Santa Teresa, New Mexico – El Paso, Texas
Explanations of the tools below and more weather info
El Paso National Weather Service – start here!
NWS hourly graphical forecast – temp, winds, & gusting at the surface
Meso West Region (Current conditions at stations in the SW – view profile without logging in)
Santa Teresa NWS (current conditions)
SPC Balloon Soundings (every 12 hours)–
UoW Balloon Soundings – usually available before the SPC soundings 72364
Vorticity @ 500mb click the needed forecast
NOAA Satellite image of clouds over west Texas – NM
National forecast of fronts, pressure & weather – easy to read
Pivotal Weather – a new site from Oklahoma U.
Soaring Forecasts – (go here for the thermal index)
Windy – animated map of winds and other data over the surface of the world.
Wind History Map – actual vs. forecasts
Training week of June 18th - Winds look good this week.
All training is dependent on weather conditions. Before coming out, check your email, this web site, or text us to be sure training is not canceled or moved somewhere. Training times can vary because of weather or equipment issues. Pilots can always arrive earlier than the scheduled times to study the weather, setup, and practice kiting.
Videos: Let's go places (from Toyota),
Featured video and introduction to paragliding (from the National
Geographic), Fly like a bird (from USHPA),
Paragliding in Franklin Mountains State Park (from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Austin, Texas), learn pilot math
Nearly every country in the world promotes and loves adventure sports, like hang gliding and paragliding. Switzerland even put an image of a guy paragliding on their 50 Franc note. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has opened the doors of Texas parks to USHPA pilots. Other public land administrators in the U.S. should do the same.
We have been doing a lot of flying but it has been so busy that posting of events has been minimal. However, we had Jason Tilley visit us from Oklahoma City for a few days. Agave Hill and the Franklins in general are thermic only (not ridge soarable) and a great place to test one's knowledge of the characteristics of high desert flying. Jason was able to do some simple flights and get familiar with the LZ's and what makes Agave work.
When flying Agave, it is critical for safety to kite the glider overhead for a few seconds or more to be sure that it is stable before turning to go. If a pilot is unable to kite at launch, he should not fly the site. Steve Crye and yours truly had safe flights on Saturday, as well, that day.
Below, Jason preparing to go. With such a shallow slope and light winds (but strong thermals), it is important to provide as much speed moving forward as possible when doing a launch run.
View of the launch run from the bottom of the site area.
Conditions today in the Franklins were supreme. However, work and other responsibilities often get in the way of epic flying -- and they did, again. Steve Crye, Tyler Beattie (our visiting pilot from Austin), and yours truly took off after work and meetings to make the trek up to Agave Hill. But, alas, we needed to be there about 2 hours earlier to take advantage of the gentle thermals we had all day (due to the cloud cover).
Winds at 5:30PM were 7 mph and straight in at launch. Oh! If there were some thermals left, we would have climbed up the Triangle into heavenly bliss over the crest of the range. As it was, it was practice launching, landing, and a sledder. It was not thrilling but pleasant and gentle flights for all.
Tyler noted that our landscape is populated with plants covered with stickers, like the ocotillo. To land near them means: You land in anything, just be sure that you do a "cobra" deflation of the glider (perpendicular to the ground) and set it down in a clear sport. Otherwise, it can be 30 minutes picking it out of the bushes LoL.
A handsome glider about to take its passenger (Steve Crye) for a flight off the mountain.
It was getting late at launch.
Four pilots came out today in the PM: Tyler Beattie, Nicolas Sébastien, Tom Bird, and Oren Belkin. We were busy! This was Tyler's first experience in towing (he's just a P2). There has been only about 5 pilots in ten years who aced their first tow and Tyler was one of them. Yes, there is a certain amount of luck (the conditions Wednesday were laminar and smooth) but there is keeping the glider perpendicular to the tow line. This is the most important thing all tow pilots MUST do and he did it well the first tow. Congrats!
Sébastien and Tyler spent the late afternoon learning how to perfect their "big ears", spiral dives, and speed bar application. Sadly, Sébastien must return to southwest France (God's country when it comes to paragliding). We will miss him! Tom came by late to watch (he had just got out from w***). Oren came by later and launched his quad driven by his new Thor 250. Like all of the Polini Thor's, this monster engine is the quietest of engines in its class and why the Thor line is my favorite. Combine a Thor with a "C" class glider of the right size and it's as close as one can be to the peace of "free flight".
We were all having more fun than guys are allowed to have.
Tyler coming in for a landing. Sébastien is up next for a tow. It was unusual to be on "golf course" ready grass -- we are thankful to the owner of Evergreen Turf,
Sébastien coming in. The goal: Land at the orange cone! Note the cloud cover. The lack of sun made conditions very smooth and good for training. Notice the change in the clouds over a period of less than an hour. Our desert climate is never boring....
Paragliding in south central New Mexico. The towering clouds in the distance are strong thermals coming off the Potrillo Mountains. It rains a lot out there, probably double of what we get in the Rio Grande Valley. Photo by Steve Crye
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