I thought I'd share the story of a my wild ride yesterday. I volunteered to do two Angel Flight missions, dropping off a passenger on her way from Denver to Houston in Dalhart, Texas, and waiting there for two passengers returning to Denver from Dallas. It was windy in theses parts yesterday with Dalhart reporting 27 gusting to 35 knots when I landed, but pretty much down the runway.

The winds aloft had been pretty strong out of the southwest on the way down. I went down at 11500 and had continuous light chop all the way down, but we got a couple of moderate shots when I got too close to a rotar cloud. That's when I noticed a couple of lenticular clouds and wondered what were lenticulars and rotars doing 70 or 80 miles east of the mountains.

After lunch and three hours on the ground, my return passenger showed up. We got off the ground and I thought my climbout was less than I expected in my Super III about 100# below gross. I couldn't get above 8000 feet and, at times couldn't even hold 8000 feet. I thought I'd taken off with the tiedown block like the guy in Ireland. After about 30 miles of this we hit some lift. I towed and flew gliders for 15 years and had never seen lift this strong. I saw 1700 fpm (17 knots of lift for you soaring pilots) and was still at cruise speed. I, at that point, guessed that we were in a mountain wave and I had taken off in the sink in the downside of the wave. It was like that all the way back to Denver--big sink and big lift. I eventually got to 10500 and my apssenger never complained.

Both of the Angel Flights that I met in Dalhart were Cessna 310's and I think the pilots wondered what I was doing out there in a Musketeer.

Carl Link

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