Flying never to forget (part 1)

Catching up Sunday 22nd April (part 1)

What a day! What a day!

My thanks, again, to my host Damien and his wife. Awake just after 5am, by 5:30am Damien’s father in law was cooking breakfast for three. Just what was needed for the day ahead!

IMG_1210

What a photographer!

Albuquerque pilots prefer to fly early and be back at base, Double Eagle, by around 9am. This allows them to fly close to the stunning scenery without fear of thermic or gusty conditions caused by the intense heat that builds during  the day. Either that or they all have jobs they need to get to.

IMG_1215.CR2

Frank and Damien. Damien’s stance proves he has what it takes.

Today, the weather, and therefore flying conditions, were perfect. These conditions are the reason 5 trike pilots took to the air, just after sunrise (I was told my presence may have been a factor, but I am not convinced). Lead by Damien Beresford, then myself, then Mark Morton, Michael Hyde and Frank Roush, all 5 danced a merry dance through the still air towards the red coloured cliff edges, mesa’s and the many extinct volcanoes.

IMG_1220

Frank taxies for departure

The population is sparse, roads are dirt, long and empty.  This provides ample ‘outs’, landing on almost any road, should a problem arise. As every pilot knows, its wise to practice emergency situations, simulating problems and carrying out the necessary actions. Perfect excuse for  landing on a road somewhere. As a new ‘runway’ is discovered, a name is often given to that stretch of road. “Dirt road” doesn’t look too good in the logbook. Following Michael Hyde’s lead, I selected a stretch of road.

IMG_1283.CR2

Michael Hyde lifts after christening another landing spot, Rock Windows Road

As I touched down on the deserted gravel road “Stalkers Landing” was born.  Not sure if it was noticed at the time, but Stalkers landing actually had two runways. A bend in the road, led to the departure being on a different heading (runway) than the landing.Stalkers Landing

IMG_1232.CR2

Damien leading the way

IMG_1247

A cloud or Damien’s exhuast plume trailing. You decide!

IMG_1253.CR2

IMG_1249.CR2

Damien approaching the play area.

I have always equated flying a microlight as like having your own personal roller coaster, with added stunning views. The image below goes some way to prove my analogy.

roller.jpg

snippets of the BZIM’s flight path

IMG_1292.CR2

No one around for miles, but us trikes.

IMG_1330.CR2

A 6th trike, flown by Henry Howe joins in the fun

IMG_1332.CR2

5 trikes pull in for a cuppa.

IMG_1344

Frank flying whilst 5 pilots on the ground, look on in envy.

One of the goals of this outing was to try obtain some stunning aerial photography of the BZIM set against the beauty of the New Mexico landscape. Damien scored many goals. The remaining images were all taken by Damien. (click image for larger view)

 

 

Finally it was time to say good-bye to my new flying friends. My adventure must continue. Damien suggested a routing further south than I had initially planned, simply to save time. Visiting the Canyonlands and landing at a dirt strip in a canyon, would no longer take place. I could see the dirt strip landing would be no different from what I had just been doing. Landing at Bluff and the canyons around that area, along with Lake Powell would lesson any disappointment about missing the Canyonlands. I left the remaining pilots around 9:30am, thirty minutes past their usual return time. They were even talking about heading to another area to “play”. Perhaps the cut-off time 9am never really existed, or they are pushing those limits, or perhaps because it was Sunday, they didn’t have to be at work. I’ll let them answer that in the comments!

66-DSC_0353

Michael, Mark, Me, Henry and Damien

Checklist time!!

  1.  Coast 1  …… Check
  2.  Coast 2  …… Check
  3.  Coast 3  …… Check
IMG_4054

The BZIM’s wing over the Atlantic Ocean

The BZIM is now, at it’s final destination airport, Linden Airport, New Jersey.

IMG_4068.CR2

The BZIM finals 9 Linden. New York Skyline on left

A final flight will take place tomorrow, up and down the Hudson VFR corridor, landing back at Linden, weather permitting. 🙂

20180507_123828

The BZIM at Linden New Jersey

 

Advertisements

Bbbbrrrrrr

The BZIM’S feeling the cold this morning.

