Topa to Piru
First full day back in town, perhaps a day late. The weather had been epic. Christian was on board, and we had Edward for crew. Took my little Toyota up to the south side of Pine. Signs of wind everywhere. Wanted to fly real bad, and considered laying out when we got a short lull down to 10ish, but it didn't last long.
We called Top Pipkin and got the combo to the gate, but we were under powered and low on clearance. Knocked the muffler off on the way up. Didn't think we could make it all the way around to Chiefs without beating up the vehicle even more, so I opted to use the old HG back ridge launch. Too much wind to get off on the ridge top, so I went below the road.
Kept the canopy balled up and laid out on top of some small bushes. Spread the canopy after pull up. Had waited for a lull, but picked a lighter cycle than I should have, so I was backed down into the tall brush by the time the canopy loaded. It was crossing from the west, so the canopy drifted off center to the east, but I had a tall bush to my right (reverse pull up facing the hill). Fortunately, the canopy loaded well and I was able to hop up 10 feet to clear the bush, but in doing so spun to the right rather than the left. Luckily , the canopy was flying straight, so I had time to clear the line twist. Fun launch. (picture).
Climbing all the way, but concerned about penetration and being back in the canyon against the wind, so I kept going to get some clearance away from the venturi. Came in behind the road cut a few hundred over Chiefs launch and got up even with the Peak. Didn't drift back because there was still a fair amount of wind out front.
Tried out front and got back into the low 5s off the middle bump. Still had wind from the SW. Pulled a dolphin glide past East Repeater. Kept going past Boyd's below the top, and cleared the east end of the plateau above Koenigstein with a few hundred to spare. Was concerned about potential rotor in the lee of the plateau, but the SW was fading and I found a lee side thermal that was good for 500. Had a shot of reaching Santa Paula ridge low, but high enough to connect.
Coming in about half way up between the college and the last low point of Santa Paula ridge, I was starting to encounter the upriver flow and got on the speed bar to get around the corner, but it broke. They always seem to break when you need them. Fortunately, the upriver flow was less than usual, and I was able to get around the corner anyway. The ridge lift was working better that usual, so it was easy to get up. Got the spare speed bar hooked up after I connected and had room to spare.
Easy getting up to the top, but couldn't climb much over despite hearing reports of big altitude from Kagle. Finally left from Santa Paula Peak in the mid 5s. Since the ridge lift was working better than the thermals, and I didn't have enough altitude to reach the F anyway, I angle for Oat. Came in low and climbed up easily in the ridge. Topped about 39 hundred in smooth laminar air.
Worked upwind toward town. Thought I could cut the corner and cross the canyon toward the F, but drifted too far back and almost got caught in the lee. Got on full speed bar and was able to get back to the front side of the ridge over Jack's place. Worked back over to Mark's launch. Back up to 45 this time and around the corner. Nothing vertical going on, so just a downwind glide past the aquifer recharging ponds to land a little east of town.
Edward was right there. Took the car in the get the muffler welded back up later in the week.