Picture yourself wearing a bright purple T shirt, sitting in the cockpit of a
1-26, cruising along under puffy white cloud streets at 12,000 feet, soaring
for miles over the rugged mountains and the vast deserts of Nevada and
California. It happened to a few lucky pilots this June.
Fifteen 1-26s (and one 1-23) gathered at the Jean, Nevada airport for Goal Strike
VIII. This annual event, hosted by the Las Vegas Valley Soaring Association,
is the brainchild of Del Blomquist .
Pilots and crews from as far away as Texas and Hawaii showed up seeking goals
and sweepstakes miles and to indulge in that special camaraderie which 1-26ers
Judy & Bill Schmitt
* Sociable, Tenacious, Aircraft Retriever
Our esteemed leader, in true Bos'n Mate fashion, opened the proceedings by
passing the word that frowners would not be tolerated and that only smilers
were welcome at Goal Strike. Because a 1-23 looks a lot like a 1-26 and
this was the bird that Paul Bickle once owned, Del waived the" 1-26s only"
rule and allowed Mike McNulty to join in the fun (but not until he became a
duespaying member of the 1-26 Association).
UNIFORM OF THE DAY
Del then passed out the purple T shirts. Each year he carefully keeps the
color a secret until the first pilot's meeting. He explained that this
year's color was chosen to inspire greatness. Our shirts matched the purple
paint on #026, the famous 1-26 in which Harry Baldwin won all those
Strong southerly winds prevailed during the first few days of the meet.
Gusty winds and high cirrus clouds made it difficult to escape the valley.
R & R trips to Las Vegas were not uncommon.
Wednesday a cold front passed through. Thursday the wind blew from the north
and crisp looking cu's with flat bases from 12 to 14 thousand feet began
building over the Spring mountains. By Friday well organized cloudstreets
formed up and down the valleys. Altitudes as high as 15,000' were reported.
Although hundreds of sweepstakes miles were flown, and gold altitude gains
were routine, only one FAI badge is known to have been claimed.
Doug Levy, aka "Hangman", because of his previous hang-gliding experience, flew
85 miles from Jean to the Jackass airport on the first day and 111 miles
to the Beatty airport on on the second. On Thursday he flew a 105 mile dog leg
to Jackass and on Friday made his first Off-field landing in a real glider at
a lot used for tractor pulls. On Saturday he flew 118 miles toward Warner
Springs, landing at the 29 Palms, CA airport. Doug hasn't decided which
flight he will use to claim his silver distance. Doug is a welcome addition
to the 1-26 community. He bought #317 from Carl Bergner last summer and is
proving to be a hard-charging 1-26er with a great sense of humor.
Not all pilot reports were available at press time. However, here is a
summary of some of the fun flights made during Goal Strike known to your
Merle Clements achieved the unique goal of "Making the Off-field
Landing Nearest to the Pioneer Saloon." On Thursday, he conveniently landed
"Merlybird" on a road within walkng distance of the saloon, thus beating
everyone else to Goal Striker's favorite watering hole. All available
pilots and crews immediately raced to Goodsprings to make sure Merle was
OK - but were too late.
Garry Dickson flew six Sweepstakes flights in "Two by Four':
Garry's favorite flight was the 5 hour flight toward home on Saturday.
Garry and your editor dodged rain squalls over Kelso, made amazing low
saves directly over the wind sock at Amboy and flew into the teeth of a
stiff headwind to land at the Yucca Valley @rt 130 miles southwest of Jean
as the crow flies (153 miles with tumpoints). Unfortunately, Garry did
not achieve his most challenging goal, which was to teach George how to
fly diamond distance in a 1-26. Better luck next year, Garry!
Harry Baldwin is attempting to achieve the most challenging goal of
all: Harry wants to earn all three diamonds in a single flight in #026.
This year the weather didn't cooperate, and the purple shirt wouldn't cast
its spell. However, 1-26ers never give up, and if he doesn't pull it off
in the Owens Valley this year, he will be back next year for another try.
Del Blomquist achieved his goal, which was simply to "Have fun." In
addition to perfoming the duties of Master of Ceremonies, CD and Master at
Arms, Del flew six sorties, three of which qualified as Sweepstakes flights
(91, 138, and 171 miles).
Kevin Ford repeatedly won the coveted "Captain MonkW' award for making
the longest flight of the day. Here is his report:
"Although I didn't achieve my goal of a 5OOkm flight, I had a terrific time
at my first Goal Strike.
June 3: Landed in a turnout on Highway 95 south of Goldfield. It's the first
time I've had to deal with moving obstacles :-)
June 7: Landed at a farm about 2 miles south of Hadley. The farmer offered
to auto-launch me so I could get back, but I declined. It was raining and
Most awesome experience:
Climbing 2500 feet above cloudbase in cumulus wave north of Nipton.
