During the first weekend in June 2002, twelve 1-26s, pilots and eager crews
converged on the Jean, Nevada airport for Goal Strike13. Individual goals
included: earning FAI badges; setting regional 1-26 speed records; logging
Sweepstakes miles, and the toughest one of all: beating Harry Baldwin’s
straight-out distance record. Not all of these goals were achieved, however,
all hands achieved the ultimate goal which was to just have fun.
||Two By Four
||Tom Basham (Low Gross)
||One Nine Zero
||Three Zero Nine
|(* Sociable, Tenacious, Aircraft
This is the 13th consecutive year that those wonderful folks at the
Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association (LVVSA) have hosted Goal Strike.
This annual fun gathering is the brainchild of our former President, Del
Blomquist. Del was stationed at Las Vegas during his younger days and became an
active member of the LVVSA. Later, he retired to
the San Diego area and began flying High Gross at Warner Springs. Because of
the many friendships he had forged with the members of the
LVVSA, Del was able to organize Goal Strike as an annual event. Goal
Strike is a non-competitive meet where pilots can seek individual goals and
help other pilots hone their flying skills. Many a 1-26er has made the first
cross-country flight at a Goal Strike meet.
Friday: The Jimmy Z Incident:
After registering at the Nevada Landing Hotel & Casino Friday afternoon, Jimmy
Zapata (aka “Captain Zap”) was observed by hotel security guards and by
strategically placed cameras carrying a mock-up of cockpit instrument panels
into his room. He was also seen moving mysterious looking black boxes with
wires dangling out and other electronic paraphernalia from his vehicle to his
room. That evening, while having dinner in the restaurant with his friends,
Jimmy was approached by the hotel manager, surrounded by uniformed officers of
the law, taken into custody, interrogated and confronted with photographic
evidence of his suspicious activities.
|Jimmy Zapata & Exhibit “A”
Jimmy explained that he was an airline pilot on a working vacation and that he
was studying for his annual flight examinations. He explained that the
electronic equipment was for his glider. His story sounded a bit lame at first.
However, after turning on the irresistible Zapata charm and presenting numerous
ID cards, licenses and FAA credentials, he finally convinced the authorities
that he was a genuine airline pilot and not a terrorist in training.
Later, he commended the security personnel for their alertness. He assured them
that he was not upset with their actions; that they were protecting him, his
aircraft, his passengers and the entire airline industry.
Several Sweepstakes flights were logged on Saturday, with land-outs occurring
in such exotic sites as the Cherry Patch Dry Lake (2x4) and Haul Road (Scooter
and 187). Saturday night a cold front passed through southern Nevada which
brought strong winds and shut down glider operations on Sunday.
|Jim Sweet, Jimmy Zapata & Greg Sperbeck at the
During the weekend, numerous Goal Strikers were observed studying artifacts,
sampling beverages and playing the poker machines at the famous Pioneer Saloon
in Goodspirngs. Besides the bullet holes in the wall, one of the Pioneer
Saloon’s claims to fame is that it is the pub where, in 1942, Clark Gable
waited for Carol Lombard’s body to be recovered after she died in a plane crash
in the mountains behind Goodsprings. A chunk of the melted engine from the TWA
airliner is lying on the stove.
|Kathleen Gregory, Margaret Sweet & Norman
Simpson at the Pioneer Saloon
At the conclusion of the pilot’s meeting former Navy boatswain’s mate, Del
Blomquist, and retired Chief Petty Officer, Tom Basham, distributed the
official Goal Strike XIII shirts to the pilots and crews. Del’s choice of
colors this year was impeccable. The shirts were Navy blue -- trimmed in gold.
Nice call, fellas!
