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FlyBC "Site of the Day Archives" - January/2005





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Date
Site
Forecast
Precip.
Winds Aloft
@
3000'
Lapse Rate

Cloudbase Forecast
calculated
by SOAR8.XLW

Comments
1/31
San Marcos or Valle, MX

Scattered Clouds. High: 78 F / 26 C Wind WSW 6 mph / 10 km/h

0%
Mexico: light and variable

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Mexico: 3200 m
10400 ft.

Woodside Report - Alan said it looked too windy to fly early in the day, and reviewing the web cam did not show any pilots soaring so he was probably right.

Normando update - the last Mexico XC he flew was 64 kms+, and it was a dog-leg route over which he covered over 100 kms. He had to take a bus to Guadalajara, and a taxi back to Tapalpa costing him 550 pesos!


La Salinas Report - Not wasting any time, Darren and I drove around the clock and made it to la Salinas in under 24hrs. (Red Bull: it gives you wings)

The weather was good to us and we flew the first 6 days with mainly onshore winds from 10 - 30km/hr and certainly a mix of thermal activity. Darren takes the mexi-title with some good flights up to 40 mins, top-landings and touch down fly-by's.

You were right that the baja had seen plenty of rain in the past few months and interestingly enough everything was green except the LZ (an exposed area of rock and pebbles) which was (not so surprisingly) good (perhaps a little SURPRISING) as thermal hot spot. As you can imagine it made for some interesting landings, close too but not necessarily at the LZ.

On flight # 6, I had a mishap on launch and PLF-ed in front of launch. Resulting in a tender ankle, which I continued to hike on but on returning to Canada found out will take 6 weeks of ground suck and a cast to heal! I'm thinking more like four! Anyhow, all in all it was an awesome trip. We end up hiking about 8500 ft, racked up about 20 flights and gained some invaluable experience . . . . For 24 hrs of driving I'm sold....

I have include a couple of pictures and also a short video of Darren scratching and finding success. Check out how low he gets.

Hope all is good and we'll see you soon - Justin





Brent's Valle de Bravo - 3rd and final installment

Thursday

Today I wanted to conquer the clouds.

I have been thermaling the thermals from the ground and ridges but never breaking through the inversion layer at about 2600m. Today cautiously launched, after double checking my latches, before the comp. Was struggling to get high at launch thermal, went to el Pinon little low but buoyant. Got to el Pinon and rode the thermal right up and over el Pinon. Flew over to the 1st rock face, still struggling under inversion layer. Went to second rock face, "place of crazy thermals" still struggling till I got to my favorite wild and crazy thermal spot. I was not disappointed it is a great elevator ride but it's "all hands on deck" after about 30 minutes of trying to break the inversion layer and about 1.5 hrs of flying a small cloud formed above me and pow! I was through the inversion layer and in the cloud suck.

An absolute first for me, got sucked up to about 3200m. Yevgeni was with me and it was time to use the clouds considerably gentle thermal as apposed to the thermals from the rock face mesa thermals. Flew back towards the LZ, hopping from cloud to cloud. Got over the LZ with over 1000m height. After 2hrs of flying we were tired and I wanted a cerveza to celebrate this great mile stone in both of our flying career. I did two gentle spirals down and landed into the LZ. WE gave each other a high five for the accomplishments of the day.


el Pinon


Friday

A blue thermal day.

The start of the day looked very stable with the inversion layer being quite noticeable. No clouds were forming and I forgot my radio in the hotel so I could not communicate with Yevgeni. We decided to fly conservatively as I could not communicate if I had a problem. It looked so stable that we doubted even making the rock face mesas. As a 2nd option was a flight over the back and to the school field behind launch. Launched, thermaled the house thermal.

But it was difficult and we were not getting high. Even the comp pilots were not coming out in droves as they normally do at start.

Boated over to el Pinon where it took a few attempts to get high over it. Sunk rapidly to the first rock face and struggled on the face for a while before I could get up. Yevgeni and I went for the second rock face and hopefully the crazy thermals.

We were sinking out very quickly, Yevgeni turnaround and had to head for el Pinon to restart the whole process again. I was lower than Yevgeni but I didn't turn around but instead went for the spine at the second rock face where I know there is a thermal it is just a matter of hitting rotors first. I approached cautiously and as wide as possible to stay clear of the rotors.


el Pinon and Lucille!


They weren't too bad and I was rewarded with my favorite elevator thermal. It was not an easy ride as the thermal seeded to be moving around. I fell out of it several times and had a hell of a time to find it again. I even had to back low to the rock face to find it again. I was ready to give up after about 1.5 hrs of struggling. Yevgeni was also struggling so I thought I might as well try fighting it as long as I could. Still no clouds above, I could see the inversion layer above me as I made a final effort to get up. Finally getting up to over 3000m but still no clouds. Yevgeni also finally made it up high and we shouted to each other that we should try to make the LZ.

Flying towards the LZ with no cloud street was nerve racking, as I didn't want to sink out and land in the middle of nowhere with out a radio. Surprisingly enough the thermals where still there, but no clouds to mark them. A real challenge, to hook every thermal you feel is big enough because you don't know where the next one will be. Eventually got over the Valley behind launch and could see the clouds forming. Flew straight over to one and got sucked up to a hair under 4000m. We flew towards the lake in the cloud street over the valley. It was fantastic and relaxing flying, after 2 hrs of "crap" thermaling we were rewarded with this wonderful flying. After about 1 hr of cold cloud flying and with the time approaching 3 pm we decided to land before it got to wild at the LZ. 3hrs and 15 minutes of great flying.

Both of us were completely satisfied that we had the best week of flying in our lives and that our flying abilities have improved exponentially in the last week. I have lots of photos in the air and a short video from my camera while flying.

