Wave camp offers glider pilots ride
March 13, 2012
Those looking to ride the Sierra wave, or learn how to ride the wave, will have a chance at the end of the month in a week-long camp designed for glider pilots.
“This year, 20 people have signed up. It’s the biggest camp yet,” said Laurie Harden, owner of SoaringNV, which is sponsoring the fourth annual Minden Wave Camp at the Minden-Tahoe Airport. “We’re hoping the weather gives us some waves.”
Much like surfers waiting for a swell, glider pilots will be waiting for the right spring conditions to create the perfect wave. The phenomenon known as the Sierra wave occurs when high winds expand after passing over the Sierra Nevada, bounce off the Valley floor and create lift, which gliders can ride for hours. There are only a few other places in the world where such conditions exist.
“Every camp so far has had some waves, so hopefully this camp will not disappoint,” Harden said. “We have people coming from all over the world – Canada, Japan, the Netherlands. Eight different states will be represented.”
Harden said early spring is ideal for waves due to high winds brought on by changing seasons. The camp is scheduled to run March 25-31, beginning with check-in that Sunday.
“It’s subject to change depending on weather,” Harden said. “If we have waves, we just ditch everything and go out.”
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Nonetheless, the camp has an impressive line-up of guest speakers, including Einar Enevoldson of the Perlan Project, who has constructed a glider capable of reaching 90,000 feet.
“They’re testing it here in Minden. It’s a multimillion dollar project,” Harden said.
Other speakers include Frank Murray, who flew the A-12 reconnaissance aircraft, which is the CIA version of the SR-71 Blackbird, and Dr. Morgan McCarroll, who will be discussing aeromedical issues involving high altitude.
“It will primarily be about hypoxia, and also will cover hydration and other things,” Harden said of the latter presentation.
SoaringNV will have three dual gliders ready to ride, but customers will also be bringing their own aircraft, especially those wanting to go up solo.
To wrap things up, the Minden Soaring Club will be hosting a barbecue the night of March 30.
If people want to join us for the social events, they can give us a call,” Harden said.
Cost of the camp is $300, or $700 with six nights of lodging. For anyone interested in one particular speaker, Harden is offering wave camp a la carte.