Cumulus clouds could be seen gathering over Mt. Charleston during the meeting
and it appeared that we would have cloud streets to the north. Instead, by the
time all the birds were launched, the clouds had grown into huge over-developed
cu-nims, bringing dust storms, lightning, thunder, rain squalls and hail into
the Parumph Valley.
|Official Goal Strike XIII shirt
Joedy Gregory and his faithful crew, Kathleen, provided comic relief during
Monday’s often white-knuckle flying. Radio transmissions on 123.3 led
eavesdroppers to the conclusion that either Joedy or Kathleen was lost during
most of the flight, with the unlost-half giving directions. Al Gough later
suggested that we assign 187 and crew the call signs: “Clueless” and
“Director.” The only weakness in Al’s plan is that we will never be sure which
one is ‘clueless.’
|Mike Wills & Doug Levy receiving ‘Captain
Monkey’ award from Del
Three brave souls, Rich Gillock, Doug Levy and Garry Dickson, managed to
penetrate the storm, take turnpoint pictures near Beatty and return to Jean
Jimmy Zapata generously let Steve Whiting fly Tweetybird on Monday while he
remained on the ground and introduced Steve’s wife, Nancy, to the joy of
Hangman won the coveted “Captain Monkey” award for the longest flight of the
day by flying to Beatty and rounding a turn point which was two miles further
from Jean than Two By Four’s.
The only land out of the day was committed by Wayne Walker in “Apollo.” He was
forced down by the rain and merciless microbursts. He landed safely at the
Sandy Valley Road gravel pit, thus winning the “Downed Duckling” -- an award
presented to the pilot who lands the shortest distance from the airport.
|Microburst over Sandy Valley
|Wayne Walker: Two time winner of the “Downed
Tuesday: Mass Landout at Parumph
The weather was improving. On Tuesday morning the sky was blue and Cu’s were
forming to the north of Jean. Pete Donath, Jim Sweet and Bob Hurni were forced
to abandon ship, Pete and Jim because of the demands of their jobs and Bob,
because of a broken collar bone which prevented him from climbing out of the
cockpit without assistance.
With one notable exception, the pack flew north with visions of Tonopah dancing
in their heads. Things went well over the mountains, with 1-26s reaching
altitudes between 16 and 18K over Mt. Charleston. However, the lift over the
valleys and desert was not as user-friendly. One by one 1-26s began falling out
of the sky and landing at the Parumph airport. It was as if someone had
scheduled a fly-in.
First to land was our fearless leader, High Gross, followed by Apollo, G-Man
and 187. Tweetybird and Hawkeye burned off excess altitude with aerobatics and
2x4.landed last, after taking a turn point photo at Fran’s Star Ranch (now
“Angel’s Ladies”). Garry had enough altitude that he could have returned to
Jean, but he spun down to join his friends for dinner instead.
|Landout at Parumph
Parumph is the home of radio host, Art Bell, who had predicted that during the
first week in June, aliens would be landing in the Nevada desert. Had Art been
looking up Tuesday afternoon, he would have seen his prophesy coming true.
After trailering the birds, pilots and crews gathered across the road for a
delicious Bar BQ dinner.
Because he was the first to land, Del graciously accepted Tuesday’s Down
Duckling award on behalf of all who landed at Parumph.
Hangman captures Captain Monkey -- Again.
Conspicuous by his absence at Parumph, was Hangman, who flew south – all the
way to Phoenix.
|Hangman: Two time “Captain Monkey” winner
It was not an easy flight. Doug made several low saves and struggled along at
low altitudes much of the way. He landed just before sunset at Turf Soaring,
220 miles from Jean. He was met by his crew, Mike Wills, and by Bob Hurni and
Jim Armstrong, who had driven beneath him all the way with #190 in tow. Hangman
won the Captain Monkey award for the second day in a row. On Wednesday, duty
called, and Doug and Mike returned home.
Wednesday: Better Weather – Longer Flights
As the ranks thinned, the weather improved.
|Merle Clements: Has never missed a Goal Strike
On Wednesday, with professional coaching from his crack crew, Merle Clements,
Wayne Walker flew Apollo south and landed on Nipton Road. This feat made Wayne
the winner of the Downed Duckling award for the second time.
The rest of the pack headed north.
|Hawkeye wetting his whistle at Scotty’s
While attempting to set a speed record, Rich Gillock flew as far north as the
Cherry Patch where he was forced to land 460 in the parking lot directly in
front of “Mabel’s” brothel. (68 mi.)Fortunately, his ever-watchful crew,
Stephanie, arrived on the scene before he landed.
Not wanting to take any unnecessary chances, Del landed High Gross a few miles
further north on the Cherry Patch dry lake. (70 mi.)
