July 20th, 2003
Pine SS x4 to nowhere
1st flight: top land
2nd flight: OTB & flush to Lockwood Valley Road
3rd flight: OTB & flush to Ranch Road
4th flight: flush to Wolf's Grill
Tandem with Sharon on my new Windtech Bantoo
The weather looked promising for some recreational flying. Had a brand new tandem glider collecting dust in my garage. Sharon opted to go standby and we did 4 flights to nowhere from the South Side of Pine. Did have good success catching rides (it's like cheating when you thumb with a girl).
1st flight: Ron Faoro was the wind tech followed by Bob H. We followed with an easy take off about 11:45. Hung on in the ridge for a few passes, but got below launch and had to head out. Found something out front and got back over the main spine. Dropped in for a soft side hill landing next to launch so we could adjust the gear.
2nd flight: Off about a quarter past 12. Stronger lift, but still couldn't climb very high at launch. Got to 78 but lost it. Found it again west of the main spine and drifted down the ridge with the east wind. Went OTB with 75 from the lower camp ground toward some impressive looking cumulus clouds. Nothing but sink alarm. Got to the flats too low and just reached the road. Not much traffic, but caught a ride from a spiritual lady to the summit. Edward was pulling up as we got out and he boosted us to launch.
Better altitude on the second flight. The clouds were looking good and Diablo had reported cloud base OTB. We followed Craig OTB with about 85 expecting to get up quickly, but ended up with a weak glide toward the road. The lower level drift was form the west so we tried the west point of the north side of the Chute. Gained a few hundred, but had to fall off for the ranch. Stumbled into another over the Ranch Road for a climb from the mid 4s into the low 7s. Took our altitude and ran deeper in to Ranch Canyon, but had to turn back and limb back out against the wind.
The rancher has heading out and he gave us a boost through the locked gates all the way to Ozena as Ron F climbed over Dry Canyon. Heard Ron at cloud base over Lockwood as we packed up on the grass. Hooked up with Don Taber and Bo for a lift to the Summit. Got out and caught a ride as soon as we crossed the street to the last camp ground. Had to walk the final 300 yards.
The cycles were good when we got to launch, but were getting weaker by the time we got off just after 5 pm. The clouds had come overhead and were starting to form on the south side. It looked promising, but fizzled and flushed out. Gained 500 in a weak thermal behind the Sand Pile. Ran downwind behind Wolf's Grill, but no luck. The landing conditions on the road at Wolf's Grill were a bit switchy, I think because we were lee side and it was trying to come around both sides of the upwind hill. We got lucky and set down softly at the front door.
It was hot and miserable on the ground. Very little wind and bugs. We caught a ride down to Ojai from the same Samaritan that got us to launch.
The day looked promising, but we were frustrated. Probably should have had more patience on the south side. Other pilots did better and reported topping a thousand higher. Still had a good time despite only about an hour and a half of airtime. Caught some interesting rides, and got back to town before the crew with dedicated chase. They picked up Ron Faoro in the Antelope Valley and ran retrieve back through Ozena.
My first tandem flights since shoulder surgery in March.