Viva la Mexico! - Brent

1/30
Savona, BC

San Marcos or Valle, MX

Scattered Clouds. High: 78 F / 26 C Wind WSW 6 mph / 10 km/h

0%
Savona: light and variable

Mexico: light and variable

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Mexico: 3200 m
10400 ft.

Ashcroft Report - Colleen and I are up here for the Brother-in-Law's B'day, so I took our gear just in case. After a frightening drive up Cornwall (or partway), we slid back down to the Valley. Usually there is too much snow to even try, but light snow pack and mild conditions meant we could try to get up.

Once we were on the Valley floor we decided a drive up Elephant Mountain would round out the day, I slipped the Ford up a few greasy spots and when we got near the towers it was blowing pretty strong from the South, so I laid out and flew down before heading to the party. Some bumpy thermals but mostly a sledder. But it wasn't raining at least. This will be a very good thermal site come summer!


Elephant Mtn., Ashcroft BC

1/29
Woodside may be soarable between showers

San Marcos or Valle, MX

San Marcos: Scattered Clouds. High: 80 F / 27 C Wind WSW 4 mph / 7 km/h

0%
Woodside: 210° at 11 knots

Mexico: light and variable

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Mexico: 3200 m
10400 ft.

Woodside Report - Andy flew a flight early today, but by the time Garry and I got up to launch it was "howling"! We would get lulls that were definitely launchable, however the clouds and mist were flying by at a faster rate than my glider flies so we bailed and went down.

Tapalpa Report - Norm reported a 60 km+ flight yesterday with little details on direction or conditions.

1/28
San Marcos or Valle, MX

San Marcos: Clear. High: 73 F / 23 C Wind West 6 mph / 10 km/h

0%
Mexico: light and variable

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Mexico: 3200 m
10400 ft.

Tapalpa Report - the day started great at Tapalpa and everybody went high and stayed for a while. In the early afternoon it started to blow south and finally west (over the back) of Tapalpa launch. Many people had great soaring flights this day. Norm went XC towards San Marcos - Kirril

1/27
San Marcos or Valle, MX

San Marcos: Clear. High: 73 F / 23 C Wind West 6 mph / 10 km/h

0%
Mexico: light and variable

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Mexico: 2400 m
7400 ft.

Tapalpa/San Marcos Report - the day started out blowing over the back here at Tapalpa launch so after a little deliberation we bunched up with a group from San Francicso and headed to San Marcos. Conditions were quite strong there and a number of paragliders and hanggliders set up and went one by one for a nice soaring flight - Kirril.

Brent's Valle Adventure Report

Tuesday

Great fly day, went out to conquer el Pinon. Launched into light cycles before the comp opened. Thermalled out at the launch thermal. It started to get busy in the thermal so I left to el Pinon at about 300 m above launch. Not as high as I wanted to be but those that had left in front of me were not sinking out. Got to el Pinon and found the thermal exactly where I was told it would be. Got above el Pinon in no time flew over to the 1st rock face found a fat thermal took me way up. Flew over to the 2nd rock face and the Mesa (plateau) behind it called "the place of crazy thermals" flew to the spine and the point at the end of the range. Found nothing there and flew to the valley. Took 5 minutes on final it was so buoyant in the valley, but could not climb out this time.

Wednesday

Grab the bull by the horns and hang on for the ride. Today was wild, strong winds, bullets for thermals but the ride was worth it. Got rewarded with +6 m/s lift but the wing was talking to me all the time. I could barely reply to Yevgeni on the radio. A rush to launch before the comp window and into strong cycles. As I launch leaning forward, there was not the usual sensation of being held back from the harness. My front buckle was open, leaned back wiggled into the harness and closed the latch. Warning number 1. Thermaled up flew to el Pinon, got above it in no time, flew to the first rock face didn't get as high as I wanted but went ahead towards the 2nd rock face. Started to loose altitde into the stong wind, went to the left where there is a spine that goes down to the valley. As I am aproaching it I am thinking to my self stong winds strong thermals I wonder where the roter from this ridge it. It wasent to long for me to find out. 40% collapse right wing followed by 40% collapse left wing. Warning number 2. Sorted that out and then hit the fastest thermal in my life. I saw 6m/s on the vario being the average over 5 seconds. My vario registered over 10m/s what a ride.

Flew over the Mesa to the 3 Kings but lost it and had to land in a farm field in the middle of nowhere.

Packing up I noticed a bull at the end of the field. He got interested as I was taking out the bag to put the wing in. Packed every thing away and then heard the scariest sound in my life. A bull in full charge! I heard the hoofs and this massive snort behind me. I spun around and stood up and yelled, I would of liked to say that it was a real manly yell. It sounded more like a "girly scream". But it worked. The bull stoped 50 ft in front of me. Ready for a second and final charge. I picked up a stone and threw it at him. He turned and left. 3rd and final warning. I left the field under the watchful eye of the bull.

It took 3 hrs to get back to Valle de Bravo - Brent



1/26
San Marcos or Valle, MX

or

Woodside, BC
San Marcos: Clear. High: 73 F / 23 C Wind West 6 mph / 10 km/h

Woodside: Cloudy Periods, southeast winds
0%
Mexico: light and variable

Woodside: 160° at 21 knots

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Woodside: -1.8 °
/1000'
(stable)

Mexico: 2400 m
7400 ft.

Woodside: 1000 m
3400 ft.

Vancouver Report - looked flyable but had to work. I suspect Andy and Ralph were flying.

1/25
Tapalpa or Valle, MX

or

Sumas, BC
Tapalpa: Clear. High: 75 F / 24 C Wind WSW 4 mph / 7 km/h

Sumas: Sunny with Cloudy Periods, east winds
0%
Mexico: light and variable

Sumas: 080° at 10 knots

Mexico: -2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)

Sumas: -1.8 °
/1000'
(stable)

Mexico: 2400 m
7400 ft.

