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by George Powell and Del Blomquist


During the first week of June 2005, the following 1-26 pilots and their faithful crews arrived at Jean, Nevada to participate in Goal Strike XVI:  


SN    CALL SIGN               PILOT                        CREW

009    Hawkeye                      George Powell              Greg Sperbeck

Double O Nine          Greg Sperbeck             George Powell

024      Two By Four             Garry Dickson              Jim Leary

050    Mickey                         Lane Decker                Steve Whiting

Wildcat                      Steve Whiting               Lane Decker

144    High Gross                   Del Blomquist               Tom Basham / Merle Clements

187    One Eight Seven           Joedy Gregory              Kathleen Gregory

190    One Nine Zero             Bob Hurni                    Jim Armstrong

277    G Man                         Al Gough                      Mike Conlan

480    Four Eighty                   Ron Schwartz               Mark Greenstone



On Saturday, two days prior to the official commencement of Goal Strike, pilots and crews were welcomed by Bill Tisdale, Jay McDaniels, Al Gough and members of the Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association.  By 11 am, white puffy clouds were lining up over Mt. Charleston.  Conditions were looking good for straight-out distance flights to the north toward Tonopah. Little did we know that these were the best soaring conditions we would experience all week.

By noon, Two By Four, 187, Hawkeye and Wildcat were lined up and ready to go (Pic)




In keeping with Goal Strike tradition, Two by Four led the pack up the climb ladder through the Mode C veil south of the class B airspace to the top of Mt. Potosi, then across the Blue Diamond Pass to the summit of Mt. Charleston and northwest across the desert toward Jackass and Beatty. As we crossed the Spring Mountains, we could see bright white snowdrifts glistening on the ridges below. (Pic).




After passing Beatty, Two by Four got low and almost had to land on Fluer Road.  After some dedicated digging, Garry found a friendly thermal, climbed to cloud base and headed north toward Tonopah. This delay allowed Joedy, Hawkeye and the crews to catch up. Garry and Joedy continued to press north, occasionally reaching altitudes above 17k. After a low save by Joedy at about 500’over Mud Lake, they crossed the Tonopah airport and headed toward Hadley. Garry almost made it to Hadley, but the day was dying and he landed 024 on the road to Belmont.  When Joedy saw what happened to Garry, he judiciously turned back to the south and landed at Tonopah. Garry won the Captain Monkey award on Saturday by flying the longest distance from Jean, (369 km; 602 OLC points). Although Joedy didn’t land as far from Jean as Garry, he was the OLC champ of the day by scoring the highest number of OLC points (383 km; 626 points).


Garry’s close call inspired Hawkeye to turn around at Fran’s Star Ranch and head back toward Jean.  This was a mistake. After battling strong southerly winds Hawkeye had to put 009 down on the Cherry Patch dry lake (261 km:427 OLC points.) (Pic)




Meanwhile, Steve Whiting was attempting a gold distance/diamond goal flight from Jean to the intersection of highways 95 and 160, to Ivanpah, and return. Steve successfully made it to the first turnpoint, but as soon as he turned south strong headwinds prevented him from returning to Jean and had to land 050 at Parumph.  (If you saw the movie “Mars Attacks” the Parumph dry lake is where those nasty little green men landed.).  Steve, Lane, Greg and George rendezvoused for dinner at the famous Bar-B-Q Pig Place at Parumph where the owners, Sandy and her husband  -- a couple of displaced Viking fans -- provided fine food and entertainment.





Far to the south, Ron Schwarz made a great circle tour of Goodsprings, Sandy Valley, and Whiskey Pete’s to reacquaint himself with Goal Strike territory. (108 km; 168 points.)






Soaring conditions on Sunday morning looked like they were going to be terrific. Cus were popping up and down the valley and directly over the field.  It was going to be as good as, if not better than, Saturday. However, it was not to be. During run up, the LVVSA tow plane pitched over on its nose damaging the prop and engine. Without a tow plane, soaring was cancelled for the day. However, all was not lost. We adjourned to Jay and Robin’s McDaniel’s back yard for

a sumptuous Bar B Q and pool party where we met and mingled with members of the Las Vegas club and their families. A good time was had by all.


