Twisp Expedition

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After a soarable spring and early summer, mellow and, unfortunately, stable weather takes over the Puget Sound. In attempt to break away from it, four pilots - Ron Clark, Brad Hill, Bill Ling and Movses Babayan, moved to Twisp for a few days for a chance to experience some of the stellar soaring conditions that Methow Valley has to offer. Phil Anderson has graciously provided towing in 17Z. 


The wildfire activity was down from what it was a couple of weeks ago, and the town of Twisp seemed to be back in its usual ways.
Sportsman Motel became the unofficial headquarters of the encampment - 3 of the 5 pilots stayed there; patio furniture scattered on the lawn in front of it made for a good place to unwind and "debrief" after a day of flying, once the day cooled off. The owner of the Sportsman, as well as many people at the airport, are well aware - and welcoming - of the soaring activity, largely due to evangelizing effort of Ron and Brad. 


They also provided much appreciated guidance and support to the newer pilots.

The expedition started on Tuesday, July 29th - four gliders were all rigged and ready to go, and cumulus clouds started popping around noon. After careful consideration of the firefighting related TFR in the vicinity of the airport, it was wheels-up time. Prevailing winds were out of the West, and the typical tow pattern was to take off "10" and make a 180 degree to clear the TFR.

Lift was abundant and presented no problems with connecting. The day was clear, and the North Cascades shined in their full rugged beauty. Ron, Brad and Movses made to the border, logging ~300km or longer flights, while Bill got a taste of mountain flying in his new to him DG-300.
twisp_air1-300x169.jpgNext day proved to be just as great - it was hazier from smoke, but lift was, perhaps, even stronger - Brad Hill and Movses Babayan reached altitudes over 17,000' MSL, while Ron Clark ventured far out East, almost to Idaho border, with 500km of overall distance.twisp_air2-300x169.jpg

Third day saw less activity, as few pilots had to pack up early, but still provided conditions for another ~300km flight by Ron.

Overall, between days filled with booming lift and rugged beauty of the peaks to the horizon, welcoming atmosphere of Twisp and good company, it was a very nice outing.



Images courtesy of Brad Hill