Sumas: 1300 m
4100 ft.

Woodside Report - Andy and Ralph flew several flights, sledding into Riverside. Then it went leeside in the afternoon. note update for January 21, 2005 has been made.

Valle de Bravo Report - first valid task saw 16 top level pilots in goal (55.1 kms). And a few tree-landings over the Mesa.



Brent's Valle Report - Sunday

Took the shuttle bus to launch at 8 am. A little unorganized but 1st day. Overcast all day. I launched at 2pm It started to drizzle, comp was call and sledded into the Piano.

Monday

Low cloud 400m above launch. Launched just before window for comp opened. Big gaggle of wings at launch thermal. Had one close head one while I was in the thermal. Some guy decided to fly through it. It can get confusing because there seem to be many thermic lifts inside one large area of thermal. I could not get above the Pinon. Scratched at the base for a while then set up for a landing on a field near the road. As I was setting up my landing at about 100m above the ground I hit a 3m/s thermal. Took it all the way up. It was very steep and by the time I was above launch height I was in front of Launch. Flew over to thermal and went to cloud base. Turned around and flew over the back. Took on more thermal, at the rock face at the back, and back to cloud base. From there flew straight to the comp LZ from cloud suck to cloud suck. Got to the LZ spiraled down, landed in very thermic conditions. 2 Mexican children folded my wing and I got a cerveza. 2hrs 15minutes of flying. Great first XC of the trip - Brent Pascall.

Tapalpa Report - Tuesday at Tapalpa: proved to be a decent day. Everybody flew good soaring flights with Norm getting way over the back towards Tapalpa and back. We bunched up with San Francisco guys to go to San Marcos in the afternoon but the flying conditions never materialized there.

Today started out well as well with many pilots getting high right off launch. Some punchy thermals were reported early in the day. Then in the afternoon Norm launched and got high below the clouds that helped him some XC some 40k+ towards San Marcos - From very sunny and very hot Tapalpa Norm n Kirill

1/24
Tapalpa or Valle, MX looks better than Abbotsford!
Sunny with cloudy periods! High: 72 F / 20 C Wind SW 4 mph / 7 km/h
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3100 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - Monday started off as a better day in terms of weather. The rain last night blew through and we congregated at launch with a group from San Francisco. A couple of guys launched and got some punchy thermals to deal with.

Then Juan (an instructor from SanFran) launched and after a few turns near the launch, went overzealous on his breaks and executed a perfect stall. Plummeted from about 75ft to the ground "like a rock" in front of the very eyes of his group (about 10 people).

We spent a big chunk of the day getting him out of the shrubs he fell into. It took 8 people to lift him up on a board into the ambulance and 3 more to pickup what was left of his glider. He was conscious and could speak but didnt move much. We will keep you updated on his conditions.

Later in the day I and Norm flew a sledder as clouds moved in again and it was getting late - Norm n Kirill from sorta sunny Tapalpa, Mexico

Valle de Bravo, Mexico had a fair share of tree landings as well during the first cancelled task yesterday in the Monarca Open.

1/23
Tapalpa MX looks better than Abbotsford!
Chance of Rain! High: 68 F / 20 C Wind SW 4 mph / 7 km/h
20%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3100 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - Sunday was an ok day. I flew first in the morning and quickly sank out. Then Norm flew and managed to climb over the launch but clouds showed up and put a damper on those termals. After than a rain system moven in real fast. I setup and lanched to beat the rain as it was moving in. As I was approaching for landing the wind has picked up to 40+ Km/h and I was quickly running out of landing options and those left were not that appealing (power lines, trees or some thorny vegetation). To make a long story short, I became intimately familiar with local variety of cacti upon landing. From sunny Mexico, Norm n Kirill

Woodside Report - Colleen and I headed up to launch around 1:00 pm, no rain and forecast rains seemed to part at Abbotsford and left us dry. Colleen and I flew tandem, having a pleasant little sledder with west landing conditions. It was flyable until 4:00 pm. Nice launching conditions, with 11 C at launch and landing, so very stable lapse rate.

1/22
Tapalpa MX
Scattered Clouds. High: 68 F / 20 C Wind SW 4 mph / 7 km/h
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3100 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report -Today (Saturday) we flew Tapalpa and San Marcos in the afternoon in mild thermals. Sun was covered for the most of the day and we didnt encounter strong thermals. On top of that persistent inversion prevented high altitude climbs. Forecast for more sunny skies for tomorrow though. From sunny Mexico, Norm n Kirill



1/21
Tapalpa MX
Scattered Clouds. High: 68 F / 20 C Wind SW 4 mph / 7 km/h
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3100 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - Folks, Friday we went to check out other flying sites in Colima. They look great with nice launch and great XC opportunities. From sunny Mexico, Norm n Kirill

Elk Mountain Report - Carl and Larry flew Elk and had pleasant soaring flights for up to a few hours.
1/20
Tapalpa MX
Scattered Clouds.
75 F / 24 C
Wind NE 3 km/h
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3100 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - Tapalpa is as sunny as it always has been. Started off the day with a few top landings but it became weaker in the afternoon. Still great launching conditions at Tapalpa all day. Never blows over. It is possible to safely launch from the dawn to the dusk. Stay dry in Van - From sunny Mexico Norm n Kirill

German Website with pictures from Tapalpa PWC 2002. Even a picture of the back of Muller's Suburban in here!
1/19
Tapalpa MX
Scattered Clouds.
75 F / 24 C
Wind NE 3 km/h
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3200 m
10400 ft.
Tapalpa Report - Tapalpa started off slow today and covered in a blanket of clouds so after a few sled rides Norm got high and top landed while I was scratching but sank out to catch a ride back with locals. Anyway another flyable day at Tapalpa - From sunny (and dry) Mexico, Norm n Kirill

La Salinas Report - Darren and Justin are headed to La Salinas MX and we expect some great soaring reports. I found this picture of Mark Johnston by doing a Yahoo search for images:lasalinas!


