After two days of rain, the forecast was looking to be a perfect Sunday morning. 4 am came early for Dan, Tanner, and I to reach our site by 5 am with a planned launch at 5.45.
Mount Rushmore & Crazy Horse
We arrived to find absolutely no wind for our 5876-foot launch and full loads of fuel. Right as we were about to launch we had a slight wind but it was tail and a very cold morning so we weren’t expecting much lift. After each determining it wasn’t going to work, we relocated to the other end of the LZ which unfortunately would mean an uphill run.
My attempt to launch had me off the ground, but not enough room to maneuver obstacles near the end the runway, so I ditched and reset further down the road which after the long run, lead to a successful launch, but with a painfully slow climb on my Dudek 18M snake.
After circling around waiting for 15 mins waiting on the others to launch, I elected to head on up. Our route which had very few bailout options and added 5 miles to the 10-mile flight (total 15 miles each way) was expected to take 90 minutes. We also planned 15-30 mins of fuel reserve.
What seemed like a really long time, turned out to be just 25 mins for me to reach Mount Rushmore where I quickly secured my photos and video at the prescribed limits of the airspace before head back down towards Crazy Horse along the same route.
Thanks to the tailwind, I quickly reached Crazy Horse and secured the additional photos and video before heading for my landing zone. With around 20-30 mins of fuel left I landed safely with a total time of 1:08 and completed a flight few Paramotor pilots might be able to do.
The next morning we again set off early and were airborne within 45 mins of arriving. This flight was absolutely memorable and also one few paramotor pilots can easily achieve let alone with permission to take off from the reservation. Indeed this was an honor.
These videos speak for themselves and there are few words I can share that can say more than them.