First Weekend in April 2017

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First Weekend in April 2017

Postby sd » Thu Mar 30, 2017 3:53 pm

Sunday Summary

Chris Ballmer reported multiple pilots had good flights on 3 trips to launch. Zero wind and climbs to 45ish.

Mitch Riley reported: Super fun SB flying day with the Eagle Van. A couple of rounds in the mountains with climbs up to 4k, and lots of folks rallying around the fish bowl. Then a great evening of soaring sage hill. Congrats to Pearson for nailing it on his new glider (Ikuma) on every flight of the day. And to Cracka for leading the day out string in his brand new Trango X-RACE!!
Saturday Summary:

The day did not evolve as forecasted and was somewhat of a disappointment for me personally, but Autum’s (rookie Eagle pilot from Colorado) upbeat smiling face reminded me that it doesn’t need to be about big numbers. The day lit off later than expected. The climbs were weaker. The west wind arrived earlier than expected but was lighter than the skew-t forecast. The light flow from the west (NW in places) seemed to be breaking up the weak thermals down low.

Evan Cohen flying tandem with Jamie managed to tag the top of the lift, getting over 7K above EJ Launch and then flying to Padaro Beach, so the day had more potential than I was able to harness.

I suspect Evan and Jamie might have been able to connect into Ojai and beyond if they had reached a little further east for rising terrain along the back ridge and hadn’t turned out for the beach from the middle of Castle Ridge with 3800 (still a couple hundred over their launch altitude)?
Saturday Morning Update:

Southside has his son Nicolas driving. We should be mobile from Carpinteria a little after 9 and roll through Parma about 9:30. I think my tandem student might have backed out, so if someone wants a tour of the course, let me know early before I depart Carpinteria. Eagle Bus scheduled for Parma at 9:30 also.

Didn’t recheck the skew-T models, but the forecast seems to be on track. Mostly calm at the surface south of point conception, but some N wind up high as the dip in the jet stream moves east. NW on the west end and NE on the east end.

The lapse rate continues to look good in Santa Barbara and strong in Ojai with a surface-to-6K temp spread in the mid 20s in SB and the low 30s (degrees F) in Ojai. It will heat at the surface during the day, but also warm at altitude.

Onshore flow from the west will be pulled inland, likely drawn by the robust lapse rate? Not sure how far upriver it will plow, perhaps somewhere between Fillmore and Magic Mountain? The onshore flow will go under NE flow above. It is calm mid-channel at sunrise, but the forecast is for the afternoon west flow to be robust after 3 PM.

There is a capping inversion between 6 and 8K depending on location and time of day. The wind above the inversion is stiffer, but the inversion should limit vertical mixing. Approaching the top of the lift, expect some sheer turbulence. Likely better to stay low on the eastbound legs unless you need a little extra for a connection.
Friday Night Update for the Weekend

After reviewing the NAM 00z skew-Ts, I have decided to launch from the Skyport Saturday rather than the Nut House. Also recommend the Skyport on Saturday rather than the ridge-line launches to avoid early flow from the north. Saturday looks better than Sunday.

SB starts out early (8 am) with a good lapse rate and some wind from the NW that is increasing with altitude. The wind slackens early (by 10:30 or 11?) and clocks around to come from the west, then continues to build through the day. The lapse rate seems to peak around noonish and then deteriorates through the afternoon into Sunday. The day will likely work better late morning through early afternoon. By mid-afternoon the increasing west wind will likely start to break up the weakening thermals. Max altitude in SB also looks better from late morning through early afternoon, maybe 6K or perhaps 7 if you can deal with some sheer turbulence when the thermals climb into the stiffer upper level north wind.

I strongly recommend going XC eastbound earlyish to stay ahead of the west wind.

The lapse rate in Ojai looks strong. It also decreases some later in the day, but not as bad as SB. Not much wind below 6K. A little flow from the east, but a manageable headwind going east. A little onshore west pushes in down low as the day ages. Up above the sharp inversion the NE is persistent. You might be able to climb up to 7ish, but if you are flying eastbound it is better to stay lower, below the sheer and NE flow.

The east wind is more persistent in Fillmore at all altitudes, but the west does try to plow underneath late in the afternoon. Not sure if it will converge or if the upriver flow will simple sheer and ride under the offshore flow above.

I would recommend pushing up to Santa Paula Peak, even if it is upwind, then try for max altitude. You will likely have to deal with some sheer turbulence at the top of the lift, but you want to get up into the NE as much as possible for a glide across the river toward South Mountain (south of the Santa Paula Airport). If you can reach South Mountain, you might be able to reboost and continue to bridge along the onshore/offshore convergence toward the Santa Rosa Valley, Conejo Grade, and the Santa Monica Mountains?

The upper level flow is from the NE, but the low level onshore flow is forested to pull upriver a ways.

I’m scheduled to fly tandem loaded heavy so I won’t launch until about 10:30ish, but I suspect pilots loaded lighter can get off at 10ish? It should be turned on pretty good by 11. Don’t wait too late as it will deteriorate later in the day in SB.

Saturday looks much better than Sunday, which has a weaker lapse rate, but no east wind to contend with. Both the lapse rate and the wind return on Monday.
Thursday Afternoon Look at the First Weekend in April

Thursday is too windy for even the stiffies? but the wind is forecast to back off at the lower altitudes tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, but still stiff up above ridgeline? Not confident it will actually back-off enough Friday afternoon in the mountains, but it might be worth a look?

Saturday looks like the most interesting day? Starting out from the NE at ridge line in SB, but blocking early down lower followed by solid west pushing through at all altitudes in the afternoon. You want to be on the front side of the west push. The NE at altitude is more persistent on the east end of the course, but the west does appear to eventually push through at the lower altitudes.

The Saturday lapse rate looks good in SB and strong in Ojai. There is an inversion cap that should separate the stiffer north wind above. The inversion is lower to the west and a little higher further east. It also rises from about 6K early to 8ish later in the afternoon.

The maximum play would be to launch earlyish from the Nuthouse, fly west to a turn-point in SB that depends on where you hit the building flow from the west. Try to stay high on the westbound leg (above the building lower level west flow) and then stay lowish early on the east bound leg to utilize a tailwind both directions (or at least minimize the headwind near the moving air mass boundaries). We can likely make it back to Santa Paula Peak or Fillmore. There is some north up high, so you might be able to bridge across the river toward Moorpark or Camarillo along the on-shore / off-shore convergence plowing up the river. Late in the afternoon the west is forecast to push through past Fillmore, but it could flux either way?

SB should also work on Saturday for the HGs (who can’t do the 1000 foot hike) or the PGs who prefer not to hike and maximize the day. Santa Barbara might actually offer more potential because you can likely launch earlier? Would still want to do a westbound leg. There isn’t as much easy terrain for an early westbound leg from SB which is more problematic west of the VOR, but pilots flying west from the Nuthouse will likely start encountering lower level west east of SB and will probably elect to turn well before the VOR… so… There might be better potential for a longer eastbound leg from SB but a longer westbound leg from Ojai? My preference would still be the Nuthouse, but I think pilots launching from the Skyport and the Eliminator will have the potential for good flights without the hike.

Sunday looks weaker from both a lapse rate and an east wind perspective. It might be harder to reach Ojai from SB, but once in Ojai, it looks good (but not as strong as Saturday). Saturday’s flow from the east is mostly gone by Sunday.
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