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Skyport to Ramero to the Factory to East Beach
+ Bates Tease
1¼ hours airtime, 11:30ish to 12:45ish
Sundowner's Flight Report, see also [Weather Archive]
Wasn't planning to fly and had a few task that needed to get done, so posted late and got to Parma about 15 minutes past the 10:15 meet time. No one there, so parked my car up on Gibraltar Road past the stop sign and got out my thumb. Didn't need to wait long. The 2nd vehicle was Cort, a local PG pilot on his way up. We also met Jesse, a PG pilot from Colorado with his companion Angie, on launch at the Skyport. Hammer was spotted setting up after we were airborne.
Leary of the tall mustard and weak cycles so I did a forward pull-up. Smooth and buoyant, but opted not to turn despite being a bit above launch. Took glide extenders and followed a draw toward the Factory, reaching the point just behind the power lines. The lift was smooth and organized. A little week but not too bad. Able to climb steady up to cloudbase at 4K. Lower level drift was light from the SW, and the upper drift was light and variable.
Cloudbase looked higher toward La Cumbre Peak, but thought the day might have I5 potential so I opted to get on course headed east. Skipped over Shadow Peak and found a smooth weak thermal on the west spine of Montecito. Left the weak lift out front for the peak wanting something stronger. The peak had stronger cores, but they were a bit ragged, so continued east with 35. Even more punchy over the east spine, so kept going for Ramero, getting there with 26.
Climbed up to ridge line easy enough, but the thermals were drifting from the NE, and the drift was more pronounce above the ridge. Didn't want to tangle with the saddle if I was getting blown off on the west end, so went with the drift back to the east spine of Montecito, getting there just above the low saddle. Climbed up, but the air was punchy with variable drift, sometimes from the NE, so opted to revisit the weak smooth lift I left earlier on the west spine. It wasn't smooth anymore. Looked down the spine without much success and fell off downwind for Parkers with a little over 3, getting there a hundred over. Still kinda ratty with occasional drift from the NE, so kept going west trying to get out of the east flow.
Intercepted half way up the spine between the Rock and the Antenna Farm. Climbed up above 3 drifting initially from the east then variable. Tried back toward the Factory, but ran into a headwind from the NW and fell back off into the pulsing convergence zone. A 2nd run at the Factory drew me in and I got above 4. Cloudbase looked about 5ish, but could only work the broken air into the low 4s. The clouds looked fatter further back, but didn't want to commit behind the Factory. The drift varied in the thermals, but the cloud shadows were moving pretty good from the NW. Hammer had launched and was climbing up to intercept me. After fishing around in the squiggly conditions, opted to throw in the towel and pulled a glide to East Beach, reaching the water with 800 over the sand. Colorful clear day on glide.
Flew over toward the pier to check a flag, but it was pretty limp and I didn't get close enough for a definitive indication. Seemed to be light from the SE. Couldn't ascertain any drift on crosswind wind checks, so flipped a coin and decided to land eastbound since I was pointed that direction on my way back from the pier. Clean touchdown into a 2 mph ebb from the SE. By the time I was in the bag, the palm trees were starting to come alive and the birds were searching for convergence seams. Still SE on the grass at east beach, but likely west at the pier.
Cort had landed at Parma and brought my car down. We drove back up to get his on launch. Checked 25oh at Parma and heard Hammer, still airborne near Mussel Shoals (La Conchita). Gave him a jab about being on the wrong frequency when the wind dummies were on 46, but he noted that he was the one with the ground crew (Phoenix), so he was in fact on the correct frequency. Cort reported that Jesse had landed somewhere near Parma on his first flight from the Skyport.
Wind in the mountains was still light at 2 PM. Cycling in at the Skyport. Cloudbase had lifted and pushed back more over the top of the range. There were caps on the water pushing past the harbor. The caps were almost getting to Carpinteria by 3 PM. Went over to Bates about 3:45 and got suckered by the tease. Caps just off shore, but not much wind at launch. There was better wind just a mile up the road to the west. What wind there was was pretty cross and inconsistent. Got in a few passes on the main cliff before flushing to the beach.
Pack up at Viola Fields.
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