1/18
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 24
0%
light and variable
-2.2°
/1000'
(unstable)
3200 m
10400 ft.
Guadalajara Report - we are flying home this morning through LA. LA is greener than I have ever seen due to all the rain in December and early January.

Tapalpa Report - Folks, A good day at Tapalpa. After a morning sled ride, both Norm and I got high above launch and managed to top land (Norm did it a few times) back by the gate to the launch (which is now fixed properly and doesn't fall down). 3300+ altitudes were registered on the varios as small but smooth thermals propelled us there. Life is good. - From Mexico, Norm n Kirill

1/17
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 26
0%
light and variable
-2.1°
/1000'
(unstable)
3200 m
10400 ft.
Tapalpa Report - a tougher day to find lift, but we all flew a few times. Flights averaged 30-40 minutes, some getting above launch but pretty mellow.

Flight Report Correction to Jan 15 Tandem Flight - I noted a local pilot flew his first ever tandem flight on a new tandem, and made Jocotepec (45 kms away). I later learned that the "passenger" was Peter Brinkeby, UP Team Pilot and top competitor and he was the "on-board computer". Peter even took the controls in a ratty lee-side thermal near Joco.

San Marcos Report - I drove Colleen up San Marcos and got her on launch by 4:30 pm, but it was pretty light. She managed a reverse launch in light cycles and started coring a small thermal in front. Even the birds were sinking out, but she held on to it and was soon above launch. She headed south despite wanting to fly over the back to Joco, and was at 2700 meters on the south ridge route, when she says she lost 70% of her Vulcan. I missed it, but she had lots of height to recover before heading on to the south peak. She made a decision part way to head east to Joco, but lost it near the gravel pit landing near the highway. About 1:00 airtime, in changeable conditions.

1/16
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 27
0%
light and variable
-2.7°
/1000'
(unstable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - when we woke up the wind in town was already apparent. When we arrived at launch at noon, the local instructors were sending off a few students and the wind was peaking at 20+ km/hr.

By the time I was ready to fly, along with local pilot Fabio on Colleen's Vulcan, it had peaked to 30 + km/hr. Fabio took off first and soared the launch area for a while before heading out to the spine. I launched and also soared the launch for a bit, before heading to the towers. At the towers I hit some nasty thermals that tossed me around a bit without much lift, and I got very low. Finally one thermal hauled me out of the bowl below the towers and I was on my way out to join Fabio. We climbed out together above launch several times wut it was windy and rough. I had to use speedbar in the thermals to stay centered which resulted in some interesting collapses. After an hour of getting tossed we headed out to land. No one else flew until after 5:00 pm.

Norm and Kirril watched the locals take to the air after 5:00 pm, and it got a bit crowded in front of launch. When the locals sunk out Norm took off for his maiden 2005 flight and had some fun in the thermals staying high. Kirril decided tomorrow looked like a better day and retrieved Norm. We headed out past town to look for a small soaring hill for these windy days, and found one with birds showing us the lift band!

Monday is our last day here and it looks like it should be good.

1/15
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 27
0%
light and variable
-2.7°
/1000'
(unstable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - it may be boring for the folks back home because we fly Tapalpa every morning but the conditions have been extra-good every day.

We arrived at noon today and Colleen flew the first flight getting high while the locals were sinking out, she had flown about an hour and it got pretty rought so she tried top-landing in the field behind launch but she couldn't get down and she was getting rocked so I told her to go XC toward Tapalpa town to the west. She eventually found sink and landed about 1 km west of launch next to the road. The picture below shows her on her way west, all alone.


The CU in the picture later formed very wide and extended cloudstreets


I launched at about 1:45 pm after Felipe (the local Quadalajara pilot who bankrolled the clubhouse at launch). This guy has been flying these hills for many years and always has good flights, so it must have been the right time to fly. We soared the "micro-ondes" near the highway and I caught a good therm and headed skyward and back behind launch. Good smooth air in the cores, ratty at the edge so it was important to keep centered and focussed lest you lose half a wing! I drifted back and toward the north and was at 3000 meters just below 'base and heading toward the Cross at the north end of the ridge when I saw another pilot very low coming back not getting much lift so I elected to fly towards Tapalpa town.

I made it to 3200 meters right at 'base and was past the last hill when I remembered I had the car keys in my pocket. Just then Colleen had radioed to ask where they were? Dohhh! I was now about 17 kms from launch and could see the Lake and the next range in my sights, I was under a great cloudstreet and cruising . . . so I turned back towards launch and was making good progress until the last km when I hit a good headwind and had to land. 17 kms out and return is better than downwind drifting anyway.

Colleen relaunched after I got back to launch and again all the locals had sunk out and she again found a small thermal and climbed out to 2300 meters and flew for 1:40 just not quite getting close enough to top-land so I headed down to retrieve her. Just before heading down I overheard a local on the radio exclaiming that he was on glide for Jocotepec (45 kms away). This was his maiden flight on his new tandem, and his first ever tandem flight so he was pretty stoked!

1/14
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 25
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3200 m
10400 ft.
Tapalpa Report - another beautiful day in flying paradise! We arrived at launch at 1:00 pm and cycles looked good but not too strong. I was voted first to fly and I got above launch several times but couldn't hang on for the really good stuff and was on the ground after 30 minutes of scratching. I landed in a different field by the highway and it had two sets of high tension lines thru the field, when in Mexico watch for powerlines at all times!

