Methow/Twisp 2022 - Soaring the Methow Valley
As many of you are aware the Methow is possibly the best venue in our state combining fabulous geography, soaring, and great alternative activities for those who prefer remaining on the ground. Surrounded by beautiful mountains & Canada to the north and the west (the ‘Northern Alps’); close to the plains to the south and east, and social time that is enjoyed by all makes for an exceptional week. So, with the support of the Seattle Glider Council, PSSA, and Evergreen Soaring we will plan to do it again with three tow planes, all at Methow (S52) for the SGC Sponsored Third Annual “Soaring the Methow”.
Here are some points to start considering:
1. DATES: Tows at Methow will be available Saturday, June 18 with pre-flight briefing at 0930 in the big hangar on the east side just north of the fuel pumps. Last tows will be Friday, June 24. Note: Sunday, 19th, happens to be Father’s Day in case that might change your plans. Those coming are encouraged to please arrive Friday (if you can) so you can get set up for flying and the first safety briefing Saturday morning at 0930. Again, many thanks go to Craig Howard for letting us once again use his very nice hangar for our morning 0930 meetings and our center of ops. Thanks in advance also go to John & Jeanette O’Keefe, owner & operator of the fueling facility at the airport which makes this extra convenient for us.
2. TOW PLANES & TOW PILOTS: We will have three tow planes. A 160hp Super Cub from PSSA and Pawnee’s from SGC and Evergreen. I think most of our tow pilots will be familiar faces and are experienced towing this location. We have some very fine tow pilots, and we provide them accommodations at the Sportsman Motel in Twisp. Please remember to give then your thanks and respect for helping us with safe tows and making this all possible.
3. GLIDERS: This year will be limited to 24 towable gliders at Methow. Self-launchers are in addition. One limitation is returning to land with only one runway and limited exits off the runway. We will hold out three spots for the two-seaters; one from each club (PW6 & DG-1000 & Grob) and then one slot for the organizer (me). If you plan to fly only certain days then a week slot may be shared by prior arrangement by two gliders (no overlapping days please). Each glider can be crewed by any combination of pilots as long as they are SGC members and each pilot pays their $50 fee. For those who sign up but then cancel, we will use an alternate-list for any unused glider reservations - please no “trades” to another glider owner if you cancel as that would take away an opportunity to the next registered glider on the “alternate glider list”. The final roster should be out within a week after the signups start.
4. ACCOMODATIONS: The Methow Valley is a popular vacation destination and gets booked up very early. I would suggest you book now and cancel if you can’t come. Consider VRBO or Air BnB for a house for several pilots or motel rooms either in Twisp or Winthrop, etc. If you are willing to cash in some of your retirement then Sun Mountain Resort is five-star, super nice and as a bonus you may see our gliders overflying the resort during the afternoons. Book early. For RV’s there are no hook ups on the field but there is some limited space for dry-camp RV’ing or tents.
5. GLIDER TIE-DOWNS: As nice as the Methow is, it is not a totally glider-friendly setting for the unprepared. Plan is for two-seaters, self-launchers and longer wingspan (18 meter+) gliders to have priority on the west side paved area using the tie down rings (enough for about ten gliders). Bring long tie down ropes and for those on the west side you must park all trailers outside the fenced area (WSDOT requirement).
Most other gliders will be on the sod on the east side more than 200’ from the runway – it will be marked. Again, secure your gliders & trailers using self-supplied ropes & sturdy dirt anchors, etc. Night winds and T-storms are not unusual.
6. VOLUNTEERING: Please plan to assist with launching, taking a morning or afternoon as ground crew. I think we have had as much fun helping each other as flying (almost). Some folks in the past have really done a lot of the work to keep things organized and safe. Again, I will pass out a clipboard with slots to sign up as daily Launch Managers (1-morning, 1 afternoon), morning launch helpers (2) and end of day Retrievers (2). Sometimes we all just help and it’s worked out but it’s nice to spread out the duties with some pre-planning. In the past Marlene & Curt have done a great job helping organizing things and collecting tow cards and making sure everyone gets logged in. Thanks!
