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June 23, 2021

Gliders Fall Short of Border

– Local glider pilots who tried to fly to the U.S.-Mexico border
fell a little short on Thursday.
Hollister – Local glider pilots who tried to fly to the U.S.-Mexico border fell a little short on Thursday.

If it had succeeded, the expedition comprising Steve Brockman of Gilroy, Ron Hess of Los Gatos, Tom Hubbard of Carmel, Eric Rupp of Soquel and Ramy Yanetz of San Ramon would have set a new record for the longest glider flight from Hollister.

Rupp said he and Yanetz made it the furthest. Rupp turned around above New Cuyama and flew back to Hollister, making for a round-trip distance of 530 kilometers.

“I was home in time for supper,” Rupp said.

Yanetz, meanwhile, decided to press on, but he eventually landed in the Mojave Desert town of Apple Valley, about 480 kilometers from Hollister.

The main delay, Rupp said, came about an hour into the flight, when the gliders had to spend a lot of time regaining lost altitude. By the time Yanetz made it to the Mojave Desert, the sea breeze was blowing in from the coast, making it a lot harder to catch a rising draft of warm air.

Before his departure on Thursday, Yanetz told the Free Lance he had a less than 50 percent chance of making it to Mexico, but the odds didn’t bother him.

“If we make it to Palm Springs, I’ll still be happy,” he said.

Thursday’s flight won’t be their last attempt to reach the border, Rupp said. The right weather conditions come along every week or two, and when they do, Rupp intends to be ready.

“We watch the weather like hawks,” he said.

Rupp said that although he and Yanetz are the most determined, all five pilots share the ambition to reach the border.

“I think any of them would fly to Mexico at the drop of a hat given the opportunity,” he said. “It’s just that Ramy and I are the craziest.”

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