I got a ride back to launch wth a tour group and Colleen encouraged me to try again "and do it right this time!". It was very cross from the south and a huge CU was forming over "Lagunillas" to the north. I launched and peeled left and found some scrappy lift in a bowl left of launch, four collapses apparently as I climbed out. At one point I was turning right and climbing well when I looked up and saw I had a cravatte on the right tip that wouldn't come out. After several turns and more height I pulled the stabilo line a few times and it came out.


Climbing through 2800 meters to 'base


I headed north and hit sink downwind of the CU, finding a thermal off Tepec town that took me to the Cross ridge. I got to the ridge just at the bottom of the rock formation pictured below on the left. The gulleys to the right of the formation yielded strong lift if you could hang on to it. Climb rates to +4.8 m/s measured by the integrator, but peaks were higher. Wind measured at 150 degrees at 30 km/hr on the CompGPS! Top ground speed was 72 kms/hr on the mountain, less on the flats.


Cross Mountain Ridge north of Tapalpa Launch


It got pretty rough at times, going weightless with slack lines but no big collapses and I was soon at the top of the ridge at 3000 meters heading north. I rode the ridge to the end and hopped north along the Libre (free road) and caught a thermal off the lake bed that took me north to the next town before I lost it and had to land at 31.9 kms and 1:39 airtime. I was now 2/3 of the way to San Marcos. So off we went to San Marcos to fly, but we got there too late as it started blowing down by 5:00 pm.



Landing point was past the white buildings in the distance left of the highway


1/13
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 26
0%
light and variable
-2.5°
/1000'
(unstable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - Colleen was up first to fly Tapalpa at 1:30 pm. It was coming up lightly when we arrived and a local PGer was having a good flight staying above launch, but Colleen took her time getting set up hoping for stronger cycles. They got stronger, except they were coming over the back for some time. Then after a while we got an up-cycle and Colleen launched off soaring in front for a few passes and then she lost it and was heading for the LZ. At the end of the spine she caught a good thermal and held on to it to 2800 meter (600 meters over launch) and she was drifting with it toward the "Cross" at the end of the ridge.


The Cross, taken by Jim Reich in 2003


She arrived on the mountain at 2600 meters just below the cross and never saw it unfortunately. She continued on north along the highway and ended up landing 21.7 kms from launch after 1:30 airtime. This bettered my flight of 21.4 kms last night (after confirming the distance by GPS).

San Marcos Report - after picking up Colleen, we headed to San Marcos and dropped in to see the new flight park named "Geriatric Park" at the foot of San Marcos Mountain. It is owned by Pedro Kordich, the local HG Instructor, and he has put a lot of time and money into its design.



They were doing some static tow training so we headed up to fly. The mighty Tsuru made it to launch again with little problem, and I was set up to go as some HGers drove up. I launched and started climbing out very quickly at 5:00 pm heading to the North Peak. I topped out at Peak height and decided to head south as Colleen offered to chase me.


The view south from the Peak towards Tapalpa


I made all the gaps this flight but with less height than last night, and was at ridge height or below several times trying to be patient. I was able to make it to the end of the ridge at about 1700 meters, well below the peaks and was doing some gulley thermalling to get up when I saw some vultures out front doing better than me so I flew out and joined them, climbing sweetly at about +3 m/s. The gaggle parted except for one vulture that stayed with me and we climbed wingtip to wingtip through 3200 meters. Sometimes the vulture widened the turn radius and got spanked by the edge of the thermal and quickly rejoined me in the climb. I topped out at 3216 meters and slowly drifted with the thermal toward the SE.


At 3200 meters, looking NE towards Jocotepec on Lake Chapala


I decided the easier route for retrieval would be to fly south along the Cuota towards Tapalpa, Colleen was in the car on the Cuota already. The other route would have taken me along the ridge in the last picture further east on some dirt roads. I should have chosen the latter route as I crossed the last hills toward the flats at 2500 meters my forward speed started dropping from 40+ km trim speed to 20 . . . then 17 . . . then even on bar I was going 9 km/hr as I dropped into a field next to the Cuota where Colleen was waiting. Total distance was 20 kms, flight time just over an hour.

The fiesta was on again in Tapalpa as we arrived, this town never sleeps!

1/12
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 24
0%
light and variable
-2.0°
/1000'
(stable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Mexico Report - we arrived at Tapalpa Launch to find strong west wind at the gate, and no one around. Road trip! We headed to Joco Launch first and spent 2 hours clearing all the weeds and bushes. Apparently this launch has fallen into dis-use due to the higher water at Lake Chapalpa which has covered the old LZs. There are still many good LZ for experienced PGers, so we thought it would be good to keep the launch open during our visit, plus Norm and Kirril will be her after the 15th.

After the cleanup at Joco, we decided to drive to San Marcos which faces west and on the way encountered a dust storm that covered the entire San Marcos Lake (20+ kms long).



As we drove up to launch we saw the dust storm receding which looked good for flying. We met Patrick (HGer) who used to live in Vancouver for six months and had flown at Aerial Adventures and he offered us a ride up to launch.

Arriving at launch we met another group of local PGers who had been waiting for some time for the cycles to die down. I set up when it lulled a bit and then it started gusting again, so I let Patrick launch first with his tandem. His launch went well and they didn't have to run at all. It looked like my turn now.

I tried once and the wing came up well and then spun right down? Set up again and this time used the As and Ds technique to slow down the launch. The Zoom came up straight, I turned and then a gust from the right pushed me toward the trees and the crowd who had to duck as I got lifted off over their heads. Oh . . . and I missed the tree too!

