Mogul Slope Soaring Site

Mogul, Nevada

Description: This site is located on the California/Nevada border just off Interstate 80 about an hour drive from Grass Valley, and has the same desert climate as the Red Rock site a few miles to the NW. The slope is about 200 feet high, and is a bowl facing west between two small peaks. You can drive to within a few feet of the launch site, and the wind is great here when other locations are weak.

Location: From Truckee on Interstate 80, drive 23 miles further northeast on I-80 to the CA/NV border. Boomtown is exit #4; take the next exit #7 "Mogul". Turn left to go under the freeway, then immediately left again onto Silva Ranch Road. Silva Ranch changes to Mogul Mountain Road as it curves right/north. At about 0.9 miles from the interstate, turn left onto Mountain Ridge Road, a short stub of a paved road, and continue NW from the paved road onto the dirt road. Set your odometer, and go left at the fork at 0.5 miles. Cross under the power lines at 1.0 miles, and turn left at the underground gas pipe lines at about 1.5 miles. The gas line is marked with orange posts that used to have signs before they were shot to bits (target shooting is apparently allowed here). Follow this straight roller coaster road another 0.4 miles west to the top of the hill. On this last section, watch out for high centering your car on the "water bars" and take it slow over the rocky parts. The last hundred yards is steep, and may require four wheel drive, but you can easily park at the foot of the hill and hike to the top. For the main bowl, turn left at the top and park as close as you dare.

If the wind is blowing directly from the south, you can try the southwest facing slope located on the south side of the ridge, or you can backtrack to the power lines at 1.0 miles, turn right/west under the power lines for another 0.3 miles of roller coaster, then make your way left/south via one of several routes to the top of the south hill.

Flying and Cautions: The wind seems to pick up in the afternoon and increase as the evening continues, blowing initially from a quartering SW to a directly facing west. The air really smooths and picks up when the sun is off the mountains to the east late in the aternoon. The dynamic soaring here on the back side with a west wind can be amazing, but watch out for turbulence near the ground at the foot of the hill on the back side. The gradient is perhaps a little higher than expected, probably related to the sharp lip on the front side, and gets a little more predictable later in the evening. The front side has a nice concentrating double bowl, if a little small, but has a very nice compression zone for those rocketing half-pipes. Landings are not as much of a problem with no ballast, but the sage trunks tend to strip the fuse of wing and tail if ballasted. Big flaps help a lot, and there is a small sort of cleared area on the west (front) side of the ridge near the entry road with low grass and softer bushes. Look for the spot at the corner of the roads just opposite the steel orange gas line marker, and crab your plane with flaps down across the front side to drop it in the grass.

The other site just to the south that has a better angle for a SW wind also has a much more rounded top, making the lift less well defined on the front side. With a 20 mph wind though, front side lift is more than adequate to start the backside dive, and the gradient on the back is very nice. Again, landings here can be harsh, so have a plan.

Photographs: The top photo is facing southwest over the main bowl, with Verdi and the Truckee river in the distance. The plane is my Swift 400, may it rest in peace, that breathed its last that same day the picture was taken. The wing snapped traversing the gradient on the downwind leg backside DS'ing, and the wingless fuse rocketed javelin-like to the bottom of the hill. On impact, the ballast under the wing smashed the radio gear and the front end of the fuse.

The first 10 second MPEG video is Brian McLean losing his dynamic soaring virginity, looking southwest toward Mogul, flying a borrowed 110" span Viper. He's taking wide circles and keeping it slow partly because he doesn't own the hardware. Wind was about 17 mph.

The second 30 second MPEG video is Rob Crockett flying his two meter Extreme, again looking south west, with Art Noto on the video camera with the commentary.  Wind is about 25 mph, and the Extreme has about a pound of ballast.

More photos and captions below.


Many thanks to Chris Adams for documenting this Mogul site on his web pages.

TopoZone topographic map of the site. Start your odometer at the word "Trash" near "BM 4894". The power lines are marked with a dot-dash line, and the underground gas line is marked with long dashes. The south end of the main site is "Sticky 5259", and the flying on the front side is between there and the hill "Verdi 5259" across the small valley to the northwest..

Yahoo map of the Mogul NV area.

Home Page.

Rob Crockett, 8/2000

Brian McLean again with a Viper, this time on the front side in the shadow of a cloud.

Two meter Extreme prototype (manufactured by Brian) half pipe stall turning near the moon.

Art Noto (left) and Brian McLean formation pylon racing.

Art's 60 inch Eliminator (left) and Brian flying the two meter Extreme (right).

Front side big air and cobalt blue skies at this mile-high site. Below the sun between the clouds is the Extreme.