Pine Mountain Sunday

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Pine Mountain Sunday

Postby NMERider » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:21 am

Can you say limited window of opportunity?
2015-09-13 Pine Max + JD kmz 0.jpg
Max's track + mine


In brief:
Max launched first, landed last and went longest. Takeoff ~12:45hrs, Max Alt 13K above Mt Pinos, landing ~17:15hrs, 61.25 miles East just off of Tehachapi-Willow Springs Rd, North of the strip mine. Going was slow the entire flight.

Photo album Link.

I launched 6 minutes after Max and did a wide search pattern for 40 minutes while Max stayed close to the spine. I got to 8200' at one point but wasn't confident I'd get up at Dry Canyon and stayed out front.

DTeal launched ~13:20hrs while Willie was still up on launch.

~13:28hrs it turned. Max and Dave climbed out to ~9K and went OTB while I had done another search out front looking for a better climb and got flushed. I dove back into the usual trigger and went through two more climbs and flushes before I finally went OTB at 13:43hrs.

By this time Willie had launched and Dave and Max were getting high along Lockwood Valley Rd and I was struggling for a low save OTB near the road.

Willie had climbed out to the mid 8s and rather than going OTB he went out front for a better climb. By this time the SE winds in the Hwy 33 valley had flushed with sea breeze and everything on that side turned off. Willie landed safely in the thistles of TJ's LZ. Fast Eddy picked him up and was soon head our way.

The night before we flew I studied the NAM BLIP map and FSL BAK40 and NWS. I looked to me like the best lift was North of Lockwood Valley Rd and taking a line straight for Pinos and then to Tehachapi. This is exactly what Max did and it worked.

DaveT followed a high cloud that formed and drifted about 5 miles North of the road behind Dry Cyn. This put him on a long glide for Lockwood. I was feeling pretty beat up by all the turbulence and took a different line than Max which took me past San Guillermo and into the West tip of Lockwood Valley lowest enough to think about where I'd land. Winds were South ~13mph or so and I drifted in some weak climbs that eventually put me at the SW foot of Pinos fairly low. Surface instability was very good and I slowly grovelled my way to 10,600' near Pinos summit.

By this time, DaveT had all the bronco riding turbulence he could stomach and landed at the West end of Lockwood Valley. By this time Max had already headed for Frazier Mtn and was climbing out good. I was not feeling well and left the lift at Pinos early and bee-lined for Frazier. Max bobbed up and down between 12.7K and 10 above Frazier while he waited for me to dig out.

At soon as I hit 10.K over Frazier towers I was getting sick again from lack of O2 plus cloud suck and pulled the string. Max was surprised that I just took off like that. I didn't care. I just wanted to fly a lower course. I didn't have much to spare when I crossed the 5 and headed for Boomer Junction where I made my Xth low save for the day. max headed along the ridge behind the cement plant and had very slow going from that point on.

I got high enough at Boomer Junction to make a run back for Frazier and then Pine. Good thing I didn't do that since I had no idea it flushed out South of Pine. I'd have had a very long day alone on Hwy 33 while Eddy picked of Dave and chased Max. For whatever reason my oxygen-starved brain decided, I did not take my own advice and follow the Tehachapi ridge line behind Max. Instead, I made for Quail Lake in site of the wind being due South at 13-15mph. On Saturday I was so sick I could barely walk and slept a lot. I was probably thinking I'd had my flight and just to relax at lower altitude then land.

I used the opportunity to work on my low save skills and worked 0-20fpm lift for a long time with a lot of drift. Once I could see I had the crop circles near Neenach on glide I pulled the string for the last time. By now, Eddy and crew were right there on 138 even with me and just followed along. I never fail to get up at the crop circles but today I didn't get up. Just as well as I was toast. I picked the circle with the tall alfalfa as it was very gusty and I wasn't confident about landing. I just flew it into the tall grass and braced the control bar trying to avoid a ground loop. Not pretty but it was safe. Eadyy and crew were there in a few seconds after I carried my way out top the fence.

