Explanations of the tools below and more weather info
El Paso National Weather Service - start here!
Meso West Region (Current conditions at stations in the SW)
Santa Teresa NWS (current conditions)
Anapra Mesa (current conditions)
SPC Balloon Soundings (every 12 hours)
UoW Balloon Soundings - usually available before the SPC soundings 72364
OP40 balloon soundings forecast
NWS hourly graphical forecast - temp, winds, & gusting at the surface
NOAA Satellite image of clouds over west Texas - NM
National forecast of fronts, pressure & weather - easy to read
Soaring Forecasts - (go here for the thermal index)
ADDS - wind & temp forecasts at various altitudes
Wind Map - animated map of winds and other data over the surface of the world.
Wind History Map - actual vs. forecasts
All training is 100% dependent on weather conditions. Before coming out, check your email and the web site to be sure training is not canceled. If something comes up, we will attempt to contact scheduled pilots. We are at sod farm #4 at 9AM and 3PM unless otherwise specified. Pilots can always arrive earlier than the scheduled times to setup and practice kiting. Contact us to schedule.
Check out our featured video and introduction to paragliding from the National Geographic website.
Today we had a brief break from the deluge of rain, storms, tornados and the like. There was some sun. However, the winds 1,000' off the ground were in the upper 20's so there was some shear turbulence. Other than these issues, flying in the foothills of the Ozarks is beautiful.
The EFD was a bit soggy this year but it was great to see host Britton
Shaw and other friends from across the U.S. Folks in far West Texas
have little idea what it's like to have rain continue day after day for
weeks. Thankfully, the days prior to Friday were clear most of the
time so pilots who arrived early got some good flying in around the
beautiful Ft. Smith area. Saturday AM was the last time we could fly
with marginal conditions because of high winds. Sunday was to be a
100% chance of rain so Britton called the event and we all went somewhere.
This photo gives a good idea of how soggy things are in this part of the world. Like Southwest Airsports, Britton and River Valley Powered Paragliding uses a sod farm to safely train pilots. This one is particularly large - about a square mile.
Bob Peloquin & Chad Bastian of Miniplane-USA. Bob is a fantastic paramotor mechanic. He and I are always comparing notes and how to fix the bugs in the Italian engines. We have seen some really interesting things come out of the factories. These guys came all the way from Santa Barbara, CA to show off Ozone's and Miniplane's latest products including the new Minari engine to everyone at the EFD.
The swollen Arkansas River just upstream of Ft. Smith, AR. I hesitated getting too close to water with high winds aloft -- you can't be too careful!
NWS radar image showing a "couplet" -- the birthplace of tornados. This image was taken at about 11PM. The radar is located at the blue square (KINX) near Tulsa, Oklahoma. The blue crosshair at about 4 o'clock from the radar is Tahlequah, OK and is about 70 miles from the radar site. The red is air going away from the radar and green is going towards it. The brighter the color, the higher the wind speed. There is radar noise and scatter in the image. From the image, the winds are generally easterly but there is a strong wind also coming from the north. THIS IS ALL TWITCHY AIR. The blue crosshair is my location and I am within a dark red trapezoid that outlines the area which may experience A tornado (OH JOY!). Just to the right of the blue crosshair is a small red circle (my doing) which shows the "couplet". A couplet is a small area where the winds are distinctly rotating, as here. In this small area of a mile or two, the bright green and bright red can be seen adjacent to each other. The winds are rotating counter-clockwise at around 50 mph. I was watching this live and it was rather unsettling to have this monster forming in the dark atmosphere just a few miles from where I was staying in my RV. The couplet was moving NNE which determines the shape of the trapezoid. This was my first time to have been within a tornado warning area. These are things we desert dwellers rarely experience.... We hope next year will be a drier one!
Juan de Oñate was a Spanish Conquistador who crossed the Rio Grande on April 30, 1598 and claimed all the territory to the north for the Spanish Empire. On assignment from Capstone Productions, I (Had Robinson) flew along the river near downtown El Paso, TX and Cd. Juarez, Eto. Chih. to take video and photos of the approximate location of this historic event. The photo below was taken from a spot about 300' above Boulevard Ing. Bernardo Norzagaray, Cd. Juarez. The tan pillar in the distance marks the spot of the crossing on the Mexican side. The Hacienda Restaurant marks the crossing on the U.S. side. In the far distance (northwest) is Mt. Cristo Rey. The winds were relatively calm today in the morning.
Pilots Tom Bird (PPG) and Max Bennett (PPG) along with student pilot Jason Tilley (PG & PPG) enjoyed the clear, warm air of the last few days (May 2nd excepted) out at the sod farms. Jason worked on his landing approaches, something that can only be learned by repetition. By May 1st (Friday) Jason was able to make his first flight in a paramotor, discovering the freedom of launching, landing, and flying where one wants to.
Max Bennett preparing to launch his powered paraglider.
Jason flying up and away from the sod farm. He launched under tow with his paramotor off then released from tow at altitude. Then he started his motor and flew away -- his first flight under power. This is how new pilots can safely launch with a paramotor and not have to be concerned with a running engine inches behind them
Tom flying along at sunset. View is west with the E. Potrillo Mountains in the distance. The air at this time is completely smooth and soft -- a delight to fly in.
Tom landing just at the last bit of daylight. The big white dot to his left is the moon. The smaller white dot just below his right foot is his strobe light, a required item when flying in twilight. The air was perfect that evening at the sod farms. Because of the camera, it looks darker than it was.