[Amigo] > [Dean's flight index]

Dean Stratton
Saturday, 12/4/04
Skyport to Hwy 126, a couple miles short of Piru
48.1 miles (LFSD points ~ 46)

Plenty of pilots at launch.  Most of the usual suspects showed up today including Marty with a few of his students as well.  A few punched off around 10:30 and ended up on the ground.  It was still a little early.  A few others, including myself, launched at 11:00 and struggled for 20-30 minutes before the day really started to turn on.  Despite the East winds, I decided to run downtown and see what developed.  Left TF at 5k and headed for Montecito peak.  Head wind was averaging 7-10 and I came in to Shadow peak with only a few hundred to spare.  The handwriting was on the wall and it was going to be a slow crossing through the pass today.

Fortunately the regular thermal triggers were firing on schedule and most of the lift put me at 5k or better.  Faoro, Brendan, OJ, Nathan and a couple others were a couple spines behind me and decided to join in on the fun.  A few of the pilots missed some connections and bailed out but the rest of us bounced down range with good heights until we hit the power lines.  It was a little tougher between the power lines and West Divide and I was disappointed to hear OJ announce he missed his connection and was headed for the beach, damn!  It wasn’t but 5 or 10 minutes later that the cumis started to pop and the day really started to turn on.  Brendan caught up to me and we benched up to 6k + and headed for White ledge.

The higher we got, the more we appreciated the multiple layers of clothes we had on, it was friggin’ cold!  My fingers were replaced with popsicles and I couldn’t feel the speed bar with my toes.  As you can see in the pictures I’ve attached the cumis were just starting to pop in Ojai when we came through.  For the most part the thermals in Ojai were screamers with climb rates of 1000 fpm +.  I hit one just West of Bruce's Point that took me for a 1500 fpm ride that lasted a couple minutes kicking me out at 7500.  By the time we hit Stooges and Twin Peaks the entire valley was going off.  I climbed to 8500 over Twin peaks and took aim for Santa Paula Ridge.

Cloud base was under 4k at Santa Paula ridge which made it tough to turn the corner for Fillmore.  I stayed below CB and turned the corner only to find the entire Fillmore area clouded over, bummer… I came in to the Southwest facing foothills in Fillmore with 1800 with little hope of getting past town.  I didn’t hit a single bump on the crossing and the clouds were very dark.  I was just praying it wouldn’t rain.  On my glide SE I ran into a little 100 fpm trickle that drifted me back and took forever to boost me to 3k, thank god… That was the last lift of the day for me and I pointed East for an eventual landing off Hwy 126, just a couple miles short of Piru.  I didn’t even have time to get all my gear packed before Eddy was on the scene to retrieve me, great timing.

Definitely want to say thanks to Eddy for handling the retrieve duties flawlessly.

Sundowners Challenge:  I downloaded my GPS track this morning to MapSource and measured the furthest points.  I measured it twice just to make sure and straight-line mileage is 48.1.  If I’m not mistaken, considering the TOY handicap system and the declared flights thus far, this puts me at 46 points and on top of the stack.  Of course there are still 3 weeks left in the contest and anything can happen, especially when Tom T. gets wind of this.  Plus Diablo hasn’t posted his flight yet which will certainly bump me down a spot.  For now I‘ll enjoy my placement and say to Sundowner, “SHOW ME THE MONEY”.

Time for the Photos. I’ve included lots of pics from the air today for those of you who couldn’t make it out to fly and enjoy the rare conditions that we were blessed with.

Saturdays Pics: