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Archive for June, 2015
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 24, 2015 @ 10:28 PM | 7,317 Views
Wow, it was a burner this weekend. Temps were close to 100 deg in some parts of the county. It was the typical hot, dusty summer day. Otherwise nothing new to report. I was a little short on pictures. I was test flying a plane and spent more time trying to sort it out, then photographing.

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Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 07, 2015 @ 08:45 PM | 7,454 Views
Day 7 was our last full day in the NW. Winch Doc had let us know, that in his words, “SDR was shaping up to be epic” on Friday. We coerced Doc, via a free breakfast and coffee at Bette’s (he can be bought), to escort us out to Tri-cities early on Friday. So 2-1/2 hours later we arrived at the Conoco Gas station below SDR and grouped up for our ascent. Doc was right. The air was great with strong lift coming straight on the slope at 15-20 mph. You could sky out in seconds for the always fun speed runs. As an added benefit, SDR has a nice soft wheat landing area on the front and the backside. Only the road on top is studded with rocks. Easy enough to avoid (for most of us).
Doc had some awesome screaming moldie passes with his Energic, Espadita and Pace. Our guys, flew almost everything they brought, Gulps, Half-Pipes, Sunbirds, Typhoon, MiniVec, Rabbit, Spiro, Samurai, and Moth. Thanks to the great landing areas, almost all the planes returned unscathed. I had the only major tragedy, when my MiniVec rolled over and dived in (lesson: don’t use park flyer receivers in moldies, even good quality park flyer receivers).
We also averted another tragedy when Andrew went to recover his Gulp. A rattle snake didn’t take kindly to a plane dropping down near him. Luckily he rattled a lot and slithered off quickly. For the rest of the day we stepped loudly to announce our presence when recovering planes and kept a tight bead where we were stepping.
After 7pm, the...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 05, 2015 @ 03:08 AM | 7,894 Views
Day 6 showed great promise. We had white caps on the Columbia at Hood. We made a group vote to head to Klickitat. After a late start, we arrived at the Klickitat-Appleton Road overlook. Unlike the Columbia Gorge, there was virtually no wind. Only Andrew and DJ flew. They had to rely on thermals boiling out of the valley. Because of the conditions we decided to check out a new flying site on the Deschutes river. We had difficulty finding the actual Deschutes site, called Gordon Ridge. We found what we thought was the site, overlooking the Deschutes. Unfortunately the wind was coming from behind us and made it un-flyable. At this point the soaring gods were not smiling on us. Another group decision was made. The troupe headed West, back toward the The Dalles. A road that rose out of the boat landing on the West side of the Deschutes looked promising. We followed it until an accessible spot was found, directly over the Wishram railroad bridge. With the light air, flying was tough and mainly thermal based. DJ and Ben tried their hand at it, only DJ stayed up for any length of time. Another group decision and we decided to follow the dirt road along the ridge back to The Dalles. We made a beeline to The Dalles slope and actually found lift. The lift gradually increased and was looking great when we called “uncle” and headed for The Clock Ales house in The Dalles for dinner and a beer.
We capped the day with a stop at Mike’s Ice Cream in Hood and then made...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 05, 2015 @ 12:23 AM | 8,082 Views
For Day 5 we got another late start. Today’s slope was Bald Butte, across the Hood River valley from Mt Hood. The climb up was worse than I could ever remember. In fact our 4WD Jeep was unable to assault the final grade and we had to leave it at the bottom. Another epic day of flying at Bald Butte. Lift was all over and out front as far as the eye could see. Wind was probably 15-20 mph. And the day got colder as we flew. Many times we got into the car or behind the bushes to stay warm. Much like Diamond Ridge, many of us damaged our planes on landing. I cartwheeled my Rifle 1, Ben slammed his Combat wing, Andrew had a hard landing with his Raven and he and DJ mid-aired.