I hit the speedbar immediately off launch and was climbing at a very fast rate (Colleen got most of my launch on video including her swearing at me to fly the "*&%#%ing wing" and it shows me heading to the heavens). I climbed to 2400 meters and headed slowly north toward the peak and once above that point I decided to head south along the ridge towards Tapalpa. There are several large valley gaps along the way, but lots of fields next to the roadway so it is pretty safe XC. I was making 35-40 km groundspeed enroute and the dust was climbing the ridges showing me the lift band so it was easy going.

Just one issue, it was 6:20 pm when I launched and it gets pretty dark after 7:15 pm.

I was past the first gap and over San Marcos town at 2300 meters and I saw Patrick's HG in the Ultralight LZ near town. Oddly, the locals advise not landing there anymore as some of the local kids where put in jail for holding up a store in another town with a gun and they are often hanging out in the Ultralight area.



I was making great progress towards the south and had Colleen on the radio following me so it looked good. I was climbing the next range when I encountered a flock of vultures and they showed me the good lift areas and I hung out there as the sun was setting behind the range on the other side of the valley.


Shot by Colleen on her way down from San Marcos Launch at the same time as I was soaring.


I topped out at 2600 meters on the ridge with the vultures and the next gap is to a smaller set of hills south of "Termina de Laguna San Marcos". This gap is a few kms wide, and if you sink out the valley formed by the gap creates a big venturi so this was the scariest part of the flight, but I made the crossing with ease on bar. Still getting 40 kms groundspeed and -0.4 m/s sink rate as it was glassing off and the heat from the lake bed and highways was making it lifty.

I could have made it to the lake that is in front of Tapalpa Launch, but it limited my safe landing options so I picked a field next to the Cuota Toll Highway that was huge, no animals and near a town for a Cerveza injection (which I needed at this point). I started spiralling from the last hills toward the field from 1000 meters AGL because it was getting dark and I wanted to get down fast. My GPS recorded 100 km/hr in the spirals but I wasn't going down too fast, so I went on ears and spirals to get down into the field before it went black. I released the ears on final and got dumped by a bit of turbulence near the ground but landed upright and safe. By the time my wing was in the bag it was dark. I hurried getting it packed becuse there was a big horse that was running around near me, not too happy that this big bird had landed in his field. I did not want him running through my lines!

By the time I got to the Cuota, Colleen was nearby and she picked me up with Cervezas and Chips.

Total flight time was 40 minutes, distance estimated at 25 kms, we will confirm by GPS later. Nice easy flight with great views after a hairy launch.

Later in Tapalpa, the party was on in the square. If there are 10,000 people living in Tapalpa, they were all in the streets tonight. Bands, dancing groups, people of all ages were out in honour of the Festival of Guadalaupe. We really do not have this kind of community involvment in Canada, a shame.


A view of the crowd and the old church in the square

The crowd dancing to the "worst band" Colleen had ever heard


1/11
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 26
0%
light and variable
-2.0°
/1000'
(stable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - we are glad we brought the electric blanket again this year. It gets cold on the high plateau (2300 meters) and the rooms don't have heat.

We headed to launch after a leisurely morning in town. Arriving at 12:00 noon, we waited for about an hour for the birds to show us the way. I then launched and made a few passes just above launch before top-landing to wait a bit longer. A couple of local HGers flew out and did a "piano" into the LZ. Colleen then launched and climbed out nicely, but she had to stay close to the hill or sink out. She ultimately got 45 minutes flight time.


Colleen over launch again!


There was a couple from Vancouver WA, that had a bad day yesterday both crashing at launch and he was blaming his S2VT, which I have had flight experience on in 1998. He asked if I would test fly it to see if it felt okay, which I agreed to do. I had one aborted launch because I wasn't getting airborne as fast as the Zoom. Another pilot flew out on a Quarx II and did a "piano" into the LZ as I launched again on the S2VT, just getting in the air as launch dropped away. I was heading out to the LZ too, when some vultures passed me on the left side of the spine going up! So I turned left into their lift and started climbing out in a right turn which took me above launch from half-way down to the LZ. The owner of the S2VT was just driving down so I climbed way above launch and then headed to the big top landing field near the microwave towers to give him his wing. He was happy to hear his wing was okay. I suspect his problem is high density altitude and not running hard enough (being used to fat coastal air).

When Colleen arrived back at launch at 4:30 pm, cycles were still coming in strong at launch. Usually by 2:30 pm, it starts to blow down so this means we don't have to drive to San Marcos to fly in the afternoon.

1/10
Tapalpa MX
Sunny. High 26
0%
light and variable
-2.0°
/1000'
(stable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Tapalpa Report - after driving to the airport to claim our bags (which arrived this morning at 6:00 am), we headed to Tapalpa. Nice dust devils were popping off in the salt flats as we drove acrss the lake bed.

We arrived at Tapalpa launch to see the new clubhouse! Five car secured parking for vehicles on the first level, washrooms with showers. An office and a large bar, dance floor with a fireplace and all wired for lights. All this was completed in one year, I suspect for the PWC.



Colleen set up to fly first at around 1:00 pm, and there were a few birds managing to thermal up in small cores but it was pretty hazy. Perfect launch cycles as Colleen took to the air, but she had no luck finding anything big enough to turn in. I drove down to retrieve her from the normal LZ.

