of pilots this time. Juan Mira drove out from Hobbs with two of his friends/fellow students from the University of the Southwest. Juan, Brian and Juan arrived at 11:30 in the Cox Field LZ. Bill Cummings, Juan and his friends loaded up Juan's gear and Airwaves Vision Mark 4 beside Bill's Sport 2 and my U2-160, then we all headed up the mountain to the Dry Canyon launch. Conditions were clear, but gusty. I was glad that the gliders were tied down as we set them up. Bill launched first at 2:07 pm MDT, Juan was next about 10 minutes later. I didn't take off until 2:30, as I waited for a smooth enough cycle to make it safely, with Brian on my left wing and Juan on the nose wires. When I did, I shot up amazingly fast, much as the previous two had done. I was 200 feet over the launch in less than a minute. The three of us flew together near the launch at first. I worked a thermal up and back, to 10,700 ft MSL (3700 over launch). Bill was further back of the launch, and even higher. The three of us shared the air for an hour, working the abundant thermals over the launch, the West Face and the LZ itself. When we all approached Cox Field at about the same time, I realized that Juan was finally going down first, at which point I worked a big thermal over Cox Field to stay up and stay out of his way. When he touched down, just west of the grass, then I went down, going over to the Griggs Field baseball diamond to find some sink. From there I went back east of the field, where I set up a west approach, but too far back - I cleared the fence by maybe 5 feet, had no flare, and rolled to a quick stop on the grassy field. Hooray for wheels! Bill did something similar, but while I had a west/southwest wind to land in, he came in southeast. He, too, made use of his basetube wheels, and landed right by the flag. We all had at least an hour in the air this day, and got out of turbulent conditions still smiling. We all enjoyed supper at Smiley's Chinese Buffet (Juan's choice - college men need a lot of provender!) and then parted. They had a 3 to 4 hour drive ahead of them, after all. Bill and I made it home by 9:00. Almost 12 hours spent on a hang gliding expedition - but can you think of something better to do with those 12 hours? And don't forget our Fun Fly at this site in another three weeks!
-Robin

Keep your feet off the bar. were you born in a barn.JPG
Keep your feet off the bar. were you born in a barn.JPG (39.79 KiB) Viewed 702 times

https://youtu.be/VIx9bkw5P9o
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Mon May 06, 2019 9:55 pm

Bill, that's about your best video yet! You are pretty darned athletic at age 70 - I sure hope I am then. Great all the way through, and so well captioned. It's just too bad the GoPro died before that magnificent landing of yours. Well, better luck (and batteries) next time...
-Robin
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby Bill Cummings » Tue May 07, 2019 2:04 pm

Here are Bill's and Juan's launches from May 4th...

https://youtu.be/YBkVKTdBGNs
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Re: Dry Canyon Alamogordo, NM (USA)

Postby RobinHastings » Sun May 19, 2019 8:01 pm

Sunday, May 19, 2019:
This was Juan Mira's last flight at Dry Canyon, before leaving New Mexico. He made it a good one! Bill Cummings and I met up with Juan's family from Colombia in the Cox Field LZ about 10:00 am - Juan, his sister Laura, mother Loria (?) and father Miguel. When we reached Dry Canyon launch the winds were coming in 15 to 18 mph up the ramp, so Juan and I began setting up. Bill decided that the Fun-to-Effort Ratio (FRE) wasn't quite high enough today - indeed, there was a substantial cloud cover over launch and the Tularosa Basin. I was first to take off, in my newly-acquired Sport2 155. It flew beautifully, and I had a perfect launch in smooth winds, gaining 500 feet before Juan launched 5 minutes later, in his Airwaves Vision Mark 4 17. I went up to 8200' MSL (1200 over launch) and watched Juan down below, then moved west along the ridge. Juan was at 8000' 10 minutes into his flight, since he was level with me about then. I left him soaring the ridge above his admiring family, and went to the West Face. I worked some small thermals there (and going there) but nothing strong until I caught one at the north end, and went from 6000' to 9000'. I was actually closer to La Luz than to Cox Field when I topped out, drifting north, but had no problem getting to our designated LZ. The winds there were strong south, and I had an excellent first landing in the new glider, for about 45 minutes of airtime. The truck (with Bill driving - thank you!) arrived about 5 minutes after I did. Juan had an hour and five minutes, and a fine landing as well, skimming across the field and porpoising a bit before a soft touchdown. His dad flew hang gliders for 15 years, and seemed pretty pleased at Juan's performance. Well, so were Bill and I. That young man has a natural knack for the air - it's too bad that he just graduated and will be leaving the area. His family (very fine folks!) took us all to lunch at the Chinese buffet, then headed out to White Sands to enjoy another of New Mexico's natural wonders. Bill and I got home to Las Cruces about 6:30. We will sure miss Juan, and his family - but except for that, it was a very fine day.
-Robin
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