Post by Beery Miller:
I've got some photos I have posted up on the <http://www.txwingnuts.com/> website that I took while on the way to Monument Valley from Houston, at Monument Valley, and some of the surrounding areas of Monument Valley.
Myself, I flew about 3 hours at Monument Valley. I had 4 flights, the first 3 averaged about 1 hour. The Sunday morning flight, Jeff Goin and Faith caught on video as I launched uphill towards the mesa, cleared the fence by about 3 feet,tried to make a left (eastern) turn, and then did not have enough power to climb from the sink due to some rotor and was dumped from about 5 feet at the edge of the road. Fortunately, the car stopped. Poor choice on my part to launch in the first place. That was Jeff Goin's first incident Sunday morning he referenced on
I caught some good video of Luke from Quebec and a couple of pilots out in the monuments, flipped the camera upside down to make it look like John Fetz had flipped his trike , two pilots attempting to launch at the same time and colliding on the ground, captured a bunch of other blooper performances,captured several instructional moments where pilots were transferring their wisdom to help others improve their skills, and other entertaining moments. I also went around and shot some video from various perspectives of the valley including one spot from a dry river bed, ten miles off the main road and after the "gravel" road ended. Myself, even though I didn't consume but 3 gallons of the 20 gallons of Avgas I took, the trip was well worth it. They call it God's Country. The ground perspective would have made it almost satisfying in of itself, however theflights above the monuments were the icing to the cake.
Monument Valley is a trip every pilot should make sometime in their lifetime. There were a number of pilots that didn't successfully launch on the trip as it is indeed an advanced launch site. I watch two pilots, one on Saturday nightand another Sunday morning take major sink at the end of the runway. Both walked away, one needing a new spark plug boot, the other needing a new cage. The potential for winds, thermals, rotors, the high altitude, ground hazards for launching, and terrain is not a place for an inexperienced pilot. Even though I have close to 1000 hours of flying in my 5 years, it did not prepare me. Not once was I able to successfully do a forward inflation as either the wing would catch on something or I didn't have the speed to keep the wing loaded. Coming from sea-level beach flying altitude to an LZ one mile high was part of the issue. Anyways, many thanks to Joe for arranging the event. It was great meeting old friends and meeting people behind their usernames like John Fetz, Lance, Brian, Delia, Ola, Faith, Luke, Ron Nolan, Stann, Jeff Goin,John Black, Jerry Kerr, Sky King, Mo, Sean, George, Joe, and so many others. Oh, and watch out if you ever play Texas Hold'm with Jerry, John, or SkyKing. They funded part of their trip from me.