Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

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Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby sd » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:49 pm

14K in fist thermal over launch and 15K at Frazier. Jonathan and Marty flew to Lancaster. See Jonathan's summary below / http://scpa.info/bb/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3227#p9537
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Tom, Jonathan, and Marty wiil turn on their satellite trackers prior to launch. To track in flight, click on the following links:
https://share.delorme.com/TomTruax
and for Janathan
http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0WFJKh7gZ6CdHpOivZ3UelWFVCqZ8kHs1
and Marty at:
http://tinyurl.com/l6897pg
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Sunday Morning / Dawn Update
The forecasted conditions on the west end of the course, Pine through Neenach, seem to have improved with the afternoon lift going to 13 or 14K before hitting a pronounced kink in the temperature profile. The day will be hot, but will take a little while to "turn on". The late morning max altitudes are lower, only 10 or 11K. The strong lapse rate is accompanied by mostly light west wind at altitude with a little NW in it down lower through Lockwood and Neenach, so we might elect to go down the south side of the valley? The wind gradient is positive up to Neenach with less flow down lower and a little more up higher. The wind aloft velocity is only 5ish down low and 10 to 12 up higher, but there will be local draw from various directions into the mid to upper teens in places.

The conditions deteriorate approaching the onshore flow spilling into the desert from the Santa Clara River starting near Fairmont and extending east of Hwy 14. The lift doesn't go as high, maybe 12K, and the stiff lower level filling flow is problematic. The low level flow continues to build past sunset and the gradient is negative where it is stronger down low and lighter up high. The filling flow can be partially avoided by angling north away from Palmdale and Landcaster, but on Saturday the low level flow through the Tehachapi Valley was from the San Joaquin Valley (from the NW), so the shifting line might go down the middle of the Antelope Valley on the west end before angling northeast after Neenach. If you venture much past Neenach, you should be willing to land in some wind, which was gusting to 30 near Palmdale on Saturday, but 10 knots less further north away from the Castaic fill paths over the Liebre Mountains.

The winds aloft forecast indicates there was perhaps a stronger lapse rate on Saturday, but the NAM is forecasting higher lift on Sunday.

Logistics listed below unchanged as of Sunday morning. Bring plenty of water. The 12K temperature is about 50 degrees F and well over a hundred on the deck in most locations.
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Saturday Night Logistics for Sunday Update
Max's truck is full and unfortunately the Eagle Bus and the Fly Above All Suburban are already scheduled for other routes, so we had to turn away Chris Heckman who is leaving for a one month vol-biv trip through the Alps on Monday. We'd love to accommodate more pilots, but would need either a larger vehicle or another crew member/driver
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Friday Night and Saturday Afternoon Logistics Confirmation for Sunday
9 am at Ash Street in Ventura on Sunday to be on launch at Pine about 10:45ish. It's the last day of the Ventura Fair, but there should be parking available in the public lot by the foot bridge at Ash Street before the Fair opens at 11.

Edward is crew for Max's truck, which can hold 7. We currently have 7 bodies so Max's truck full. If you want to go, check in. We'll try to get a 2nd vehicle if necessary, or we might be able to use the Eagle Bus if needed. Max would like to fly all 3 days (Sat, Sun, and Mon) but needs crew for Pine and currently Edward is only available 1 day so he opted for Sunday. If you have crew and want fly Saturday or Monday also, give Max a call. Current head count for Sunday includes: Edward Skow (crew), Max Hogan (hg), David Teal (hg), Jonathan Dietch (hg), and Tom Truax (pg), Marty DeVietti (pg), and Edwin (hg pilot from Oxnard).

Bring plenty of water and a hat. Numerous locations are reporting record high temperatures.
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Friday Evening Logistics Progression
Rumor is Edward is available to crew and Max [whith his truck which can carry 7 or 8] would like to fly both Saturday and Sunday. David Teal will go Saturday if the logistics work, and SD is still holding out for Sunday. A number of pilots have opted to pass due to the blue sky and limited potential, and some of our southern pilots who were considering Pine have opted to fly Elsinore instead. Their potential will likely be limited (30ish mile range) by the nasty venturi through the Banning Pass.

