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Tom Pipkin
Saturday, 12/4/04
Skyport to Fillmore
~ 43 miles (LFSD points ~ 41)

I was a little worked up on Friday after seeing the weather reports but it was Southside’s post that really sent me over the edge.  Southside’s forecast for Saturday; “Saturday could be one of the better days of the year. 8-9k tops with moderate east winds in the morning turning 0-3 out of the SW by early afternoon”.

The only question was, do we start in Ojai and hope the east winds hang around long enough to make it thru the pass for an out and back flight, or start in SB and hope the west pushes through early enough to make a long flight east bound?  It was a prefrontal condition and was supposed to turn to a typical onshore so we picked SB.  In hind site, launching Ojai would have been a better call.

Then there was the SB contest.  Most of us in the truck wanted to sign up but felt the late 10a registration time at Parma and the 4:30 SCPA Christmas party wouldn’t leave much time for a long flight down range.  Again, in hind site we could have done both.  My apologies to Robert Ramey for not participating in the contest, it was our loss.

I launched about 10:20 right after Ron F. had flushed to Saint Mary’s.  It was still early but managed to hang on long enough to work a low bump on the Holly hills back up to 3600’.  Several pilots had launched after me and were doing nicely so I pushed up wind to the east and also promptly flushed to St. Mary’s.  Eddy was right there for the boost back to launch. The radio was busy with pilots reporting 5k+ with several heading east.  I’m sure Eddy grew tired of my cursing.  The ride back to launch was torture.

Relaunched at 11:45 but just couldn’t seem to get the altitudes that everyone was reporting.  We were pushing into a east head wind of 5-10mph.  I struggled low at every connection taking the slow low road all the way to the Power Line Crossing.  My friends were way ahead and pulling away when Meyer reported in.  What luck, he was behind me, I wasn’t last after all!  That’s when the trash talking really stepped up to another level.  All the bantering kept my mind off the stress of just hanging on.

I had been stuck at the power line crossing for 30 minutes when 2 HG’s joined me.  A boomer thermal finally pulsed and the 3 of us easily crossed through the pass.  I lost sight of both HG’s just past White Ledge, (I later learned it was Roland and JR).  I heard they landed at Nordhoff HS.  I was curious as to why they chose to land when the best part of the flight was still ahead.

Ojai was on.  Max altitude of 8400’ at West Repeater and it started to rain.  Totally soaking wet, I climbed through the mid 5k’s.  Then wet clothes turned to ice.  At 7k it started to snow. The air was really nasty above 8k and I had to take off my glasses, they had iced over.  Getting tossed around like a rag doll and shivering uncontrollably, I wanted out.

East bound from the repeater w/8400’.The glide to Santa Paula ridge and on to Fillmore was super buoyant as I never turned in lift again, landing next to the Sespe River In Fillmore at 3:45.  The 43 mile mark.

Dean Landed at the 48 mile mark taking the day amongst all pg and hg’s.  Ron F. landed close to me and Brendan threw in the towel at Thomas Aquinas College.

 

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