I stayed in Oacoma, SD for a couple of days on our way to Wyoming for the Solar Eclipse 2017 and, between family sight seeing including a couple of dams and the capitol at Pierre, I got in a bit of flying.
We stayed at the Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma that is right across the Missouri Rover from Chamberlain, the HQ for many a slope trip to South Dakota. Mostly just passing through but since the resort is right on the shore of the Missouri River I thought, maybe, I’d get a chance to fly a bit. As it happened, time was short but the SE wind was a decent direction for a gander op the shoe north of the resort. I hit pay dirt about 1.5 miles north of Cedar Shore on some Public Land that had about a 30 foot slope with the wind coming straight in at about 15mph.
My first bird in the air was, of course, the Weasel. I was only moderately hesitant to throw the plane in the air, not because I didn’t think the slope would work but because I’d left the wing screws and the Blenderm tape back at the hotel! No matter, I figured the magnets holding the Weasel-Trek together were strong enough for an exploratory flight and, after about 20 minutes I was proven right on both counts. The plane held together and the slope worked!
Even though I had no problem with the Weasel holding together with no wing screws, I didn’t want to try the same with the Ahi. That, and I wanted long pants to trek through the tall grass to get a bit further down the slope. So, back to the hotel I went. 15 minutes later I was back at the hill putting together the Ahi with wing screws and tape!
As I was putting together the Ahi I decided to add 2 ounces of ballast because the lift was a bit bumpy and I wanted to try to smooth it out a bit. Seemed to work fine as the Ahi grooved right out of my hand. By this time the wind had also picked up close to 20mph. I had a good flight just getting to know the Ahi and, while the lift was OK, I think the increased wind velocity started to blow the lift band out a bit. No matter if it stays int he air I’ll fly that thing!
My final flight of the day was another Weasel flight with the full confidence of a screwed and taped bird. Wonderful!
If you find yourself in the area and don’t want to drive to the bigger slopes outside of town, this is a very flyable shoreline slope that worked well in a Southeast wind. I think 12-15mph would be ideal for the dream-flight dream team of the Ahi, Weasel and Alula!
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