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| Re: Mustang Air to Air: The Sequel |
I got up before dawn today, rousted Jay out of bed to take me to the airfield and lit out for home at first light, and a good thing, too: I felt the deteriorating weather nipping at my heels the whole way back. Jay, driving back to Phoenix, reported winds gusting to 50 and a sky obscured with blowing dust an hour or two after I departed. I saw plenty of blowing dust myself: the whole north end of the San Luis Valley was obscured and Ship Rock was enveloped in a wall of dust that reached up from the desert floor to the rotor clouds downwind of the Chuska Mtns. I got tossed about and saw my altitude vary from 10,500 to 9,000 and then 12,800 (I nearly got sucked into a rotor cloud) within the space of a minute or two, and there was very little I could do about it: one second I had the throttle firewalled, the next at idle. Thankfully, things settled down a little after that and I made it home (in record time) safe and sound. We're now battening down the hatches for the major snowstorm that comes on the heels of all that wind. Yes, folks, it's springtime in the Rockies!
Photographic evidence of a wild ride attached. I had to push the sliders pretty hard to get anything like full tonal range in this rendering: the unedited camera file shows a rectangle of nebulous, mottled blue-gray.