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Saturday Flight Articles by [Andy Dainsberg] [Tom Pipkin] [SD] & Friday by [Aaron]
The Nuthouse to Rancho Sespe Soccer Field
27 miles from Launch to Landing
~ 2:50 hours airtime, 12:40 launch to 3:30 landing
Sundowner's Flight Report, see also [Weather Archive]
It was a slow heating day without any need to launch early, but I don't like hiking the Nuthouse on peak heat days so I wanted to get an early start. Was pushing for 9:30, but finally started up the trail at 10:05 after leaving Chris Paul's car in Ventura before hooking up with Tom Pipkin and Andy Dainsburg at NHS. Wore long pants despite the heat and next time I'll wear a long sleeve shirt also to mitigate the bugs. Started out ok and took more breaks than typical to avoid overheating. Faded some a third of the way up, but was actually in pretty good shape on launch at 11:20.
It was convecting up pretty good, about 5 to 12. Chris got off about a quarter till noon, followed by Andy, Tom, and then myself on 20 minute intervals. It was easy to get a few hundred over, but no one was able to climb to ridge line. I got to 27 on the second pulse (launch is about 1970) and stepped over to Spine One after the leaders were already out of sight past Nordhoff. Chris had some new harness issues and opted to fly out to the High School, which worked out good for the rest of us because we were planning on taking the Vista Bus back from Fillmore.
The lift got progressively better as the day aged and we pressed further east toward higher terrain. Tom Pipkin reported leaving Bruce's with 42 and came in below Twin Peaks. I got to about 45 at the Pyramid, but didn't find much worth stopping for along Nordhoff, so I came into Three Stooges a little below the top, but found a smooth thermal right away and climbed back to 52. Got a visual on Andy at 69 over Chiefs Peak launch, and Tom Pipkin was fishing around Twin Peaks several hundred below the top. About the time Andy got to the Repeater, the first CU of the day was starting to form high over the Bluffs
Tom P and I traded altitude over the Chiefs Spine. Tom left from half way up the spine for the Repeater and I followed with 5K. Andy was still in the lead with comfortable altitude. Tom P got up first at the Repeater, and went for the spine behind Boyd's. I followed with more altitude and got to the Bluffs before Tom. We opted to push back in and try for max altitude, but Andy was already on his way to Santa Paula Ridge.
By now, the clouds were pretty good over the Bluffs. I got up into the mid 6s behind the SE point and dolphined in to the north side high point. Tom P took his first thermal over the SE point and drifted back from the SW to 86, but still well below cloudbase. I finally came limping back out and was stuck at the point for awhile before finally tracking one back, topping in the mid 7s.
Seemed like a little headwind on the way to Santa Paula Ridge. Andy was reporting east wind, but Chris Paul was on chase and reporting upriver flow on the deck in Fillmore. Got to the ridge and tested drift which was from the east. Tom P had tried to bridge out hoping for a sea breeze front, but ended up on Tolland Road. I opted to get on the bar and press upwind up ridge through some sinky air, getting to the first high point a little below the top, but as I rounded the corner it was going up. Got back on the ridge and dolphined upwind for a bit and then took a fat smoothie up a few thousand. Dolphined over the Peak and got to 85 in fat smooth lift, and topped again at the same altitude below the last cloud over San Cayetano.
The upwind glide to Fillmore was long, slow, and smooth. The drift was from the NE, so it was pushing me out of the mountains. Likely could have played for Moorpark, but with west wind on the deck I was hoping for a sea breeze convergence that Tom P didn't find. Finally dropped through a horizontal sheer between 4K and 3500 with NE wind above and laminar upriver flow from the west below. Bobbed downwind up the ridge a ways eastbound from the satellite antennas, but nothing worth stopping for. Opted to take the easy route and angle out for the road and threw the anchor over the Rancho Sespe soccer field with 1200 AGL a couple miles short of Piru. On a bubbly spring day, I'd normally keep reaching hoping for a skip, but the river air seemed pretty laminar.
Andy and Chris were right there after touchdown. Picked up Tom P and dropped Chris at his car in Ventura before heading back up the 33 to retrieve vehicles. The clouds still looked good and even higher when we got back to NHS.
Stopped by to chat with Jim Woods, my HG instructor, passing through Casitas Springs. Woods Machine and Welding used to be The Hang Glider Shop. Home a little before 6.
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