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Robert Millington (Hammer)
Flight distance (from Eliminator); 61.8 miles
Flight time; 2 hr 40 min
What a great weekend of flying!!! At least that’s how it turned out. Saturday morning started out not looking so great except for the lapse rate. Diablo called early looking for local info. My early hesitation, because of a large area of thick high clouds moving into the area, didn’t slow him down at all. A short time later when the few of us who did show at Parma were loading up Diablo was already in the air! With Diablo’s inspiration EJ, Greg Brown, Jim Maddox, myself and the lovely Phoenix for crew headed up the hill.
After set up EJ was first off and was immediately sinking out… not very assuring for Greg and I. By this time Diablo was off the scope to the east. Since he was on an unknown freq we couldn’t get any info from him. So now I’m up and it looks fairly dark in Rattlesnake canyon but I punch off anyway. Right away it looks like I will be following EJ to the round house. Not good! Not wanting to give up the high ground I keep struggling at launch and am finally rewarded with a cycle and manage to climb out. Heading east to the “Factory” I start looking for EJ. No immediate visual on him but I do see Greg launch and watch his progress out to the front points. This is when I finally see EJ in struggle mode out front. EJ is way to talented and tenacious to stay down long so I decide to wait.
I move from the “ Factory” to the “Double R” topping out at 4800. I start moving east along the back of the range while EJ is still pulling himself up by his shoe strings. By the time I’m at Romero EJ is making progress and Diablo is a long way out. This is when things get exciting… for me at least. An area of less shade is opening up right in front of me and I am able to connect with it and the excellent associated lift. As I continue east everything is getting brighter and better. Fast Eddie comes on our freq to give me the update on a struggling Diablo. Then I finally see him. It is quite a surprise to me to find I am closing the gap between us. The sun is really shining on me by this time and I am moving along at a good pace.
EJ, by this time, is whipping his “horse” into a lather as he motivates east. Leaving the power line crossing towards Noon peak where Diablo is flushing from I am elated to be catching up to him. Now this is where lady luck comes into play and she’s on my side this time. The lift at “Noon” is incredible!! Within minutes I top out at 5800 and am on my way… same thing at Divide and again at White Ledge. WOW! This was the fastest and easiest trip through the pass I have ever experienced. On my way to Nordoff, EJ tells me of his decision to turn around at the power line crossing. I’m unhappy that he is not coming along with me (selfish on my part, since it is always more fun with more friends along).
While EJ heads back and Diablo slogs through the pass I slide through Ojai and onto Santa Paula Ridge. The views are incredible and the lift strong! Moving on to Filmore and my last thermal of the day. The northeast quadrant of Fillmore has always worked for me in the past. Once again it works and after topping at 5500 head east again on what turns out to be a final glide to Castaic Junction. There is a large, clear field adjacent to Magic Mt that is perfect for landing into a 10-12 mph west breeze. Of course Phoenix is right there with the truck, her great company, and a cold adult beverage. What a lovely day! Flight time; 2hr40min, Flight distance (from Eliminator); 61.8 miles
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