Phantom Fly-in Near Landers (CA) in March or April 2016

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Hello to Southern California Phantom operators. In addition to drone flying, I belong to an amateur astronomical group that has a large observing site out in the Mohave Desert near Landers. The area is generally flat, with a few prominent hills/mountains, and the density of human activity is pretty low. While the 29 Palms Marine Base is not far away (and definitely has a NFZ), the area around the site stretching for miles is clear for recreational sUAS flights. From the Riverside area, it is about a 90 minute drive. Check out the photo below.

There are some interesting things to video or photograph nearby including Goat Mountain, the Integratron (look it up - wacky story), Big Rock (ditto), Whitehorse Ranch and the desert landscape in general. Note: Some of these and other targets will require a short drive from the observing site to reach a suitable launch location.

I am thinking about hosting a Phantom Fly-in in either March or April 2016, while it is still reasonably cool at the observing site. It needs to be on a low astronomical activity weekend - the full moon weekend, for example - so our flights don't conflict with the primary purpose of the site. Sunday, March 20th, or Sunday, April 24th, look like they could work. Time wise, maybe its 10 AM to mid/late afternoon.

On-site there are about 20 concrete pads - all with electric outlets - that can be used as launch and recharging locations. There are also restroom facilities and picnic tables for breaks. I might also be able to arrange for accessible WiFi for map updates. There wouldn't be a formal charge for the event, but a $5 donation would be appreciated and would help pay for bottles of iced water (need to stay hydrated). We can easily accommodate several dozen flyers.

If this interests you, please send me an email at [email protected] and maybe leave a posting here. If it looks like people want to do this, I'll set a date and distribute instructions.

GMARS-Feb2016-starparty.jpg
 
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Hey now that would be an adventure for certain - just too far away for me living in Ontario, Canada. I may take you up on a flying day some time way down the road Ralph, ya never know.

Very considerate of you to offer this opportunity to fly there. Isn't the desert known for a lot of windy days?

Best of luck with the day - I hope it all goes really well for you and attendees!.
 
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Hey now that would be an adventure for certain - just too far away for me living in Ontario, Canada. I may take you up on a flying day some time way down the road Ralph, ya never know.

Very considerate of you to offer this opportunity to fly there. Isn't the desert known for a lot of windy days?

Interestingly, one of your countrymen is visiting Palm Springs in March and has signaled his interest in participating.

As for winds, we have them, but roughly the same number of calm days. If I were out there full time, I could fly four days a week, and five or six if I used the sunrise or sunset calm.


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I'm interested. I also happen to be an astronomer. :)

Hi - Looks like we are going with March 20th and will have participants from as far away as Canada. Please email me at [email protected] so I can send you an info packet.
 
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So, to confirm, we are planning on holding the High Desert Phantom Fly-in on Sunday, March 20th. It is taking place at the Goat Mountain Astronomical Research Station (GMARS) near Landers (CA - about an hour north of Palm Springs) from 9:30 AM to about 2 PM. This site is in a very rural/desert location, but within flight distance there are several interesting subjects for aerial photography and video, including Goat Mountain and the Integratron (look it up). A short drive will get you near Giant Rock and the Whitehorse Ranch. And if you just want a place to fly your bird around without fear of crashing into something, well there is a lot of space out there.

At GMARS you will be able to launch from clean concrete pads with electrical outlets for easy recharging. Restrooms, picnic benches and other comforts are nearby. We're asking for a $5 donation and will be supplying iced bottled water to stay hydrated. Feel free to bring snacks or lunch.

If you want to participate, please send me an email at [email protected] so I can supply you with directions and other information. Winds tend to vary a lot in the desert; if you are interested in keeping tabs on the weather at GMARS, go here: Star Camp Observatory Weather | Personal Weather Station: KCALANDE5 by Wunderground.com | Weather Underground

Live webcam views from the site are available here: GMARS Weather Center | Weather Cams | RivAstro.org

See you on the 20th!

GoatMtn-me.jpg
 
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So, to confirm, we are planning on holding the High Desert Phantom Fly-in on Sunday, March 20th. It is taking place at the Goat Mountain Astronomical Research Station (GMARS) near Landers (CA - about an hour north of Palm Springs) from 9:30 AM to about 2 PM. This site is in a very rural/desert location, but within flight distance there are several interesting subjects for aerial photography and video, including Goat Mountain and the Integratron (look it up). A short drive will get you near Giant Rock and the Whitehorse Ranch. And if you just want a place to fly your bird around without fear of crashing into something, well there is a lot of space out there.

At GMARS you will be able to launch from clean concrete pads with electrical outlets for easy recharging. Restrooms, picnic benches and other comforts are nearby. We're asking for a $5 donation and will be supplying iced bottled water to stay hydrated. Feel free to bring snacks or lunch.

If you want to participate, please send me an email at [email protected] so I can supply you with directions and other information. Winds tend to vary a lot in the desert; if you are interested in keeping tabs on the weather at GMARS, go here: Star Camp Observatory Weather | Personal Weather Station: KCALANDE5 by Wunderground.com | Weather Underground

Live webcam views from the site are available here: GMARS Weather Center | Weather Cams | RivAstro.org

See you on the 20th!

View attachment 45129

Ralph, Thank you so much for organizing this outing. What a great opportunity. Can't wait meet and get some air time. Looking forward to your package. I sent you an email

Dave
 
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The info package for the Phantom Fly-in is ready. Send your email address to me ([email protected]) and I will send you a copy.
 
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Just a reminder: The Phantom Fly-in at Landers is this Sunday morning. If you want an info package (PDF), send your email address to me ([email protected]) and I will get you a copy.
 
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Hey Ralph,
I am 20 miles away, just saw this but will make an attempt to attend. Sending a email now.
 

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