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03-18-2001, Sunday

Nut House (Ojai) to Westmont College
27 miles from Three Stooges to The College + 5 from the Nut House to the Stooges
New Nut House Straight Line Distance Record (from the Stooges)

Another eventful day at the Nut House.  Eight pilots flew.  All got up.

High pressure with a 12C 6,000' temp.  Surface near 80.  Small, strong, sharp cores.  Not much wind but some stiff draw in places.  Really getting worked, needing to stay focused.  Probably ranks up there with the 1/2 dozen nastiest days in the Topa's.  Fortunately, without much wind it was manageable.  High anxiety in the heat of the day on a spanny glider.

Launched about 12:15 and got up a bit right away.  Getting batted around.  Saw Art take a full frontal pointed at the hill.  Got to 4 off Spine One.  Bounced upwind to Three Stooges.  Stuck low but took one back up to 4 and ran back to the SE spine of Nordhoff.  Arrive low and work up to ridge line.  Come around the front Nordhoff Ridge low and work up again.  I was getting worked so I decided to top and throw in the towel.  Head out toward the High School with 48 and a little drift from the east.

Smooth air out front and a good downwind line toward White Ledge Ridge, so I tested the glide.  Doing ok so I kept going.  I could see SW on the ponds below so the tailwind would disappear lower.  Speed bar the last 1/4 mile and arrive low on the lower front ridge.  Work up and over to the Bump 3, getting there ok, about 400 below the bump.  Left in the low 4s for the back ridge and worked back up to ridge line.  Caught a thermal down in the saddle and took it to 55.  Drifted a bit over the back and had a little trouble penetrating against the draw to get back.  It was still strong, but past peak heating.  Came in behind White Ledge with 47 and worked back above 5.

It seemed like the back ridge was working so stayed in the back and worked numerous gains for a few hundred hear and there.  The drift at altitude was from the east with an occasional strong draw from the South if I got too far on the North side of the ridge.  The thermals were still good and the air was continuing to mellow.  Pretty easy going despite not having a lot of altitude.  The thermals were spaced close along the back ridge.

Didn't get up at West Divide but caught one on the way to Noon.  Crossed the power lines even and was able to work up to 4 on the east end of castle ridge.  Trying to stay up in the back.  Came in low on the east side of Ramero and got on the south spine about 500 below the road cut.  Climbed back to 4 and that was it.  Headed over to Montecito but couldn't connect.  Tried the foothills out in front of the power lines below the west spine, but no luck.  Randy glide to Westmont College in no wind.  Tried a new field on the east side of campus and had a sweet landing on the grass.  3:30

Hiked down to 192 and Dragisa boosted me home.  I think pilots did ok in SB, but it had much more low level haze than Ojai.

Some other exciting stories on the day, but I'll let the other pilots tell their war stories.  I guess taking his first flight on a spanny glider in nasty air wasn't enough for Ron.  Art did well and out thermaled me more than once.