Northern Arizona Slope Soaring Log - RC Groups
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Oct 28, 2006, 12:35 PM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar

Northern Arizona Slope Soaring Log

I thought I would start this thread to encourage other Arizona slope flyers to share their slope flying experiences. So don't be bashful. Let's hear about your flying and see some photos and video.

I will start things off with a Fall slope soaring report and a reminder about the Arizona Slope Festival, Nov 3,4,5.

Fall Slope Soaring

We are in our Fall/Winter weather cycle... Low pressure (storms) moving through with High pressure building up for a couple days until the next storm approaches. Wind speeds tend to be the strongest as the Low approaches and hits... South winds going SW. As the storm passes the winds go W and eventually NW. As the High sets up we get NW-NE winds... often with great thermal conditions and opportunities for super smooth “glass off” conditions.

I like to fly Sheba Crater as the storm approaches (S-SW), then Mormon Lake Overlook or Sheba in SW, Mormon Lake Overlook for WSW-W, Merriam Crater for NW to NE, Mt. Elden (if accessible) is great for NE winds. Of course you can fly Sheba Crater at any direction. More info about these flying sites is available at the Flagstaff Flyers website:

Next weekend (Nov 3,4,5) is Ryan Archer’s “Arizona Slope Festival” at Sheba Crater. I hope some of you can make the event. We hope to have some fun racing (unlimited, 60” and 30” inch class, MOM), combat, Limbo, a raffel with cool prizes, and just good flying. More info at this RCGroups thread:

See you there.
Last edited by dawsonh; Nov 08, 2006 at 09:12 PM.
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Oct 28, 2006, 12:39 PM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar
Joey Wilson and I have had some great flying the last week or so... typical low to high pressure wind cycle. We have been flying Mormon Lake Overlooks in the SW-W winds and Mt Elden on the NE... with some big days. Wednesday was WSW-W, 20-30 and Thursday was N at ±30 (mesured gust at 46)! Yesterday was 15-18 at Mt Elden, which then became a “glassy” 10-12. For such light a wind the lift was increadible... the direction was perfect... moderate thermals too! I flew a bunch of wings (Weasel, miniXR, P-Bee, TL-50) and my Le Fish.

Sunday is looking good for nice SW winds. I will plan on going to Sheba Crater after a stop by the flying field. I will post some shots of Sheba with the newly graded roads and any good flying we have.

Here is a couple shots of Joey flying his Moth on Thursday at the NE bowl of Mt Elden.
Oct 28, 2006, 01:39 PM
THUREN's Avatar
Call me crazy Dawson but that spot looks DSable...

The terrain in that area is awesome...


edit: except for the rocks..
Oct 28, 2006, 02:07 PM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar
Originally Posted by THUREN
Call me crazy Dawson but that spot looks DSable...
There is a nice flat meadow behind the lip of the bowl... but then a small ridge behind the meadow. There is an obvious sheer layer between the lip of the bowl and the meadow. I have been able to get some small circles going at times but tend to break stuff when I hit the ground.
Oct 28, 2006, 06:27 PM
Some restrictions apply
emersunn's Avatar
Nice report Dawson. It was blowing down here in PHX today, although I did not see it forcasted. We flew our TD ships out at the CASL Avondale field. It is finally cool outside so that is nice. I cannot make it to the slope fest next weekend. We have a new baby and the family is flying out to visit us. I am working on my lumberjack, check out the cool Arizona State Flag pattern:
Last edited by emersunn; Oct 29, 2006 at 12:33 AM.
Oct 29, 2006, 09:26 PM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar

Sunday flying on Sheba Crater

Sunday, 10-29-06

After a quick stop at our power flying field (folks were grumbling about the wind ), I drove out to Sheba Crater. Roger Jacobson and Bill Young were at the SW lower bench. It was around noon and the wind hadn't really picked up yet. It was a little too South for that spot but is was very flyable. Strong thermals added to the fun... sometimes adding to and somtimes turning off the shifting 10-12 mph winds. Bill flew is modified Art Hobby Boar (2M) and had no problem keeping it up. Roger threw out his Ridge Runner in major sink cycle and took a walk. I waited for the lift to return and threw out my TL-50... and hit a big thermal. Roger's next toss was into lift and he started having fun. The wind continued to fill in, but stayed a bit too South. I later flew the Le Fish... having fun getting high in the thermals and doing lots of fun stuff on the way down.

