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May 3, 2012
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Downwind soaring attempt ends in Idaho

Moisture, ice and cloud cover combined to prevent the soaring team of Gordon Boettger and Hugh Bennett from crossing the Rockies today.

The pair landed safely in Twin Falls, Idaho, after failing to find a means to move further east than Elko.

Boettger communicated with forecaster Doug Armstrong on the ground using a satellite phone.

Through Armstrong, Boettger said he ran into solid cloud cover forcing him to fly by instruments. Ice formed on the Duo Discus glider the two were attempting to fly across the country.

Boettger and Bennett took off from Minden-Tahoe Airport at about 5:30 a.m., and spent the first 90 minutes gaining altitude over Western Nevada. They traveled northeast to near Golconda looking for more lift. Without finding the altitude, the trip across the Rockies wouldn't be possible.

Soar NV's Fred LaSor served as retriever on the flight.

Meanwhile, Minden soaring pilot Jim Payne flew up and down the Sierra Wave today travelling from as far south as Lone Pine, north to Reno and back. As of 5:11 p.m. he was near Independence flying north.

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The Record Courier Updated May 4, 2012 09:07AM Published May 3, 2012 08:20PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.