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This is Lima Yankee, going through 16 - and that's on the averager

By Dennis Brown

This was the call I made during the best thermal I have ever been in. The flight was in Moriarty, N.M., on Wednesday, May 29, 2002. I was seeing 16 knots on the 20 second averager, going through 16,000 feet MSL.

Actually, the thermal only averaged 12 knots during the climb from about 13,000 to 18,000. No cheating, that's what post flight stats show.

To add some perspective, Tim Feager, "9F", replied "LY - why don't you move over into the strong stuff?"

Let's start over -- Kevin and I were in Moriarty, imposing on Bob and Barbara Leonard, to try a diamond distance (for me) and a silver duration (for Kevin). Kevin got his silver duration on his first flight, as well as gold altitude, gold distance and diamond goal.

Did I mention that the flying was pretty good at Moriarty?

I took the next flight. I flew my diamond distance at a sedate average of 74 mph, dry. The declaration was Moriarty, south to Claunch, back north to the intersection of highway 284 and 125, back south to Lincoln Station, and return to Moriarty for an on-course total of 319 miles.

There's little to say about the flight. The only time I was concerned about finding lift was after the second turn (half way through the flight) when I got down to 12000 ft. I get concerned easily. Looking at the flight log, I should have gone a lot faster, but I'm conservative by politics and nature. Climbs were cut off at 18000' nine times.

Did I mention that the flying was pretty good at Moriarty?

If you get a chance - go to Moriarty. There are commercial tows available and it has a large hard surface runway, taxiways, and tie downs.

Some caveats - this territory is considerably different than Sunflower. You need oxygen, the terrain is less friendly than Sunflower and there is more airline and military jet traffic. The sink rates are proportionate to the lift. It is not uncommon to hit sustained sink rates exceeding 6 or 8 knots.

After Kevin's first flight we reviewed the logs and there was some doubt as to how it was declared, flown and how the rules read for diamond goal. So Kevin attempted the whole diamond goal, gold distance, and gold altitude again. He missed. The new crew man, who for modesty reasons will remain nameless, didn't turn on the gps that feeds the computer and the computer dead-reckoned Kevin past the first turn (Claunch). You might ask Kevin what a lava flow looks like when you are 20 miles from a landable field and 80 miles from home. So he only got another gold attitude flight.

Did I mention that the flying was pretty good at Moriarty?

On Kevin's last flight, the novice crew man got the gps turned on and Kevin repeated the whole diamond goal, gold distance, and gold altitude. This time everything looked fine on post-flight analysis.

Did I mention that the flying was pretty good at Moriarty?

I decided to fly on Saturday, before we started back home. I took a launch a little early, got off in sink, and promptly landed. The sky was filling with Cu. It was a booming day as we drove away from the field.

Did I mention that even Moriarty doesn't cure pilot problems?


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Published and maintained by Jerry Boone, Hutchinson, KS