Waverly West Soaring Ranch

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This gliderport appears in the book Rocinante twice. It is a real location, and specializes in glider rides and instruction.

Mark Gravengood and Jackie Archer happen on this place on their travels and stay for several weeks while Jackie gets some flight training and Mark gets checked out in a sailplane. Mark is also drafted into service as a tow plane pilot (also known as an "Elevator Operator") when the regular pilot has to leave suddenly due to an emergency in his family.

The regular tow pilots include Fred, Paul and Jack Daniels. Another man, Bruce, was around often enough to be mistaken as a glider pilot, but the college professor hadn't solo'ed until after Jackie managed to talk him into it.

Months later they return for another week. By the time they leave Jackie has her private pilot license and they are both licensed glider pilots.

Real world note

At the time Rocinante is set (1971) the Waverly West Soaring Ranch was a real airport and gliderport on a full section (640 acres) of land. It is described thus: "(t)he runways (were) mere places where the grass showed signs of wear. Part of one runway showed signs of having been oiled for a part of its distance, and there were white spots that marked its outlines; another runway ran almost corner to corner of what had to be a square mile section of land. The wind sock seemed to indicate that the slightly improved runway was the one in use; there were a couple of cars sitting off to the side near the end of the runway." Roc2-3

Later, the original site was closed and converted back to farmland. The successor, several miles to the east on 250 acres of land, was also known for a while as Waverly West but is known today as the Owl Canyon Gliderport. The Colorado Soaring Association now owns Owl Canyon. Their web site is at http://www.soarcsa.org. The field is located just west of I-25 about 14 miles north of Fort Collins, Colorado.