Posted by: quienessupa | August 11, 2011

Zapata World Record Encampment (WRE) 2011- Parte Dos


Above:  I’m south of (or upwind) of our home at the Zapata Airport.  Across the Lake/River is Mexico.

I had used SeeYou to draw up a 265 mile FAI triangle in hopes of flying the biggest triangle ever (previous record is 250 miles).  It was more than a long shot but there wasn’t any fruit in sitting around.  However, after spending 3 hours to cover 32 miles, my gumption called a mutiny and I limped home.  Look at the drift on the thermals below: 

Laredo and Back

Below:  Stalwart of the WRE and friend Pete Lehmann let his knee have an affair with the runway.  Needless to say it was short and dirty and needed antibiotics as the bone made contact. Pete kept a great blog of the WRE here:


Weak links were going like hotcakes so we doubled them up.  On my Atos, I had my only break right as one hand let go of the cart so I held on like crazy to the other side and skidded to a stop. 


Above:  Neighbors’ truck at the Lakefront Lodge.

As much as I didn’t like it, a few of the yanks between me and the Dragonfly (tow plane) were like an accidental wheelie on a dirt bike (2 stroke) and would have broken the single links for sure.


Above:  Falcon Lake view from 72 degrees

Below: We have Lift-OFF!!!


Below:  Flights laid out over Google Earth

GE WRE2011 flights

I had a sketchy moment at 184 miles out when I got into some sinky air over no-mans land.  I was down to 1100 AGL and having to make tough decisions fast.  With the 110 degree moonscape, cactus, mesquite, rocks, and no clean air below, I didn’t see many good ways to land safely.  Below show’s it well on Google Earth.  No Roads… That’s just a river bottom.  Would have ruined several days flying to land here.



Above:  I drew a 5 mile line from the Airport to represent the Airspace boundary and illustrate just how close I got to it.  On record attempts, an airspace violation would void any ratification.  On this flight, I was able to stay with a great cloudstreet because my 6030 map screen showed me exactly where I was in relation to the Laredo Airport airspace cylinder.  Otherwise, I would have had to leave the street WAY before this and cross a fairly large blue gap to the next street.  Fantastic. 

One thing that I don’t regret, but with hindsight would do different is I would have tried for a new personal best on the 270, 245, or even the 187 mile flight.  It would have ruined the following potential record day but hindsight is 20/20 afterall and 340-360 was definitely possible.  Oh well.  No regrets.

Trip Highlights:

-Eduardo’s story of handcuffs (I have video)

-Over-running airtime on many flights. PURE MAGIC  I had one 7 mile glide around 10:30am that ended 400ft higher than it started!!

OverRunning wSailplaneGary

-2 days in a row getting 15% ahead of 438 mile pace by 1pm.  (Until the most oppressive High Press Airmass made it hard to even soar)

-Belinda’s Key Lime Gin and Tonic’s at the spiffy new OzReport HQ.

-Learning about bird species, navigation, and the 4 agreements from my driver David McElroy

-Gary’s unsinkable outlook.  The ultimate “make it happen” guy.

Zapata 2011

Flights:  6  (I might have misplaced some)

Airtime:  35 Hours

XC:  965 Miles

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