Glamis Dunes

Flying the Dunes

The big slope

John & I stopped at the Glammis Dunes on Sunday and got in two flights… that evening and another in the morning. We camped with the Sod Flyers from Sacramento. They are a very large club with a great Sod farm as their home field. Wealthy guys with lots of trikes. Ken from Oklahoma provided the most entertainment when he tried to launch with his new quad. His wheels were to thin and he had a hell of a time getting enough speed for takeoff. At one point he came down hard and bounced radically from one wheel to another. The quad is a very stable platform. He was able to find some hard pack the next morning and launched without problems.
The dune culture is amazing. There are ATVs and dune buggies for all sizes of riders.
Convoys of Concert buses and RV’s circled like covered wagons….Sometimes around a mini oval track where pre teens race tiny little dirt trikes. I flew over dunes that looked like ski slopes with huge moguls. Some of the bigger dunes were so high that you could fly the trough between them a hundred feet below the crest. It’s hard to realize how big they are until you see another wing for perspective.

On the way home we stopped at the site of Mo’s Flying Circus. The Fransisco Grande is a great place but the terrain isn’t nearly as interesting as at the Salton Sea. They wouldn’t let us fly at the resort unless we bought a room for the night so we drove a mile north and launch from an open field. The wind was right at the edge of my comfort zone but I got off without any problems. I cut the flight short because the motor was not coming up to power and acted sluggish. Later I discovered that the 1500 feet of altitude change was enough to detune the carburetor. The end of another great trip!

Salton Sea 2008

Flight #105 to #125
The 2008 Salton Sea fly-in was wonderful!

This was the first time I have been to a flying event where I can truly say that I got my fill. Three days of four flights and two days of two flights…16 in all.
John Seib and I got an early start and drove straight through to Indio California, about 20 miles north of the Fly-in. There was snow and ice for the first couple of hours but as we approached Glenwood Canyon the roads cleared and we powered on until 11:00pm when we stopped at a Holiday Inn and crashed. Wednesday morning we gassed up drove to Vista Del Mar and got in a couple of flights before the end of the day. The only incidents were both non-events. Friday I had an engine out two minutes after take off. I was at 250 feet and still going down wind …no problem. I set down on the beach and called John Sieb to pick me up. It was the same wire I broke last summer during the Balloon fest…the ground wire from the go no go toggle. This time I used a little shrink tubing to protect the connection. A couple of days later my second gas cap got into the prop and parted with a bang. I was startled but no damage.


This was billed as the last Paratoys Fly-in at the Salton Sea and the absence of Michael Purdy…Jeff Goin and some others was conspicuous. Attendance was down a bit and the whole thing had a different feel than past years…There were still campfires at night and kiting wars but there was no Alan Chocolate Memorial Style Competition Somehow it was just more subdued than the past. One of the biggest differences was the large number of trikes and quads. Bob is all about selling his joint venture with Leon. The Paracruiser/Paratoys quad looks to be a winner. And I don’t think you will ever hear Bob calling the trike pilots girly girls again. The day of foot launch being the majority is going away. I hope he finds a wealthy young guy and flips Paratoys for a boat load of money. He deserves it.
John Black made a speech during the Banquet that was reminiscent of an AA Meeting….”HI I’M JOHN AND I’M A DUMB SHIT”….HI JOHN! It was a good thing he did. I guess he is a pretty aggressive pilot but I think he has seen his god. The near fatal crash had to be an eye opener and I doubt he will be doing any mid day flying again. The famous video is at the bottom of this post.

Chad is having a good year, the trike buggy is considered one of the best machines around and I know he is selling plenty. The clubhouse has opened their kitchen for breakfast and it a great time and place to sit and get acquainted. Chad brought his wife who is a delightful woman out going and cheerful.
Bob Armond was also at those breakfasts, drinking coffee and swapping stories. He wasn’t as stressed as years past… he did look tired. I was touched when on the last morning I approached him to purchase an emergency stuff sack and he refused my cash and gave me one as a gift.


I did some trading and am now the owner of an Eden III 26m wing. It has about 100 hours on it but it’s in great shape and the same colors as my first wing. It handles much better at this altitude and I expect it will be real sporty back home. I slept better because of a new air mattress arctic sleeping bag. Food was more plentiful because the club house opened their kitchen but I still ate way too much junk food.

John Black’s Wild Ride