Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Barron Hilton owns Flying M Ranch

Barron Hilton developed his passion for aviation long before he took the position of CEO, president or chairman—his present title—of Hilton Hotels Corporations.

Photo By Di Freeze
Photo By Di Freeze
From head of table, clockwise: Barron Hilton, Hyla and Richard Bertea, Holly Ciedeberg, Bill Ballhaus, Molly Ivans, Clay Lacy, and Peter and Ginny Ueberroth.
Hilton has more than 7,300 hours in gliders, balloons, helicopters and single- and multi-engine aircraft. It all began when he was about 10, when, while living in Dallas, he began riding his bicycle to nearby Love Field.

"I used to see the airplanes in the air, and I wanted to go out where they landed," he said. "I'd go and just stare at those planes and eat my heart out, trying to figure out when I'd be able to fly one."

In the mid-1960s, he acquired the Flying M Ranch, which was previously owned by Stanfield Murphy of San Francisco, and had a dirt strip.

The Flying M Ranch

As described in a video by Denver, the Flying M Ranch, 60 miles south of Reno, is "an awesome panorama of mountains and deserts." Cliff Robertson, in a poem that graces the wall in the main dining area, calls it "a place of magic."

The ranch covers an area that begins 25 miles south of Yerington, Nev., and stretches to the shores of Mono Lake in California. The Wassuk Mountains in the east and the Masonic Mountains in the west form the other boundaries of the ranch.

Photo By Dennis Ivans
Photo By Dennis Ivans
Barron Hilton returning from a trip to the ghost town of Bodie, Calif., in his MC 500-E.
Trout fishing is available at the ranch via the East Walker River, while trout and bass fishing are also available through manmade lakes. Deer and elk can be spotted roaming freely, and swans gracefully swim in a beautiful pond.

Nearby is Mount Grant, as well as the Toiyabe National Forest, six miles north of the ranch. The Sierra Nevada range looms to the west of the property.

Across from the main house is an old stagecoach house. Erected in the mid-1800s to house mules that hauled produce and firewood to the boomtowns of Aurora and Bodie, it is the second-oldest building still in operation in Nevada.

In fact, Bodie, on the border between California and Nevada, is on Hilton's property, which, according to visitors, is about as big as Rhode Island. Hilton explains that the property includes 20,000 acres owned by him, at fee, and 980,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management property, making for a million-acre ranch.

"I lease the land from the government," he says.

Photo By Dennis Ivans
Photo By Dennis Ivans
Molly Ivans at the wing of the Duo Discus.
In the main ranch house, where Hilton has his private residence in one wing, walls are decorated with photos of various aircraft, Hilton family and acquaintances. The main house also holds two dining room facilities. A smaller one is for made-to-order breakfasts. At a larger formal area, guests gather with their host like clockwork for five-star lunches and dinners. On this weekend, that included salmon, filet mignon, abalone, and elk medallions with huckleberry sauce, all created in a gourmet professional kitchen by a chef from the Reno Hilton, and served by attentive wait staff.

At six in the evening, an hour before dinner, guests begin arriving at the bar for cocktails, leisurely enjoyed there or in a big screen display room, where videos can be displayed or guests can catch up on news, or sip their refreshments in an adjacent reading area.

Besides the main ranch house, the complex includes several cabins for visitors, such as the French Suite, The New Mexico House and Balloon Cottage, as well as pilots' quarters.


Way to the flight line; this was the first impression after getting up the first day.

The airplanes stayed always rigged up and were "just" tied down.

The famous fire car, that is now used for filling the gliders with water ballast.

The ranch viewed from the most reliable thermal.

Bodie the ghost town; it is still on Barron Hilton's property.

Bodie Fuel Station

The elevator(s) for letting the workers down into the mines.

Alternative programme during the early day's waiting for thermals - flying!

This unique and maybe even "strange" flying boat was another highlight. Again possible to fly with it.

On that day it was hard to gain altitude. So you could view the reanch from every perspective, but not from the top.

Bodie bird's eye view. Remarkable that there is no tree left. Wood was the most valuable good there.

Bruno Gantenbrink, Chuck Jaeger, his wife and Ulf Merbold in the balloon; it is about 7 am.

Balloon racing - Barron finishes directly on top of the flag; Bruno waits for a changing brise to go for a splash'n dash.

Flying with oxygen is mandatory; almost daily we reached 18000 ft (the ranch is on 5000 ft).

The Steerman - going for a ride through the canyon (don't even think about something like that in Europe).

Spalsh'n Dash - probably some wet feet.

Annette Reichmann and Hannes Linke - two very central elements of the spectacle.

Sigi Baumgartl's advanced ceremonie (he had to return one day earlier).

The ETA, world champion and austronaut.

Daily briefing at 9 am.

Water ballast - the choices were yes (= full) or no (= empty). There was only one exception.

Clouds were rare and untouchable (18000ft is max. alt. due to airspace restrictions).

World champion Open Class Michael Sommer (r) with "Ms Sommer" (Tassilo Bode)

The Steerman - but without sound (and it seems they were flying quite high for the photo).

1 comment:

poorbodieman said...

I don't know who is in charge at the ranch house that sits next to Rough Creek in Mineral County but you had better find out,because you have 2 out of control cowboys that are screaming at anyone who passes through the ranch, they have pulled guns on people, chased vehicles for miles,and confronted anyone who they believe has driven too fast through THEIR FRONT YARD. It's only a matter of time before they meet up with someone who won't take their bullshit and it's not going to be pretty. The main trouble maker wears a HUGE black stetson& a calf length duster and claims to be an x-cop. If that is true,I can't imagine why. Anyway,somebody better fire these clowns if you don't want to lose the ranch in a lawsuit brought on by these IDIOTS!