Links to Soaring Photos

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Yosemite National Park

May 13, 2005: On this flight I flew from my home base at Hayward, CA to Tonopah, NV, midway between Reno and Las Vegas. My copilot was Simon Hackett, a Stemme owner from Australia, who took these pictures while we crossed the Sierras at Yosemite. The flight lasted 4.1 hours, required just 1 hour of engine time, and burned about 6 gallons of fuel. By car, the trip would have taken twice as long, used twice as much fuel (assuming the car got 30 mpg), and not been half as much fun.

March 30, 2001: These four photos do not show any landmarks, like Half Dome or El Capitan, but Yosemite gives a dramatic backdrop for pictures of my Stemme motor glider taken by my friend, John Morgan, from his own Stemme. There wasn't adequate lift to stay up without using the engine occasionally, but we found an area of weak lift a mile or two south of Yosemite Valley where we were able to retard our sink rate so that engine runs were short and infrequent.

July 17, 2002: This link recounts realizing one of my dreams, to truly soar over Yosemite Valley, and is accompanied by four photos. The text is longer than the others and you will have to read a few paragraphs or scroll down to get to the first picture. Previous flights over Yosemite Valley were like the one described immediately above, in which I used weak lift to lengthen the time between engine runs. Or, if when I arrived over the Valley I had more than enough altitude to safely glide to an airport to the west, I could tarry for as much as 10-20 minutes to enjoy the view but would then have to leave or turn on the engine. (A good rule in motor gliders is to fly as if the engine will fail to start, and therefore to always have a safe landing area within gliding distance whenever the engine is off.) But this day was different. I found mountain wave that took me from 12,000 feet to 17,000.

September 12, 2003: The first four photos show an area near Saddlebag Lake that many Yosemite hikers frequent, although the area is technically outside park boundaries. Saddlebag Lake is a few miles northeast of the entrance at the east end of the park in the high country. The last two photos were taken near Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake, respectively. Several maps depicting the flight are included. I needed three engine runs: one to launch out of Minden, a second to get to a cloud street that started near Kirkwood ski resort and ran down the Sierras to Yosemite, and a final run after crossing the Sierras, over the Central Valley, to gain enough altitude to glide to Hayward. Total flight time was 3.9 hours, with 0.6 engine hours, a great flight!


The Sierras South of Yosemite

July 30, 2004: The first five of these seven pictures were taken in the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area, formerly the Minarets Wilderness Area but renamed after Ansel Adams' death. This area is about five miles south of Mammoth Lakes ski area. The last two were taken further south, almost due west of Bishop, CA, in the John Muir Wilderness Area. The saw tooth ridges, high peaks, and glacial areas create a panorama that awes and inspires. This flight both originated and terminated at Hayward, California, lasted 6.5 hours, required 1.1 engine hours and burned about 7 gallons of fuel.


Lake Tahoe

October 10, 2001: This page has three pictures of Lake Tahoe.


Telluride, Colorado

June 2004 and 2002: The first four of these photos was taken on a solo soaring safari that I did in June 2002. The last three are from an earlier soaring safari with three other Stemmes two years earlier in June 2002.


The Grand Tetons and Meteor Crater

August 2002 and June 2004: The photo of Meteor Crater was taken on the same June 2004 soaring safari as the Telluride pictures above. The photo of the Grand Tetons is from an August 2002 trip.


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