Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jay's Flight to Humphery Peak, AZ

The forecast was for 9000 ft thermals in the Agulia valley where we were flying out of Samply airport, a small grass strip West of Phoenix about 75 miles. The famous Tony Smolder ask if any one wanted to fly to the Grand Canyon. Of course I did and 2 others also wanted to try it, Robert and Eric.

Tony led the flight and waited till we all got to 8000 over the valley. We then we headed toward the Bradshaw Mt's. and Prescott . We got to 12000 working lift over the Bradshaw's and easily glided over Prescott valley and on towards Mingus Mt.. At Mingus we climbed to 12 to 13000 ft. and then flew NE over the Cottonwood valley and toward Sedona where some clouds in the mountains formed a street towards Humphrey peak. We stopped for fuel up to 12 to 13 again and we would glide down to around 8000 and then search for lift . We all stayed together and used each others thermals . Tony somehow always found the good ones 8 to 900 FPM lift and was always ahead of us. We climbed under the clouds over the red rock formations at Sedona and then past Flagstaff to snow covered Humphrey peak where we had to stop because there were no clouds further towards the Canyon . Tony then called it off and said, this is what we call drag and drop and he left us there! ....

So I was a little worried about this . I was 125 miles from anything familiar and had the least XC air time of anyone in the group. I was at 14500 and wanted to make to 15 and turn the peak so I worked near the peak for a while wasting valuable time, till I hit 15000 then flew and turned directly over it and then aimed toward Sedona where Tony and Eric were , at least 30 miles away. I could not see anyone but they said there was lift where we found it on the way up..By the time I got there the lift was gone and so were they ..I was at 8500 and scratched back to 10 before I tried to cross the huge Cottonwood valley . Cottonwood airport is on the East side of Mingus Mt. in the valley so I knew I could land there. I made it to the East side of Mingus at 7500 which is about the same height as the Mountain . I scratched and scratched and called Robert on the radio and ask where he hit any lift around Mingus. He said under the small clouds to the South which did save my ass and got up to 9000 .

I only got to 9000 one more time and made back after a long time struggling late in the day with few weak thermals to work . I was happy to see the melon fields near Samply come into view....

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