I think pilots are planning to meet at Ash Street in Ventura around 9 am to be on launch a little before 11.
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Friday morning update
From and old 1988 poem http://paraglide.net/poem/law_88.pdf
... the weather cannot be bought nor voted upon
the moment is there as is
never before and never again ...

With that in mind, our best Pine Mountain XC weather eastbound is typically mid August through September. Mid-summer seems to draw too hard from the south for paragliders. As the summer intensity relaxes, there are more days where the south draw isn't pushing the feed line well north of Pine. This weekend seems to be one of the first occurrences this August offering relaxed flow from the south. I did have a flight from Pine mid June this year, but that was on the front side of the summer.

It is still early in our mid-August through September window. The weekend offers some potential, but also has some issues. The potential isn't likely record breaking. We'll need to wait a couple more weeks for the big distance flights, but it looks good enough to go 30 to 40 miles, and if you are willing to brave the late afternoon Mojave Desert wind, then flights close to 100 miles might be possible. You could also go south to fly back to Ojai or Fillmore, but the better days for reaching the beach have a little north flow up high and preferably higher thermal tops. Sunday's flow is from the west, so it seems best to go east even if the course is limited?

The 2 main problems with the day are the relatively low altitudes and negative wind gradient toward Hwy 14 (blowing stronger down low and weaker up high). We prefer a couple thousand feet more altitude with less wind down low (on the east end of the course) and more wind up high. Low level wind doesn't seem to be an issue from Pine to Neenach.

The lapse rate on the west end of the course looks good at the mid altitudes, but only goes to maybe 11 or 12K. The wind direction and strength on Sunday look favorable on the west end of the course, but approaching Hwy 14 the lower level feed flow is still spilling into the desert from the Santa Clara River. You might be able to bob along north of Edwards, but the wind is actually stronger down low than up at altitude, so I suspect it won't be a smooth ride. It is hot, so you might be able to stay up and keep going. Dribbling east along Hwy 58 would be a dead end at Hwy 395, slightly over 100 miles, because there is no retrieve east of 395 at that latitude. If you can angle further north then there is some shelter from the low level onshore flow behind the Garlock range over Ridgecrest, but getting there will require endurance. I suspect most of the pilots will opt to land somewhere around Neenach. If you do opt to continue on past Neenach, the you want to start angling NE before you encounter the stronger on-shore flow spilling into the Mojave starting around Fairmont. If you elect continue on you need to be willing to land in the gusty afternoon wind (15 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph) further east.

Robert Millington did fly reach the hundred mile mark never getting higher than 8Kish over the desert, but I think it was later in the season. He went south of Edwards. I suspect the surface wind near Hwy 14 was less.
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Minor Update / 3:30 Thursday:
Just took a look at the 18z NAM forecast sounding for Pine and Lockwood, which I didn't review earlier because I thought Pine was closed. Looks like the lapse rate is good and trending better through the day. Likely able to get close to 12K later in the afternoon, so for the pilots not looking to go XC toward Lockwood Valley and beyond, a late day flight back to Ojai looks doable, both Saturday and Sunday.
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Thursday afternoon update:
Good news just in time for the weekend:
Pine is reportedly OPEN
starting today, 8/13/2015
http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4441

the LPNF website is still listing the Pine Mountain Road as "Closed"
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lpnf/about-forest/districts/?cid=stelprdb5309152, but I called the Ojai Ranger District Office this afternoon (8/13) to confirm and they said the road has been reopened. It was only closed to deal with the small (282 acre) fire. The web site date is 8/3, so apparently it hasn't been updated yet.

The current NAM forecast soundings are currently calling for the direction switch to occur sooner and the heat wave to be stronger and perhaps last longer. As of 12z, the NAM is predicting light wind aloft from the west on Sunday with more SW toward Edwards. The altitudes still look marginal, perhaps 10 to 11K at Pine early and maybe 12K or a little better over Lockwood, but with a tailwind it should be easier to get across Hwy 5 into the Antelope Valley compared to flow from the SW.

