Boyd's Safari to New Mexico
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Since my brother did it, I want to do better, Boyd!
On Garret's 14th birthday he soloed 18 different sailplanes, Boyd soloed 23.Garret flew 9 different models, Boyd 16.
Garret flew a Grob G-102 and flew from Warner Springs to Hatch New Mexico (see Garret's Solo story)
Boyd under the wing of Garret flew a Discus A all the way to Dell New Mexico. Both tried to fly to Hobbs NM home of the SSA. Both were stopped by weather.
DAY 1 (Monday May 23rd, 2005): Last week the weather had been great for a cross country! This week looks poor. Boyd and Garret are joined by TC, Mark Korvick on this great soaring adventure. Karen (mom) is flying the Astro Van with trailer. Renee (Garret's girl friend) has the big van with Garret's Trailer. Joel is Mark's father in law to be and towing Mark's trailer. Bret (dad) flies the Cessna 180 towplane along with Dennis one of the Fremont pilots..
At around noon the soaring is sort of working, the boys take their tows and start their work. Almost having to return they work out of the valley, dropping into the Borrego Valley, inching around the Santa Rosa's and not finding a single bump, back track to Thermal. A rather dismal start of 38 miles, however it is Boyd's first solo landing at a new airport. And another 2 hours of solo time.
Looking at the forecasts for soaring, we decide to have the chase vehicles pick up the ships and drive to Estrella Gliderport south of Phoenix. The Cessna flies to Estrella. Arriving in Maricopa area for late dinner the big van has a flat. Karen drives and picks up Bret and we spend the night at a Motel 8. 0700 Bret gets to Big O tire, to find when they opened that they do not have that size until noon! Discount Tire will have it at 0930. But we find we need 4!
DAY 2 (Tuesday May 24th, 2005): Estrella Gliderport is just ending record heat temps and it is only 108 today, but the soaring is not so good here. We finally get launched around 1330. The boys are on the way, struggling and almost landing out a few times. Around 1530 we hear, "Someone turned on the thermal machine", from Garret. Finally they are getting some altitude and the work load reduces some. Passing to the north of Tucson over the very rugged mountains the Cessna 180 catches up and starts scouting landing fields ahead so the gliders can move as the overcast skies reduce the soaring. Boyd's batteries die, he loses all communication, not finding his back-up handheld radio he is forced to just follow.
The trailers are trying to catch up after the new van Karen was driving needed tires also!!! They are worried as they can hear that Boyd has lost communication. The Cessna flies along side to be sure that Boyd doesn't get left behind with out radio he has to be worried! The next airport along the way is Lordsburg. Garret knows he can make Deming another 50 miles, but with no communication with Boyd we decide to land. Mark flies by Boyd and lowers his gear, Boyd lowers his. We circle down over Lordsburg. The Cessna lands first into the 20+ winds. Garret follows doing a perfect job of getting to the taxiway. Mark lands into the stiff winds and slight up hill runway, not quite making it to the taxiway. Boyd is just behind Mark, notices his ground track and compensated. He lands just where he needed to to roll up right behind Mark!! They flew 180 miles straight line, and 4 hours 50 min. It was a tough start low and hot. The highest was 14,700'
With all the wind we trailer the ships for the night and after a nice dinner fall into bed, exhausted. Boyd has shown us that he can hack it. Never a single complaint, handling the loss of his radio and landing into a stiff wind at a new airport.
DAY 3 (Wednesday May 25th, 2005): Better soaring weather. Launching around noon, Garret has not been feeling well. With orders to land if he does not improve or gets any worse. They are off again on course and looking at fields with big bushes that grab wings. A frantic call for the towplane to check out fields. By the time the Cessna got there, they were ok and climbing. The towplane found a great thermal and they all climbed!
Climbing to 16,500', they were able to cross over El Paso. No a long inhospitable sage brush desert to the next land able field, Dell NM. As the towplane approaches we realize that Dell does not have fuel so we continue to Carlsbad. On the way a building thunderstorm shows that continuing on from Dell over high very un-land able fields is not an option.
Garret and Boyd make a fast final glide into Dell. Mark flies around for a while. Since there is no cell service in Dell, contact with Sky Sailing is made by public phone booths! Finally a connection with the trailers to drive to Dell. The decision is made to drive to Carlsbad and make the final flight into Hobbs from there!
Just before the trailers arrive, so do the winds. A hasty trailer loading and a long drive to Carlsbad follows.
Getting ready to depart Lordsburg
DAY 4: Starting at around 1 am we enjoyed a fantastic thunderstorm show with flashes every second or so! Today was to be the triumphant flight into Hobbs, but the weather had a final stab. We decided to visit the Carlsbad caverns and then make the decision to continue or drive home. After the visit to see the bat caves, we drove home. Worn out but VERY pleased. The trailers and towplane went to Las Cruces and finally arrived home at 10 pm Friday night. We slept well!
Boyd gained 11 hrs and 10 min solo hours and flew 478 miles, all of this solo and within 10 days of turning 14! We have yet to see what awards/ badges he will receive. Karen drove 2200 miles.
We are working on a CD of pictures ad video of Boyd's solo day and safari. Let us know if you want one!