Once we had flown our brains out and frozen our extremities we headed back to Hood River. Along the way we split up and Andrew and Ben went to the motel. Jamie, DJ, Amadeo and I headed up to Lumber for some evening flying. The wind at Lumber was in the 30+ mph with gusts in the 40’s. It was so gusty, that it was almost un-flyable. After less than an hour we left Lumber and headed to Double Mountain for some beer and pizza.

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Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 03, 2015 @ 04:20 AM | 7,501 Views
Day 4 was the best day so far. We spent a lot of our morning messing around Hood River with a long breakfast, souvenir shopping and another trip to the hobby shop. We finally left Hood by 12:30 pm and headed straight for Grayback. The drive in wasn’t bad. In fact it looked like it had been graded this year. Four wheel drive was not needed.
Conditions were excellent. Lift was everywhere. Pretty steady 15-20 mph wind coming out of the valley. Even when cold “sinky” air rolled through, you could still hang along the slope without fear of disappearing into the gorge below.
We flew until the setting sun began to give us problems on perspectives of the planes.
As we drove off Grayback we made the decision to hit Huntington’s steak house and bar in Klickitat. We hadn’t been there in years. It was a good choice. We all choose steaks and they were delicious. As an added bonus, one of the locals bought our table a round of beers.
PS tomorrow looks like Bald Butte....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 02, 2015 @ 01:47 AM | 7,448 Views
Day 3 of our trip had auspicious beginnings. After a late start from Hood River (breakfast at Bette’s, parts at Hood River Hobbies and gassing up), it was noon before we hit the first slope. We had decided on Bald Butte, which turned out to be a poor choice. Andrew and Ben’s Durango was not 4WD or AWD. They tried but could not get more than 1/3 of the way up. Then to make matters worse the rain arrived with a vengeance. We aborted to our second slope choice, Diamond Ridge. The hope was, that it was across the river and out of the rain area. Plus, we hadn’t been to it since 2008.
After about a 40 min drive we finally reached Diamond Ridge. We had a few minutes of good flying before the rain reached us. Within a ½ hour the sky cleared and we proceeded to fly our brains out. The wind was a solid 20 mph with gusts over 30. The land area was small and the LZ had a good splattering of rocks. I think everyone put a “ding” in their foamies. I know that Ben stuck his plane in a tree. Amadeo and I both clobbered tress on our landings (the planes survived, not so sure about the trees). Surprisingly, we all left with smiles on our wind burned faces at about 5:30 pm. And then headed to our favorite Thai place in Hood River.
PS thinking about Klickitat and GrayBack for tomorrow (Tuesday)....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 01, 2015 @ 01:52 AM | 7,374 Views
I would usually start our NW trip Day 1, Day 2, etc. I’m just going to start it with Day 2.
Day 1 was a complete washout for me. I left my transmitter case at the rental counter in Portland. I realized at Hood River where I’d left it. So after driving over an hour to Hood, I turned around and went back, for another hour drive back to Portland. Unfortunately, PDX lost and found closes at 4PM on Saturday and does not reopen until Monday morning (!!??). Luckily for me an airport policeman, took pity, and reopened the office and allowed me to retrieve my case. I turned around and drove another hour back to Hood.
In the meantime the rest of the crew, Ben, Andrew, Amadeo, and DJ hit the slope at The Dalles. They were able to get some good trim flights in and take in the scenery.
Day 2 was not great. Winds were barely over 5mph. This was a rarity for this time of year. That’s why we come out here in late May/Early June. The windsurfer reports showed the highest wind at the East side of the Dalles. So we ended up at the Dalles site. I flew my light XR combat wing, but could barely stay up in the air. DJ then whipped out his Rifle 1M and treated us to some high speed passes.
DJ almost toasted his Rifle on landing, but got very lucky with just a small ding on the fuse. We decided to try out Klickitat. At Klickitat, the air was the same condition. But after a while the “wonder winds” drifted in at about 4PM and suddenly lift was all...Continue Reading