Post your flying stories and flight reports here. Make sure to attach pictures if you got em!

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By Sford
Dean Miller and I conspired to get a few of us off the ground last Sunday at Williams during a little dry slot in the monsoon pattern..... The morning forecast data indicated a launch time of between 1 and 2 pm from lower launch with W surface winds forecast to trend toward valley flow (NW) dominated after that (great landing direction BTW). Ken Grubs and Tim Seeling showed up - that put 80 years of collective knowledge on the hill in one shot. Matt Wentz too. The relatively new guys were Mark Henline, who returned to the sport a couple of years ago, and Dave Graham who is a new H3 with many hours (including hrs at Jackson Hole off the ski area launch.) Charles joined in too - another long time pilot and a transplant from FLA last season.

Our timing was perfect. Dean was off first at 1:05 and was at cloudbase (15K) in 10 minutes. KG was next, followed by, Mark, me, Matt, Dave, Charles, and Tim. Peak reported lift rate was 2200 by Dean and I saw 1800. Above 13.5K there was some cloud suck evident but it wasn't the scary kind..... Dave had an awesome low save 1/2 way to the postage stamp LZ not long after launch: he went from about 8800 to CB in 7 minutes!

Some of the traditional triangle points were explored over the next 1-2 hours and all landed when they wanted too..... by that I mean that folks ended their flights by choice and picked their landing cycles with style to avoid trying to land when 1500 ft/min up was ripping through the LZ :>

Fun day with old and new friends. It was classic midday Williams during the Summer! But XC not a good idea with threat of OD 20 miles to the East.....

'next good mtn day in CO may materialize sometime between evening of 19 Aug and evening of 23 Aug. Right now I'm betting on 21/22 Aug but all depends on how fast the approaching PAC NW trough pushes across WY (and pushes monsoon plume to SE as a result). 'could set up quite nicely!


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By Eteamjack
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By red
Eteamjack wrote:Williams?
'WAY to go !! . . . Fine flying, and a great landing strategy. :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_ ... olorado%29

This peak has a good potential for wave action, and sometimes you may have to fly a dozen miles or more to find a hole, to get down. The low launch can give you a flight under the wave, especially if late in the day. Bring oxygen, a fast glider, and a true local that knows the place.

Here I go, from the Williams Peak upper launch:
Seagull 4, stirrup harness, about one year before the HG reserve parachute was invented. :crazy: 8)
This was back in the day when sex was safe, and HG was dangerous. :lol:


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By Sford
Red's image of upper launch is awesome! He probably flew it with Coyne, Slotcar, Stan, TS and a bunch of the first pilots there! I have always enjoyed Coyne's stories of the site and Ian Huss once told me that If I could learn to fly Williams I could fly anywhere.

The Williams Fork range between Kremmling and Silvrthorne, CO. HWY9 is the route to get to the BLM and then NFS road to launch. LZ (8K MSL) is next to Green Mtn Reservoir and just north of Cow Creek campground. Upper Launch is at 10.2K MSL and faces SW. Lower launch is actually more reliable West facing and is at 9.3K MSL. Many kinds of mountain flying conditions can occur at the site, including low level wave off the upwind (and higher) Gore Range as Red mentioned. More typically we are flying convection in lighter wind and a late day windy glass from Lower launch is a favorite. Upper launch on a HP light winds aloft day produces spectacular valley tour flights but launch timing is critical in that the winds at launch will eventually be driven by valley flow to the Divide and 90 cross from the right will take over.

The first flight crossing the Continental Divide from West to East was by Brad Koji off Williams. Distance record (1980's) is by Stan Newenkoski (sp?) flying south to Crestone CO from Williams. One of my personal best XC flights was there, 50 mile circuit of Williams Fork and return via the Gore Range.

'many happy flying days for me there since the early 1990's !

See RMHPA website site guide for more info. Fall in the high mountains here is often the best time to fly. Williams is an exceptional site during the Fall.

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By HangDiver
Photos from the September 2014 Issue....
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By Sford
That was a fun day Rich! We're gonna have more : >

'Luv the Fall fly'n in CO!

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By mbadley
Here's my pic from there! Flying a K2 then.

I always thought flying over that spine out front was like going over a dinosaur sleeping in the dirt. Looooonng way out to the LZ, though!

I remember that day very well because behind launch we almost set the forest on fire roasting hot dogs. I spilled some white gas on some sticks, but forgot to put the cap on when I set it down. The fire went up the fumes and got the can! We stomped around like Indians doing a rain dance for 5 minutes getting the flames out. Fortunately for the monsoonal Rockies, everything was kind of damp up there and it didn't get away from us. The Sierras would have been a different story....
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By Sford
Hey Mike, was that the same year that you flew Mt Zion in Golden and did your final under the old power lines? I still tell the pilots new to that site the story of your landing when they tell me the LZ looks small : >

If the monster El Niño starts dropping rain in Nor Cal this Fall, and we are dry, come on out!

By Danglejumper
I think of Williams Peak as Colorado's finest site. Incredible scenery, even by Colorado's standards, and suitable for advanced H2's as well as serious XC pilots, with the right conditions.

My best gain ever was from the 9300' launch, back in the 80's, when I climbed to 19,000msl. I didn't intend to, of course, and quit circling at 17K to race to the cloud's edge to find the sink, but gained another 2K before I got there! Cloudbase was likely at 20K (or higher) that day. Scary stuff! I didn't have my O2 system with me that day and ended up with tunnel vision for a few minutes until I descended to below 16K, and had a lingering headache as a result.

