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Sunday, 3/3/2002
Tandem with Jeff (Marcia's brother)
Nordhoff to Shadow Peak to Carp

The back end of a subsistence driven Santa Anna event.  Good lapse rate with mild wind in the Ojai Valley, switching onshore later in the day.  Pilots reporting adequate altitudes; 7ish at Nordhoff, ~6 at White Ledge (Craig reported 67), 5+ through The Pass, and 4ish in SB.  With a building onshore west wind (stronger toward SB), the distance potential wasn't as good as Saturday, but with less wind, the air was more recreational.  4 vehicles with 20+ pilots + crew and spectators on launch, 3 to 1 PG to HG ratio.  The early going air was fine, but pilots reported turb after noon (west wind / sheer / convergence?).

4 HGs and 3 PGs made it through The Pass, plus there were a number of pilots that got close to White Ledge, but couldn't get up and over.  There were also an number of mishaps.  Diablo took a collapse and went in on the east side of the saddle behind White Ledge.  He opted for a helicopter extraction.  Tom Beidler got caught against a draw and opted to run OTB into the lee of White Ledge Ridge for a landing in Matilija Canyon.  Benson didn't make it out from launch and went down on Gridley Trail.  No reported injuries.

Marcia's brother Jeff was on his first visit to the West Coast from Michigan, so she had him lined up for a Sunday flight.  Jeff is pretty healthy at 49, but close to 200 lbs.  With potential good weather, I wasn't thrilled about the using one of our better days to do the tourist thing loaded 40 lbs over optimum.  I was trying to squirm out of the obligation, but Marcia wasn't giving wiggle room.  I resigned to alter my attitude and get with the program.  Tandem launches from Nordhoff are always tight, and this one used all the runway.  Edward was down on the road below and had to duck as we skimmed by.

Art was the wind dummy, about 10:45.  He got up and on course.  We were 6th off at 11:20.  The west was starting to show on the glide down the spine to the front points.  The Mega Man dusted us in the first thermal, but we finally topped about 68 over launch.  On course across 33 to bump 3.  It worked as usual and we pressed up the back ridge.  Tom P and Ron (Mega Man) were in the lead.  Tom P was westbound along the back ridge west of White Ledge, but Ron was stuck on the back ridge east of the saddle.  We got into the mid 5's before the saddle, cruised over Ron and reconnected half way to East Divide along the back ridge.

Re-boost over the saddle in front of West Divide, skip over Noon, and got on Power Line Ridge a hundred below.  We were starting to encounter west wind.  Lou reported 8 from the west at Parma with cycles reaching 10 to 15.  The ocean showed some west wind from Carpinteria to SB, and glassy past Wilcox.  The heavy wing loading was now an advantage and we caught Tom P at the west end of Power Line Ridge.  Got a couple hundred over and pressed on.

Ducking in for wind shadow cover.  The lee side draw was working and we could dolphin along.  We'd climb a few hundred over the west points for canyon crossings, and angle in deep to stay out of the west wind.  Worked up to 4K at Montecito peak, considered turning around.  Could'a should'a.  The next canyon seemed like too much against the wind, but we gave it a try anyway (might have been able to make Parkers).  Threw in the towel short of The Factory and turned back for an intercept below Shadow Peak.  Up and over to Montecito.

Tom P and the HG crew were getting to Montecito as we tried to struggle back up the west spine.  We wanted to get on top for the easy down wind run, but couldn't climb the spine.  Burned up 20 minutes, gave up and moved over to the east spine.  The day was shutting down.  Tom P marked a thermal out front, and we took 26 across to the west spine of Ramero.  It was going to be marginal low going.  Ended up flushing off the spine below The Road Cut, but found a saver over the front point below 2K.  Tom P took a leeside thermal and ran for Castle Point 1.  We worked back up the spine and topped above The Road Cut about 32.  Used the altitude to get to The Castle Point 2.

It was past 2:30 and the day was fading fast.  Tom P was hanging on a few hundred below The Castle.  We got there even with the flag, but in a lull.  Thought we were done, but Tom marked another one for us.  We topped about 26 and tried to connect to the back ridge.  Tom moved over to Point 3 and found something over the power lines.  We flushed back out, re-boosted back to 27 and followed.  Got to 25 in the thermal Tom spotted over the power lines, and ran for the gap between Polo Ridge and Snowball.  We needed to clear the mesa east of Toro Canyon Park Road, and did so a below the top on the SW side.  Came up a bit short of the High School and set down on the edge of a flower field in the Van Wingerden's front yard (192) at 3 pm.  Tom P landed behind the HS.  Edward was right there in lead chase.

Pack up at the school.  Regroup at my house.  Story telling at The Palms.
South Side and TQ made Parma, Rotor went to the Practice Polo Field, the Mega Man Landed at Bates, and Craig went for brownie points landing in his brothers front yard with Sara observing.  Tony was on time for cocktails.

If I turned around when I should have, we probably could have made it back to Bret and Jerry's.  Turned out to be a great tandem flight.  Jeff was a super passenger.  No hint of airsickness, and the extra weight was an advantage at times.  We spent a lot of time down low in close, and by the time we got to SB he could spot the triggers and the lee side hazards.  We were able to get in close partially because he was smooth and responsive with the weight shift.

PS:  Galaxy For Sale, $250