7. LOCAL SCHOOL STUDENTS: It was suggested we invite local students to come and help. If this works out, they might each get in a flight (with written Consents of course) and free meals at our social functions. Including the local kids is important and I will work on this shortly. About 2/day, 3 days each (4 kids).
8. COMPETENCIES: With several out-landing sites available the Methow is not inherently unsafe for good soaring, but traps do exist. Making every morning 0930 briefing is particularly important for everyone to share knowledge and form an easy & well-coordinated daily plan. Depending on an individual’s currency and proficiency, and for intermediate level glider pilots, this can be a reasonable outing and done safely with help and guidance from those more experienced. Staying in sight of the airport works well and it’s easy to maintain a downhill return course back if you are careful. The Twisp airport (southeast about 6 miles) and Lost River airstrip (about 20 miles northwest) offer reasonable bail-outs if needed. Studying the area, being well prepared and getting a good briefing are all important for a safe, comfortable, and fun week. Each year we have had a few land-outs and heeding the experiences of some of our seasoned pilots could help you from damaging your glider or worse. It is easy to avoid pitfalls and enjoy the magnificent scenery if you allow some extra altitude, etc. to return home or to another good runway.
9. SOCIAL: For those interested, we will have at least two dinners together. 2019 & 2021 was a blast and we all came to know each other better. We will likely do at least one dinner-out as before which was in Winthrop. The past two years Henry & Chloe Rebbeck invited us to their cabin on the river for BYOB & BYOsteaks (or whatever) using their BBQ. This will depend on their family schedule so stay tuned. Other ideas are welcome?? Also, a few of us went golfing at the 9 hole course just up the road for 0630 tee-offs and made it back for the 930 briefing. Like bowling, high score wins. Reservations preferred, 0630 is busy if hot days.
10. COSTS: Each pilot must pay a $50 fee and the fee for each towed glider is $90 (glider + one pilot = $140). Two gliders may share a week without overlapping ($90 only once is fine) but every pilot needs to pay the $50. Tow fees will be the standard 2022 Ephrata SGC rates for all tows regardless of tow plane. Self-launching gliders are free, but we ask that pilots still sign up and each please pay the $50 fee. Again, $50 for every pilot, and $90 for each non-powered glider. Tow fees will be billed to each glider following the event. Our goal is to break even and in the past we made a bit for the SGC. Our expenses include tow plane ferrying to & from their bases, tow pilot accommodations (3 rooms x 7 nights already reserved at the Sportsman in Twisp) and rental of port-a-pottys, etc.
11. SIGN-UP: To sign up you must be an SGC member, willing to volunteer with ground tasks, and pay fees on the SGC web site during or before sign up opens. I expect this might fill quickly to the max of 24 (not counting self-launchers). Self-launcher pilots ($50) please sign up so we have a count. You may want to be sure you are already paid-up as a 2021 SGC member now so that doesn’t slow down your signing up on April 21st at 7pm.
Here are the current sign up rules:
***SIGN UP WILL START ON THE SGC WEB SITE AT 7pm, THURSDAY, APRIL 21th ***
(Movses has again graciously volunteered to run the sign ups and on-line financial payment system for signing up)
1. Slots are allocated in order of payments made online - SGC web site. Each glider must be signed up separately - no one person signs up for multiple gliders please. The two place gliders must pay ($90), but slots will be held out for them and released only if they don’t plan to come. When we reach 24 non-powered gliders any remaining gliders will go onto an alternate list for additional positions. Alternates still require the above fees to get (in order) on the alternate glider list and which is fully refunded if they don’t use a spot. No limit on number of pilots or self-launchers, just towable gliders (24).
2. Full refunds are okay up to June 1st (three weeks prior to the event). If your plans change and you decide not to come, please let us know asap so a glider on the alternate list can be scheduled and make their plans.
3. The 'alternate glider list' will likely stop at 15 alternate gliders which would close the sign ups - if things fill up.
Finally, participants and pilots taking part in this activity accept that flying gliders involves risk and the above entities (Clubs), officers, organizers, volunteers, and tow pilots associated with this event shall be indemnified and assume no liability for any damages or injuries suffered in connection directly or indirectly with this event. When you sign up you fully accept these terms.