We arrived back at launch around 2:00 pm. Usually by now it is starting to blow over the back of this east facing site, but it was still good. My turn to take to the air now that my Zoom Race arrived at the airport. I took off and found a good thermal off the highway below launch and was climbing at +2.8 m/s in a small but manageable thermal. The plan was for me to see if I could get above launch and then top-land before Colleen would fly. So I flew for a bit and then top-landed in front of the new clubhouse. Colleen didn't have her gear out of the car yet so she told me to fly again until I saw her wing laid out. So I took off again from 2200 meters and climbed in the same thermal to 2800 meters (cloudbase) in a few minutes. Strong climbs over 4 m/s and cruised around behind launch for awhile watching Colleen get ready. After she had everything laid out for 10 minutes or so, I spiralled down to top land (you clouldn't find sink to get down from cloudbase, just too lifty). I made one approach and was high as I caught some lift on approach, so I made another approach over the clubhouse but again was hit by a thermal. Third time looked good, I was on final, got popped up and slammed into the ground and had to PLF (top landing can be dangerous) to survive. I got a bruised toe for my troubles but otherwise okay.

Colleen launched after 2:30 pm, and it was still coming in nicely, and she climbed to cloudbase quickly too. I suggested she try to fly to Tapalpa town, 17 kms away and she made it to La Frontera on the flats.


Chasing Colleen over the back towards Tapalpa
1/9
Jocotepec MX
Sunny. High 26
0%
light and variable
-2.0°
/1000'
(stable)
3000 m
9800 ft.
Joco Report - we arrived at Guadalajara Airport at 6:00 am, and my wing and Colleen's suitcase never made it (Norm's worst nightmare - being in Mexico wth no wing). The Alaska Airlines staff were not too concerned, happens all the time they say! And with a 3.5 hour layover in LA, I thought we would be safe to get everything on the plane and into Mexico. Because we didn't trust they could find us in Tapalpa, we stayed at the Real de Chapala (nice 5 star hotel). Norm and I flew into the football field attached to this hotel 3 times last year, flying from Joco Launch, 20 kms away.


Lake Chapala is so high it is threatening to flood the entire football field. And five years ago they were worried the lake would dry right up, until the rains came the past 3 years.


We drove up to San Marcos launch, where the road up is now 2 wheel drive. They must have improved it for the PWC in October, and launch is cleared out as well. But alas, the wind was blowing over the back and there were no birds. So we headed to Joco Launch above Lake Chapala to see if it was flyable for one of us.

The road into Joco Launch is unimproved but we made it most of the way in our Tsuru (like a Nissan Sentra), and we had to hike in. We had trouble finding the road in as it is overgrown, and launch was a mess with weeds. It looks like the local HGers cleared enough to set up a glider with a path to the ramp. Should be enought to get a small Vulcan off! I was voted most likely to fly by Colleen so I took off after a few flubbed attempts to get the wing free of the weeds, and started thermalling with about 40 vultures on the next ridge. They were all in a gaggle, moving around a lot trying to stay with the thermals away from the hill, as I hugged the ridge and gulleys and maintained all the way to the next town, as landing fields diminish due to the hgh water. I landed on the north side of the highway in a cow pasture (10 kms) and packed up waiting for Colleen.

1/8
Not in the Lower Mainland
Gusty outflow wind in the morning. High 1
100%
light and variable
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Woodside Report - cold, 60+ km/hr winds from the north. Snow drifts everywhere, so it is time to head to the airport for a flight to Guadalajara MX.

1/7
Woodside later in the day
Snow! High -1
100%
light and variable
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Snow all day :-)

1/6
Woodside later in the day
Sunny. Gusty outflow wind in the morning. High 1
0%
light and variable after 2:00 pm, as the low is moving inland
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
No flying!

1/5
Stay Home
Snow. High -1
100%
light and variable after 2:00 pm, as the low is moving inland
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
??

1/5
Stay Home
Snow Warning. High 1
100%
light and variable after 2:00 pm, as the low is moving inland
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
???

1/4
Stay Home
Sunny. Gusty outflow wind. High 3
0%
080° at 7 knots
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Agassiz Report - winds gusting from 21-55 kms/hr all day, so Woodside would have been blown out for sure.

1/3
Stay Home
Cloudy with sunny periods. Gusty outflow wind over eastern sections. High 1
0%
100° at 8 knots
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Woodside Report - Gusting to 65 kms at Eagle Ranch!

1/2
Stay Home
Cloudy with sunny periods. Gusty outflow wind over eastern sections. High 1
40%
100° at 8 knots
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Woodside Report - gusty winds but sunny at least.

1/1
Stay Home
Cloudy with sunny periods. Gusty outflow wind over eastern sections. High 3
40%
100° at 17 knots
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Woodside Report - cold with gusty north winds.

12/31
Sumas
Cloudy with sunny periods. 40 percent chance of rain showers except flurries over eastern sections. Gusty outflow wind over eastern sections. High 4
40%
100° at 17 knots
-1.0°
/1000'
(very stable)
1000 m
3400 ft.
Woodside Report - very gusty north winds, no flying here!

December 2004 Site of the Day archives a dry month with some good soaring including a fantastic day on Dec. 11 where we thermalled for 2+ hours!

November 2004 Site of the Day archives more record rain. We installed a fireplace in the barn to keep pilots warm between winter flights.

October 2004 Site of the Day archives more record rain, but sweet soaring between showers. Many new students signed up and making quick progress. We missed the Women's Fly In for the first time in 9 years, and there was some interesting flying on the Sunday!

September 2004 Site of the Day archives rainiest September on record for the first 3 weeks, made flying difficult. But Alan and others logged some pretty nice flights later in the month. Lots of student tandems for both Colleen and Jim.

August 2004 Site of the Day archives Great Maneuver/SIV/ACRO course at Mara. Jack got wet! Some great soaring at Woodside. Norm made it 68 km from Mara to King Eddie, Derek made it from Lumby to Enderby the opposite direction for 67 kms. We also did our BC roadtrip from Ashcroft to New Denver, and flew everyday.

July 2004 Site of the Day archives the Willi was on at Golden. We missed the mayhem due to work and school commitments but Norm did a great job representing the West Coast.

