Having failed miserably in my original attempt to solicit local knowledge input via direct appeal to the Minden crowd and the contest organizers, I have included the entire contents of my September 2013 Minden Nevada Airport review below, updated as appropriate with the most recent Google Earth images. Note that although I reviewed every airport/airstrip in the Minden database, I have only included here the ones that I personally thought 'problematic' in some way. If you look at this, and have *any* information to add about a particular airport/airstrip, please let me know and I'll update this review as applicable. You can add comments to this post, email me, snailmail me (does anyone remember how to do that?) call me at 614 594-2078 (office) or 614 539 3316 (home), strap a note to the leg of a homing pigeon (wait - that won't work!), or anything else and I'll be happy to add the information to the review.
September 2013 Minden Google Earth Airport Review
Frank Paynter (TA)
In preparation for the 2014 18 meter national contest at Minden, I conducted a Google Earth review of all the airports in the Minden waypoint database dated 15 May, 2012. For each airport in the database, I wanted to know:
- Did it still exist?
- Was it wide enough for my 18 meter (61 ft) glider?
- Was it where the database said it was?
If the answer to all three of the above questions was ‘Yes’, then I went no further – I simply went on to the next airport. If the answer to any of them was ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’, then I grabbed some screenshots and included them in this review, in the hopes that some other pilot could provide some additional information based on personal knowledge. This report includes ONLY those airports/airstrips where there are ‘problems’ or ‘issues’. If an airport or airstrip isn’t treated here, it means that I saw an airstrip at the advertised location, and I thought I could land my 18m glider there without any major issues.
If you have any additional positive or negative information about an airport/airstrip in the Minden waypoint database, especially one in this report, please contact me at ‘email@example.com’.
Frank Paynter (TA)
Bailey Ranch: Imagery date 6/4/2011
Barker Creek Ranch Airstrip: Imagery date 4/19/2013
Bear Valley Airstrip: Imagery date 8/2/2013
Black Rock (Burning Man) Airstrip: Imagery date 4/9/2013
Brownsville Airstrip: Imagery date 5/2/2013
Darrow Field Airstrip: Imagery date 8/2/2013
Desert Creek Airstrip: Imagery date 8/2/2013
Empire Airstrip: Imagery date 6/2/2013
Fallon Southwest Airpark: Imagery date 8/2/2013
Gibb Ranch Airstrip: Imagery date 6/4/2013
H Bar H Airstrip: Imagery date 6/04/2013
Hudson Airstrip: Imagery date 8/30/2010
Justover Field Airstrip: Imagery date 6/4/2013
Lantana Ranch Airstrip: Imagery date 8/2/2013
Paiute Meadows Airstrip: Imagery date 6/2/2013
Parker Carson Airstrip: Imagery date 6/14/2011
Soldier Meadow 2 Airstrip: Imagery date 6/2/2013
Spaulding Airstrip: Imagery date 7/10/2012
Swanson Ranch Airstrip: 8/30/2010
Totem Pole Ranch Airstrip: Imagery date 4/9/2013
Wine Glass Ranch Airstrip: Imagery date 8/9/2013
Youngberg Ranch: Imagery date 6/4/2013
If you have gotten this far, I'll share my overall impressions with you.
- Basically all of the outlanding strips in this review are way too narrow for an 18m ship, and you are going to overhang the sagebrush on both sides as you touch down. If you can clear the sagebrush, no problem (at least until one wing comes down); otherwise, you are going to be SOL :-(.
- I'm *real* happy that my current ride is a Ventus 2c and not an ASG-29, as I believe that gives me another couple of feet of ground clearance, especially out at the tips. Just based on my memory, I think my outer panels are about 4' off the ground at their root ends, and probably about 5' at the tips. That could make all the difference at many of these outlanding airstrips. I plan to actually measure this the next time I assemble (which could be sometime in June if this damned snow doesn't stop!!!)
- My original plan was to eliminate all 'problematic' airstrips from my personal database, but I don't think that's realistic in a soaring area where the problematic airstrips outnumber the good ones. So, Plan B is to remove the really bad ones (Youngberg leaps to mind), especially the ones where a good airport is nearby. Then, I plan to recode the rest of the 'problem children' as 'L' (Landable), so they'll show up differently on ClearNav and SN10. This trick may or may not work on your particular nav system, so you'd best check ;-). Then I plan to work real hard at staying within glide range of 'A' (Airport)-coded waypoints - accepting deviations or other tactical inefficiencies as necessary. From unfortunate personal experience, I know what can happen in tiger country when the wheels come off!
- If you are a flatland pilot like me, then it might be a real good idea to call the folks at Soaring Nv and arrange for some dual XC time. I can say this safely now, because I already have confirmed reservations for 3 days of dual XC before the official practice period begins ;-)))).