Hawkeye landed at Scotty’s Junction on what looked from the air to be an
airstrip. (143 mi.) Upon touching down, it was discovered that foot high weeds
covered the abandoned runway rendering it no more landable than the surrounding
2x4 and 187 made the longest flights of the day. Both landed at the Goldfield
airport. (170 mi.) By rolling a few feet further north than 2x4, Joedy won the
Captain Monkey award on Wednesday.
|Del presenting Joedy and Kathleen with “Captain
Thursday: Final Day:
Thursday was the day we had all been waiting for. By 11am, huge dust devils
could be seen swirling off the dry lakes south of Jean and drifting north.
Conditions looked perfect for a trip north toward Tonopah. Immediately after
releasing from tow, 187 and Hawkeye climbed above 12K. Apollo, G-Man, High
Gross, 460 and 2x4 soon followed. By the end of the day, 1-26s were strung like
beads along the Nevada - California border. After experiencing radio problems,
Apollo landed back at Jean. G-Man flew his 1-26 home to Sandy Valley.
|2x4 making a save over Cinder Cone mine near
Joedy pushed north past Beatty and landed 187 on a dry lake next to Highway 95.
Del landed High Gross at Lida Junction (across the road from the Cottontail
Ranch). 157 mi.)
After almost landing at Goldfield, Hawkeye dug out, climbed to 12K over Mud
Lake and landed at the Tonopah airport. (185 mi.)
460 Sets A Speed Record:
On Thursday, Rich Gillock, using his GPS data logger to record the flight, flew
a 300 kilometer triangle from Jean to a turn point north of the Hwy 160/95
intersection to Tacopa and returned to Jean. He set a 1-26 Region 11 speed
record of 34.87 mph. Congratulations, Rich and Stephanie! Rich’s flight is a
reminder that there are many 1-26 records out there waiting to be broken. With
the new data logger technology, more 1-26ers should be looking for ways to get
their names in the SSA/FAI record books.
2x4 Makes a Delivery:
Four years ago, Garry Dickson landed 2x4 on the driveway of a ranch in the
middle of Nevada about 250 miles north of Jean. The owners, “Larry & Birdie,”
treated Garry and his crew as though they were long lost kinfolk. Since then,
it has become an annual custom for Garry to attempt to land 2x4 at Larry and
Birdie’s place, take a picture and deliver a photo taken at the previous year’s
landing. Garry kept last year’s photo in his cockpit during Goal Strike 13.
Thursday looked like the day he might achieve his goal.
|Team 2x4: Garry Dickson, Jim Leary & Brian
After a slow start, Garry caught up with the pack and through skill,
persistance and daring (he almost had to land 2x4 near the cinder cone) he dug
out and passed everyone. By 6 pm he was cruising at cloudbase 17K over Tonopah
with 70 miles to go. He pressed on, flew over Larry & Birdie’s ranch and landed
at Kingston, a small airport 15 miles further north. Garry, Jim Leary and Brian
delivered the pictures to Larry and Birdie on their way back to Jean, where
they arrived at 3am the next morning.
With turn points, the distance flown was 276 miles, which not only won the
Captain Monkey award for the day, but also made the 2x4 team winners of the
“HANG IN THERE” award for the longest flight flown during Goal Strike 13.
Friday & Saturday: Blown out.
Friday morning the wind was blowing a steady 20mph with gusts to 30. Conditions
were predicted to be even worse on Saturday, with gusts predicted from 40 to
50mph. Most pilots and crews were bushed from the previous day’s adventures and
long drives. It didn’t take long to realize that Goal Strike 13 had come to an
end. The birds remained on their trailers and soon began rolling down the
Interstate toward home.
Although cut short, Goal Strike 13 had been a huge success.
Thanks to the LVVSA:
You would have to visit a heap of gliderports before you would find a gang of
glider pilots as hospitable, friendly and helpful as the members of the
Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association. They work hard each year to make
Goal Strike a success. Tow pilots are ready to launch all week long and the
tows are always fun because the pilots tow you directly to the strongest
thermals – then start thermaling! In addition to providing us with up to date
weather and safety briefings, all the amenities such as tie downs, oxygen, wash
rack, etc. are made available.
Many thanks. We sincerely appreciate everything you do for us, and -- God and
the FAA willing -- we shall return for Goal Strike XIV.