South Dakota Slope Trip October 2001

In memory of Ed Harris 1933-2001.
Read a tribute to Ed by friend Jim Porter.

There are over 75 pictures on the site from this trip. Start looking at them here.

Well y’all, here is the beginning of the report on the 2001 South Dakota Slopin’ Safari, held over four days in the Chamberlain area of South Dakota. 25 pilots from around the Midwest made the trek. States represented included Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota.

Pilots started arriving early in the AM of Thursday, October 4th and were welcomed to the first sloping location by South Dakota resident and slope finder, Rob Hurd. Rob has done extensive research and travel to find the best locations for sloping in South Dakota and the next 4 days would prove that his search was not in vain.

The location Rob chose for Thursday, located on a private ranch near Chamberlain, had a large area where pilots could drive to the top of the hill and fly just feet from their vehicles. The wind was light in the AM but flyable and with the thermals coming through there was no excuse not to get the flying under way.

Flyers continued to arrive throughout the day and there were 18 -20 who showed up on Thursday.

Many of the new arrivals chose to stay at the spot near the parking area. Several adventurous types followed Rob to a different hill that was about a 10 minute hike from the parking area. Shazam! It was a great spot for DSing! Several pilots took DSing 101 from Rob as most of the attendees had never done the DS thing before. We spent several hours finding our DS wings with Rob patiently looking on and offering advice.

Dinner at Al’s Oasis completed the evening and I went to sleep with the whoosh, whoosh sounds of DSing in my head.

Friday looked to be a bit better for wind and it was blowing somewhat stronger with the late afternoon offering up 18-20 mph pretty consistently. Even with the decent wind pilots still had to contend with strong thermals and the ensuing sink throughout the day.

Give a soaring junkie a new toy and see if he can resist! Several more pilots made the trip to the DS location, no doubt encouraged by those who had done it on Thursday. I spent the whole day there! Who says junkies are not sociable, you just have to come to my crib!

The highlight of Friday’s flying, for me anyway, was a tossup between DSing my Prodij and Extreme and watching Dave Hauch DS his 2 meter Duck! Here was the sound: Quack, Quack, Smack! Too bad it had to end that way Dave!

Prime Rib at Charley’s did the trick for many a hungry tummy on Friday evening.

Saturday and Sunday were spent front siding at another private ranch about 5 miles from the first site. The slope here was spectacular! The ridge is about 250 feet above the land immediately below and then it slopes down another 300 feet or so to the Missouri which is less than 3/4 mile away. The bowl shape of the site would make working it from different wind directions possible although it was pretty consistent on the two days we were there.

Saturday the wind was a bit light, but most people brought planes for light air. As the day progressed, and the thermals started to add to the available lift, many different birds made it into the air.

Rob, Larry, Walt and several other guys had some combat going later in the day while Dave and I, as well as a couple of other “crunchie” flyers, used a different spot on the slope. There was room for all.

A big group dinner and plenty of hangar talk took place at Al’s Oasis on Saturday evening.

Sunday started out with better winds and as more guys packed up to leave, it kept building. Dave and I got in some good flights with our Vindicators. I had the Extreme and Prodij out as well. Mirko had a nice flight with his 4 meter LS-4 and avoided what could have been a disaterous landing behind the hill when his plane hunted out the tallest grass around to settle in. Walt and Emil really got their Zippers dialed in.

One of the highlights of Sundays flying was playing “last guy to pull up wins” with Rob and Larry. Basically we all start at about the same altitude, dive for the valley floor and wait until the other two chicken out. I think we all were about equally daring, although I am sure Rob won one of the rounds because I swear he breezed a tree at the bottom.

A partial list of planes flown during the 4 days: Zagis galore, Boomerangs, Brisk II, Image, 2 Vindicators, Extreme, Prodij, 4 meter LS-4, Hillbilly, several Zippers, several Fun-1s, several JWs, 2 meter Duck, Wide Glide, Eli 2, Vern Hunt F3B, a couple of Vern flying wings, several foamy warbirds, Encore, Scar, Windfree, SH-50, Mini-Acacia, 2 Sagittas, several 60 inch racers from MRCSS, 2 meter DAW 1-26 and many more!

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