Skyport x 5, Soarable on all flights
1) to Antenna Farm, Cathedral, Cater, the Riveria, land on Mountain Drive at Parma
2) to Thermal Factory, Parkers, land Upper Parma
3) to Parkers, the Tit, land on Skyport Launch (below the edge)
4) to half way to Montecito Peak, the Tit, land on road above the Skyport
5) to Antenna Farm, land at East Beach
3+ hours airtime
No takers, so out the door solo. Get Frank and depart Parma at 9:35. Airborne from the Skyport about 10:10.
Weak smooth lift, and starting to shade in pretty good. Cloudbase plus at the Antenna Farm, but it looked real dark to the east, so I went west. It continued to get darker, so I had to look out front from Cathedral to access the sunny feed. Back into the mid to upper 2s over SA's, and look along the Riveria from west to east. Found something buoyant drifting from the SE back toward the construction, but it was dark back there so I pressed upwind for the sun. Once back on the ridge, I fell out and picked up a tailwind from the west. Reached out the east end but had to run back for Parma. Was able to soar the corner a few hundred over for awhile. Tony De Groot and Terry Taggart were down below at the HG meet spot on Mountain Drive. Dropped in for a soft landing and a clean canopy drop on the road next to their vehicle.
More light was getting through so we all headed up in Terry's vehicle. Launch cycles were good, but we were in and out of the clouds. I got up at the tip of the Factory, but cloudbase was only about 25. Same result at Parkers. Did some sight seeing along the power lines running back up behind the Antenna Farm, but had to come out. Real dark and flush to Parma along the Monastery route. Land by the Tree.
Our darkest OD was followed by the strongest sun of the day. Pack and hike back up to the stop sign. Had to wait 10 minutes for the second truck (a Brooks student scouting around) Good sun on the way up. Tony De Groot was up and doing ok, but reported punchy conditions as the sun came out. . It was dark again by the time I was ready to pull up, but Terry was doing ok in the shade. It cycled several more times throughout the day, but never completely shut down again.
Flew over to the climbing rock even for the tour. Up at Parkers again. Still real dark and lower cloudbase off to the east. To the west, cloudbase had lifted into the upper 2s to the low 3s. Terry went to Cathedral, and we hooked up over the Holy Hills. Topped at Tunnel Tit and moved up to the R&R, and back to launch. The east side of launch was in a sun hole, so it was punch and I couldn't get down. Gave up and overflew the HG launch. Came around for a downwind pass over my Brooks Student. It was sinky out front, and by the time I got it around, I was too low for the main pull up area. Stuck it on the hill just below the drop off in front of launch at the Skyport.
Back during my arm twisting, I told Terry I'd help get his car down, and he was now asking since I was on launch, but it was only 2:30ish and I wanted to fly some more, so I said later. Off again. Got into the low 3s at Parkers and tried the glide toward the Montecito Peak foothills. I had a little headwind, and it was still real dark with lower cloudbase that direction, so I turned back. It was getting pretty dark again, and it took awhile to get up at the Tit. Terry was coming back from West Bowl. Wanted to go for the beach, but I felt obligated to try to get Terry's van. Tony was at the Parma HG, so I had him call Frank, but they didn't speak the same language. Frank went out looking for Tony at Parma PG but couldn't find him. (how can you fly here regularly for 6 or 7 years and not know who Frank is?) Finally got up and over to launch for a good landing on the road just above the Skyport.
I was in luck. There was a truck with 3 guys pulled over and they watched me land. They were getting ready to head down, but I got in front and flagged. One of them lived on mountain drive, so he knew the way. Got him set with Terry's hide a key, and they watch me launch. Up to 32 over the Round House and got to the beach with plenty. Headed out to sea a quarter mile. No wind. Came back for a sweet landing on the grass next to Terry. About 4 pm.
Tony boosted us back to Parma. It still had another cycle or two left in it. Stopped by Frank's for a couple.
Super nice day. Was expecting to reach east with a good tail wind, but shifted gears and enjoyed the smooth air. Got some exercise, poked around, and had some fun launches and landings. Not a lot of color under the gray skies, and a little hazy, but still good scenery. The logistics worked well with all team members contributing.