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Garry Dickson makes the 2004 OLC "Flight of the year".



2004 Flight of the Year Diaploma
Doug Levy precting plaque to Garry Dickson
2002 plaque
Garry Diskson's 380 mile flight August 5, 2004 from Parowan, Utah to Alpine, Wyoming in Serial Number 024 has been chosen by the Directors of the On Line Contest as "Flight of the Year."

This was not the first time he has been recognized for his outstanding cross-country flying skills. During 2002 he also set a record in his humble flying machine. Once each year the 1-26 Association awards the pilot who makes the longest 1-26 flight during the year the "Marshall Claybourn Memorial Trophy." On August 7, 2002 Garry flew "Two by Four" from Parowan, Utah to Afton, Wyoming -- a distance of 349.6 miles, winning the Clayboune trophy for that year.


PAROWAN, UTAH TO ALPINE WYOMING – August 5, 2004

Garry Dickson

August 5th arrives with 2x4 (Two By Four) assembled and ready to launch from the Parowan, Utah airport. Cumulus clouds are beginning to form to the north over the Wasatch Mountains.

2x4 is the name of my Schweizer 1-26A, serial # 024. My profession is as a carpenter, so 2x4 seemed like an appropriate name. 2x4 fist flew in 1955 and will celebrate her 50th birthday in 2005. I was only 3 years old when she had her maiden flight. With a L/D of 23/1, I can count on traveling only about 3 miles per 1,000 feet of altitude. Flying cross-country in a low performance glider over unknown territory can provide a lot of excitement for a sustained period of time.

2x4 and I launch from Parowan (elevation 5930 feet MSL). Releasing from tow at 7,900 feet, 2x4 and I climb to only about 9,200 feet before heading north. This means that we will have to encounter lift in 9 miles or less or land out. The climb-out is slow. Finally, we reach cloud base at 12,000 ft. With only 6,000 feet of terrain clearance over the flat-lands and only a light tail wind we continue north. We reach Mt. Nebo, about 152 miles north. I have to decide whether to continue straight-out toward Wyoming or try to return to Parowan. I decide to continue north. As we fly past Spanish Fork and Provo we scratch along below the tops of the ridges. Finally, we are able to climb to the top of the ridge and make a jump across a valley northeast toward Park City, the home of the 2002 winter Olympics. Only occasionally are we able to climb to 12-13K feet. As we cross into Wyoming the ground elevation is creeping up to between 6 and 7,000 feet. We traverse low-level hills and high rugged flatland. I am always looking for landing spots. The earth comes up to meet 1-26's quicker than one might think.

We finally get a good climb to 14,500 feet around Evanston, Wyoming (elevation 7,134 ft.). We continue on working weak to moderate lift always keeping an off-field landing site as my top priority. This is rugged country and there are no airports for miles. We finally reach a wide ridge-line that separates the valley I am in from the Afton valley. I am unable to contact lift while trying to cross the ridge and slowly slide away from the town of Afton. At 500 feet AGL, with a hay-field selected as my landing site, we contact lift. After an agonizing 50-100 feet per minute save and about 40 minutes later, we are able to dive into the Afton valley. Running the ridges, lift is getting harder and harder to find. As we fly north we encounter over-development. We see heavy rain and lightning ahead. With no way around the weather, darkness approaching and the earth coming up to greet us, 2x4 and I land at the Alpine, Wyoming airport (elevation 5,634 MSL).

The straight-line distance from Parowan was 380 miles. The flight took 8 hours and 15 minutes. It had been a very long day. It was a long and difficult flight, with most of it flown only 5-7,000ft above the ground. There were no airports within gliding distance during 95% of the flight.

Although this was my longest flight, I still had not reached my ultimate goal, which is to someday break the world’s record for straight-out distance in a 1-26. This record was set by Harry Baldwin in 1981 when he flew his 1-26 a distance of 432.3 miles. My ultimate goal is to fly 450 miles straight-out and comfortably beat Harry's super achievement.

Maybe next time. The fun is in trying. I hope all of you enjoy cross-country flying as much as I do. Have fun. Fly high. Fly safe. And fly far.