Saturday, 5/11/02

Nut House Open Distance PG Record Eastbound
But still short of Mark Stucky's Topa Eastbound PG record of about 31 miles
and well short of my previous reach on numerous over flights from SB
The westbound Nut House record is 30 miles

29 miles straight line from first launch to last landing
at Moorpark College Driving Range
3 legs around 2 turnpoints

16+12+12 ~ 40 miles
Plus a run up the spine from Twin Peaks to Chiefs Peak with a Top Land behind Launch

And a short flight from The Cross for tree landing practice.

Weather Archive

Art and Brendan were kind enough to load me into Art's Caddy.  I couldn't decide weather to run for the Skyport or make the 9:30 meet at Nordhoff.  Art and Brendan put an end to my waffling and we were off to Ojai.  John had a full load and I needed some exercise so Christian and I opted for the hike up.   The climb was difficult in the building heat and poor footing (dry loose soil).  At times we'd fall back 6" on a 1' uphill push (like walking up a steep sand dune).  Took my time, just under an hour.  Christian did it in 25 minutes.  We started up at 9:45 and I was airborne a little after 11:09ish.

Never in danger of flushing, but it took about 10 minutes to get to ridge line.  Dolphined over to Spine One and from there it was easy going up to a landing at Chiefs.  Took a break and watched the last of Ojai John's crew get off.

Off again.  Up to 58 and run back to tag The Peak.  Back out to the edge, get back to 58 and on course chasing Randall.  Pulled a good glide and came in well above the road cut.  Tracked a thermal back.  It got stronger and I was climbing to good altitude.  Was thinking of taking the high route to The Bluffs, but above 65 I started picking up increasing north wind.  Topped about 75, but got blown out of the mountains in the turby upper lever north flow.

The altitude was good enough to reach all the way to Santa Paula Ridge.  Art was marking the course, so I could see it was working on the way over.  Climbed up the spine and found the usual convection up on the high ridge line.  Took some cushion and dolphined over to Santa Paula Peak.  Good strong thermal up to 76, with increasing upper flow from the NE.  Took as much drift as I could, circling in zero sink.  Pointed perpendicular to 126 on the glide southbound, but with 10+ knots of upper flow from the east, my ground track was toward South Mountain.  Pulled a good glide and crossed over the towers at South Mountain with 4+.  Continued on toward Highway 118 on course for the middle of the hill behind Camarillo.

Started picking up some west down below 3K, and started angling SE toward Somis.  Down lower, the wind was more and I was getting some south coming up Lewis Road, so I gave up on 118 and headed more downwind toward the east.

Down to about 1,300 msl, I blundered into a thermal coming off a an area cleared by earth moving equipment for construction development.  Took it back to 25 and headed downwind.  Down low again, reaching for a field next to 118 a couple miles short of the 23 freeway.  Came in with a couple hundred hoping to find some buoyant air, but prepared to land.  The field was upwind of a large electrical substation.  I was hoping to get enough to skip over the top, wanting to clear the industrial park on the other side.  The field had a buoyant bubble that turned into a good thermal at the back.  I kept extending my upwind leg and worked it for a 2K gain back up to 27.

Should have gone for the The Tierra Rejada Valley, which is flat thermal producing farm fields.  It would have been quartering upwind, but if I left the thermal in that direction I think I could have pulled the glide.  As I topped out, I was eyeing the downwind route down the 118 freeway into Semi Valley and didn't notice Tierra Rejada Valley until I'd used up 500' on the glide.  Without dedicated chase, the route downwind along the 118 freeway didn't look good.  It's broken foothills, and with the afternoon breeze I didn't see any big thermal generators.

I crossed the college with about 1,000 agl.  The best route seemed to be away from the road up the foothills ENE of the College.  The route looked like the best option for workable action, but by no means certain.  If I didn't connect, I'd be looking at 2 or 3 mile hike in the hot afternoon sun without chase.  Once past the college, I'd have a hard time getting back against the wind.  I went as far downwind of the college as I dared, and threw in the towel.  Needed full bar to get back.  Landed on the driving range about 2:15.

Called Brendan and the crew from Fillmore came over and collect me in good time.  Fun ride back with good stories.  Randall was going to drop me at The Quayle's house in Ventura, but it was blowing straight in at The Avenue.

Randall helped me get off the scruffy overgrown launch at The Cross.  Despite the stiff wind blowing straight in, I couldn't get much over 900 (500 over launch, and 200 over the top of the hill).  I think I could have climbed out if I tracked the small thermals back, but I was keeping my distance in front of the ridge due to iffy penetration.  There were caps on the ocean, but not much movement down low upriver.  Tried thermaling over town a couple of times, but the thermals would shred when they hit the wind sheer overhead.

Finally threw in the towel and went over to the Quayle's house to scope out the landing.  They're on the hill side a couple hundred feet above the flood plain, just north of DeAnza School.  There wasn't much wind below 500', but it was buoyant.  Sam and Cally were playing in the back yard and seemed entertained by my low flybys.  Made several approaches, but was too high on the first couple.  My altitude was correct on the 3rd approach, but at the last moment, I had trouble trying to squeeze it between a tree and the houses.  I tried to abort and steer out away from the houses, but caught the tree with my tip, and the glider stopped ungracefully.  Packed up on the grass.