Sat 8/29 / Typical Late August Pine Potential

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Sat 8/29 / Typical Late August Pine Potential

Postby sd » Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:09 am

6 HGs are meeting at 9 at Ash Street in Ventura for Max Hogan's truck with Edward for crew. a 2nd vehicle with 4 PGs and Doc for crew is meeting about 10 at Ash Street.
Tom & Jonathan wiil turn on their satellite trackers prior to launch. To track in flight, click on the following links:
and for Janathan ... FVCqZ8kHs1
Saturday Morning Perception
Looks like another good potential day at Pine. The heat is down a few notches compared to the past few days, but the lapse rate is still better than average. Max altitudes aren't as good as Thursday, but it still looks like 10 to 12K early and higher over Lockwood in the afternoon. The wind has clocked around to come from the west. Ronda is showing morning north gusting to 14 at 8 am, so it might be a north side launch, but the south might pull in midday. The velocity mild to moderate on the west end of the course early, but builds later in the afternoon from the WNW, so if you plan on doing the late day glass off, you might want to plan for an earlier launch before the south draw relaxes too much. Looks like a bit more gusto on the east end of the course, which is a double edge sword. The altitude over Neenach looks so so, but If you can hang on through the Antelope Valley and bob to hwy 14 then the altitude gets a bit better on paper and is blowing pretty good up high so you can make miles turning in zero sink.
I wasn't planning to fly. Just put my radio on the charger and am frantically trying to gather my gear. Max truck is headed up (with Edward for crew?) and Doc is standing by to crew a 2nd vehicle.
Saturday looks like the better day with more cooling on Sunday
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Re: Sat 8/29 / Typical Late August Pine Potential

Postby NMERider » Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:10 pm

The track....
2015-08-29 Pine JD.kmz.jpg

6 of us went up and only 3 were able to launch safely. 1 did not and was airlifted to Ventura Medical Center thanks to the quick thinking of Fast Eddy who drove to the North launch for cell reception and summoned a medi-vac chopper. Sadly, the remaining 2 pilots got gypped out of their flights.

I have never seen so many dust devils come through launch anywhere I have ever flown. This is Max looking right into one ripping through from the East.
dust devil.jpg
Dusty D

Treacherous launch conditions on the South launch due to blowing OTB from North. No margin for lack of technique as I alluded to earlier. I was the wind fool at 1:09PM.
Make it count!

I sank out badly and wasn't even sure I could reach the sand pile. I headed for the worst sink which lead me to the burn area. It was working. I climbed from 5,286' to 11,047' MSL at an average climb rate of 547.9fpm in this thermal as the other 5 HGs on launch watched and counted the revolutions.
Burn Thermal.jpg
Burn thermal

To emphasize how the conditions were following my early launch take a look at the vertical speed.
Vertical Speed.jpg
Ups and downs

At 11+K above launch I encountered a plume of ash from the burn area that was carried up by the lift. I went on glider for Lockwood Valley from fairly low.
On My Way.jpg
On my way

Due to the strong turbulence I lost my commitment and left lift too low to reach Fraizer high enough to connect.
Too low at Fraizer

I finally bailed from Fraizer and landed in the nasty, lumpy wild grass at the East end of Lockwood Valley.
Bailout 1.jpg

The prevailing wind direction at the East end of Lockwood Valley from from the East at 12mph and in spite of turning into the wind on my base leg the wicked thermal activity created a substantial tailwind from the opposite direction while I was on final.
Base Leg 1.jpg
Base leg

I quickly realized I was seriously screwed and prepared to pound in hard. I'll spare you the carnage but fortunately it only cost me my right downtube which I broke with my right leg while I was being hurdled into the lumpy grass.
Base Leg 2.jpg
Leaving base leg

A nice couple en route from Valencia to Buelton stopped to assist me and we threw my gear on their Jeep and they dropped me off at Max's truck on Hwy 33 and the entrance to Pine.
Tom from Valencia.jpg
Good Samaritan

Earlier while talking to Mike or Max who were both at 12+K. I warned them to stay away from Lockwood and just head for the shore.
Radio 1.jpg
On air

I spoke with sd later in the evening and he was unable to launch the North side until ~3PM. Gracecab also flew but got flushed. After much struggling and having to stay away from the sheriff's chopper, sd did get up and landed by his house in smooth winds. I recall that Max landed at Bates Beach and Mike H by Hot Dog. Max reported crossing Whiteledge at 8K then getting flushed all the way down.
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Re: Sat 8/29 / Typical Late August Pine Potential

Postby dteal » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:54 am

Max and Mike had "to die for" flights - great job guys! Myself and TQ were the ones that didn't launch. Eddie and two nice people helped get Edwin out of his harness and up to the road so the chopper could pick him up - one was an ER nurse, as luck would have it. I'm almost glad I didn't launch, because it was really unpredictable and switching all directions. Several more dust devils blasted thru as I was breaking down my glider - I still have grit and sand in my teeth :-)

It appears that I may have left my radio on launch as I was packing up Edwins glider. If anyone is heading to Pine, please check the south hang glider launch area - probably on the north side of the dirt road. It's a Yaesu FT-250. Please email or call:

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Re: Sat 8/29 / Typical Late August Pine Potential

Postby gracecab » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:30 am

I launched about 200 pm from the north side at Pine Mt. Tom gave Dave Bader, Neil M. and I a site intro.

The cycles were medium and I got off on my first pull up, chased the drifting air but fell out and never found it again, by which time I was too low though driving uphill, and flushed down and got picked up by Doc. at the 33.

My lessons:
- always have goals of altitude and distance, for every phase of the flight, which if you dont attain, don't move to the next phase, and be ready to flush, not push trying to hang on.... make the break soon enough to avoid inconvenient landouts or a longer hike, etc.

- always observe the wind and weather and match your flight to the conditions... i flew way too fast for the light conditions where i needed to slow down to min sink and sniff for thermals over launch...

- experience is a great teacher. i find in this sport i dont really care for making the same mistake twice, best not to make it, but if you do, dont do it again.

For me this was a great bunch of lessons which I'm already planning into my future flying... :)
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
Ventura, CA
UP Kantega XC2 / Gin Verso
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