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8/18/2001, Saturday

Pine SS to 110 St & Ave B
57 miles, 3.5 hours


The air mass was dry, the lapse rate good, and the base wind light from the SW.  Carolyn dropped Tony (HG, Atos), Don (HG, Extra Light), and myself at launch about 10:15.  It was already cycling in nice.  Big fat smoothies from zero to 10, slow building and long lasting.  I took my time, thinking it was soarable, but probably too early to go OTB for the flats.  It was nice to be early and not rushed.  I was hoping to relax in the trees for a spell, but the conditions drew me to launch.  I was off at 11, before other pilots arrived (probably had over 20 pilots).

Hung on to the back ridge for a few passes, but gave up below launch and went for the trees.  Held the high ground.  The east faces were convecting locally, but up on the spine it was west.  I had to work the wind shadow.  The vario got better a few hundred over, and climbing through 8, I started picking up some south .  Toped in the high 10s and went east.

I had drifted to the north a ways, and there was some haze filling in the lower stuff off to the SE, so I didn't push for Rayes.  Pointed straight east and took the drift from the south for a line over to the north ridge of The Chute.  Worked up ridge a bit and got back to 10.  Still had south above.  I tried pushing further up ridge against the wind but gave up and fell off short of Chute Peak.  Got back to 95 over the meadows and headed straight north.  Fished around by the road east of Dry Canyon, broke even for a while, but lost it and headed for the 50/50.

Not much wind early on, so I was OK with potential landing in the badlands.  Down to 62 approaching the 50/50 and found something out of the north.  Stayed with it drifting back toward Guillermo.  Topped about 95 and tried to run for Guillermo, but it was out of the south.  Ran straight downwind into Lockwood Valley.  Down to 500 agl just past Boy Scout Road, and found a scrap.  Got back to 1K agl on the drift.  Over the hills just past the airport, the drift slowed and the thermal went up.  Topped about 12 and headed south toward Frazier Mountain.  Found some lift on the way and climbed back up again.

The upper wind was from the SW.  There were pulsing clouds just north of the Mountain.  I got on the speed bar and pressed upwind toward the south, but took the drift from the west.  Still short of the peak, I hit a strong one that took me to 15 thousand.  I had drifted back toward the road, but took my altitude running  east.  Kept putting in more crab angle to the south, but was doing ok on the glide due to the good altitude and push from the west.  I was up to 60 degree crap angel, and finally gave up on the south and headed over the lake and up the valley in the middle of the Tehachapi Mountains.  There is a nice paved road up the valley, but it's a locked gate.  I figured I could walk a few miles if necessary.  As I got further into the glide a few miles was starting to look like 4, 5, or 6.  I was getting below the south wind and the longer hike was not inviting.  I had been hoping to blunder into something, but the air was smooth.  I started angling back toward the south, hoping I might clear the range just east of the cement plant.

The south wind continued to back off the lower I got, and the glide got better.  I cleared the range ok, and started picking up a low level tailwind from the north.  Ran downwind for the pumping station road, and found some zero sink about 500 agl.  Drifted with the scraps for a couple of miles hanging onto 500 agl.  All the way across the valley to the intersection of the Pumping Station Road and 138, and the scraps bumped into a NW / SW convergence.

Don had left Frazier lower and took the route against the south toward Quail Lake.  He was on the ground a mile west of where I found the convergence.  Tony was back at Frazier trying to double pump.  I cued in on the drift and followed the zig zagging line down the road, mostly staying above 6 and getting to 7.  Lost it, but saw a dusty a couple miles to the east and ran for the line.  Got back to 75.  It started to fade toward the Buttes, and I was down to 65 when I lost it again.  I started picking up some south and needed to angle off toward the NE.  I ran into more south and kept falling off.  Ran out of altitude and hit the deck at 110th street and Avenue B at 2:30

I felt mostly tuned in and on key.  The connection to the Antelope in a PG is problematic, but 15K and some push from the west over the draw into Lockwood was just enough to get there.  I've gotten there with less than 15, but it seems I usually need to get some of my glide above the draw.  The south wind at Fairmount Buttes is pretty consistent and also problematic.  My strategy was to not hold 138.  I was intending to avoid pushing into the south, and turn up toward the NE with it.  Perhaps turning out earlier might be the key, or perhaps I just needed more attitude and longer reach.

Tony D did well.  Logging his longest flight at 155 miles into the Panamint Valley without chase.  Hammer set down in the Panamint also.  Both could have gone further, but opted for landing.  I couple other HGs passed me on the deck as well (Richard N and Double D), landing near the 14 (~65 miles?).  A bunch made it past Quail Lake (35 to 45 miles).

For the record, the longest flight from Pine is about 180 miles to Ludlow.  There have been 6 HG flights to the Panamint (Tom T x2 + Robert M x 2 + John G + Tony D), all ending in about the same place (~155 miles).  Several of those flights had potential to go further, maybe another 10 to 40 miles.  Tony D also has a PG flight past Trona (just short of the Panamint, (139 miles).

Most of the PG pilots had good flights.  Hopefully we'll get a few reports.  I think Zvi and Tom P logged their longest flights.


18 Aug 2001 - 15:00:07 UTC
VALID 190000Z FOR USE 2100-0600Z
FT 3000    6000  9000  12000  18000
BIH    2410 2410+22 2412+13 2118-07
SBA  2907 2708+25 2306+18 2010+10 1212-07
WJF   2613+28   2710+19   2307+10   1320-08
330 AM PDT SAT AUG 18 2001


OXNARD  74 56 72


OJAI  99 57 94
SAN BERNARDINO 104  68   100


LANCASTER  103 65 100
HESPERIA  109 83 105