The next hour or so was spent chasing a slow-drifting Max who was also working 0-20fpm lift with loads of drift. He had an easier landing with no upwind obstacles to create eddys in the breeze. Willie hopped the fence to help him break down. We were back at Ash Street in Ventura just after sunset.

The takeaway from this experience is in Willie's example. He was more than high enough to go OTB but waited for a better climb that wasn't coming and got flushed. Dry Canyon would have been working since it's in an isolated area from the sea breeze.

One more thing I hasten to point out is that one of our pilots mushed into the air then mushed his way down over the rocks before flying away. We have had two serious launch accidents (HG and PG) in the past few weeks at Pine. In this case the pilot started his launch run from the flat and when he hit the lip his angle of attack was too high and he mushed off. Luckily the wind was steady or it could have resulted in a turn back into the hill. There is no reason to launch anywhere from other than the lip and have your glider's nose pointed down for the correct AoA before starting your run. The Pine ramp is unforgiving to error. This is not meant to embarrass anyone and it's irrelevant who the pilot was. I just want pilots to be safe and have fun.

EDIT - A friend of mine from Crestline has informed me that there have been a two needlessly blown launches over the past few weeks with broken gliders.
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Re: Pine Mountain Sunday

Postby gracecab » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:53 am

love the flight track, interesting to see how the different areas give different lift/sink/glides.

truedat about having fun. if busting' bronco riding your glider is fun, so be it...but i know it takes a lot out of me when all i'm doing is white knuckle flying the whole time... not too fun.

if fun is flying as far as possible that's another thing, you have to get used to lots of different variables that a fly in the park (or to the park (Parma) won't afford you.

right now my fun is to launch cleanly, fly around in sustaining thermals/lift for awhile, add to my flight hour experience, and land well before conditions change to danger. there are so many things to think about just in the little fishbowls (SB mts, Marshall), these have proven to be perfect training zones for a beginning P2.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
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Re: Pine Mountain Sunday

Postby NMERider » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:10 am

gracecab wrote:love the flight track, interesting to see how the different areas give different lift/sink/glides.

truedat about having fun. if busting' bronco riding your glider is fun, so be it...but i know it takes a lot out of me when all i'm doing is white knuckle flying the whole time... not too fun.

if fun is flying as far as possible that's another thing, you have to get used to lots of different variables that a fly in the park (or to the park (Parma) won't afford you.

right now my fun is to launch cleanly, fly around in sustaining thermals/lift for awhile, add to my flight hour experience, and land well before conditions change to danger. there are so many things to think about just in the little fishbowls (SB mts, Marshall), these have proven to be perfect training zones for a beginning P2.

The flying was all technical on Sunday with no easy-to-follow convergence lines. Due to my health I prefer to to fly with a ready glide to a retrievable bailout. I don't offer my tracks as an example of 'how to win'. I prefer flying as low as possible and dislike having low blood O2 levels. I now have an O2 system and will resume using it when I can. I had one that I sold last year but when I had it set to 5,000' I flew and felt much better. I will need to get a large welding O2 tank so I can do my own refills too.

Keep working on your technique and always have a ToDo list of things you want to work on. There's nothing wrong with fishbowl flying as long as you use it to improve and expand your skill sets.
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Re: Pine Mountain Sunday

Postby gracecab » Tue Sep 15, 2015 3:21 pm

I'm loopy enough with the regular amount of Oxygen! Geesh. Winded just trying to launch Pine sometimes...
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
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The Video Has Arrived

Postby NMERider » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:08 am

Yes, it's long but it has great scenery, valuable information, rich details with descriptive captions all in one unique cross-country flying experience from start to finish, inside and out w/ 3D animated tracks and more!

http://youtu.be/XXgQO1VQmWE
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Re: Pine Mountain Sunday

Postby gracecab » Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:35 pm

Great detail of the trip OTB that day... well done! Entertaining too.
Chris Ballmer aka gracecab
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