June 2004 Site of the Day archives Canadian Nationals came off with many great rounds. Pemberton-Whistler Championships were blown out most days so we headed to Cornwall.

May 2004 Site of the Day archives great flying at Woodside and Bridal. We held a very successful SIV Course at Mara Lake, and hope to run another one in August if they keep the forests open.

April 2004 Site of the Day archives good flying in the Valley. The Fraser Valley Cross Country PG Series was successssful.

March 2004 Site of the Day archives Nicole won in Brazil, otherwise the month sucked for flying time.

February 2004 Site of the Day archives some local flights extended to an hour with vigourous scratching above the trees. Good paramotor month.

January 2004 Site of the Day archives Mexican road trip yielded 20 hours of flight and a wet Canadian January kept most local pilots on the ground.

December 2003 Site of the Day archives we flew a few times but it got really cold at the end of the month as we prepared for a gala New Year's Party for 40 of our close personal friends and neighbours.

November 2003 Site of the Day archives windy and wet with the odd good soaring day, not many pilots out these days.

October 2003 Site of the Day archives Women's Fly In was great fun, some good soaring days mid-month, most of the students are signed off.

September 2003 Site of the Day archives good conditions until the last days of the month when it got stable. Most days were flyable at Woodside or Bridal.

August 2003 Site of the Day archives Forest closures made the end of the month a non-flying period unless you headed to Blanchard. FlyBC SIV 2003 was a great success with 9 stunt pilots and no deployments or crashes.

July 2003 Site of the Day archives we flew most days early at Woodside until it got windy, then over to Bridal. Good Golden flying reports from the "Willi".

June 2003 Site of the Day archives we flew most weekdays at Bridal, Woodside worked most weekends. Bridal Air Races had one great day with only two tree landings!

May 2003 Site of the Day archives not a great weather month on the coast, especially on the weekends but a few pilots managed to get some great airtime at Bridal. The Nationals were held in Lumby and it didn't rain!

April 2003 Site of the Day archives rain for 28 of 30 April days, but we managed to get a few flights in between showers. Even the golfers were complaining!

March 2003 Site of the Day archives some high spring flights in early March, but not a great weather month. Still no HPAC Insurance!

February 2003 Site of the Day archives some nice long spring flights in late February. HPAC Insurance expired on Feb 14, so many pilots stayed home instead of getting USHGA coverage.

January 2003 Site of the Day archives lots of rain all month in BC so we bailed and headed to Tapalpa Mexico for three weeks. Norm and Lucille had a great XC flight the first day we arrived.

December 2002 Site of the Day archives lots of rain all month.

November 2002 Site of the Day archives not a great flying month, lots of rain in the beginning and then super stable and inverted for the balance of the month. Even the Savona Road Trip wasn't that great. Looking forward to Mexico!

October 2002 Site of the Day archives Still soarable some days, great fun at the Women's Fly In 2002 in Chelan. Allan logged 15 hours and only flew a few days. Most of the students are ready for signoff soon to get ready for Mexico trips!

September 2002 Site of the Day archives Still soarable most everyday! Some scary incidents at Woodside. Fun flying at Ashcroft.

August 2002 Site of the Day archives More spring-like days with super lapse rates, great fun up-country at Revelstoke and Mara, with some good XCs for all.

July 2002 Site of the Day archives Some spring-like days with super lapse rates, but still rather wet at times.

June 2002 Site of the Day archives another rainy and windy month with great lapse rates, some great flights at Bridal with some getting above Cheam Peak. The Club Cup was nearly rained out but they got one valid task in on Sunday June 30.

May 2002 Site of the Day archives an extremely rainy month with the more spring mayhem, another reserve deployment at Lil Nick and a pilot crashed at the top of Deroche Mountain, uninjured but with a ripped glider and long hike down the mountain. Colleen placed 5th place at the Canadian PG Nationals in rainy Lumby!

April 2002 Site of the Day archives a rainy month with the usual spring mayhem, one reserve deployment at Woodside and a pilot hit a parked car at Bridal LZ, fracturing his leg.

March 2002 Site of the Day archives a few great days days with lots of snow and rain mixed in.

February 2002 Site of the Day archives two epic days already (4.5 hours and 2.5 hours!).

January 2002 Site of the Day archives Mexico vacation shots, some local flying but it was wet on the coast.

December 2001 Site of the Day archives pretty stable locally, wettest December on record, some good days sprinkled thru the month.

November 2001 Site of the Day archives pretty stable locally, had some good days at Woodside +2 hours, lots of rain later in the month.

October 2001 Site of the Day archives pretty stable locally, but great flying at Chelan at the Women's Fly In.

September 2001 Site of the Day archives starting to get pretty stable, more sled rides forecast for October.

Aug 2001 Site of the Day archives Mara, Bridal, till some great flights locally

July 2001 Site of the Day archives Road Trip Month, Golden, Mara, points east!

June 2001 Site of the Day archives Great Month, 3 hours of airtime for some pilots every time they flew Bridal Lower! Some getting up to 6 hours in a single flight!

May 2001 Site of the Day archives Unstable Month, 2-3 hours of airtime for some pilots every time they flew Bridal Lower!

April 2001 Site of the Day archives Rainy Month, not as much airtime for some pilots

March 2001 Site of the Day archives Spring has Sprung!

February 2001 Site of the Day archives Spring is in the Air!

January 2001 Site of the Day archives - Mexico Flying Trip

December 2000 Site of the Day archives

November 2000 Site of the Day archives (great month for airtime!)

October 2000 Site of the Day archives

September 2000 Site of the Day archives

July - August 2000 Site of the Day archives

June 2000 Site of the Day archives

March - May 2000 Site of the Day archives




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