November 11th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by Kangus

This fall saw a couple of milestones achieved at the King Mountain Glider Park. First on our list is WATER! Thanks to a great team effort from Barry our Farmer, Phil Davies our Master Excavator, and Merritt Lanier our Welding Pro, we got the irrigation system up and running. The water system had sat idle for a least 8 years and to say it was full of cobwebs is an understatement. Nevertheless, water arrived on the South end of the Airstrip and property by the end of the summer and the North half was being watered by the middle of October. We now have little kanggrasses popping up all over the place!

This photo was taken on October 28th standing on the centerline of the airstrip looking north from midfield. This is just about what a pilot would see if he or she was taking off to the north on runway 34, and was just lifting off after using about 2000′ during the takeoff roll. The irrigation wheel line can be seen parked on the east side of the runway along with the orange runway cones. In the upper right we can see the Hang Glider and Paraglider training Hill taking shape just behind the windsock. Between the wheel line and the Windsock is the Hang Glider and Paraglider Landing Zone which is 150 foot wide and 600 feet long. This huge LZ is located next to the Open Park Area. The area with the gold barley stubble in the left portion of the photo is Phase One of the Subdivision. We placed the runway cones along Phase One such that every other one roughly marks the lot corners next to the runway.

Rae and Lucy drove Rae’s golf cart and helped John survey and place the orange cones on runway edge and the landing thresholds. They started out very slow and conservative, but eventually those girls were bouncing and laughing as they they put the peddle to the metal and dammed near took off. Well its all fun until something gets broke. The little golf cart resisted breaking the fun barrier… sputtered to a stop. Couldn’t be restarted…We towed it back to camp. Girls…Girls…Girls…

Another small yet important project that we worked on, involved the two irrigation risers which were located in the runway at midfield. For those folks who have never seen western style irrigation wheel lines in action, they are first drained, and then rolled across the field by a gas powered mover located in the middle of the line. Our wheel lines are about as long as they come at 1900′ feet. One is on the north half of the property and the other is on the south. 3 rotations will roll the entire line laterally 60 feet. At the end of the line, a very large flexible rubber hose with fittings serves to connect the line to risers which stem up from the mainline. The mainline is buried 3 feet under the ground and brings water from the well and and the 60hp motor/pump, via risers to the surface.

So here is the problem. We had two risers that were on the runway straddling the centerline 60 feet apart. They stuck up about 1′ foot above the runway. We had them marked with road cones and it was easy enough for aircraft to go between them, but we wanted a more permanent solution. After looking at a number of options, Dad convinced us that the best idea was to shorten the risers to below grade and place manhole rings around and covers above the risers. We would then be able to irrigate by removing the covers, yet any aircraft or tractor could roll across the manhole cover when that particular riser was not in use.

So… on our last trip to the Park at the end of October, we called upon Merritt Lanier, who is seen here cutting and welding the irrigation riser to fit just below grade. Our long term irrigation plan will be using golf course size pop up rain birds with a high pressure supply pump from the pond. The big birds will operate on a timer during the night so as to conserve water and ensure the field is dry enough for day use. This system will be a number of years away so in the mean time we will use the wheel lines.

Here we are looking across the runway towards King Mountain. The tie down area and the RV park are just to the left of the wind sock and our “Patsy Cline” pickup truck. We can see the end of the wheel line and the rubber hose connected to a riser. The riser in the right side of the picture is under the cone and has already been lowered. The hole is now ready for the ring and cover. We dug down at least 5 feet until we encountered sand or gravel under the riser and the mainline. We then backfilled the hole surrounding the riser and mainline with gravel forming a French drain. This will allow the water to drain away rather than pool up in the manhole ring, as the valves on the risers occasionally leak under pressure.

We also worked on a number of regulatory matters this fall. On October the 10th we registered the King Mountain Glider Airport with the FAA, by submitting our Airport Master Record. This form enables the FAA to publish runway data in the Airport Facilities Directory.

Here is the remarks section our initial Airport Master Record.

The airport information we send to the FAA also gets forwarded to the aeronautical charting group. They will depict the King Mountain Glider Airport on the aeronautical charts. We are currently corresponding with the charting folks, and we are recommending that they add glider and hang glider symbols to the area. The charting folks are always lagging changes, due to the volume of changes in the country. We have been told that our charting may take as long as 6 to 12 months to appear. Stayed tuned.

We are also very pleased to announce, that we have also been working with the FAA on the creation of a Sailplane Wave Window, which will allow sailplanes to fly as high as 28,000′ feet. Discussions are going well, and during our last conversation with the FAA, the representative indicated that most of the review by the FAA is now complete with no problems found. The Wave Window we have proposed is very large and will encompass the 11,000 White Knob Mountains west of Mackay, as well as King Mountain, Sunset Ridge and the west half of the Little Lost River Valley to the east.

Here is a great shot of Mountain Waves forming above the Big Lost River Valley. This shot was taken looking north west across the Hang Glider and Paraglider LZ towards the Airstrip. Invisible Mountain is shadowed and under the standing wave cloud in the distance, with the entrance to Pass Creek just to its right. This standing wave cloud is called a lenticular. Like these in the photo, wave clouds are generally lens or airfoil shaped when looking at them from the side. The lenticular in the top of the photo is not as airfoil shaped because we are looking at it from below. Winds aloft were moving smartly from left to right when this late August photo was taken. The lifted portion of the wave, or the place the glider pilot finds lift, is in the vicinity of the left side of these clouds. On the right side of these nifty clouds, the air is descending until it eventually warms up enough that the cloud disappears.

Oh…one other thing about this picture that the pilots and sailors probably didn’t miss. It has been said before, but it bares repeating. Look at the windsock. Yes sir, the wind is blowing directly up the runway 16! We get excited when days like this occur at the park. Most glider folks can appreciate why. This shot was taken after we returned from Mackay, where John had been towing some of the sailplane folks during the Mackay sailplane regatta. We are working for a September 2009 regatta at the Glider Park and should have our 180 hp tow plane available. We have used this tow plane at Mackay on a number of occasions, and it does a nice job at this this altitude. Stay tuned.

With the official activation, we are pleased to announce that the Airport is now available for public use at no charge. We would only ask that folks flying in be courteous to our neighbors. We want to be good neighbors and keep things as quiet as possible. We would ask that folks avoid multiple takeoffs and landings and fly normal patterns. We use standard left hand traffic patterns at the glider park. Please also be aware of the 40′ foot unmarked power lines on the north end of runway 16, which displaces the landing threshold by 800′ feet. The landing thresholds at both ends of the strip are marked with orange reflective cones. We will be working on permanent ties downs next year, so in the mean time you will need to bring your own portable tie downs.

Another goal for next year will be to plant 200 trees in the camping area, around the pond, the RV Park, and along the east boundary from the main entrance to the RV area. We are still doing research but we believe we will be using Idaho native trees and plants in the landscape.

So that