Yesterday (21 miles) and the day before (17 miles) were those days when you go for it early and roll them dice… go all in… se la vie… caution to the wind. They’re still an adventure to me but it’s hot! It’s 100+ every day and out there in the wind, cactus, mesquite, all by my lonesome, it’s a reminder how small I am! Rich experience and a small price to pay for this Zapata newbie if you ask me.
Though yesterday wasn’t hundreds of miles, I landed with the feeling you have after your first cliff-hanger ride (6-flags). I had just drifted over sketchy LZ challenged land for 8 miles. It started at 650ft over the ground, but I had sunk to just 230ft and climbed 200ft above that before succumbing to terra firma. It was fantastic.
Then, luckily, for both of these retrieves, I’ve had gas field workers help us get through locked gates and show my Dad where I am. A land owner named Rick Walker personally helped us with some gates. He had flown his own helicopter into the airport to say hi to all us HG pilots at the beginning and has been loaning Russell his experimental airplane to commute in every day from the ranch he’s staying at. Pretty cool.
The Rino’s are working AMAZINGLY. Dad’s super sold on them as I don’t have to keep radio’ing my distance and bearing constantly because he just “polls” me and see’s my exact location on the Garmin map, which also instantly shows exact distance between us and direction to me. On the 302 mile flight last week, we had a max distance of 45 miles from which he could receive my coordinates like this! They say they have a max distance of 14 miles under perfect conditions. When I transmit coordinates to Dad, he almost always gets them 20-25 miles away. When the ground unit (dad) polls me, 15-20 miles seems to always work. Past these distances, we’ve seen some times they don’t make the distance depending on my altitude and his ground cover.