My worst blown launch was from the same launch when I tried to fly on a gusty south-wind day. Actually, my launch was fine, but immediately after, before I got fully into my harness I was hit with a strong gust (from the left) that stalled the glider and rolled me past vertical. I was extremely lucky in that I ended up crashing into the Aspen grove (the one you hike your gear through to get to the launch from the parking spot) and ending up on terra firma, completely inverted, and without even a scratch! The glider and I came to rest with me sitting on the trailing edge. The glider, however, suffered a broken keel, two broken leading edges, both downtubes, a couple of damaged wires, a torn sail, and many bent battens. If that Aspen grove had not been there...

I wiser pilot likely would have retired that glider and seriously considered retiring from the sport, but no. I repaired it and was flying again a few weeks later. Leading Edge did an excellent job repairing the sail and had all the tubing, etc. I needed to repair the airframe As I recall, however, I never again flew on the breezy/windy William's days, and made all my launches from the top, where I found it was a lot easier to read the conditions, and afforded more opportunities to get up on the light days.

BTW- that photo of the Dinosaur is SPECTACULAR!!!
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By mbadley
That probably was the same trip. I had flown Lookout before, but they had a different LZ which had been lost to housing development. On launch that day, no HG were there. A PG informed me that the 'new' LZ below the mountain had a windsock in it. So, when I got to where I thought it was - I looked at that postage stamp and said "Holy Cow!" I got to focusing very hard on how I was going to get in there - and THEN I noticed the power line at the back of the LZ! Actually I flew parallel to the road until I could clear the line OVER it, then dove for the ground and bled speed as much as possible to the end. On the flare - I stuck my foot out and pushed off the rail fence at the end of the field. After checking off one of my nine-lives, and walking back to break down - the PG guy landed and said "Whoah! Never seen a hangie land in this field before." I pointed out the windsock he was talking about when we were on launch - then he walked me through the woods to the next field over and Lo!, There in the middle of a HUGE field was a windsock. Never saw it from the air, I was so focused on that little field. We had a good laugh about it.

I think I heard later that they got the power line buried - so that could be a viable field if the set up was good.
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By Sford
Danglejumper: Yes, Williams lower in a SW is not usually a good proposition... 'had a couple of sporty launches there myself with cycles going cross from left! While upper launch is great, and I too have had many great soaring flights in lighter winds from the top, lower launch is more reliable when winds are westerly which is the case most often. A great condition to watch for is strong westerly winds overnight the night before and forecast to reduce over the course of the flying day.... With the sun aspect and the west wind trending down into the teens, assuming a dry sunny day, it is a given that Williams will glass and the launch to be on is lower. Launch times this time of year would be about 18:00 MDT. As we go into Fall, that time gets earlier.... Think a couple hours before sunset. That windy glass is a glorious flight and landing direction ends up being at least uphill parallel to the HWY or even up from the lake shore in cat flow.

The power lines in the LZ below Mt Zion are indeed down and that LZ is the primary now. Standard approach is straight up the fall line (due south) quartering away from the HWY to be square up hill... Round out occurs just SSW of where the little dirt road and HWY intersect, about 20 yards west of that intersection. When there is much north in it, there are a couple of other LZs that I prefer ( I'll show you some time). A mild tail uphill in the primary is OK but these others give an uphill into northy winds. Note that the launch is now in Jeffco Open Space.... As a result, we had to negotiate a user agreement with them..... As much as I and others tried to have only USHPA membership required, the Jeffco city attorney required RMHPA membership too as well as a Jeffco waiver to fly Mt Zion. We actually have a good relationship with Jeffco so it is working out. That little 900 ft hill can be a real gem, particularly during Spring. Koji flew to Trinidad from there in mid 90's; Dean Miller declared Monument and back and nearly made it landing near his home in west Littleton on the return (he di 80 of 100 miles!) last season. Jan Vogeli flew his PG to NE of Cheyenne this year, and actually crossed the Divide from East to West to land near Kremmling a few years ago.

With regard to Mt Zion, the RMHPA site guidelines will be updated to reflect sponsored H3 and drop H2 due to RLF landing sign off needed.... The highway construction will start in Oct and the LZ will be impacted......

WX here right now is very changing. 'still see a possible opportunity sometime during the Wed-Fri time frame.


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By mbadley
I picture that south approach exactly as described! It's funny how things get 'photo-burned' in your memory. I can still remember the feeling of diving for the ground and ground skimming the whole LZ thinking "I'm gonna hit that fence, I'm gonna hit that fence..." I was too chicken to try to go 'under' the power line. lol

I may be out that way soon as I have an aunt that has just been given notice of a terminal disease. Don't know if I will be driving or flying out. Anybody you know got a decent spare wing in the garage if I just bring gear? Currently on the larger T2 - but won't break my heart to fly something else.
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By Jason
Williams Lower with my wife

Williams flyby with Dean
with some stills here

and some more photos from the tandem with my wife and camping on launch cooking up a trout from the reservoir and a williams sunset
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By Sford
Yup Mike, I think I can find a wing for ya, likely a large U2.

Nice pics Jason! 'look forward to flying with you and Dean this Fall!


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