The lapse rate might be a tad better on Saturday, but for now I like the direction on Sunday.

This topic is a continuation of David Teal's posting regarding Pine.
http://scpa.info/bb/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3226
A new topic was initiated to headline the important breaking news, but a review of Wednesday's assessment for the coming weekend is worthwhile.
Last edited by sd on Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:01 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 9 am at Ash St in Ventura

Postby DeVietti_Marty » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:29 pm

I dusted off my Spot and here is Marty's URL to follow...

http://tinyurl.com/l6897pg

I am looking forward to tomorrow's flying...hope we get to land on grass somewhere cool? Just hoping.
"I don't know if we each have a destiny or if we are all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze."

-Forrest Gump
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 9 am at Ash St in Ventura

Postby gracecab » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:45 pm

I for one will be tracking everyone from my leg up position at home. Busted my leg jumpin for a trash bin. Wish i could join everyone. Maybe next week.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/245111688973094/permalink/505019099649017/
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A Few In-Flight and Post-Flight Photos

Postby NMERider » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:49 pm

It was a long day for me, coming and going from Long Beach. No time to do a write-up. Here is a small album I threw up on Facebook. Anyone can view it using this link. The short version is: 3 HG and 1 PG all got up but landed in Lockwood Valley. 1 PG and 1 HG connected at Frazier then headed East toward Tehachapi but got blown off the ridge toward Neenach, making simultaneous low saves then both ended up on the deck in different parts of Lancaster. 1 PG (sd) went back up for a glass-off and got to 13.6 at Reyes Peak then glided to Von's in Fillmore where we picked him just minutes after he got his gear all bagged up. Then it was off to Gracecab's birthday pool party and home.
Thanks to Eddy and Doc for driving chase and Max for schlepping everyone up on his truck.
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The 'Money Shot'

Postby NMERider » Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:29 am

Marty at 15K just below the cloud as we go on glide toward Clear Lake.
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Marty at 15K over Frazier
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby DeVietti_Marty » Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:48 pm

Big thanks to Tom Truax (SD) for calling me a few days ago with hopes of flying Pine. His efforts with logistics and calling the day were spot on. Thanks to Jonathan for the ride to launch and for the chase from Eddie and Doc. Nice to know you have someone to pluck you out of the heat of the day wherever you may land. As always its nice to fly with Jonathan as he knows his way around the mountains and the flats and won't go out without a fight. SD is the same way, showing what is possible late in the day from Pine, landing in Fillmore (hence the name Sun Downer). Nice!

I felt like the day went well for me, Had a super sweet first climb and before I knew it I was shivering and feeling hypoxic over Frazier with Jonathan. I knew it would be short lived and savored the time it took to thaw out my hands and legs, even in my pod I was shaking like a leaf from the chill of 15,232 feet below cloudbase. Brrrrr. Just about the time I started getting low I raced to unzip my jacket to manage the heatwave as I got blown off the Tehachapi range from a strong NW wind and navigated the rotor on my dash to the flats with Jonathan doing the same. He was higher and reported lift so I gave it a shot but was setting up to land near a few dead trees when my lucky low save occurred. Back in the game until finally landing 2 miles or so from JD.

Met a super nice guy, John who met me holding two bottled waters in the field I landed in, right in front of his house. He helped me pull the sage and sticks out and fold up on his lush (shhhhh don't tell anyone) front lawn. It was grassy and cool, (my wish came true) as we sat on lawn chairs in the shade of his porch, chatting about the wonderful world we call XC Free Flight. He was amazed and amused, and it wasn't long before he had his wife and son on the porch with us, shooting the breeze while tumbleweeds careened down the road in front of us, reminding me of my fortunate stand up landing going 4 mph backwards as I landed. Whew!

Thanks also to Chris "Birthday Boy" Ballmer for the short but sweet party crashing invite on the way back home.

