Archive for February, 2009

Dark days in Valle!

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

WEll it is always a strange site to see rain falling in Valle especially at this time of year.

The last four days have started to look like the rainy season in Valle but the dark clouds have stayed to our east. Early this morning about 2:00 a.m. a strong wind blew thru andbecause of that i decided not to go fly at Penon and around 10:30 my decision was rewarded when the strong wind came back and was hitting 20mph. By 12:00 the clouds were forming in the convergence and they only grew bigger and bigger and eventually it got tall and dark and as i write this post it is dumping like i have never seen it dump here in Valle.

The rain should help the flying get nicer for a few days but it may very well be  an early start of the rainy season, which would be very unusual and has the locals are already talking about how strange this weather pattern is.

The rain is well needed with the lake being lower then we have ever seen it. The rainy season ended in mid October about a month early and things have very dry here so we`ll take the rain but hopefully it will not stay for too long.

Anyways we are about ready to get out of here back to NM.


More soon,


Valle, Cu-nimbs.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

There last three days huge cu-niimbs have slowly crept south into the area and today they are towering to over 25,000 ft. Mostly to the east and north, the darkest one is just a few kms behind the La Torre launch. All the clouds that are marking the convergence are generally shredded up but a few nice ones are over Sacamacate.

I did fly this morning but i chose Sacamacate again this time Rasa wanted to go for a hike so we did. Arrived to launch at 10:45, with nice cycles rolling up the hill, two gliders over Penon luanch proved that it was higher pressure conditions as they struggled to get more than 200 meters over.

I was about ready to go at 11:00 when i watched a redtail hawk hook into a boomer just in front of launch, it looked like about 800 fpm up as he rocketted out. I was on luanch by 11:10 and i just waited for a nice cycle and but that time two of the glider were gliding into the area from Penon and Martin from France hooked into a core with two vultures and i had a good cycle at launch so i huked into a lifting cycle but just about 30 seconds into the air i hit some strong sink and so i went left toward the south face of Sacamacate and there i hooked into a decent core, small but i was climbing.

Martin soon came to my thermal and we both climbed out 300 m over launch, our core was wweaning out and Martin glided back west over the launch and there he hit some stronger lift and i joined him seeing some 700 fpm lift that took us to 750 m over launch and the great thing was it was nice thermals with little turbulance. Once i was topped out i headed for San Agustin and was having a sweet bouyant glide over, while Martin found another core at Sacamacate and got 200 m higher then what i had. I was still high and pushed over to the stairs where i found a broken core that climbed me a few hundred feet before i glided to town.

The final glide to town was thru some serious sink 1,000 fpm down i saw at two points but i was able to speed thru it and get to more bouyant air, eventually had planty of tude over town, although there was a stronger than normal NW wind at the lake.

About 30 min later the clouds started to form and quickly they did, it looks dark to the east of La Torre and it may be raining there already. It did rain in Mexico city yesterday, we could use a day of rain here to settle things down and give us sweet clouds.

I cannot say enough good things about Sacamacate, that is a place which allows you little time waiting around, just get up and your in the convergence zone, much less general turbulance that the launch Penon area, and today Martin confirmed this as he said it was just unpleasant over the launch area and once he got to Sacamacate everything seemed to smooth out. What can i say i like the place.


More soon,


Gettin hot! down here.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

We had three days of great clouds and nice flying, almost a throw back to December days.  Today the clouds are shredded up and to the north there is a line of cunimbs that are towering.

I’ve been really enjoying flying the Valle scene now that the crowd has gone.

The heat is returning to Valle and that will soon chase us back north, the dust devils are starting be appear daily and that means it just gets a bit stronger here then is tolerable to enjoy flying the place like you normally do.  Most days now there is only a small cadre of pilots who go fly the Penon and most of them are not surfing up the face of Penon at this time of year. Yesterday pilot reports were that the wall area was  especially nasty.

Update: Florida Spring Fling 09 is booking up faster then ever before, with 10 pilots already confirmed and another 8 interested, which means this could very well be the biggest PG tow comp the US has ever seen. Any pilots interested should send me a personal email to earthcog(at) yahoo dot com.

More soon,


V-day 09, Sacamacate stlye.

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

The last few days the clouds have started forming by 8:30 and the best ones are over Sacamacate and so today i decided that i would huck from there. I picked up a few other pilots and with the offer of a free ride to the hill, of course you have to hike for 15 minutes up a steep dirt road.

There was already a nice cu forming over launch but it was also shading out launch so we waited for 30 minutes as we slowly got ready. By the time we were all ready the clouds had shreded up and it was looking a bit raspy overhead with a obvious east flow aloft.

