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Forum Home > 2016 Vacation - Burning Man > Day 3 Vacation 2016

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So who didn't think that the glider segment was difficult? For many of us, the only time in a glider/soarplane/sailplane is when something like this Vacation comes along - it's why I try to have at least one opportunity to glide every year in our annual fun hop.


This 'Vacation Day' however falls into the "Never Tried This Before" category I'll bet for many of us. Just because EPOCH Pilots are bushies, it doesn't mean that we are all GA's holding a Recreational - heck, there are a handful of us with ATP ratings that are just as comfortable watching George play out our hour long fight plan/aircraft systems programming in a 767-300 as we are horsing our round-engined Norseman through a pass and onto a crystal clear puddle of water too small for any fish larger than a guppy :lol:


Oh, not to despair though... we also present another flightsee tour with a search and discover; short flight, to the point but following standard procedures around Black Rock City and its airport environment. Let's get on with the 'Day', shall we?



Part 1:


As we have to date, we shall begin this Vacation Day with a gentle yet captivating short flight.


A long time ago, when the desert and the hills around here saw only passing members of the local indigenous population, there was an 'event'. Shrouded in the mysteries of shamanic tradition, a story emerged and was passed down through oral tradition over the years, decades, centuries! No locals can be found that are absolutely certain of what happened, as the story has been distorted over time, but one thing for certain - the original "Brujo" or medicine man that witnessed the event did an ocher painting of it on a rock right where it occurred.


What does it mean? Can you get a feeling for what happened here? Don't bother with Google... this is buried deep within a part of the web that you cannot access, so see if your powers of deduction, logic and reason - or maybe intuition - can come to a reasonable hypothesis!


The Flight:


1. Grab your GA aircraft (or borrow one from another pilot attending the Burn) and 'gift' a ride to one of the participants of Burning Man. Make sure you have an hour's worth of fuel and remember to do your W&B. Check the weather, calculate density, decide on wind and active runway end and then get the craft up and into the flightsee/tour circuit around the pentagon - ( hmmm... pentagon - wonder if there is some significance here... :lol: )


2. As you do the tour, have your passenger help you to scour the ground on both sides of your aircraft, looking for a kind of smallish rock in a not-much-bigger little boulder group poking out of the alkali sands of the desert. Watch closely for a flash of red - that would be the rock painting. Go around again if needed, slipping lower and see if you can grab a good photo of the rock for examination back at BRC. Do NOT break the rules of the airspace around Burning Man though - please review the video included in the package again if you are unsure.


Share your thoughts with all of us on the painting, if you find it. Perhaps we shall all come to a new level of understanding about what might have really happened out here in the wild desert!



Part 2:


Time to get good! Or suffer the multi-million dollar consequences of being less-than-good!


A lot of you reading this are probably big iron types and absolutely love flying the large tubeliners! At least that's what the stats say... bush pilots are quite the minority compared to you airliner pilots. At home with FMS, EFIS and a myriad of other computerized flight aids like the G1000, you are a savvy lot that enjoy the technical complexities of prepping and then performing a full-on "heavy" flight!


But how about flying your favourite tube in a way that really wasn't 'coded' into the systems - wasn't included in the manufacturer's or company's flight operations manual? Do you have 'The Touch'? Do you know enough about flying, as opposed to systems management, to actually hand fly your tubeliner from takeoff to landing?


The Flight:


1. Start at KRNO Reno/Tahoe at one of the Gates where the big ones like to sit!

2. Flight planning, like wind checks, active runway, altimeter and so on are certainly allowed.

3. Plan for a flight from Reno to 88NV Black Rock City Airport.

4. No passengers please (just in case) and minimum fuel (enough to have someone fly it back to Reno with the minimum legal left)

5. Takeoff, climb, descend and land.


Oh... the trick is to do this in the absolute Largest Airliner that you can... see what you and your choice of aircraft are capable of. Remember, it's a 7,000 foot runway at about 4,000 feet above sea level, made of rolled out desert lakebed, kind of rough and only 100 feet wide.


