Evergreen at Darrington and Twisp

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The annual Evergreen encampment in Darrington which is predicated on the EAA Fly-In at Arlington which makes normal glider operations there impossible started on July 7 with a double tow of the L-23 (264BA with Paul A. and Tom Flandro) and the Chinook to Darrington. The L-33 (CT) and the Twin Astir followed on the road, as did a number of private owners with their ships (Ron Clark, Brad Hill, Travis Brown).

Soaring conditions were somewhat difficult, requiring long and high tows to connect, but it was a good opportunity for some of our newer pilots to get familiar with a smaller airfield and with ridge soaring. The weather was getting more stable and only 2 pilots managed to make longer soaring flights on Sunday. While some pilots were able to reach some of our favorite mountains (like Glacier Peak and Dome Peak) most pilots had to stay close to Darrington and try their luck with ridge soaring on Golden Mountain. With further stabilizing conditions expected and very favorable weather report from Twisp the decision was made to transfer operations to Twisp. So on Monday, July 9 Duane aero-towed the L-23 over to Twisp, while most of the other gliders followed on the road. It turned out to be a very good decision.

The aero-tow over the mountains went smoothly up to Lake Chelan when increasing convection made controlling the L-23 more labor intensive. After releasing about 15 miles short of Twisp in good lift, Fred was able to explore the area north of Twisp with cloud bases of over 12000 ft; this included surveying the little airfield of Lost River which is the safe haven for flying in the Northeast Cascades (otherwise known as the Pasayten Wilderness).

Lost River from the L-23

These were probably the best conditions in the state and they were getting even better for the next few days. On the next day cloud bases went above 13,000 ft and the L-23 stayed up for almost 4 hours and Brad set a new Twisp record with 455 OLC points exploring the whole area between Pateros on the Columbia and the Canadian border. And on Thursday the G103 made a 5 hour flight traversing the Pasayten Wilderness back and forth at up to 14,000 ft and ended up with 460 OLC points - best in the state for the day (and best two-seater flight so far this year in Region 8). This was the high point of the camp as the weather slowly deteriorated and the G103 was down for a day with tail wheel and main gear door problems. Sunday July 16 was a wild day with thunderstorms and hail showers; Ron Clark ended up in Brewster and Paul and Frank made it to Mansfield - to be greeted by a bunch of paraglider pilots having taken refuge there as well. And so the encampment ended on Monday (July 16) with Phil Andersen aero-towing Frank Scarabino in the L-23 back to Arlington and the rest coming back on the road.

Altogether it was a very successful outing enabling quite a few newer pilots to experience mountain flying in various and varied conditions and confirming Twisp (again) as a major XC site. And once again the Twisp aviation community was surprising everybody with their hospitality and their friendly assistance, including a sumptuous dinner on Tuesday (July 10). There was always a container with cold water available, which was much appreciated as the temperatures reached 100 degrees on several days.

Here are the participants (some only part time):

Students and new pilots:

Tom Flandro , Mason Killibrew, Terence Simons, Phil Decker, Hugh Davies


Paul Adriance, Frank Scarabino and -

Terence Simons (who was officially "activated" as Evergreen instructor).

Private pilots:

Ron Clark, Brad Hill, Travis Brown, Fred Hermanspann

Tow pilots:

Bruce Byrkett, Duane Barr, Phil Andersen

The whole encampment would not have worked out that well if it had not been for some special efforts by some members. Here is a (somewhat incomplete) list:

Fred Weir - coming out to Darrington twice to repair the L-23 tail wheel mounting.

Paul Adriance. - for instructing, organizing and working on the G103.

Brad Hill - for his fiberglass work on the G103 gear door.

Ron Clark - for finally changing the obstinate fuel filter

Terence Simons - for hauling all the accessories to Darrington, then to Twisp and then back to AWO.

The encampment was enjoyed by everybody. It was a little bit of adventure, some exposure to new territory and a lot of improvisation to keep the operation going. More Evergreen members got experience with rigging and de-rigging the G103 and the L-33 and if we ever find the key to the electric golf cart again we can call the 2012 Evergreen encampment a full success!