Prescott Soaring Society


Volume 1   Issue 5                                                              Nov.-Dec.  2006.


    Prescott Soaring Society


                Volume 2   Issue 6                                                        JAN – FEB – MAR - APR 2008










Alert readers will note from the peculiar date on the masthead that this newsletter has been absent from your electronic newsstand for a while.


A variety of serious family illnesses requiring urgent attention and even a couple of deaths (firmly proving the truly serious nature of the emergencies) have combined to keep me away from the glider port as well as the keyboard.  In the process however I may have managed to set a new record for the number of ASEL trips between PRC and FUL-- some of which were on autopilot in a non AP equipped airplane. 


Member Happenings


All societies have incorporated a variety of rites of passage into their cultures.  One relatively recent rite evolving in our own culture is that now nearly universal practice of a youth promptly obtaining a driver license at the age of 16 years after a few months of study and practice. 


Coury Clark had a different goal for his 16th birthday.  Coury, a sophomore at Prescott High School, joined  the Prescott Soaring Society the day before his 13th birthday and spent the next three years learning to fly.  His study paid off at age fourteen when he soloed in gliders at Hobbs, NM, and on Saturday, April 26, 2008 the day after his 16th birthday, instead of trudging down to the local Motor Vehicle Office for the more familiar ritual of obtaining a driver license, Coury showed up at the Coyote Springs Gliderport for his Private Pilot test. 


After a couple of hours spent in an intensive oral exam administered by Federal Aviation Administration Examiner Tom Allen, Coury and Allen then took the practical test in the 2-33 sailplane.  Launched by a winch tow to an altitude of nearly 2000 feet above the ground, Coury performed an intricate series of maneuvers required by the Practical Test Standards and completed the test by a precise landing.


Offering congratulations were A.C. Goodwin, Coury’s Certified Flight Instructor along with fellow glider club members Terry Clark and Rod Clark, Coury’s Grandfather and great-uncle respectively who have mentored Coury through the process.  Adding a bit of distinction was Dick Townsend, the most senior member of the Prescott Soaring Society.


Unlike some of his more traditional peers, Coury will

not be translating his rite of passage to hauling his friends to the local fast food restaurants.  Instead, we suspect, his friends will be lined up to experience the joy of flight, slipping the bonds of earth in a carbon neutral glider.


See Local News article at:




Pipeline Report


In the Nov. – Dec. 2006 issue of this newsletter, we offered    a prediction that a natural gas pipeline would soon be constructed through our glider port.  This prophesy, of something less than biblical proportions came to fruition last month. 


While it may not be a permanent impediment to our operations, it did result in the demolition of our luxurious member shelter and the realignment of the launch area and runways. 


Another Cliff Hanger


The first installment of a serialized version of Cliff Hilty’s summer vacation appeared a very long time ago.  You may remember that when we last heard of Cliff it was very late in the day and he was looking for an alternate landing site enroute to Las Vegas.


(Continued from the previous issue)



Searching the Garmin 196 database I found what appeared to be just the right ticket. Red Rock 7 miles south of the restricted air space listed as private and 122.8 as CTAF. A town a few miles away and only a mile off of 95 just where it turns to a four lane hwy. Perfect right?


Well, I directed my crew into the completely abandoned airport with the altitude I had left (I told you I was going slow). And proceeded to set up a low pass to check the wind (and get some thrill from this frustrating flight) when I noticed some vehicles with lights coming in the way my crew did. As I flew overhead I could see machine guns and flak vest on about 6 men that looked serious. I pulled up and landed and rolled up to the ramp about 50 feet from where they were surrounding Rose and the motor home. Now this was quite a picture.


If you have ever met Rose she is 4'11" blonde and has 6 guys standing around her like she was Saddam himself. I opened the canopy and yelled "Please guys don't scare her" and all I could here was Rose laughing (she does that when she gets nervous). They weren't laughing and promptly came over to escort me over to see their Lieutenant and explain what I was doing there! Well now, I work for the government and understand what a hassle they can be IF they want to be. So I spent the next 2 hours trying to make them, the Nye county sheriff's dept and the Mercury duty officer (Nevada test site Dept. of Energy test facility) believing that I had not landed there intentionally or with any intention of blowing up their facility. And although there is no doubt in my mind that I was completely legal, especially from a aviation stand point, I didn't want to have to prove that in court!


And after much sucking up, letting them search everything from cell phones, cameras and motor home to detailed pictures of my panel and GPS systems and assuring them that I did not overfly Mercury (even though its not in the restricted air space) they escorted me to the freeway with the warning "Don't come back.” And we were on our way to Vegas.


We got to Vegas just after dark and finding that the RV park at the Circus Circus had raised their rates to $70+ a night we decided to drive on to Laughlin and more reasonable rates. We got there around midnight and set up and got to sleep. We spent the next day and a half there enjoying the river and casino's night life and movies giving my crew a well deserved break


As we prepared to leave on Sunday morning for the short drive back to Prescott, the money pit I so affectionately

call the motor home decided that the fuel pump we put in was not installed right and quit running before we got out of the park.


Now I'm sitting here, glad to be back at work (if for no other reason than to pay for the money pit) with another bill for 400+ and planning a trip back to Laughlin to pick it up. Having used Rose's parents for the retrieve from there, I guess I’ll be hitching it back to get the hulk back to



 All in all some absolutely wonderful soaring flights, some absolutely hard soaring flights and some absolutely wonderful friends to spend time with. I guess we will just have to try it again next year!


Some acknowledgments in order of appearance, thanks go out to the following, without whom this could not have happened: Tony Smolder, Tom and Jodie Dukerich (yea your as good as married), Harry, Barb, Mikey and Heather Smith, Randy Acre, Tom Kelly, Pam Ted and Riley Wagner, John and Brenda Seaborn, Rick and Joanna Culbertson, Pavel, Charlie Hayes, James,

Carl Herold, the wonderful ex marine mercenaries at Mercury and all of the mechanics that have treated my money pit with such care!  


Thanks All Hope to see MOST of you next year!)