Love the photos Jonathan, thanks for that!
"I don't know if we each have a destiny or if we are all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze."

-Forrest Gump
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Marty the Spec

Postby NMERider » Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:17 pm

Just for goggles, I found a few images of Marty camped out over Frazier waiting for me to catch up. In this image I have him circled in red at ~14,300' while I was at maybe 8,300' just starting to climb good.
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Marty the spec
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby gracecab » Mon Aug 17, 2015 9:53 pm

After seeing the long expanses of open land yall are flying over it helps take a litte of the edge off in planning my future flights from SB downrange...not quite as intimidating as the badlands.
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby NMERider » Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:28 am

gracecab wrote:After seeing the long expanses of open land yall are flying over it helps take a litte of the edge off in planning my future flights from SB downrange...not quite as intimidating as the badlands.

Chris, What you and anyone else concerned should be aware of is that the Antelope Valley doesn't take prisoners. Most afternoons around 3PM the sea breeze pushes in and comes sliding down the ridge lines that define the Southern border of the Valley. Since the L.A. Basin air coming in tends to be much cooler than the local valley air mass above it accelerates in a virtual venturi and can be very gusty and switchy as well. The Surface wind may be the opposite direction of the winds aloft and there may be shearing at ~ 300' AGL but that is merely a guess.

For a PG this can mean landing backwards at pretty good speeds or even collapses near the surface. For a hang glider this can make it very difficult to get unhooked while fighting on the ground to keep from getting blown over. The surface level thermals may not pick up enough dust to become visible so if it's not blowing stink there may be even more danger from clear dust devils. There aren't even enough wind indicators to see the distinctive swirl pattern over a broad area to warn you.

In the case of Sunday's flights it wasn't a cool sea-breeze per se that was blasting out of the SW 18 gusting to 30mph. Surface temps were 107F when I landed. Here I am just a few minutes after landing. The Castaic Warm Fire smoke plume is in the background. It was not easy task to get my glider broken down and bagged without having it blown over into the thick dust.
Studio_20150817_012716-crop.jpg


I don't want to discourage you but I do want you to be aware of at least some of the micro climates. SD will probably be able to shed a lot more light on this topic but I've had enough personal experience that I feel it's only fair to make you aware, mon frere. So there! :lol:
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby gracecab » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:30 am

Truedat JD! -

Knowing these things beforehand gives me opportunities to practice it in minature in other situations.

IMHO this is why our flight log/reports/photo/videos are a huge part of this sport, besides the enjoyment of sharing, we see what the hell is going on out there and have more data to make calculated descisions/risks.

Happened to me all the time in surfing... Watching a big swell, or break like waiamea or pipeline makes surfing a big 5-8 foot swell seem like childs play... it inspires me, informs me, warns me...

If I know I MAY get sucked up to 15k... i would be more properly attired, and ready to bail to wherever my current comfort zone is...

Knowing my own learning curve is also crucial... where I am on it, what I should be doing as a 1 year old PG pilot is hugely different than a 25 year old veteran... But mingling with Kelly Slater is a great way to learn from his stories... keep em' coming!!
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby Randall » Tue Aug 18, 2015 10:43 am

DeVietti_Marty wrote:my fortunate stand up landing going 4 mph backwards as I landed. Whew!


Marty, what is your method for killing the wing without getting dragged in strong winds?
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby NMERider » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:34 am

gracecab wrote:...If I know I MAY get sucked up to 15k... i would be more properly attired, and ready to bail to wherever my current comfort zone is...
Here's another tip Chris, Avoid wearing cotton. Cotton is well known to kill people due to exposure. At low altitude, it absorbs your sweat rather than wicking it away. At high altitude it efficiently conducts your body heat away while further chilling due to evaporative cooling in the zero relative humidity. What more could anyone ask? This is why I wear as much bicycle racing gear as I can and could probably wear even better fabrics but the price was right since it's mostly leftovers from when I was athletic but I digress. Hydration is fundamental but it's of little value without electrolyte replacement. It's a good idea to either carry electrolyte tablets for after you land or even add electrolyte powder to your water. O2 helps tremendously but there's a lot you can still do before adding weight and expense of O2.
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby gracecab » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:21 pm

