Ed's Great Adventure Soaring Trip

Tuesday June 12, 2000

Pretty good day today.  We set up the plane at West Texas Glider Port just east of ElPaso Texas.  I was hoping to fly from Elpaso to Phoenix AZ so I could earn my Diamond Distance.  To do that I have to get towed up and we put a seal on my engine crank door so that I could not start the engine (without breaking the seal). Severe thunderstorms came through the area the night before and the guys at the airport said that because of that the lift would probably not be good. They were right!  The airport elevation is 4,000ft and I got off tow at 7,000.  There was absolutely nothing, but I had a hunch that west of Elpaso it would be better.  So I broke the seal, motored on over the top of ElPaso airport (with permission, see photo) and actually motored for about an hour until I start getting some good lift about 30 miles west of ElPaso.

My goal was to at least Deming New Mexico and I made that with ease.  As the thermals were now really cooking I flew on to Lordsburg New Mexico.  Somewhere between Deming and Lordsburg I ran into a lot of sink and got down to around 2,000 ft.  Being out in the middle of know where I decided to crank-up.  Shortly afterward I caught another good thermal, shut the motor off and easily made Lordsburg.  As I approached the mountains I got sucked into one heck of thermal.  Now at 11,000ft and climbing fast, I put on my oxygen system and got it all working just as I hit 12,000ft.  Still going I made it to 13,500ft and decided to keep going west.  Lift was good across the salt flats and I now found myself about 15 miles east of Bowie AZ, and needing to cross the mountains to get to Wilcox, AZ.  No problem.  Again as I approached the mountains I caught a good thermal got up on top of the mountains and pretty much had ridge lift all the way to Wilcox.

Dad arrived at Wilcox about the same time I did.  I spotted him and directed him to the airport.  Upon landing I had a bit of a problem as the crosswind was about 25mph. My glider does not do well on the ground in this kind of condition and I did have a bit of a problem maneuvering.  But all was well, we tied the glider down and went to dinner.

Tomorrow the plan is to at least make Phoenix, and maybe beyond.

ElPaso City and Airport at bottom.

Mountains near Lordsburg New Mexico

After landing at Wilcox AZ

Map of the flight. (Click Here).