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GOAL STRIKE XII REPORT

By "Hawkeye" George Powell

Last updated 06/22/01

(Click on the images below for a larger view.)



Casinos, cloud streets, and camaraderie were the order of the day at Goal Strike XII. On Friday, June 1st, pilots, planes and crews began rolling into the airport at Jean, Nevada, home of the Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association. By Monday morning, eleven 1-26s had arrived and were ready to launch. They were:

1-26# CALL SIGN PILOT CREWS
024 Two by Four Garry Dickson Jim Leary & Brian Dickson
029 Hawkeye George Powell Norman Simpson, Mark Greenstone & Greg Sperbeck
050 Mickey
Wildcat
Lane Decker
Steve Whiting
Steve Whiting
Lane Decker
144 High Gross Del Blomquist Tom Basham
187 One Eight Seven Joedy Gregory Kathleen Gregory
277 “G” Man Al Gough Mike Conlan
317 Hangman Doug Levy Greg Sperbeck
412 Tweetybird Jim Zapata Ron Crawford (aka: Sylvester)
446 Scooter Jim Sweet Merle Clements
460 Four Sixty Rich Gillock Stephanie Campbell

“Goal Strike” is the brainchild of our fearless leader, Del Blomquist. For the past 12 years, during the first week of June, 1-26ers have gathered at Jean seeking goals. Some arrive with visions of silver, gold or diamond badges dancing in their heads. Others dream of breaking speed and distance records. Many look forward to making their first Sweepstakes flights of the year. Others are content to play a few hands of blackjack at the Nevada Landing or knock back a beer and enjoy a round of pool at the Pioneer Saloon in historic Goodsprings.

Strong westerly winds prevailed the weekend we arrived. By Monday, weather conditions had improved with thermals to 10K. By Wednesday, magnificent cloud streets were forming over Mt. Charleston and we found ourselves zooming along at cloud bases above 17K.

Del’s eyesight seems to have improved this year. Goal Strike shirts were a light shade of tan which could actually be worn in public without embarrassment. Del said that he tried to choose a color which would match Rich Gillock’s glider. The shirts not only matched #460, but also went well with the Nevada desert and most of the dry lakes in the region.

HIGHLIGHTS

Garry Dickson (“Two By Four”) made the longest flight of the meet on Friday: 249 miles straight out from Jean to Hadley, Nevada. Garry also flew the most Sweepstake miles during Goal Strike XII, logging 785 Sweepstake miles in five flights.

Steve Whiting (“Wildcat”) earned his Silver Altitude over Table Top in #050 on Wednesday. He immediately celebrated by landing at the Sandy Valley airport. Steve and Lane Decker took turns piloting and crewing in 050.

Lane Decker (“Mickey”) flew locally on Sunday and Tuesday. On Thursday he flew 050 over the top of Mt. Charleston at altitudes above 17K, took a turnpoint picture at Hwys 95 & 160 and landed at the Calvada Meadows airport (93 miles).

Jim Sweet earned Gold Altitude in “Scooter.” While rocketing upward through 12,000’ in a boomer over Table Top Mountain at 1,000 ft. per minute, Jim was able, for one shining moment, to claim the title: “King of the Hill.” He had out-climbed all the other 1-26s in the sky! Although his moment of glory didn’t last long, he enjoyed every minute of it.

Rich Gillock set a Region Eleven 300km Out and Return speed record. He flew #460 from Jean to Beatty and return (213 miles). His average speed was 38.15mph. Rich also made a few fun flights: a one way flight to Beatty and a dog leg from Jean to Searchlight via Kidwell.

Doug Levy completed five Sweepstake flights totaling over 550 miles and made two memorable landings. On Monday, after getting low crossing the Colorado River, Doug called the tower at the Laughlin/Bullhead City International Airport, received clearance to land, flew the prescribed pattern and touched down on the main runway. Managing his energy, Bob Hoover style, he floated #317 in ground effect along several taxiways all the way to the ramp in front of the tower where he tied his little 1-26 down right next to the “Big Boys” (737s, etc.). On Wednesday, Doug had a white-knuckle experience while landing on Highway 95 south of Tonopah. He was forced to quickly master the fine art of levitation as he waited for a slow moving vehicle to move far enough ahead to squeak his bird onto the highway.

