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Old Oct 07, 2004, 07:52 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
My trip to Rky Mtn Nat'l Park, Golden, Royal Gorge, and Mt. Evans

Whew! Took a while to compile all of these photos.

Business trip took me to Pueblo last week, so I stopped by the Royal Gorge and snapped off a few photos.

This was, without doubt, the most insane flight I have ever had. This was the FIRST AP sortie I flew after recovering my plane from swamp land.

Winds were just stupid. Had to be gusting over 35mph and higher, then it would calm to ~ 5-10mph

I just could not fly at the bridge that spans the gorge, as the winds were pretty constant at over 25mph.

I drove back up the road a ways and found some picnic areas that overlooked the canyon, and the winds seemed better, almost calm at times.
SO, being that I just HAD to try some AP, I saddled her up.
(disclaimer: I do NOT recommend you fly when conditions are this bad, I must have a screw loose)

Since I was in an area completely devoid of people and cars, I figured I could just crash in the sage brush if I had to, as long as I didn't crash down in the canyon...

I launched over the ground so I could get some altitude before going over the edge of the 1,000 foot deep gorge, but the winds made climbing very difficult. A gust turned the SS 180 into a sick sort of Slow Stick knife edge I couldn't turn out of, and the next thing I knew, I over the ege and in the gorge. Nice thing was, NO WIND in there. Flying was instantly very easy, so I tooled around a while and snapped a couple of shots, sort of wondering how I was going to get back above the rim and land...

When I brought the SS toward me, about 50' below the rim, a wind gust hurled the SS toward the canyon wall below me. I knew it was gonna hit the wall unless I hit full power and hoped I could power out of it.

I guess my experience in flying in canyons must have paid off, because I just instinctively knew this maneuver would likely end up with the SS hitting the wall anyway, with the prop at full throttle. A busted prop with a 1000 foot deep canyon. Not good. Recovery was 100% impossible.

So, I cut the power and just let the SS bang up against the wall (top of the wing) and drift back off. I floated down another 100', got well away from the wall, and powered the heck out of there.

Landing was a non-event, as I was able to pretty much hover it down with a nice steady 10mph wind.

Sheesh! That was not fun. Who am I kidding? Yes it was!

Here's a couple of shots I got, most did not come out good due to bad light and poor composition.
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 07:57 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
Next it was on to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). No longer on business, I had time and promised myself I would not fly unless conditions where at least reasonable.

Conditions were great!

Trail Ridge Road was closed on Saturday due to snow pack, so I could only get these shots from lower down:
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:00 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
The following day, the plows had Trail Ridge open all the way across, so it was time to climb to 12,000 feet!

Got some great shots, and even though snow storms were all around, winds were calm and flying was great.
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:02 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
Next it was on to Golden, CO where I got some shots from Lookout Mtn.
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:02 PM
SIU Aviation
Kyle G.'s Avatar
Wheeling, Illinois
Joined Dec 2003
5,240 Posts
You are probably adding more photos as I write this but so far I must say im VERY impressed! you do have a loose screw flying inside a canyon and intentionally hitting a wall (well not intentionally) but I was thinking to myself... "well here is another recovery mission" becuase i misread it wrong. You live in a beautiful place. Wish I could go to the mountians where I belong looking forward to more! BTW looked at the bridge pic. thats a crazy tall bridge! and long too! would be scarey flying from it (in the middle talk about a scarey landing!
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:04 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
Then it was on the Mount Evans, the 14,200 foot mtn I've posted pics from at the top. It was mostly closed due to snow, but I was able to get as high as Echo lake and get some pretty shots:

I love the reflection of the sky in the lake.
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:06 PM
Look! Up in the sky!
eBird's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Jul 2002
4,636 Posts
Another AP trip across CO. Fun!
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:09 PM
SIU Aviation
Kyle G.'s Avatar
Wheeling, Illinois
Joined Dec 2003
5,240 Posts
Wow like i said these are very nice especially the lake one. The reflection is very cool! How do you like flying at high alt?? do you find controling the plane more difficult? hotter landings? you are at like the highest point in the continental u.s.! probably higher then any mountain in the lower 48 I'm going to buy a house in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, thats where I want to live! get some great ap out there, and its nice and secluded.
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:24 PM
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ashdec87's Avatar
United States, MI, Detroit
Joined Feb 2004
9,090 Posts
Those are very nice!!

Just thinking about flying there scares me

Ash
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:38 PM
Registered User
Dayton Montgomery, Ohio, United States
Joined Dec 2002
461 Posts
Wow all I have to say is Ohio isn't 1/10000th as pretty. Awesome pics
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 08:57 PM
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Borderbuster's Avatar
Blaine, Washington
Joined Dec 2003
71 Posts
Very, Very nice!
Randy
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 09:09 PM
Registered User
Upstate NY
Joined Dec 2003
201 Posts
Wow, those are some amazing pics Steve! With all those great pics you've taken you could probably put together a nice book. Boy looking at all that snow reminds me of whats to come here soon. Where did the summer go anyway, it seems like winter just ended???
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 09:24 PM
Registered User
Vermont
Joined Mar 2002
2,706 Posts
Love the bridge!

Bump and runs can be a lot of fun, but not with an AP ship over a massive drop. You need a variable pitch prop like they are starting to use for sick instant airbrakes in the 3D forum.
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 10:22 PM
Did You Hear That?
wattnoise's Avatar
Tucson, Arizona
Joined Aug 2003
2,225 Posts
I'm feeling hypoxic just looking at the pics... Beautiful stuff... Great series to come back with after the lost and found adventures... Amazing maneuver that bump and run off the canyon wall... Gotta love an SS...

Kevin
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Old Oct 07, 2004, 10:29 PM
err...see where it went?
crooser's Avatar
Qld, Australia
Joined Sep 2004
605 Posts
Steve you are the king of AP.
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