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Gary Eaton's January 2012 Long Jump Print E-mail
Written by Mark Caviezel   
Saturday, 21 January 2012 18:41

On Sunday, January 8th, I had the honor of assisting Gary Eaton in flying a BFA Long Jump flight. If you’re not familiar with Long Jump, the basic idea is “With forty gallons of propane, fly as far as you can.”

Gary chooses to fly during the regional Santa Ana winds which flow from Central Nevada into Southern California. He called me a few days prior to the flight and alerted me about the flight possibility. By Friday the forecast had firmed up, indicating good conditions for a Sunday flight. I picked him up on Saturday afternoon and we drove out to Las Vegas. Except for some high surface winds, conditions on Sunday morning looked good. Luckily, we were joined by local balloon pilot Doug Campbell who directed us to a shielded launch location which was excellent. After standing up the balloon on an extra tank, Gary made a beautiful straight up departure before eventually climbing into 50+ mph winds at altitude. After about two hours at cruise altitude, Gary elected to descend and land. He logged two hours and forty-nine minutes of flying time and landed with a very ample amount of remaining fuel. His flight distance was a very respectable 75+ miles. Most of the flight path is visible here:



Gary Eaton makes his approach to land during his long jump flight.

The Long Jump event was popular in the late 1980’s and 1990’s, peaking at 48 flights in the 1991-92 season but in the recent decade it has really fallen flat, averaging about 6 flights per year. A number of pilots have spoken to me about ‘revitalizing the Long Jump’. Each of you is hereby invited to plan and conduct a Long Jump flight to establish your own personal best long distance flight. Any questions regarding Long Jump can be directed to me at:

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 January 2012 19:23