This article was composed and written by Kempton. It was published on the WSC Forum in August 2012. Posted to this page by Peter Kelly, without permission.Comments by Peter -PK about this story: This is an example of how important it is to check the weather before planning to fly – In fact, the weather usually determines the day you will try to fly. There is some reference to Ginny and an adventure at Stonyford on the preceding day. I don’t have actual details, but I do know that coordinates for the Stonyford turnpoint are exactly in the middle of the good part of the landing site at Stonyford. Not sure where Ginny actually landed but it was another great job. As I recall, she was flying with one of our experienced tow pilots in a two place ship. Here is Kemp’s write up:
Indeed Sunday was just great out of WSC. The blob of moisture that came through Saturday eve acted like a front, so today was “post frontal” although I can’t remember the last time the front came from the south. But this was the Gulf of Mexico monsoon, and it brought unstable & clear air and moist air, but no cirrus.
At breakfast, Ray, Ginny, Wes and I learned more about Ginny’s Stonyford adventure. Ray had put his ship in the box Saturday as it was getting gusty with lightning. I offered him the front seat of FNX as I wanted to fly to make up for the grinding sauna of Saturday. After a considered weighing of the leg exercise (heavy ASH-25 rudder) vs. not having to assemble his ship, he was on. We were the 1st mountain tow at 11:55a, released at Tree Farm, futzed around for a bit, then Ray found us the 6-7 knots on the high point of Goat Mt. One more short circling climb on Snow, and then Ray instituted the “no circling” goal of the flight. From then on we didn’t do more than a quarter turn at any one time for the remainder of the flight, about 450km by OLC:
The forecast and actual clouds were matched, with some isolated OD as the day went on. This was at 1:45p coming up on Hayfork N bound:
We stayed between 9.5-12.5K the entire time. The S wind of 14-16 knots of course helped on the outbound, but we were very conscious of how it might slow us on the way home. Turned about 8sm short of Hoopa, way on the extreme west side of the Trinity Wilderness. Arcata was less than 20nm to the West. Ray mentioned several times about how it would be a adventure to go land at Eureka, but it may be fogged in (!)…. ACK!
Southbound the trip was a bit slower, but we were a bit more aggressive on the cruise speed. The clouds were starting to OD, but it was quite workable:
3p and it was still good around Black Butte. We turned toward WSC at Sheet Iron, and landed by 4p. Including the slow start and slowing down as we approached WSC to allow for separation to JJ, we still averaged 78.5mph over 296sm. A little bit of pushing could easily have put that at 80+mph!
It was still going strong at almost 6p:
Thanks Ray for the in-flight discussion, tips and observations. What a great group we have at Williams!