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Monday, 2/11/11, President's Day
Skyport to Fillmore ~ 44  miles
~ 3 1/2 hours airtime, 9:55 ish  to 1:35ish

Sundowner's Flight Report, see also [Weather Archive]

Having recently moved and fallen behind on my professional project obligations, I should have kept my nose to the grind stone, but stars aligned and I was out the door about 8:35 to meet John Scott (South Side), Owen, and Diablo (Tony Deleo) at Bailard.  No takers at Parma so we were on launch about 9:15.  Ready to go by 9:30, but opted to give it 20 minutes.  Diablo was crew so we reminisced a bit an waited for a sun line to come in that changed it's mind and went the other way.  Hooked in at 9:50, but zero wind.  Opted for a front pull up shortly after the Eagle Van arrived.

Pulled a glide to the Round House and got to cloudbase off the Antenna Farm.  Arrived at Montecito in the mid 2s, wiggled up a bit and over to the east spine for another connection to cloudbase in the upper 3s.  Easy going, not needing to stop much.  Still had good sun, but it was getting dark in the pass.  Low 4s along Castle Ridge, but it was dark along Power Line Ridge, so didn't get up behind Snow Ball.  Angled SE toward a sunny low point in limbo about half way out to the front ridge, not really keeping a no hike LZ within reach,  but the sun edge got me  back to cloudbase, which was getting lower and darker through The Pass.

Hit on the point at the end of the SE spine coming off the Power Lines Crossing, but it was too shaded in.  Had plenty to make Cate if necessary, so kept fishing SE and found a fatty.  Took it up to 72, picking up ice in the lines above 5K.  Could barely see the canopy overhead, but kept circling hoping wanting enough for a low anxiety ticket through The Pass.  Took a SE heading above 7K and popped out the side pretty quick after 10 minutes inside.  The view was spectacular.  I had been lucky enough to go up a chimney that towered above the other tops, so I was above most of the action.  Could see parts of Lake Casitas and pulled a glide to the low hills in front of White Ledge.

Got back to cloudbase behind the fields by the lake and continued east.  Down below 3K and needed to make a decision.  There was sun all the way into Ojai, but didn't have confidence in scoring a flat land connection because it looked like a blue hole.  Opted to use my altitude to dive back into the mountains for a low connection below Bump 3 behind the Taft Meadow, which was in full sun with clouds over Bump 3.  Connected back to 45ish and crossed 33 easily.  Tried to reach too far east and had to backtrack to the Nut House to get up.  Once established, it pretty easy going to Twin Peaks with cloud base in the low 5s.

Ojai had good sun, but the east end of town and upper Ojai were in full shade.  Thatcher was in the shade, but Twin Peaks and half the spine up to Chiefs launch was in sun, so worked back up the spine about half way and left from cloud base for a similar sun exposure on the Repeater spine.  Connected easily back to base over the West Repeater spine.  Was hoping for one more connection before going for extra altitude to get through the OD shade en-route to Santa Paula Ridge.  There had been some sun over the spine up to the Bluffs behind Boyd's, but it was fading and finally all went dark.  Didn't connect, so I was on an extended glide toward Saint Thomas College.  Got some extenders, and was hoping for a smooth fatty back to base, but no luck.

The extenders let me try the bottom of Santa Paula Ridge, coming in low with about 22, maybe 700 AGL over the college.  Not much wind, but there was a week thermal that got me up to the ridge and eventually into the low 3s.  Tracked a couple weak bubbles up the ridge, but couldn't break 35ish.  It was getting darker, no sun at all, but after being stuck for 20 minutes I finally got a better core that went steady to cloudbase about 42ish.  Didn't want to white out close to the hill, so took it around the corner.

Santa Paula Peak was in the clouds, but it was sunny out front.  The route to I5 looked pretty good with big flat bottom Cu's and little wind.  Having made numerous marginal connections, I got overconfident assuming the next 15 miles would be academic.  Each spine had a thermal, but broken.  My options were to fish out front toward the sun, or work up hill and get back to base and then some for the river crossing, or continue on hoping to find a good core to base en-route.  After loosing thermals on each spine after gaining a few hundred feet, I opted for the 3rd option several times and kept going figuring I'd surely run into a good core along the way, but didn't, and pulled a bad glide across the river coming in low below the Oat Mountain launch.

Gained a few hundred in a broken core, tried uphill too low, and came back out front too low.  Fizzled to land in the Standard Oat Mountain LZ below launch.  Very little wind on the deck.

All in all a fun and rewarding day with some great views and challenging connections, but also somewhat disappointed that I got too racy upon reaching the sun after being lucky enough to be in position to possibly cross the interstate on a low wind day with a stellar lapse rate.

Called Diablo and he got me back to my truck in Ventura in good time.  Home about 3:30





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