6. Can you turn off the runway and taxi to parking, or are you needing assistance from the A Team :P

Runway Excursions Are A FAIL!



Again I remind all that we would love to hear of your adventures or even see a screenie or two if you are inclined.

Also, don't forget the Contest... just under 2 weeks left to get your "art" together before the submission deadline!!!


Cheers! Hope you all have fun.




6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 13, 2016 at 12:20 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 6

-bc-, challenge accepted! Watch this space...

(Listen to Laurie Anderson's 'From the Air' - it is an apt omen for what I think is about to happen...)

November 20, 2016 at 2:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 8365

Good grief, it's been like 30 years or so since I "accessed" Anderson's music. I'll catch the YT on this song though (it's here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hedIexysvK4 ; )as I don't remember all of it (except the plan for a crash :lol: ).

I shall be watching your posts with delight SL!




6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 20, 2016 at 3:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 174

It's the Challenge

So there I was at 500ft...........so not so, just kicking back in the EPOCH shack at Burning Man wondering where my fellow "colleagues" aka "the thirsty ones" had hidden any stash of root beer, when the mobile rang

Not many people have the number, and there are a few from my distant past who would really like to have it. This time it was "nUncle". Look ya gotta understand "nUncle" and I go back a real long ways, sorta kinda to the days of "Air America"ish. Usually with me in the left hand seat with the engines running and "nUncle" throwing a bag of something valuable through the open door and us at 60knts before it was shut, or it was the plane that was the valuable as we repo'd it.

Still it was all before he got me the Epoch/EPA gig, while he settled down and tried to woo the widow who owned the alligator swamp ( sorry 5000 acre alligator farm) next to his. So far she was proving elusive.

"waddya want??"

" Now K is that any way to talk to your elder and bettor?"

I spelt bettor deliberately, but you wouldnt say he had a gambling problem to his face....he usually won.

"Word has it some kind Drongo down your way has laid down a challenge to land a tubeliner from Reno on that excuse for a runway they have at Burning Man, and I got a side bet on with this guy, you do it and I get a date with his sister who is the swamp woman next door, or he gets the only virginity he thinks you got left"

"Dont never ever flown one of them pesky nasty spit and polish follow orders thingies, unless you count Gooney Birds, and dont have the papers neither"

"Listen K, she'll be right, just like the 70's. I'll shotgun right seat, and tell lies on the coms, you just gotta treat her like she was you bestest girlfriend.........

turn her on, rev her up and take her to heaven.
Sides I found Grumpies stash, aged Drain Cleaner and  prime root beer and it could be all yours".

"You're on. Has Mickie still got the Eurocopter here, thought I saw him"

"Yep, and I got us an Embraer 190, real cheap."

(when "nUncle says that I do worry sometimes. His version of cheap usually means that someone paid him).

"I'll get it on the end of the runway with the engines ready just jump in and don't fret"

So there we were at 500ft, positive rate. gear up, and no autopilot.

"Whats with this lack of automation?"

"Terms o' the bet, ya gotta hand fly it"

It just gets better doesn't it

Then a thought, always have an exit strategy

"Black Boxes"

"Jiggled, one shows a flight over the Congo, and the other has Stephen Fry reading "Dr Who"


"KTM at the back. Open the door and we launch our selves and the drink into the dust those over blown hair dryers will kick up in reverse"

If anyone wants a course in yarn spinning and outright lies to ATC they only have to study the transcript of that meandering flight as I tried not to kill us, get it trimmed and an overlong course in ignoring the little panel in the centre full of RED annunciators

"Katsai, Katsai" I said to myself "Its just a bigger DC3"

Landing speed, what landing speed?

Are the flaps still on?

Wheels down?

Where's the runway? Long final and still no real view, Ah there

Get down Get down


Reversers, roll to the end of the runway while "nUncle" opens the door on the far side and revs the KTM, then its a wild Rodeo bike launch into the dust,

and then a sedate drive away and a long detour so that we come up behind the crowd that's arrived full of curiosity and trying to work out what happened.


