Author Archives: nathan

Texas Storms

A longer length video of the rain day. You can see what aerotow looks like and what a developing sky looks like. So far, when landing out in Texas, I have been blessed with meeting the nicest people. I love Texas.

Bad´╗┐ decisions often make the best videos ~ Chris D

Ready to fly another day

There are all kinds of nastiest and activity in the air that we cannot see, but storms, we can see. Play it safe and play another day.

Storm north of Austin later the same week shot from a 737

WRE 2012 – World Record Encampment

You can read up on the World Record Encampment at

I agreed to drive for Dustin Martin this week and sure enough, despite weekend rains, Tuesday was the day.

The plan was for me to go out from I-10. If he decked before Uvalde, then he would go back with others. Anything after Uvalde and I would be doing the retrieve.

On radio btween Junction and Sonora

I first got them on radio when I was 10 miles west of Kerrvile. I did not catch up with them until Sonora. The first time I had a visual was Eldorado.

When coming up on Sonora, I could hear Glen decking it south of I-10. I imagine he had a rough retrieve behind many locked gates.

I last saw them in the cloud street above the car.

Trusty chase vehicle - 42 mpg and a solid HG rack.

Dustin had been flying with Jonny Durand the whole flight so at Eldorado I asked if the really needed a 2nd chase at this point. I could tell that it may be competitive, but at this point, they weren’t going to leave a friend without a retrieve and they were too far out to make an attempt the following day.

So for a finish, they relieved me of my chase duties, flew 477 miles to Lubbock, and I got out of about 14 hrs of additional driving plus I got to see some beautiful parts of Texas under amazing skies.

Oh well, less driving and more beer for this guy!

The wind was absolutely howling when I left them. The clouds were streeted and thin. Jonny reported he was doing 30 mph while thermalling. When they went on glide, it was almost impossible to catch up.

This shot is west of Eldorado looking to the southeast. It was beautiful, but if you were on the ground, looking to tow or fly, no way – w i n d.

On the way back I stopped and took in a bit of the sinking sun.

God's Country

Texas Sky

People rave about Texas for XC and epic flying conditions. People tend to think we have great XC here 10 months out of the year. Truth is that it is more like 3-4 months tops.

XC conditions are finally here. Let’s go fly and let’s be SAFE.

Hand of God

I am comfortable operating from a visceral place with my preferred form of blindness – faith. ~ Me

Soaring pilots cannot see the air, but the air is like water – not always smooth. Sometimes, if we could see it, we wouldn’t get in it.

Sunday I was towing behind a trike when I saw it get slapped down by sinking air. All I knew was I wanted nothing to do with this parcel of air – I just wanted to land and the bigger the landing zone, the better.

I could have towed again but felt more like hugging my babies than flying. I went home and did just that.

Sweet Airtime

After a long time of not flying and an even longer time of just talking about flying, I got out for some aerotowing this past week.

It was my first aerotow since August 2010 and first to over 1000ft in 3 yrs.

On the 1st tow, I pinned off at 1700ft and flew up to cloud base at 4900ft. I jumped around from cloud to cloud for over 2 hours before deciding to land. A quick peek of what it looks like from cloud base. Nice and cool.

Dune Gooning – Quintana Texas

Mark had an itch to fly the dunes. He picked the perfect day and we joined the Order of the Pelican.

Mark went 1st. After landing at the bottom to change pilots, we learned it was quicker and easier to just top land, but top landing is tricky.

Never have I had flying where you are that intimate with the space between the ground and air. Launch from the basetube was sweet.

On my last flight, I aired it out the entire length of the dunes. Good times! Thanks Mark for making it happen. Thanks Joel for the loan of the F195.


Winter Spooling

I love being online. Payout towing is a great way to get some miles and a great way to get some landing practice.

After trying various techniques to maximize a tow in a limited amount of tow lane, I have come to a conclusion. Mountains are rare hard to find sites but so are tow lanes. You can try to maximize a tow on a short lane, but the easiest, simplest way to safely, consistently reach altitudes of +1500ft without circuit tows or weaklink breaking pressure is to find a long tow lane.

Hearne is 7000ft. I find this to be a perfect starting point. I have climbed out of shorter (1 mile) tow lanes like Wells Lane, but it is much more difficult. With a mile tow lane, I find it difficult to get over 1000ft.

In 2012, I plan on hitting some long tow lanes. There is a 2 mile lane near Corpus Christi, Big Spring is 8800ft, Hobbs close to 10,000ft. Ft Davis and Van Horn have several lanes in the multi-mile range.

Here is a look from the tow vehicle from earlier this year.