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Mark Pratt (aka Nitrous)

Sunday, 2/9/03
Oat Mountain to Nordhoff High School ~ 21 miles

I had a late start after helping my son (Sam) with homework.  At launch (Oat Mountain Main Launch) at 11:30, no wind, with cycles from east.  I wanted to go to top of Oat, but driver did not want to drive down steep road and I was two lazy to walk.  The east wind was increasing with only brief up sloping wind every ten minutes.

I launched at 12:30.  I had to run hard with a steep slope to get off.  Strong cores, but disorganized.  5500ft at Oat with white knuckles.  Tail wind and lots of sink to ridge north east of San Cayetano.  I could not climb over, so around the corner to trashy air with strong east.  I was afraid to get very close to the hill so worked out front.  I got lots of practice mapping disorganized lift.  2500ft to 3k across to Santa Paula Peak.  West of peak less wind, and over ridge with 7k. Glide to East Repeater, got a little boost , glide to end of Chief ridge.  I came in low in front of Nordhoff,  last one up to ridge line.  Phone ringing and very tired so enjoyed the glide to golf course 3:15

Mark Pratt

Editorial Note:

This is truly one of our local historical flights to note.  Pilots have envisioned making the connection for years, but haven't even come close.  With a bit more mental endurance, Mark was in position to take it all the way to SB.  Sounds like it was a rough ride early on, but perhaps others will follow.

Note:  There are unconfirmed rumors that either Tom Wilson or Tim Joseph made at least one flight from Oat to Ojai in the late 70s on HGs (with less performance than today's entry level PG).  Neither of them were still flying when I arrived on the South Coast in 81.  Diablo is trying to confirm his recollection.  At the minimum, Mark's flight is the first ever PG connection.