At 15,000 feet, I would want probably just want my blankie. :lol:
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby dteal » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:28 pm

My flight wasn’t epic, but anytime I can get up at launch and go over the back, I’m stoked. Making it to Lockwood Valley was icing on the cake (for me). It was just what I needed because the last time at Pine, I didn’t go over the back and didn’t make it to an LZ out front either…

Anyway, I launched last and headed to the house thermal and did about 3 circles before catching the one that took me to 11.8K. I was having PTT issues before launch and thought it was fixed, but it wasn’t – I could hear but not transmit. Based on that, I decided to head toward Guillermo since I heard Max was going OTB. I lost a lot of altitude in that glide and decided to split the difference between Dry Canyon and Guillermo – pretty much straight toward the “bad lands”. Once I got somewhat near the 50-50, I started hitting some weak but consistent lift. I took that to 10K and knew I had enough to make it into Lockwood Valley. I was thinking that I just need one more bump to make Frazier – I saw the cumulus development there and it was looking good. However, no such luck, and I didn’t have radio contact to report my location anyway - but I had the airport made. Then I saw Max and Edwin on the ground near the east end of LV, so I decided to land there to make retrieve easier. Short but fun and rewarding flight.

Thanks to Tom for providing the detailed and very accurate weather analysis, Max for the transportation, and Eddy for driving. I’m looking forward to a good Pine season!!!
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Re: Pine Mt Sunday 8/16 / 15K to Lancaster

Postby DeVietti_Marty » Sat Aug 22, 2015 1:48 pm

Hey Randall,

Sorry I missed your post. Your question was my method of killing the glider in strong winds....well it depends.

If I am flying an older generation glider with 4 risers (rare these days with higher end gliders) I would opt to go to my C risers assuming I have risers with A, B, C, and Ds. Depending on the wing, a B-line will crease the wing span-wise upon landing but it will still luff in the wind and not stay put on the ground after it comes down, so that is why I prefer the C risers for such wings...creases the glider and it stays put on the ground. D-risers should be avoided in very strong winds as it will potentially luff you up and back momentarily before stalling the wing.

If I am going backwards quickly I will spin around and face my back to the wind and my toes to the direction I am moving. Again it would be the C risers if I am flying a wing with 4 risers.

Some use a technique where you pull one A riser and full opposite brake...the glider flops over in a pile, but it may or may not stay put, so running towards a wingtip in any case is a good idea to make sure the ride is over.

I have also employed a technique where I propose the glider so I am coming down faster that just normal (not diving hard at the ground, but faster than hands up waiting to land) and instead of flaring I will stand up the landing after touching down hard-ish in order to get the wing to frontal, thus buying me a moment to spin around and chase the wing with brakes or risers as I see fit. It is just a moment, so be careful with this one.

In reality I fly a two liner glider so there is only an A and B riser. My 2-liner B-risers are like rear risers on an 4 riser glider so I avoid them. Brakes are the only method I use unless the situation is dire and I choose to unbuckle completely before touching down and at touch down I would slide completely out with only the brake toggles in my hands, letting the glider blow away while I anchor it with brakes where I stand, run, sit or drag.

There is something to be said about landing downwind of a city or residential area as opposed to open fields that go on and on for miles with no wind block whatsoever. I believe the friction of the trees, houses, neighborhoods and such slow down the airmass close to the ground and give you a better chance than the wide open areas. I accept that there will likely be more turbulence but sometimes a hard-ish landing ensures that you will stay put and be less likely to drag. Never land in the wind shadow of a large object or behind a hill or turbulence producing object of course, I am suggesting sparse housing and spread out turbulence producers.

Sundowner has likely had far more high wind landings than I, and so I would welcome him and anyone else to chime in and share. I am always open to new ideas when it comes to landing in difficult situations.

Cheers
Marty
"I don't know if we each have a destiny or if we are all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze."

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