Flying the Craters of AZ 
Sunday, October 4, 2015, 08:39 PM - Weekend Fun
Posted by Administrator
I joined a number of NM paragliders to head out to the Dixon White Fly-in at the Craters. Max and I carpooled out and I picked his brain about flying (or, rather, he voluntarily provided a 4-hour knowledge dump on the drive). Max, as a recent retiree and new P-3, is super excited about flying, and fortunately that excitement is contagious. We set up camp, played some Bocce and shared some special "V77" rum around the campfire as everyone trickled in.

In the morning, we stood at the top of Sheba with a stiff 16 mph wind. People were launching, but it was a little above my skill level so us newbies sat the morning out. I did learn a lot from watching folks launch in those conditions however, so the morning wasn't a complete bust. Eventually the winds picked up and everyone headed to lower ground. I kited for about an hour to regain my confidence. We then headed back to camp to slackline, juggle, shoot .22s and BB guns, and wait for the calmer, less thermally air of the evening.

At 4:30pm, 40 people and gliders loaded up into the 5-ton and head up to the bench launch site. A few skilled speedwing pilots and one wildly good Acro guy were playing around but the winds were still too strong for nearly everyone until dusk, when there was a mass exit. I shot pictures, but my beginner A-wing would not have penetrated the ~15-20 mph winds and wouldn't have been able to land safely.

Sunday, the winds were 25-30 on top of the mountain before 7am, so the crew went back to the bench launch spot. Winds there were initially strong, but they died for about an hour when I could do a quick reverse inflation and punch off for a 400' descent back to the parking area. It was smooth and uneventful - both good things in paragliding! Not the weekend I hoped for, but at least I wasn't totally skunked.


Leigh launches!




Unloading the truck with 40 people!




Soaring at dusk.
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