I was first off, as the others were all first timers to the site, i had a good cycle on launch but as i glided forward i didn`t hit anythin worth working and soon i was out in front of the second pinitas and sinking, so i headed for the half moon house and about half way there i hit a nice core and started to climb out. the lift was real smooth and consistant, eventually i got about 300 m over launch but to the east a bit, my thermal was getting weak so i glided for the trash dump and of course there was some lift there but it was trashy. I slowly climbed to cloudbase and since there was a swet cloud street forming to the east toward the butterflies so i just went on glide, but the closest cloud was dying out by the time i got under it but i did find more lift over the hill east of San Ramon and there i was able to get back to near cloudbase which was very low for this time of year 10,000 ft msl. I saw that the north edge of the convergence was forming some clouds so i turned back and waas able to climb going straight all the way back to Jovans wher ei was at base again and from there i made a death glide to town arriving on the south side of La Torre launch just 100 m over the trees.

By 1:30 p.m. all the clouds had dried up again and only haze domes could be seen marking the convergence.

Three of the four pilots who launched Sacamacate climbed out and flew to town, Fred from Aspen now local pilot threw his reserve over Penon launch after a cascade of events that had him twisted up low to the terrian, he landed below launch on his feet and walked away uninjured.

Several pilots glided from the Penon back to town but they all came over the back to Sacamacate and were below launch there but eventually found lift and got up.  Which is exactly why i like flying there because it improves our odds of climbing out into the convergence.

This is the first weekend post flying season in Valle and the numbers were around 20 pilots compared to last weekend when there was still about 200.

Valle, Feb 13th 09.

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Today we had the best clouds that we have seen for about a week, they were forming in the convergence starting by 10:30 but by 1:00 they were starting to shred up and later they disappeared execpt for some small whisps here and there.

I launched a bit late at 11:30 i went out front and hit strong lift but it was windy and i had to punch out further before i felt good working the lift,  i found some 500 fpm lift that took me to the inversion where i spent the next 30 minutes slamming into it several times and getting rasted each time.

I was happy to finally get 700 m over launch and decided the nice clouds over Sacamacate would be easy enough to reach so i headed over the back, i found more storng lift half way to the brown fields and i was plenty high to glide over Sacmacate but i did’nt find anything over the peak so i tried to search back out front but as i did it was very sinky so i headed further north toward La Casa and there i found some 1,200 fpm  that catapulted me to base at 1,000 m over launch still a bit low for this time of year. I decided to head west toward Cerro Gordo under a sweet cloud street. As i got to Escalera i was under a good sized cu that was still forming and there was some more 1,000 fpm lift that went up inside a dome of the cloud and when i got near base i could see the edge of the cloud curling over and swirling b ack up and sure enough as i got to that edge i did the same thing with about 5 seconds of parachutal drop with a feel of no pressure in my glider but it was open.

I glided to town with a slight s.e. tailwind which made it easy to glide over to La Pena before going to land. It was really nice air once i left the convergence, but over launch it was nasty and that is how it gerts here in Valle this time of year, two pilots today had to full stall out of collapses.

The HG contest is on now and today they called a 130 km task out to divisa then to the volcano, over to elephante, then mesa Dolores before a S.W. run to Diente then Cerro Gordo and goal in Valle, they are calling bigger tasks because the PG worlds had 100 plus tasks daily and they don’t want to be showed up but there are only 15 hg’s competing and there was 150 pg’s. that makes a big difference.


Valle high! (pressure that is)

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Well we are still intrenched in wicked high pressure, i flew yesterday and the inversion was low and thick. It was hard to get high enough to fly over the back but eventually we got to 9,300 msl and we headed for Sacamacate and there we got some better lift and that got us to cloudbase. But cloudbase did’nt last long as the clouds began to shred up. I glided to San Agustin and there i got low and soon was about to land near the houses between SA and the stairs but i got a dribbler out and slowly climbed high enough to glide to the stairs and there was a nice small cloud and i got near it  but as soon as i headed toward town the cloud was getting shredded and i was getting drilled in heavy sink. I was able to make the lake l.z. but i was the only one to make it all day.



Party’s over!

Monday, February 9th, 2009

WEll the party is over, but the fun is just getting started again for those of us who did’nt get a chance to fly the worlds 2009.

The last three days have been wicked high pressure, bad enough that i did’nt even care to go flying at all. I think it will take a few days for things to get back to normal although this is more normal for mid Feburary.

