2013 Jul 13 – d

Idaho? Part 4 of the report

By Peter Kelly

This is a continuation of the story.

The decision to head for home was made about 20 minutes ago, but now the question was – how to get there?  The forecast did say to expect some rain between the areas of Mt Lassen and Reno Nevada, and it looks like that part of today’s forecast was accurate.  I had no way of knowing it at the time, but later that evening, Rich Beardsley reported that the weather radar over the Sierras had been showing very heavy precip and turbulence.  There was a lot of purple on the scope in the early afternoon,  indicating very poor flying conditions.

The straight line distance to home was about 170 miles but I would need to remain over the Sierras for another 100 miles before starting the glide into the dead air of the Sacramento Valley, and at the moment, my route along the Sierras was blocked by rain and clouds.  Alternatively, I could back-track, go north, then west, go past Mt Shasta again, and return to the Trinity Alps, but that would be a journey of about an extra 100 miles.  I could probably cover that distance in less than two hours, but I wasn’t confident there would lift to take me from the Trinity Alps down to the Mendocino mountains after 5 P.M.  It was already 3:30 P.M.  Based on my experience with this type of weather situation, I figured the bad weather was subsiding.  There was enough energy left in the air to provide me with lift- without the rain and turbulence – to get me closer to home.

Looking at the weather to the south I considered, and reconsidered my options.  The more I looked, the more I thought I would have a better chance of getting closer to home if I stayed on the east side of the Sacramento Valley.


These next four photos looking south, southwest and southeast and were taken, before I entered the air, below the dark clouds…

1520-rain and clouds to the south

1521-more SW towards Mt Lassen looks sunny

1524-lots of clouds to SE - cant see a path to the S

1525- dark clouds to SE - cant see a path to the S

My position

1535-see you

1535-still ok back to runway at Fall River

1555-closer to the Runway at Spaulding

1558-rain on hills N of Mt Lassen

1630-start 78 mi final glide



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