Yet Another (!) U.S. Record Wave Flight by Boettger and Bennett

Well, they've gone and done it again! The Dynamic Duo, a.k.a., Gordon Boettger and Hugh Bennett, drove Hugh's Duo Discus 2,200 km (1,366 miles) to set yet another U.S. distance record on Wednesday, April 20th. This is the third record set by the indefatigable pair in the past two months and, at this writing, the longest distance flight in the world posted to the 2011 OLC . The pilots will submit a claim for the U.S. Multiplace Distance Around Three (pre-declared) Turnpoints record.

While we don't yet have the full story, Doug Armstrong, another well-known  soaring pilot and professional atmospheric scientist from Nevada, provided updates throughout the day on Wednesday as Gordon and Hugh were zipping through the upper troposphere. Doug also provided a few photos and weather charts to show how good the wave activity was on Wednesday.

Back in February, Soaring Café interviewed Gordon and Hugh about their first two 2011 record flights. Your tireless editors have been trying to get the entire edited interview readied for publication on the Café as either a podcast or in some audio format compatible with our Web site , and we're almost there. In the interview, Gordon and Hugh talk at some length about how they prepare for these long high altitude flights, the modifications they've made to Hugh's Duo Discus, and their plans for much longer flights. I believe you'll enjoy hearing directly from these Masters of the Wave as they tell their story first hand. Stay tuned for "The Rest of the Story"--coming soon!

Here's the transcript of Doug's periodic updates on Wednesday:

6:12 AM PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)

"Sierra-Minden Wave...

Today...before sunrise...progs and sat pics showing less favorable downwind attempt...backup looking like big yoyo
strong jetstream continues due east but 700 mb vertical velocity not bouncing harmonics downwind thru central COLORADO...weather radar shows increasing showers along west slope of Sierra...southwest of SLC and small patch north central COLO
...small low pressure developing southwest TX merging with flow across central COLO...stay tuned...

7:03 AM PDT

"Sierra-Minden Wave...updt

Today...Gordo converting to yoyo along Sierra...(ELY skewt to moist layers)...Gordo climbing thru FL 200 at 6-8 kts over Job's peak...see attached...web cam from DRI...1st sat pic after sunrise...you can follow Gordo & Hugh's flight

see SPOT websites..."

 

Webcam photo taken at Reno, NV at 6:44 AM PDT

 

 

Satellite View of Cloud Cover over Western U.S. on 20 April 2011

700 mb Vertical Velocity Chart on 20 April 2011

9:29 AM PDT

Sierra-Minden Wave...updt #2

Today...Gordo  & Hugh tip-toeing past soft Owens lake...could easily make Tehachapi...(using sat pics & 700 mb vvel for this flight)...plan big twist late afternoon Spring off Sierra yoyo...stay tuned...
9:45 AM PDT
Sierra-Minden Wave...updt #3
Today...Gordo & Hugh tip-toeing past soft Owens lake...made 1st turnpoint west of Inyokern...af FL 220 spotty around Owens dry lake winds 240@70 kts...heading north ground speed picked up to 150 kts...stay tuned...
11:50 AM PDT
Sierra-Minden Wave...updt #4
Today...Gordo  & Hugh got pounded/thrashed going by Mono lake...now west of Lucky Boy pass at FL 210 climbing at 6 kts...(Mono lake and Topaz valley "blue holes" with strong spill over/downwash back south
...stay tuned...

1:48 PM PDT

Sierra-Minden Wave...updt #5

Today...Gordo  & Hugh full throttle across Honey lake...markers drying up central Sierra...plenty of daylight left...
via sat phone...Gordo reports made 2nd turnpoint of SVE at 1315 pdt already back to Herlong at FL 240...plan next turn near Inyokern...plan big twist late afternoon Spring off Sierra yoyo perhaps WMC (trying not to put all eggs in
one basket just yet)...stay tuned...(got Minden wave window closed confirmed by sweetheart Victoria)...got to text message Gordo...Bishop-Owens valley wave markers reblooming like May flowers)...!!

3:41 PM PDT

Sierra-Minden Wave...updt #6

Today...via sat phone...Gordo  & Hugh cruising down Owens valley...at FL 230 with 10 kts lift and awesome lennies...
per text message...plan east of Mono lake...west of Fallon...east Pyramid lake to near Empire...then deflect/twist NE to McDermitt...I'll pass on to chief retriever...Rick Walters...ENJOY...!!

4:31 PM PDT

Sierra-Minden Wave...updt #7

Today...via sat phone...Gordo  & Hugh cruising up Owens valley...with awesome lennies...
per text message...plan east of Mono lake...west of Fallon...east Pyramid lake to near Empire...then deflect/twist NE to McDermitt...I'll pass on to chief retriever...Rick Walters...ENJOY...!!...(Rick reports large BLUE HOLE vicinity Silver Springs I'll pass to guys...get high...stay high)...

6:44 PM PDT

Today...via sat phone...Gordo & Hugh southeast of Silver Springs near Wabuska "milking it" at FL 203...

plan on computer for Orvada (149 mi) provided enuf milk...it's about half way between McDermitt and

Winnemucca...a team effort Rick proceeding to Lovelock)...weather getting ragged with showers west...!!

7:33 PM PDT

Today...via sat phone...Gordo & Hugh heading for Winnemucca running out of milk...Rick Walters on I-80 70 mi south will be there around time they land...Michael Mitton calculates prelim distance at little over 2000 km...CONGRATS on a great flight...(Mike Alger...this will be another record...no one Hugh's age has ever had a sailplane flight of this distance)...!!

After Landing

Waveseekers rejoice...

Feedback...CONGRATS...Gordo & Hugh moved to the top of the world in OLC-2011 with a fantastic northern hemspheric record soaring flight of 2200 km (1367 mi) avg speed 103 mph for flight of 13 hrs 20 mins...max altitude

FL 280...landing in dusk at Winnemucca...taking incredible pics...(special thanks to Rick Walters for a pro style retrieve)...also to Chukar in a Sparrowhawk for a nice 300 km O&R in 2 hours 4 mins for 95 mph...nice job

(Minden's flight is the buzz going around the world)...many folks enjoyed the flight...!!

Today...not much flying with restrictions by Air Force 1 in the Reno area...some local rotor...wavelets/wave due to
significant speed shear aloft at FL 150-200...(bet the President's 747 felt that)...some ragged harmonics across
northern NV...!!

Epilogue:

"...this soaring flight was followed by soaring folks around the world
...at least in the northern hemisphere...Minden, NV remains the center of our soaring world...Gordo & Hugh had a
marvelous flight...they're developing a following of "armchair soaring pilots"...I try to connect them to the flight in
progress...fun stuff...you should see Gordo's pics...!!"

  8 comments for “Yet Another (!) U.S. Record Wave Flight by Boettger and Bennett

  1. April 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    awesome! Ought to be good for the open multiplace free 3 turnpoint national record as well. good job guys!

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