Bill had to take off early so Roger and I drove over to the SE bench. The wind was right on the slope and continued to build into the teens with higher gusts. Roger flew his Raider and really enjoyed doing some acrobatic flying. I flew my Ridge Runner, trimming it out for my Buddy Box setup (getting it ready for next weeks Slope Festival- it is my trainer).

Roger had to go at 1:45, so I took a trip to the the top by myself. The roads had all been recently graded and are in good shape (4WD only). However the last 100 yards to the top is still really steep and soft and has started to sprout some big holes. I made it up with no problems. As I pushed open my door I could feel there was some wind out there. My wind meter showed a solid 20-25 mph with some gusts at 28. (It always blows harder at the top.) Air temp was a friendly 64° (51° wind chill). I tossed out my 43 oz. BD5 into some fantastic lift. The little guy (48") just rocketed around. A great condition for big pumps. I had a blast. The thermals were still booming. Le Fish flew great in the big lift. I practiced lots of snap rolls, spins and a bunch of Blenders. By the time I left at 3:45 the winds had picked up into the 30's. I was worn out. Too much fun.

I managed to take a few shots while I was flying Le Fish. The one below shows the view to the SW with the San Francisco Peaks in the background.
Nov 06, 2006, 10:46 AM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar

Last week's flying in Northern AZ

I got four days of slopin' last week... not too bad. We had a couple small storm fronts pass through (no precip) and then a strong High set up.

Tuesday, October 31 - Mormon Lake Overlook
Pretty good conditions: 15-20+ mph from the SW, about 15° left of staight in. Sunny, 53°/36° wind chill. I flew from 1:15 to 4:30. I flew light wings to heavy BD5... plenty of lift.

Thursday, November 1 - Mormon Lake Overlook
Very light conditions: 5-7 mph from the SW (gusts to 8-9). Sunny, 56°. The wind was very smooth and "glassy." I had enough lift to fly the Weasel and a "fresh" P-Bee. In this light and smooth condition you can do a frontside DS... horizontal loops, out in front and then back behind the wall over the parking lot and then out in front again. I got my best ever circles with the P-Bee. It was amazing how fast I could get going in such little wind! Fun stuff!

Friday, November 2 - Sheba and Merriam Craters
Light Slermal conditions on the craters. 7-10 then 8-12+ mph. Sunny, low 60's. I met up with some Phoenix folks on Sheba who were out for the Arizona Slope Festival (see below). We did a lot of throw and catch flying in the very light lift... often hooking up to the moderate thermals that passed by. We could see a bunch of paragliders on Merriam, so we drove over there to check it out. The top of Merriam is a bit steeper so the lift was quite a bit stronger and the sloping pretty good. We did have to stop flying every so often to let the "jelly fish" take off. Some more Phoenix folks showed up and those that had something light had some good flying. We had a beautiful full moonrise which rose up over the painted desert, through the haze, like a giant ghost.

Saturday, November 3, Sheba Crater, Arizona Slope Festival
Ryan Archer put together a little slope event for today. We had about a dozen flyers come out and enjoy classic slermal conditions on Sheba Crater. It was sunny with temps around 58°. We had NNW to NW winds which started out around 8 mph and built to a high of around 18. All in all it was a good day of flying with the lighter planes having more fun. I was able to fly my Le Fish with no problems. More Festival info and a few photos at:

It looks like High pressure will continue for the next couple days and then a decent front coming in on Wednesday. So the craters should be good for light air slermal flying in N winds, with stronger SW winds starting up mid-week.... good for Mormon Lake or S side of Sheba.

See you out there!
Nov 08, 2006, 09:10 PM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar

Wednesday Flying at Mormon Lake Overlook

I went out to Mormon Lake Overlook this afternoon around 1:45. It was clear and sunny, 62° with at 53° wind chill. The wind was from the SW at 15-20... about 10°-15° South (left) of straight in. There were was moderate thermal activity... just enough to cycle the wind a bit. It glassed off around 4:00 and got nice and steady... beautiful late afternoon light.

