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Articles from Saturday and Sunday, 1/13 & 1/14/2001  [SD Saturday]  [SD Sunday Flight]  [SD Sunday Reserve Deployment]
[Ron Faoro Sat & Sunday] [Tom Beidler Comment] [Benson Flight] [Benson Observation] [Kevin Dumain Reflections]

Ron Faoro (The Spin Doctor)
Saturday, 1/13 and Sunday, 1/14/2001

Just Another Wild Paragliding Weekend in Santa Barbara

Tom had most of the fun and excitement this week- end, but not all of it.  His snowy flight to Fillmore on Saturday and his deployment on Sunday will be in our minds for sometime.  I had the kind of weekend I'm always hoping for; excitement, some distance, a little challenge and unparalleled beauty.

Saturday was a big day at Skyport, many pilots and a gorgeous post-frontal sky.  It took me five minutes to get up at the house thermal, launching second after Sundowner. The R&R worked for Tom so I followed him there to get up over 4,000 and then set out on course.  I had to work each bump, but twenty minutes of patient work below Montecito Peak finally pulled me up to 3,800 feet.  The situation finally O.D'd at Romero Canyon.  Tom was already reporting from Noon Peak and it was a fun chase, but I was more in the clouds than out, so I took the altitude and headed out.  The south wind kept my glide from reaching the polo fields; I landed in a muddy field in Toro Canyon.  The owner of the pasture was very friendly and I packed up and hitched a ride all the way to my clinic in downtown S.B..  It was a challenging cross-country of 7 1/2 miles and 100 minutes.

We all watched Tom's reserve thriller over the Holy Hills (even holier now).  I spent the next two hours driving up and down the backroads of Mission and Rattlesnake Canyons trying to figure out how to guide SD down.  No need!  Back at Parma Park, we see him in the air!  This was not 30 minutes after he said he was in a tunnel of undergrowth making 10 yards every 5 minutes!  We may never know where he launched, but it adds to the mystique.  Anyway, my wait was rewarded by Bob and Benson's pioneering research into the afternoon skies.  From Parma they took me up to the bypass and got me off the hill.  I made an easy glide to the Roundhouse and five minutes later latched onto a thermal that carried me up 2,000 feet into the swirling clouds. The first five minutes in the clouds I popped in and out the back, allowing me to orient myself and watch the boys try to help Benson into the air.  Finally, I accepted whiteout and circled another 5-10 minutes up to 4,100 feet.  All the circling made me a bit loony with no ground reference.  So I took my southeast heading and relaxed.  About one minute later, I exited the huge cloud I had climbed in and found myself in a "cloud room."  There was another large cloud in front of me and 99% of the rest of the periphery was all cloud, but I was clear.  I stared in amazement.  But even more beautiful than this heavenly chamber were three clear tunnels through the clouds to a turquoise sea, Sycamore Canyon and the Gaviota Coast.  The awe-inspiring site lasted only a minute; I pierced the cloud ahead and floated to the beach.  2,100 feet of altitude over the Pacific Ocean allowed a spiral dive in each direction and a few wingovers to boot before I settled into East Beach.  The beers at Brophy's with my two good friends, Bob and Benson, who kindly retrieved me, were almost as good as the flight.  What a splendid view we had of the mountains we fly!  A guy can't ask for a better weekend of flying.





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