Currently 0640 at Stanford Field (U02) waiting for the frost to melt off the BZIM’S wing and for fog to lift from Yellowstone.

Winds 10mph from the north, so it feels colder than the -1’C reported…

Hoping to be clear of the highest Rockies by today. Thunderstorms forecast for Yellowstone this afternoon.

Hitting the Jackpot

Tuesday 1st May. 11:50am

Short update. Waved off by Ben at Elko. Fantastic person who helped considerably the previous afternoon. Ben, a local, long time pilot with some amazing aviation stories from the local area. Thanks for your help sir!

Diverted into Jackpot airport as a snow shower is obscuring the path ahead. A stronger than forecast tailwind has got me to this area sooner than expected.

Craters of the moon National park is looking iffy unless the cloud-base lifts.

Where am I and where I’m going.

Live 5:50am 1st May 2018 Elko Nevada.

Although it may appear I am ahead of schedule, a buffer of 5 days is needed at the end of the trip to collect items from Homestead Florida and box the BZIM for transporting back to the UK. Therefore, flying has two weeks to be completed.

I would like to extend my thanks to every pilot who has offered hanger space and overnight stay. I will be unable to stop unless it fits with the route and plan. I apologise to those I have flown over and missed already.

My plan is depart Elko today after 0830. Start delayed due to my destination being under IFR conditions (low cloud). Weather due to improve after mid-day. I hope to fly over the Craters of the Moon National Park, but the freezing conditions may stop this. I am NOT flying into the many scenic back-country Idaho strips in the north west of the state as I had hoped, so no Boise either 😦 If conditions allow, I may try to get to Yellowstone this evening, but if not, an airport near Idaho Falls, Rexburg or McCarley field (U02) will be my overnight.

Tomorrow Tuesday 2nd (or Wednesday 3rd), Yellowstone and exiting the Rockies to the north, then east heading towards Billings is the plan, all weather dependent. After that, east to Oshkosh.

As the blog fell further and further behind (mostly due to web access, and photo and video processing and uploading), and my changing method of how the blog publishes, some links may now not work, or links have become circular. Calendar is best method of getting out of any link loop. Live posts will be posted on the correct day, catch ups will be back-posted to the date of the actual flight. This will allow me to post more live update text only posts.

Many more images and videos will be added when possible.

Hope that all makes sense.

M.

IMG_3138.JPG

Unaltered image of the weather being ‘worked’ around yesterday Sunday 30th

Coast 1 .. check … Coast 2 .. check .. Coast 3 … coming soon…

Although the BZIM arrived in Santa Paula, California, as planned yesterday 24th April, part one of the trip wasn’t complete until the BZIM and I flew over the Pacific Ocean. So, it was with great pleasure, I had my host, Henry Trikelife, accompany me on the flight, from Santa Paula to Santa Barbara and out over the Pacific. Henry’s videos are truly inspirational…. It’s his fault!

The cherry on the cake however, was seeing 2 whales and a calf.

Upload issues are preventing further picture and video content from being added at the moment 😦

IMG_1827.CR2

The Pacific, feet wet at Ventura

What’s been happening?

Fly, eat, fly, eat, fly, Sleep.

That sums it up.

Bit more detail? Ok, just some brief details. More details will follow.

Navasota to Burnet Muni to Odessa. Next day, Odessa to Cavern City airport. Then 2 days delay due winds and a storm took til Saturday 21st April. Thats when the last post was made. Saturday took me to Santa Rosa route 66 airport then Moriaty, Estancia, spending the night at Double Eagle, hosted by Damien. Sunday was great flying with a number of other local trike pilots and then onto Bluff then Monument Valley airport. The evening ended with a brake cable snap at Marble Canyon airport. Monday, flying continued to Page, then Vallie and Grand Canyon cavern airport, followed by Jean. This was very difficult flying conditions! More info will follow. Next Furnace Creek, Death Valley and Stovepipe Wells. Finally today 24th April, Stovepipe Wells to Kern Valley, which is where I type and will post this. Expect to make Santa Paula today where I will stay until brake cable arrives. If the fog lifts I will also fly over the Pacific, completing the first coast to coast. Just one other coast after that.

🙂