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Posted by mfwilliams | Sep 17, 2015 @ 09:20 PM | 6,466 Views
This Saturday was a mixed bag as far as lift went. Air was light at times but we would get a few good breezes. Weather report was for 15mph out of the South. Wind was not quite that strong. Wind was up and down, with some fantastic thermals. Quite a lot of planes out a times. Also as an added treat we had some more aviary visitors. Our local hawk family joined in and flew alongside of us several times.
Overall a great day.

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Sep 10, 2015 @ 08:47 PM | 6,672 Views
Saturday started as one of those days where you couldn't tell where the wind was coming from.
The wind forecast was for the West changing to the North. In reality, it was a very light thermal breeze out of the North. The only break, was a pair of thunderstorms that formed North and SW from the hill. They allowed or started an East wind (sea breeze?) at about noon. This gave us some decent lift on the East slope, until about 1:40PM. That's when the rained roared in and we aborted flying a few minutes early.
I finally got my Taranis radio and Zulu sorted out. I had the Zulu ripping up and down the slope and it looks to be pretty fun. It's fast and the droperons let me turn it on a dime.
We also had a rare sighting of a Bald Eagle. My understanding is that there are only 3 or 4 in South Florida (Broward county). He (she?) was a full mature adult with a nice white tail and head. He thermalled up with us and disappeared over the hill in a SW direction. Till next week

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Sep 04, 2015 @ 09:40 PM | 6,854 Views
Courtesy of TS Erika blowing in, we had a strong East wind. Fortunately, Erika was basically an offshore thunderstorm. We lucked out in not getting too much wind nor rain on Saturday (Sunday was another matter).
Lots of fun flying and enough lift for all the slopers, plus some strong thermals at the same time.
I do have bad news to report, 2/3 of our Zulu squadron was decimated within an hour. Paul's Zulu had a spectacular mid-air and I put my Zulu in a terminal dive after specking it out. If Dan had been there, our third Zulu owner, I'm sure we would have lost all three that day.

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Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 27, 2015 @ 10:15 PM | 7,838 Views
The weekend before looked to be a “rainout” from my house, so I didn't venture up. Although I heard later they received very little rain in Pompano. This weekend was looking much better, so I got up early (for me) to test out some more planes. I can tell you it was very hot (94F) and only a light wind (mainly thermal generated). Despite the light conditions we had a good turnout. No major calamities or crashes to report.
I spent the better part of the day triming out my Zulu and a Weasel Evo on my Taranis. Still trying to get the elevator mix worked out for an elevon setup.
Hopefully more slope lift next weekend. And it looks like we might get our wish, with tropical storm Erika passing nearby this weekend (although hopefully it will only pass nearby).

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 11, 2015 @ 08:40 PM | 6,710 Views
This weekend was pretty weak. We had an unusual SW wind, which is a bad direction for the hill. That, plus a light wind, which was probably all thermal generated, did not bode well.
We shifted from the West slope, in the AM to the South side, at the SE bowl, after lunch.
As you would surmise, it was mainly a hand launch or an electric day.
Three of us turned up with the new molded EPO Zulus. Each trying to beat the other to the first maiden flight. There was just enough wind to trim them out. First flights look like this are pretty fun birds.
We'll just need to get a little more wind to really “wring” them out.
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Posted by mfwilliams | Aug 05, 2015 @ 08:56 PM | 6,462 Views
This was a much improved Saturday. 10-20mph wind into the SE bowl, no rain and not too sunny. Plenty of slope ships up. At one point it was only Moths/Gulps/Sherpas foamies. I got up to the hill late and missed a lot of the fun. I made the cardinal mistake of setting up a new plane (Zulu) and new radio (Taranis) for a maiden flight.
That is also my excuse for the small amount of photos. Hopefully I'll be up earlier next week and the great weather will hold!

Mike...Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | Jul 30, 2015 @ 09:48 PM | 6,757 Views
Saturday was mixed blessings. On one hand it wasn't too sunny and we had good slope lift, 10-15mph. On the flip side, we had rain early in the morning followed by a light misty rain off and on until 2PM. Also, it was unusual in that we a good West wind. Very rare, for mid summer
Surprisingly, we had a decent size crowd. But most guys left a little early because of the light drizzle or they ran out of planes

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Posted by mfwilliams | Jul 16, 2015 @ 10:28 PM | 6,311 Views
Another “barn burner” this past weekend. Hot and dusty. Thank Dan for bringing a popup tent, otherwise we would all look like red lobsters. Flying conditions were “decent” had a light breeze coming out of the East. At times the slope lift was good, but the strongest lift came from thermals.
Several guys were easily able to speck out.

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Posted by mfwilliams | Jul 01, 2015 @ 10:16 PM | 5,969 Views
It was a “rain out” this weekend. When I arrived, the rain has just stopped. The few guys still there said that had a nice breeze out of the South earlier, but when the rain started everyone beat it. I waited around with Dan, Ed and Tony for the sun to come back out and the wind to return. No such luck.
Hopefully better conditions on the July 4th weekend.

Posted by mfwilliams | Jun 24, 2015 @ 10:28 PM | 6,206 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 | 6,837 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 | 7,302 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 | 7,434 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 | 6,841 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 | 6,828 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 | 6,784 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
Posted by mfwilliams | May 30, 2015 @ 07:37 AM | 5,623 Views
This weekend was virtually a carbon copy of last week. Slightly more wind at the end of the day and it started picking up at noon. Again, it was a good chance for the guys to test their heavy birds for the NW trip. Fortunately, no major carnage and all planes left intact.

PS no captions this week. I’m posting this blog on the way to Oregon. No time to caption.
Next posts will come from the NW....Continue Reading
Posted by mfwilliams | May 21, 2015 @ 09:22 PM | 6,031 Views
finally a little more wind. Nothing fantastic, but better than last week. And actually the last hour from 1-2PM, was ripping nicely. Because of our upcoming Oregon Slope Safari (only two weeks!), we needed an opportunity to test out some of our heavy slope birds. As usual, a good time was had by all. No crashes or mid airs (outside of some foamy impacts) and all the planes left intact.

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