Labor Day weekend Sept 4-7! I’m copying and pasting the event here for our members who do not use Facebook. If there are any crucial updates, I’ll post them here! Pray for good weather and a high base!
Please join us in celebration of all the inspiring women in the free flight community! Men are welcome to join in on the celebration and festivities!
We will have everything you need for a weekend of fun in the air including:
-Easily downloadable daily tasks for beginner, intermediate, and advanced pilots (participation not required, just for fun!)
-A weekend long competition based on tasks completed, personal bests achieved, mentorship given/received, and great attitude!
-Retrieve drivers for XC oriented pilots (GPS mandatory, register in links below)
-Educational Weather Talk
-Tents provided for shade and relaxing
-Evening music and bonfires
-Food truck on site (TBD, likely White Water Wraps)
-Solar powered shower on site ($)
-Bathroom facilities on site
FAQs. If your question is not answered, shoot me a message!
IS THERE A REGISTRATION FEE?
We are asking for a small registration of $10 per person this year. Your fee will be used for the following: water, port a potties, shade tents, bonfire smores, and one night of beer/sodas. I do not wish to capitalize on this event in any way, it’s all for the fun of free flight and camaraderie! Just need a little help in providing some comforts for the long weekend! Payment can be sent to my Venmo or PayPal. I can also accept in person at the event. If you pay in person, please be sure to indicate you are coming so I can accurately forecast!
WHERE WILL I SLEEP
We have been graciously invited to sleep under the stars on legendary hang glider pilot Larry Smith’s 40 acres. Located right at the base of launch, you can not ask for a more convenient location! The land is 2WD accessible. Cars and RVs both welcome. If outdoor sleeping is not your thing, there is lodging located in Poncha Springs, about 20 minutes away.
HOW IS CELL RECEPTION
AT&T works pretty well at Larry’s place, but expect cell service to be spotty to non existent everywhere else. The Villa Grove Trade has good, free wifi and is located 10 minutes down the road if you need to grab a pick-me-up and use the internet.
WHERE CAN I FIND UPDATES
I will continue to post on this page leading up to and during the event. During the Fly In, a schedule will be posted up in the common area each day in case your cell does not work.
WHAT ARE THE FLYING CONDITIONS
Villa Grove is a high altitude mountain site. Launch is about 9,800ft ASL and landing about 8,000ft ASL.
Mornings begin about 9am and are suitable for all pilot levels. Local soaring or short XCs are possible. This is a great time for new pilots to practice thermalling! Conditions will quickly ramp up after 11:30am. Expect to be patient landing anytime after 11am. However, you can land almost anywhere between launch and New Mexico, so no reason not to have safe landings!
Middays are recommended for experienced P3s and P4s. Oxygen is recommended as big distance days often see pilots at 17,999 ft ASL. On a normal day it is not hard to get to 13-15k. Depending on wind, midday conditions could warrant only experienced H3 or H4. As this is the high desert, dust devils are frequent midday, take care landing and avoid scratching low.
Evenings are again suitable for all levels of pilot with the possibility of epic glass offs. It is recommended the pilots have practised rapid descent techniques in the event lift continues past sunset.
CAN I FLY MY MINI WING/SPEED WING
As the glide to the primary LZ is a 6:1, no mini or speed wings are recommended. You are likely to end up in large rocks and tall shrubs.
I’M NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE AREA, WILL THERE BE SITE INTROS
Yes, each day at 7:15am we will give a site intro to newcomers. At 7:30am, we will go over the weather debrief for the day. If in doubt, grab someone in a yellow vest, and we will be happy to answer your site questions.
HOW DO I DOWNLOAD THE DAILY TASKS
We will have a QR code for each task each day that pilots can scan and download directly into FlySkyHy. If you do not use FlySkyHy, waypoints will be posted on this facebook page.
HOW DOES THE COMPETITION WORK
It is my strong belief that we grow as pilots when we are having the most fun, so first and foremost this competition is about having FUN! I will keep a spreadsheet going tracking points, and I will gather points for one hour in the main tent each evening. That being said points will be awarded as follows:
-10 points per tasks completed (regardless of level)
-20 points each for personal bests achieved (honor system)
-5 points each time you make Larry’s LZ
-10 points for mentorship given/received (just let me know!)
HOW DO I GET TO LAUNCH
Launch is high clearance 4WD only. We will have vehicles going up to launch starting at 8am, weather permitting, $5/head. If you have a high clearance 4WD you would like to lend for the event, please contact me here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. To avoid traffic jams, please only ride up in designated vehicles.
If you wish to hike, you are welcome to. It’s about an 1,800ft gain from valley floor to launch.
If you would like to be retrieved by our drivers, GPS is mandatory. The San Luis Valley has very spotty to nonexistent cell service for many phone carriers. The potential for epic flying and epic retrievals is very real, so let’s all be safe and accounted for at the end of the day. We will download all GPS addresses so that communication can remain open between the driver coordinator, driver, and pilot. Please create an online profile on xctrack.me if you do not already have one and join the Rocky Mountain Swifts 2020 group.
Inreach/Spot Registration Here
XcTrack Page Here
I AM INTERESTED IN DRIVING, WHO SHOULD I CONTACT?
Please message me here or email email@example.com. Driving is a great way to make a little money and get first hand advice from experienced pilots!
I WOULD RATHER HITCHHIKE OR BRING MY OWN DRIVER.
No worries! Out of consideration for the event organizers, please still register your GPS and communicate your intentions when you land.
WHAT IS THERE TO EAT
We will have a food truck on site to cater to hungry pilots. Otherwise, there is the Villa Grove Trade and General Store that serves great breakfasts, hot beverages, sandwiches, soups, wraps, and bakery items for a fair price. The San Luis Valley is rather sparsely populated, so bring a cooler and stop at the grocery store in Poncha Springs for extra food and snacks!
WHAT ABOUT WATER
The Swifts care about the planet, and in an effort to reduce single use plastic, we will supply 10 gallon water jugs with which you can refill your water bottles, Camelbaks, dog bowls, pots, etc.
CAN I BRING MY DOG
Dogs are allowed provided they are well behaved and someone will be attending to them while you are flying. Please be mindful of promptly picking up after your dogs.
CAN I COME EVEN IF I DONT HAVE MY P2/H2 YET
We encourage it! While flying is restricted to rated pilots, aspiring pilots can take part in educational sessions, meet pilots from all over, and enjoy the evening entertainment. Driving is a great way to learn from experienced pilots, so contact me if interested!
WHAT ARE THE BAD WEATHER BACK UPS
If it is just looking like OD, we will host a spot landing competition. If it is totally blown out…
The San Luis Valley has mountain bike trails on Poncha Pass, numerous hiking trails, multiple hot springs, and is home to the Great Sand Dunes National Park (45 minutes away). The lovely town of Salida is about 30 minutes away and is home to a burgeoning arts district and river walk with plentiful restaurants. Depending on water levels, the Arkansas river accommodates white water rafters, SUPers, tubing, and play boaters. When in doubt, a cold drink on Larry’s spacious back porch is a magical place to watch a storm roll in.