On June 5, after scratching out of a 1000'agl hole over the dry lake south of
Wiskey Pete's, I connected with a solid thermal over the eastern foothills
and went to cloudbase. Punching upwind of the cloud the vario continued reading
up, and increased to 4 knots half a mile from the cloud. I "S" turned in
front of the cloud and pretty soon was looking down at the TOP of the cloud.
My GPS indicated a sharp increase in wind speed near cloudbase which was the
likely cause. The reward was a spectacular view of a landscape of clouds
and distant thunderstorms. I've heard many stories about this phenomenon,
but this was my first experience."
George Powell made his obligatory Goodsprings landing on Sunday when
he landed "Hawkeye"on the highway three miles west of Jean, narrowly missing
two moving vehicles and a stationary road sign. Thursday, George landed
Hawkeye on a freshly paved section of the Blue Diamond Highway between Las
Vegas and Panimp. A Nevada State Trooper arrived and ordered him to "Get
that aircraft off the road, immediately." To expedite this request, George
talked the officer into hooking a tow rope from his patrol car to the glider.
Just then Hawkeye's crew, David Torres, zoomed past the scene, trailer in
tow, without seeing the glider. Unable to flag down his crew, George
suggested that the officer go chase him down. The officer jumped into his
patrol car, turned on the flashing lights and hit the throttle, George
pulled the release -just in the nick of time - thus avoiding a potentially
embarrassing unscheduled auto launch. Upon being pulled over, David was
greatly relieved to learn he was not getting a ticket but that: "Hawkeye is
Bob VonHellens, like Harry Baldwin, had visions of sugar plums dancing
in his head and entertained dreams of earning all three diamonds in his
beautiful 1-26. Unfortunately, Bob had to return to Phoenix just as the good
soaring conditions arrived.
Al Gough flew his newly acquired 1-26 on several important missions,
one of which ended up on the dry lake adjacent to the famous Cherry Patch
brothel and museum. Al also faithfully performed his LVVSA duties as tow
pilot, instructor, safety briefer and weatherman.
Marc Rosen normally guides a 25 meter ASW 17 called the Iwa Bird
(previously Mike Eaton's "Big Turke.V') over the island of Oahu. He teamed
up with Jim Zapata to form a dynamic duo dubbed "Team Snowflake." Here is
Marc's report to his glider buddies in Hawaii:
"What a blast.. Eight continuous days of excellent stick and rudder time,
reading new charts, navigation by GPS, looping to notch the barograph, a
couple of easy landouts, and making my goal of piloting a 1-26 further than
I'm able to take the Iwa Bird on Oahu.
"It's pretty inspirational to actually meet and see the guys with iron balls
and paper gliders cover a couple of hundred miles per day. "
Marc's two landouts were made at airports: Sandy Valley, NV (17 mi.) and
Searchlight, NV (33 mi.). The distance Marc flew to Searchlight exceeds the
maximum width of his home island of Oahu.
Jim Zapata made Sweepstakes flights, flew double tows, piloted tow
planes, took folks for glider rides, rode the roller coaster at Buffalo Bill's
and crewed for Marc Rosen. On Friday, he made his most spectacular flight by
navigating "Snowflake" southwest from Jean over a circuitous 200+ mile
course to within 8 miles of home base, Warner Springs. (See story in July/August
Bob Hurni landed on the dry take next to Whiskey Pete's casino on his
first flight and ended up hitching a ride back to Jean with "Peg Leg Pete."
The story ofBob's bizaffe retrieve appears on page 8 in the July/August
Newsletter. In addition to his attempts to make friends with the natives,
Bob completed three Sweepstakes flights. The longest was a 208 mile flight
north from Jean to Lida Junction and south to Beatty.
Kevin Ford, Garry Dickson and Doug Levy passed the treasured "Captain
Monkey" award for the Longest Flight of the Day back and forth among
themselves during the week. Merle Clements, Marc Rosen and George Powell
took turns winning (?) the "Downed Duckling." - awarded to the pilot who
makes the Off-Field Landing Closest to the Airport.
The award for the "Pilot Who Traveled the Longest Distance to Attend Goal
Strike" goes to Marc Rosen, who came all the way from Hawaii. Kevin Ford
trailered #157 the longest distance: from Austin, Texas. The "Most
Dedicated Crew" award goes to Mike Farmer who flew all the way from
Houston, Texas to help crew for Garry Dickson.
THANKS TO OUR HOSTS
Many thanks to the hard-working members of the LVVSA for making Goal Strike
VIII possible. To President Shad Dvorchak and your club, we extend our
thanks for your hospitality and for allowing us to fly with you. Please
give a big pat on the back to the following members who made it happen:
Ralph Biesemeyer, Al Gough, Greg Carlson, Chuck Holden, Jim Dingess, "Zink"
Zinkowski, Patrick Back, and all the others who extended helping hands and
made us feel welcome.