I flew the fresh P-Bee, Le Fish and the BD5 (just enough wind to get that baby going). I had a very good day with Le Fish. I cranked up the snap flaps quite a bit and that really added some punch to the inside/out side maneuvers. I now have about 3/8 inch movement each way in the ailerons (camber/reflex) with almost the same amount (opposite direction) on the elevator. It seems a lot of camber/reflex but Le Fish seem to love it. I could make really sharp banked turns and loops. When I added full rudder I could make these really stupid looking flat turns. Inverted flight and outside loops seemed easier too. Fun stuff.

Forcast for Thursdy and Friday look promising... I'm thinking Mormon Lake Overlook for Friday and maybe the NE bowl of Mt Elden on Friday.

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Cooler. Southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. Gusts up to 35 mph...especially east of the san francisco peaks. Highs 56 to 64.

Friday: Partly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Light and variable winds becoming northeast up to 15 mph in the afternoon. Highs 51 to 59.

See you out there.
Nov 09, 2006, 02:16 AM
Nice work Dawson!!!
Nov 09, 2006, 11:44 PM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar

11-09-06 (Thurs) Mormon Lake Overlook

Great flying today at Mormon Lake Overlook.

I got out there around 1:00 pm and it was sunny and cool (54°/37° wind chill). Winds were SW at 25-30+ with a measured high of 38 mph over the wall. The direction was 10°-15° South of straight in... strong lift but a bit gusty! I tossed out the BD5 and it just rocketed around... big pumps! I flew my heavy RiteWing (27 oz) and it flew well. I added its 9 oz. of ballast and it flew even better. Joey joined me around 2:00. He had a blast with his JW60 and Moth.

The wind settled a bit... mid twenties but much smoother. I threw out my fresh PBee and chased Joey around an imaginary slalom course. The PBee was almost as fast in the straights, but no contest in the corners. That Moth can really bang a turn!

I eventually tossed out Le Fish and had lots of acrobatic fun in the solid lift. Joey took a turn with it too.

When I left at 5:00 pm the temps were still in the mid fifties. The glassy wind was a smooth 13-16.

It looks like a Northerly tomorrow and back around to the SW on the weekend as another front moves in.

Friday: Mostly sunny. Cooler. Light and variable winds becoming northeast up to 15 mph in the afternoon. Highs 52 to 58.

Veterans day: Partly cloudy in the morning...then mostly cloudy with a 10 percent chance of rain showers in the afternoon. Light and variable winds becoming southwest 10 to 20 mph with gusts to around 35 mph in the afternoon. Highs 51 to 57.

See you out there.
Nov 10, 2006, 01:57 PM
Diggin the Gliders
Rock4459's Avatar

New Wing :)

Hello, my name is Cody. I just wanted to say hello to all the northern Arizona slopers here. I just bought a raider and should get it next week, hopefully have it done for the weekend for a first flight. See you guys out there soon!!

Nov 10, 2006, 03:49 PM
whats up cody? can't wait to have ya out there! that raidershould be great for ya!!!
Nov 10, 2006, 05:07 PM
Diggin the Gliders
Rock4459's Avatar
Hey Joey,
I tried pming you a couple of times but im not sure if it worked. Anyways Dawson said you and him may have some extra covering i could buy off you you guys? Im really looking forward to flying.

Nov 11, 2006, 11:25 AM
Flagstaff, AZ
dawsonh's Avatar

Saturday Flying?

It looks like a strom front is approaching... although the lingering High seems to be affecting our weather right now (9:00 am). NOAA is calling for wind...

Today: Partly cloudy in the morning then becoming mostly cloudy. Light and variable winds becoming southwest 15 to 25 mph with gusts to around 35 mph in the afternoon. Highs 55 to 61.

They are calling for S winds E and W of Flagstaff? I will keep an eye in it and plan on going flying after Lunch... either to MLO (if it is SW) or Sheba (if it is more South)

Anyong fly yesterday in the NE winds.
Nov 11, 2006, 08:24 PM
Nope, haven't been out since Friday. Plane maintenence is in order this weekend.

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