Jimmy Zapata performed two spectacular feats of airmanship with style and grace, of the sort we have come to expect from “Tweetybird” each year. On Tuesday, arriving at the Tacopa road gravel pit a bit too low to safely fly a pattern, he sneaked under three sets of power lines to a perfect landing. On Friday, as he attempted to cross the Red Rocks area west of Las Vegas, he was forced by a huge downwash to make a helicopter style approach onto a narrow gravel road near the Blue Diamond Highway.

Wayne Walker climbed in “Apollo” to 10K over the top of Mt. Potisi, then gradually descended into the Parump Valley, where he set up a 45 minute holding pattern waiting for his crew. Wayne made a nearly perfect off-field landing at the Sandy Valley Road gravel pit, where he was given refreshments by passing crews. (See Wayne’ story in this issue).

Del Blomquist flew “High Gross” locally during most of the meet. However, during the middle of the week he made two nice Sweepstake flights. On Tuesday, using turn points he flew 123 miles and landed at the Calvada Meadows airport north of Parump. On Wednesday, he flew 112 miles straight out to Fran’s Star Ranch (now “Angel’s”). We are still investigating why he mysteriously lost radio contact with his crew for over an hour during that flight.

Joedy Gregory exemplified the “Never Give Up” spirit which makes 1-26ers a special breed. Joedy attempted to fly Diamond Distance every time he took off. Each morning, he loaded his cameras, wound his barograph and signed a declaration to fly to Lida Junction and return. (314 miles). Each day he landed out. Among his landing sites were: the Cherry Patch, Jackass, Scotty’s Junction dry lake and Haul Road. Although he didn’t achieve his goal of Diamond Distance, he logged several hundred Sweepstake miles. Meanwhile, while Joedy was slaving away in the air, his faithful crew-wife, Kathleen, was busy on the ground:

  1. breaking the windshield on the crew vehicle,
  2. losing the credit cards,
  3. locking the keys in the vehicle, and
  4. dinging the trailer at a gas station.

George Powell completed four Sweepstakes flights totaling 531 miles in newly acquired #029 (Hawkeye II). An interesting off-field landing occurred at about sunset on Wednesday when he landed on Mud Lake, 12 miles south of the Tonopah airport in the vicinity of Area 51. The retrieve over rugged terrain took over four hours. While waiting to be rescued by Mark Greenstone, Garry Dickson and Jim Leary, he claims to have seen large rocks the size of footballs that move across the dry lake bed all by themselves, but denied being abducted by aliens.

Al Gough’s closest call occurred Friday evening on highway 160 while returning to Jean from Jackass. Al was trailering #277 down a steep and curvy grade on Blue Diamond Pass when the retaining pin fell out of the trailer hitch and the hitch separated from the receiver. Fortunately, Al kept his cool, the safety chains held, the trailer stayed behind the truck. Al successfully navigated the truck and trailer to a safe landing along side the road -- thus averting a disaster.

Merle Clements, who has not missed a Goal Strike during the 12 years of its existence, was forced to leave his beloved “Merlybird” (#019) at home this year. It seems his bird is out of annual and in need of TLC. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Merle crewed for Jim Sweet, and took charge of the erection and maintenance of the Haul Road wind sock – a project which was greatly appreciated by Joedy on the day he won the Downed Duckling award.

This report merely scratches the surface. There are many more Goal Strike tales to be told. Hopefully, a few of them will appear in future issues of the 1-26 Newsletter.

THANKS TO THE LVVSA


LVVSA Logo

Many thanks to the members of the Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association for making Goal Strike possible and for allowing us to share your tow planes and your thermals. Your hospitality, those great tows directly to the lift and teaching us how to legally climb through the TCA veil were greatly appreciated. We especially want to thank Ralph Beismeyer, Vince Felger, Al Gough, George Mapes, Bill Tizdale and President, Shad Dvorchak for all their help.

See ya next year!

“Hawkeye” (029)