"nUncle" hopped off and was out of there, very hopeful about his bet, and I took the loot, slipped into the shack, opened a fresh root beer, and was really really amazed when told about the "happening"


What about the plane you ask?

 If you have seen "Lords of War" with Nick Cage where the natives are stripping everything. Well it was left at the far end of the runway. Maybe someone will move it, maybe they will use it as an art object. Not mine, dont care, I have Grumpies stash of aged drain cleaner :-)


Have fun, Fly well

November 23, 2016 at 2:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 2722

Day 3, Part one: GA Helo, Just a guess: ET dropped by to phone home and had no change for the phone. 8) 

Day 3, Part 2: A380 departer at Reno/Tahoe. Not much going on weather wise.

Down safe and a little runway left. Winds 16 kts off the right nose.



November 23, 2016 at 5:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 6

Excellent stories pilots, some very interesting flights made - all in the name of fun! Here is mine:

So two days ago, HBuberci and I flew the day 3 challenge. I flew the Sukhoi Superjet in a special livery fit for the occasion, no autopilot, no TCAS alerts and all the way down the centre line at Burning Man.

Overall, a safe and challenging flight, with Marpilot joining us towards the end as well. Bravo pilots!

November 24, 2016 at 8:05 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 8365

What can I say?

You guys are amazing!!! Great pics, awesome stories... oh, and ET never made it out of Area 51, so that shoots down that conspiracy theory :lol:

Cheers y'all,



6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 24, 2016 at 11:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 1642

Part 1. Took a fellow Burner up in a lovely Cessna 170B for the rumored "bleeding boulder".

I had a good idea of its location, having noticed a small clump of rocks during my many sight-seeing circuits around BRC.

Sure enough, my idea manifested on the horizon...

We got permission to enter the ultra-light flight pattern to get a better look...

I call definitive evidence of the practice of burning effigies long before those Californians hit the scene in 1986. But there are plenty of other myths to consider.

Part 2. And Now for Something Completely Different

I don't think KRNO Reno has seen one of these before (it's not the ATR in the foreground)...

The wind in Reno was strong and gusty, but dissipated to nothing by the time we (many, many we) reached 1A8 Empire...

Short final in a flat, slow approach to 26L at 88NV...

Fifty more Burners and the latest visual spectacle have arrived at Black Rock City...

November 26, 2016 at 8:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Site Owner
Posts: 8365

That, Sir Rocky, takes the danged cake for sure. Awesome, and great work on the native art find!




6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 26, 2016 at 9:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

Well I did my take on the BIG BIRD challenge and flew the 747. The landing was a little ruff, but we made it down and were able to make a high speed turnoff at the end of the runway and turn around to park. Are reversers didn't work so the brakes had a work out. Maybe the A380 is better for such off road operations. Anyway it was a good landing because the plane is in working order, but the brakes will probably need to be replaced sooner than usual.

I took a few screenshots of this excursion.

And we made it safely. The giant ant among the ants. :)


The P-51 an EPOCH bird.

December 4, 2016 at 3:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

Me and my passenger had a blast in this little plane going around the scenic route. Before we made the turn we were given permission to enter the no fly zone to get some close-ups, but with a time span of 10 minutes. We made it in 9:30 that's a little close, but it helps if you don't stall out and almost crash. AAHhh. Besides that little fright we got some good shots.

Starting out for taxi

And 1234 jacky rootbeer let's go! :)

Point two of the pentagon, beautiful view. And a great picture of the Bear

Well the curtain for the window was blowing, but we still managed to get some great shots of the mysterious rock.

Having a good time out flying now it's time to go grab something to eat. However, when were heading back my passenger wanted to grab two great pics. ENJOY

We are back on the ground and looks like we parked next to one of y'alls planes.


The P-51 an EPOCH bird.

December 4, 2016 at 6:42 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Posts: 53

FYI I also saved a screen shot off my iPad of our ForeFlight track.


The P-51 an EPOCH bird.

December 4, 2016 at 6:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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