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Another Trip Another Glider

By Bob Holiday

It was a typical autumn day for New Mexico when I arrived at Moriarty airport. The cloudbases were high, with well defined edges and big, mean dust devils scooting across the high desert landscape.

I made haste with the one man rig unit and was ready to fly in only 40 minutes. So, with my oxygen system turned on and both GPS units oriented to the new location, I took off behind a powerful towplane owned by Sundance Aviation. The tow was very short as I pulled the release at 1200 ft AGL and began a brisk climb to 16,000 ft. Shortly afterward, the Mosquito carried me at 100 Knots through the start gate on a northerly heading toward Santa Fe. After a very short time we were in the hilly area straight north of the airport and finding plenty of lift to pull up in. I continued to blast north hoping to make the intersection with I-25 (a very popular turnpoint, although there are very few landable fields). When I turned back south there was a 15 knot tailwind which propelled me back to the south at 120 mph groundspeed with only one thermal needed to round the turnpoint. After making the Moriarty turnpoint, I found a really well organized thermal with good lift to 15,000 ft. There was widespread overdevelopment starting to form throughout the valley, so I headed south to Willard with good lift back up to 16K, making the turnpoint with plenty of altitude, I looked back at the rain which was blocking my return to the airport.and decided to try to fly around the worst of it. The next few minutes were nip and tuck, but I managed to arrive home with a thousand feet to spare.

September 27, the next day was even better than the day before, although there was overdevelopment to contend with, three hour plus flights were possible. I got off tow at 1000 feet with 4-6 knots to over 16,000 ft (you use a lot of oxygen flying here). I decided to go north again today (I noticed the rain was less concentrated up there yesterday). With good clouds marking the trip to I-25 it took almost no time at all to fly the 40 mile leg. Today the winds were westerly, so I decided to next try the Sandia East Airport turnpoint, where I was staying with Bob & Barbara Leonard. I found a good cloud over the airport to 14,000 MSL , and headed for Sandia Peak. The overdevelopment shut me down soon afterward and I found myself flying along the Monzano mountain range, trying to find a hole to slip through for return to base. After about an hour the storm clouds moved on and it was soon time for Mexican food.

The forecast for the next few days was not favorable to soaring activity, so I headed on west with an empty glider trailer, intending to buy a wood glider project in California. After visiting relatives and attending a bicycle trade show, I returned to Moriarty for more fantastic soaring in and around the Estancia Valley.

Bob and Barbara took me to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival for a fun filled morning watching the mass ascension of about 700 balloons, followed by more exciting soaring.

I left SAM with George Applebay for annual inspection, and brought the wooden project home on a flat bed trailer


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Published and maintained by Jerry Boone, Hutchinson, KS