The flight that almost was...

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The flight that almost was...

Postby gracecab » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:04 pm

There are tons of times we don't fly. I'm kind of sick of it actually, however, life being what it is, you suck it up. This is one of those times.

I am kind of amped on flying The Avenue. Ventura Avenue, you know, in Ventura. After getting a thorough tutorial, and history from the Oracle (SD in case you didn't know), I am continually thinking about if and when I am going to be able to fly. Fortunately for me, I drive home by it every day. Unfortunately for me, no one else I know does regularly.

So, I am going to become the cheerleader and evangelist... I'm good with that because:
1. I don't generally want or enjoy flying alone just for the experience.
2. Having a bottom and top car is primo for this spot, in case you can't top land (even though streets go back to the top.)
3. Other peeps want to get out and become better pilots, and changing up where you fly is a way to do that.

So, the story. More like just facts: I got off work early last Friday, specifically because Thursday was a great day, and this pattern with the fog burning off and it opening up, was something I was pretty sure would happen again... and hopefully the direction would clock around to the NW like it did Thursday as well. I would have put money on it... and I was wrong... and right. The fog burned off, and we got a nice steady sea breeze from the W. However, I got to the top at about 3:30, and the direction was pretty much W. Problem is, the wedge, Grant Park, The Avenue, whatever that ridge is called actually is pretty much facing N. You really need it to come from the NW better N, I think. So, hoping for the "it's too cross at Bates, so I'm going to see if the Avenue is picking up any of this lift" just wasn't happening, at least today.

Fortunately, there are streamers some paragliders/Hangliders have put up there, which indicated the almost pure cross direction. Some thermals, boomers, were coming through and the streamers would clock around, but waiting it out showed again and again that the direction was pretty much guaranteeing a sideways down elevator, no lift, one direction facing out toward the ocean rather than out away from the slope kind of ride to the bottom greenbelt, and if lucky, maybe a turn or two to DeAnza playground.... but definitely not the best use of my time, even though I had all the best laid plans of mice and men. Oh yeah, only a few crows occassionaly came skimming along the ridge low, anhedral style... knowing already what I was just figuring out... stay on the ground.

So, with no ride back up, with no experienced pilots with, unsure of the strength of the wind ABOVE launch though pretty sure it was blasting esp. with the boomers coming through, and no SPOT/GPS/Flares/or coon dogs to come find me in the lee of this beautiful soaring ridge, I had to bow out...

Did I want to fly soooooooooo bad. Yes.

Did I have plenty of wind knowledge, experience, internet data, current wind and condition observations from the top, and margin of error built in to make it an easy choice? Yep.

Was it easy. Nope.

I'm a junkie. Still in that newbie stage where every time I fly is a new experience. It's great. I hope the thrill never goes away, though I know the newness wears off like anything. But, the thrill of something dominating your thinking, when you are at your computer at work, and you are looking at the wind report hoping that Bates won't block today, or the van will indeed go to Skyport so I can book out for a lunchtime sortee... that is something to be honest I haven't felt in a while.

I'm at the stage where, parking in the lot up top at The Avenue, waking up, setting up, and then not getting to fly, is still super cool... focusing all my hopes and excitement, and using all that I've learned so far, is still super cool, even when I don't get to fly. Because I know I will... very soon.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
Ventura, CA
UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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Heavy Air

Postby sd » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:43 pm

gracecab wrote: hoping for the "it's too cross at Bates, so I'm going to see if the Avenue is picking up any of this lift" just wasn't happening

I wasn't focused on the weather today, but did look at Bates late in the afternoon. I think the reason it was cross at both Bates and the Avenue is because the air was "heavy".

There was actually a decent lapse rate early under a lowish inversion, and I heard reports of pilots popping up for a short period at Elings, but once the onshore flow became established it was too cool compared to the air above it. When the air is heavy, or stable, it is steered by the topography contours. It will blow parallel to the coast along the Rincon, but then turn to go up the rivers. As noted during your tutorial, when the air is heavy it will still be soarable at the tip of the ridge (The Cross), but the ridge itself is acting like a guide vane and steering the air. Further up the guide vane toward the upper launch the air has been turned so it will be cross.

On days with heavy air it will often be more soarable with a better direction when the wind first pulls in. This is true for Wilcox, Bates, Elings, and the Avenue. Once the airflow has established it tends to cross up and follow the contours. Since it is heavy, it wants to go around obstacles rather than over them.
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Re: The flight that almost was...

Postby gracecab » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:55 am

Let's clear out some trees and a launch pad at Grant Park! Facing West.

I'm not sure I trust my launching skills under that telephone / power ? pole toward the tip... I'd love to watch you launch and land there...

Let's make this place pop again!
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
Ventura, CA
UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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Re: The flight that almost was...

Postby gracecab » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:51 am

I'll spend some time trekking down the face of the tip... maybe I'm not seeing all the opportunities to launch down there.

Looks like there are some actual grassy knolls below the Cross and parking.

Capture.JPG
The Avenue from the fwy...
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
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UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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Re: The flight that almost was...

Postby sd » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:02 am

gracecab wrote:I'll spend some time trekking down the face of the tip... maybe I'm not seeing all the opportunities to launch down there.

Chris, I posted a Google Earth KML file with some narrated descriptions at
http://scpa.info/sites/ventura/avenue/the_avenue.kml

You can tunnel in from the Flying Site Index on the SCPA Home page
to Ventura > Avenue at
http://scpa.info/sites/ventura/avenue
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Re: The flight that almost was...

Postby gracecab » Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:09 am

Thanks SD, I'll be scoping and looking for a comfy launch pad- and landing. This KML stuff is primo. Really helps us describe the areas and flights we use around here. Nice.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
Ventura, CA
UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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