Del Blomquist, Tom Basham, Merle Clements, Bob Hurni, Jim Armstrong and Mark Greenstone  arrived at the pool party. During the party, Del presented a special award to Robin McDaniels in recognition of her soloing in a 1-26. Robin’s article describing her trials and tribulations in achieving her goal appears in the May 2005 issue of SOARING  (Pic)













Goal Strike XVI officially commenced on Monday morning with a welcome from the LVVSA President, Bill Tisdale, and a safety briefing and prayer by our Chaplain, Steve Whiting. As usual, the highlight of the opening ceremony was the suspenseful revelation of this year’s shirt colors by Del (Pic)




This year’s colors were Tweetybird yellow with Navy Blue trim:




Newly arrived aircraft on the field were Del’s High Gross (144) and Bob Hurni’s spiffy red and white #190.  Al Gough and his crew, Mike Conlan flew over from Sandy Valley in Al’s beautiful, freshly painted RV-6. (Pic). 




By Monday morning a substitute tow plane had been located, was on the field, and ready to tow. However, the wind began to blow. The clouds disappeared, and soaring conditions deteriorated.  Several valiant attempts were made, but no one was able to leave the Jean valley. Del crewed for Ron Schwartz who flew the longest distance. Bob, Lane, George and Garry poked around the valley, but went nowhere. Garry got low near Little Potosi and had to land on Haul Road where he made a spectacular down-wind, down-hill, under-the-wires landing.  Because Garry was the only pilot to land out, he won the Captain Monkey award for both the longest flight and the Downed Duck award for the shortest flight of the day. In spite of marginal weather conditions, three pilots were able to squeeze out OLC flights. (Ron: 103 km; 161 points; George: 67 km; 110 points; Garry: 60 km; 88 points.)


Monday night was “Shirt Night” at the Pioneer Saloon. The two highlights of the night were:

(1) Ron Schwartz hustling the locals at the pool table (Pic)




and (2) Merle Clements swallowing a moldy, 6 month old, pickled egg: (Pic)









On Tuesday, the wind continued to blow and conditions were not improving. Again, Garry got low near Goodsprings and had to land on Haul Road. Only this time he did it right. He landed into-the-wind; up-hill; and before the wires. Garry made Goal Strike history on Tuesday by being the first pilot ever to win both the Captain Monkey and the Down Duck awards two days in a row.  Congratulation, Garry!  (Pic)




On Tuesday, Bob Hurni was the only Goal Striker who flew far enough to post an OLC flight: (57 km; 86 points). Here’s a photo of Bob explaining exactly how he did it: (Pic )





Tuesday, Lane and Steve returned to San Diego because of work commitments, Joedy and Kathleen hurried home to catch a plane to the east coast, and Al Gough left for Oregon and points north.  Garry, Jim, George and Greg drove north to Parowan in hopes that the weather would be better in Utah.





The wind continued to blow through southern Nevada, and by Wednesday morning there were only three die-hard Goal Strikers remaining: Del (144); Bob (190); and Ron (480). All three launched and flew locally.  Again, conditions were too scratchy. No OLC flights were scored on  Wednesday.




Thursday morning a few puffy clouds appeared and it looked like good soaring conditions might be returning  Instead, virga began falling early in the day. Del, Bob and Ron tried to connect with some narrow cloud streets, but could only get about 10 miles from the field and would have to return to Jean. During one attempt, Ron flew northeast of the field, got too low and had to land on the Jean Dry Lake. Ron was aero-towed back to Jean -- making him the third double-award winner: At last: He had accomplished his Goal at Goal Strike: Captain Monkey and the Down Duck were his! (Pic)


At the end of the day, planes were put on their trailers and Goal Strike XVI was declared to be over. 


We wish to thank the members of the Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association for all their hard work in organizing and making all the necessary arrangements for Goal Strike XVI. We are especially indebted to Bill Tisdale for rounding up tow planes and Jay and Robin McDaniels for hosting the pool party and delicious Bar B Q on Sunday afternoon. Your hospitality made up for the lack of perfect weather. We are looking forward to flying with you again next year – if you will have us. ---- George, Del and all the Goal Strikers.