[Home] to paraglide.net [SD Log] [Amigo] [Activity] [Photo] [Comments] [Incidents] [Weather] [SBSA] [SCPA]

Santa Barbara Typical Wind Direction

In response to a SBSA telegram post inquiring about wind direction in Santa Barbara
Posted by Franco (P3) at 1:03 PM on Monday, 4/10/2023
Should wind direction be approx from W to SSE for Santa Barbara sites to be flyable?

Reply posted by Cracka at 3:05 PM on Monday, 4/10//2023

VOR/Western Skies (3500ft), EJ (3800ft), and Skyport/Eliminator (2900ft) are our most popular mountain launches with VOR being the easiest most straight forward with huge LZ and a straight shot flight plan.  All are accessible by car. Our mountains face south and are flyable year around on most days. Our daily mountain flying window is usually from about 9am-3pm as it usually blows down at some point in the evening.  Some evenings are flyable at those 3 sites but rarely soarable.  Forecasting more than a few days out is difficult with the big blue thing sitting out there.

A day or two before u want to fly, look at Windy.com and check the 3000 ft winds for 9am-3pm.  Any direction under 10mph EXCEPT northerly directions should be easily flyable in the mountains.  Also check 5000ft (between 9am-3pm).  Light north is ok there for most days, but north over 15mph can be an issue with stable air.  Most of our mountain days are pretty stable due to the ocean being so close.  If windy.com surface winds are 10+ with a W,S, or E component, our popular coastal ridge sites such as Bates, Wilcox and More Mesa may work, but they are very unreliable and sporadic.  Often locals will post forecasts interpretations of unstable days/week but most days are go to know.  That's the simple version.  With over 1000 people in this group, locals tend to chime in a lot less then they used to which is understandable.  If you are new to the area and need a site intro, posting that you have a car, driver, retrieve, beer, weed, opioids, food, etc will prob get more of a response then just simply stating you need a ride up the hill.  Throw a dog a bone as we all need to get up the hill :)  The training hill is a fun place to play and meet flyin gnards, and the schools are usually there most days. Have fun!

Reply posted by SD at 7:21 PM on Monday, 4/10/2023

Franco, in addition to Cracka’s constructive comments, I would note that your question indicates a lack of experience evaluating the evolution of various days.

We do commonly fly SB in W to SSE but I’d omit the “should” from your question because we often also fly SB in other directions including E, NE, N, NW, SW and S.  There is much more to the equation than simply "wind direction", and wind direction itself varies with location (both lateral and vertical), time of day, and to a huge extent by immediate and extended topography.  The temperature profile of the local airmass is one of the more significant components to the balance.

I’m not saying your question is inappropriate for the SBSA chat forum, but I would recommend that you continue seeking additional local and general counsel (more than can be covered in a chat response) at this stage or your progression.

Follow-up Question posted by Franco at 7:31 PM on Monday, 4/10/2023
If any experienced local pilots have documents or other resources and / or checklist / methodology to follow for planning local non-xc flights I would be interested in learning the insights of it all.

Reply posted by SD at 7:41 PM on Monday, 4/10/2023

Dennis Pagen’s book “Understanding the Sky” is a good place to start.
Note: Initially published in 1992, there is a "new edition" published in 2022

Locally, there is a hodgepodge of various articles written over the years including (but not limited to):
the Cracka Sauce YouTube videos
and I’ve posted a few comments at



 [Top of Page]  [Home]