Explanations of the tools below and more weather info
El Paso National Weather Service - start here!
Meso West Region (Current conditions at stations in our region)
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 over the surface of the U.S.
Wind History Map - actual vs. forecasts
We can train Friday ONLY. From March 7 - 11 there will be no training as I (Had Robinson) will be in Big Bend National Park. 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 will be 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 and inflations. Contact us to schedule.
Anapra may work today or tomorrow. Please check with us.
No training March 7 - 11
The forecasts all said today was going to be rough! The Jet was overhead, winds were northwest off the surface, and we all thought it was not going to be fun. One of our newer pilots in the area, Jeff Sanchez (Las Cruces) was hiking around the Franklins and, at around 10AM, he reported winds at the top of N. Mt. Franklin around 30 mph. It is dangerous to fly in winds anything close to that speed near the terrain. There was one blip, however: Jeff made the hike to Agave a few hours later and reported wind were around 10 out of the west. I thought, "He is seeing thermal blocking of the high winds out in front." -- or something like that.
Despite the forecasts, pilots Lee Boone, Jeff, and I (Had Robinson) met at the Park (Tom Mays Unit) mid-afternoon to give some flying demonstrations for a videographer crew from the State Parks & Wildlife out of Austin.
Lining up to launch at Agave Hill. I think this is the first time since the site was opened that there was a line of pilots waiting to launch. If other pilots within 500 miles had known that the air was going to be sooooo good they would have flocked to the Park to fly. Safety for the public, preserving the Park's abundant resources, and safety for the pilots are our top priorities. Jeff is first in line, then Lee, and then myself. The figure to the left is Jeff (our second “Jeff” that day) of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department who is taking video footage of what we paragliders do.
As it turned out, we had winds to die
for in the Franklins all afternoon! Pilot Lee Boone reported
that the air in front of the Franklins was some of the smoothest air he had
ever flown in the Park. Launching around 4:30PM, all three pilots got
away from launch. Lee and Jeff both were able to
bench up the Triangle. I launched last and the window was just
closing for getting in thermals and air strong enough to make it across Deep
Sink Canyon. I had to go out front near the access road and safely
Instead of riding the air to 10K' MSL, Lee and Jeff had to come back down in order to complete the demo for video crew. It was hard for them to give up the fabulous air and come down! As it was, we were loaded with microphones and cameras which made flying more difficult. The video experts were able to get a lot of footage launching, in flight, and landing. They even had drone in the air to catch more video. We were able to numerous flights from Agave thanks to a Park volunteer, Robert, who drove us to launch in his Jeep Cherokee. Accompanying us for video shoot were Abe Moore, his assistant Jeff, and Park Ranger, Adrianna Weickhardt. It was a team effort to get the video completed and have so many flights. Here is a short video of some of the launches and landings and including the first (I think) footage of the "cactus dance" which is when a pilot must push brush out of the way with his feet while landing or launching. The alternative is getting whacked front and center by whatever it is....
Lee Boone setting up to go off the hill. It sounds cool but we never "jump off a perfectly good cliff". We make our way to the face and then gently get lifted off or we might run off if the air is dead. We never jump!
Jeff moves to the edge of the hill.
It was an outstanding day for everyone! We were all soooo glad that we took the time off to fly Agave Hill in Franklin Mountains State Park.
Max Bennett, Tom Bird, Daniel Rivera, and I (Had Robinson) took the afternoon off to enjoy the serenity and vastness of the western slopes of the East Potrillo Mountains. As is often the case, we could not foot launch because of the southerly winds and overcast skies so it was PPG only. Better to fly PPG than not fly at all.
Max Bennett preparing to launch near the southern tip of the E. Potrillo Mountains. This launch/LZ is the only patch of desert in the area that is not covered with brush.
We are all in the air flying west from launch near the southern tip of the E. Potrillo Mountains. In the distance (about 10 miles away) are the West Potrillo Mountains.
Mt Cox, Mt No-Name, and Mt Riley. These mountains are fun to soar when there is more sun. View is north. This area is now a National Monument.
Pereira was our last stop before taking off for home. Compared to other cities in south of the border, it is cleaner and more organized. The photo here is of the city square viewed from our hotel. There was a lot of rain that day.
Los Tanques is the best launch site in the Cauca River Valley. It has the best bail LZ and is not subject to the quirky wind conditions that dogs the Pico launch area nor the crazy bail LZ at Ansermanuevo. Pilots flying this site must watch out for turbulence to the left of launch due to the fact that the valley winds are south and the launch faces east with a mountain that is just northeast of launch. This causes some mechanical turbulence to the left and in front of launch.
Los Tanques - the bail LZ is the long green strip dead center in the photo on the other side of the road. It is a private area but the owner is a pilot and lets us use it.
Flying near cloudbase at Los Tanques
We had to wait for the clouds to clear away the next day at Los Tanques.
View of the Los Tanques launch from the bail LZ.