I expect that over the next three or four days the number of pilots here in Valle will drop to the tune of 125 or more pilots. Which will return the place to the locals and will almost have a lonely feel.

I’ll spend the next week doing some exploring for some new launch sites and some hidden trout fishing spots where we can go fly fishing for trout.

We will be back in the states in a few weeks and then enjoy being at home for about a month, before heading south to Florida for the epic spring conditions there.

I will be hosting some 3 day SIV sessions before and after the (Spring Fling) x-c fun comp May 3rd thru 8th. I have some dates open for a x-c clinic prior to the SF comp as well. So get your friends together and come on down for some of the best flatland flying the USA has to offer. 

I’ll just be lurking for that 150 mile day that i know exisits there that time of the year.


Worlds 2009, final task

Friday, February 6th, 2009

The final task is in progress now with 85km before the goal her ein Valle, Today is very high pressure and the air this morning was trashy with a heavy inversion at 3,000 m. I flew from Sacamacate hoping to connect to the lead gaggle at some point but after no clouds were forming and i could see the heavy inversion i decided to just head to Valle. As i left over the stairs i sank down below the inversion and got hammered for about 5 minutes taking several big hits and then i was in a catabatic flow from the volcano and was seeing speeds of 60 km-hr toward Valle.

Already they have been two reserves thrown in todays task but so far no injuries.

The standings have not changed alot from two days ago. Andy Abe is in the lead but only by 30 points followed by Stephan Wyss, and third is Aljaz Valic who has made a good come from behind move to get within strinking distance.

Yesterday´s task was won by American Matt Beechinor, which means each one of the men´s  american team has won a task in this comp. But overall they have slipped to 5th place but within reach of 4 again. Matt B is now the top ranked american at 20, followed by Brad G in 27th and Eric Reed in 29th. Kari Castle is in 89th overall and she slipped to 5th for the womens overall.

This will go down as the most valid worlds ever to date and i think it sets a standard that will be looked to in the future when deciding where we will fly for the worlds.

News flash!!!!!!!!!!!!! task 11 has just been stopped, they may cancel it due to several reserves and the fact that the helicopter is now being launched to retrieve some injured pilots, which means the heli will be flying along course line forcing the stoppage of the task for safety reasons.

So it looks now that the winner of the worlds 2009 is Andy Abe from Switzerland followed by Stephan Wyss also from Swizterland, third will be Aljaz Valic who won the pre-worlds here last year.

Now we all look forward to a return to normal life with no more restrictions on launch and within a few days a huge reduction in the numbers that make flying the Penon mid day sometimes just not safe.


More soon,


Florida Spring Fling 09, May 3rd-May 8th.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I wanted to announce this years Florida Spring Fling, This will be the fourth year we have held this event in south Florida, last years draught conditions proved to be excelent with 6 rounds flown.

Terry Bono flew 432 kms over those 6 flights, but more notable was Alek B who arrived with only two hours experience in a PG and over 6 flights he managed 160 kms x-c and setting his PB at 60 kms winning task 5.

Our fall trip to Florida showed that draught conditions are still persisting in Florida which makes for some great x-c conditions. 

 This event is a fun (trainer)comp designed for newer pilots who want to improve thermal and x-c skills in a low stress enviornment. The event is based on a x-c clinic format with daily pre and post flight briefings. Pilots will fly race to goal and open distance tasks, using a GPSfor flight verification.

Comp details:

Location:Florida ridge flight park

May 3rd thru May 8th.

Entry fee: $200.00usd

includes: briefings,retrivals,scoring.

towing is not included $10usd per tow

Limit: 50 pilots

contact:David Prentice or 505-720-5436

Valle, task 8 (114kms) 103 pilots in goal!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Yesterday was a great booming day, the task call was 114 kms total. the start was an entry around launch then TP1 at launch, TP2 was in Santa Maria, TP3 was Mesa Dolores TP4 was at Elephante, TP5 was La Pila TP6 Cero Gordo and goal was in Valle l.z.

The winner for the day was Crigal Maurer with a time of 2 hrs and 36 min, followed by Yassen Savov and third was Luca Donini. Americans were a bit behind with Eric Reed at 34th,Matt Beechinor in at 49th and Brad G in 52 and Kari C was 89. She is still hanging on to 3rd place for womens overall her best showing in the world champs of pg. Eric R is in 27th overall, followed by Brad in 28th and then Matt B 31st, which still keeps the Team USA in 4th.  

Overall team scores are












top five overalls are:

1:Andy Abe 7440

2:Luca Donini 7362

3:Stephan Wyss 7304

4:Thomas Brauner 7245

5:Aljaz Valic 7217