Saturday 9/2... Fillmore to Santa Maria

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Saturday 9/2... Fillmore to Santa Maria

Postby sd » Sat Sep 02, 2017 4:27 am

Post Flight Summary

Will try and find time to post an article, but a brief summary (Doarama, IGC and KML files attached below)…

Launched just before noon from Oat Mountain (Fillmore) and landed about 4 hours later in Garey (a little short of Santa Maria). Straight line distance from launch to landing was 85 miles. Made good time once I tagged the eastern end of an impressive cloud street, only stopping once in 60 miles to tank up (two downwind glides of 30 miles each). Cloudbase was about 15K and I fuzzed up a little over 16 on heading. Dressed for 12K. Flew through rain, snow, and hail. The flight was fairly low anxiety with mostly easy connections. The line across the Dick Smith Wilderness was deep, but the altitude and buoyant downwind glides along the NE/SE convergence supplied adequate confidence to pull the trigger and stay the course under some over-development.

I think the route is a dead end. Mitch also encountered onshore flow (headwind) in about the same place (his 11/28/2015 KML file is attached for reference). I might have been able to go 20 miles further if I opted to work the north side of the Cuyama range, but it would have been slower. My route was straight downwind (once I got under the cloud street). I think the Plowshare route would encounter flow from the NE feeding thick development in the middle of the range (I had flow from the East along the convergence seam), so the Cuyama route would require some crabbing on glides and taken longer, but might have avoided the onshore flow by staying more inland?

I started out the door solo, but ended up getting generous and effective support from numerous community contributors that I need to acknowledge in a lengthier article. Got home about 8:30 after stopping for dinner on the way.

My past 4 flights from Fillmore have been to Garey (Santa Maria) 9/2/2017, Carpinteria 4/2/2016, Santa Ynez 7/19/2015, and East Divide 1/25/2014, so our consistency is improving after some initial fizzles. Those dates cover spring, summer, fall, and winter, so the site does seem to have potential… Perhaps we’ll crack a hundred next summer?

Tom's IGC File / Fillmore to Garey
(265.45 KiB) Downloaded 376 times

Tom's Google Earth KML File / Fillmore to Garey
(391.59 KiB) Downloaded 386 times

Mitch Riley's Google Earth KML File / Skyport to Garey
(736.81 KiB) Downloaded 329 times

Saturday 9 am update:
Hoping to depart Carpinteria around 9:30 to 9:45 for a noonish launch from Fillmore. Solo No Crew, but Ronny gave me the gate combo. Tracking at:
contact info at

Saturday pre Dawn...
Saturday looks better than Sunday. Sunday is calling for more wind, a weaker lapse rate, more moisture, and less sun. Saturday’s lapse rate is ballistic with solid (but manageable?) flow from the east in advance of the remnants of tropical storm Lidia moving up from the south.

Saturday’s marine layer is squashed down to about 1K below the offshore flow from the east. Expect a little onshore flow down low later on Saturday, then stronger on Sunday. Might need a little protection from the cool ocean air on Saturday, but not much.

The best distance potential is likely launching well to the east, perhaps Marshall, but I didn’t review east of Fillmore because I can’t budget a trip that far. Fillmore looks like it might work, but you do have to deal with crossing the Sespe and connecting down low on the San Cayetano side. I think it will be far enough inland to avoid the marine air. Ojai is likely the most reliable option, if anyone has a permit (the ranger station is closed on Saturdays). Pine has potential, but it is sticking up into the east wind, however, the NAM forecast appears to be calling for Pine to lay down nicely late in the afternoon? If you do take the afternoon bus to Pine, I recommend angling toward Old Man Mountain and Carpinteria rather than plugging upwind toward Ojai. SB might work above the marine air, but it could be dicey and there might be some east wind to contend with.

With a little more advance prep, I’d probably choose Ojai, but I’m leaning toward Fillmore because I don’t have a permit. Actually, I currently don’t have any logistics and was trying to ignore the spectacular billowing display over the backcountry all week, but it is unseasonably hot and a Saturday?

From Fillmore we would need to make the first connection across the Sespe and then the options open up from San Cayetano. Expect good altitude at Santa Paula Peak, enough to reach the Topa Bluffs (downwind). From Ojai you could stay the front course to White Ledge, but I think it might be better to angle back in behind the front range and follow the leading edge of the development?
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Re: Saturday 9/2... Fillmore to Santa Maria

Postby DeVietti_Marty » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:18 am

I am so thrilled for your flight Tom. It was a bold looking line from just your initial GPS track, then looking on Doarama I saw how super high you got. Wow. Never imagined needing O2 from Oat! Looking forward to the detailed write up and stats.

"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: Saturday 9/2... Fillmore to Santa Maria

Postby pengoquin » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:14 pm

Great flight, a perfect example of what I'd call the Truax Formula, a combination of skill, experience, knowledge of the terrain, reading the weather, extensive planning and extreme commitment! Thanks for the debriefing and Doarama. Although you make it sound fairly straight forward, almost simple, I know flights like this are anything but! I salute your anticipation of the day for this flight and the awesome execution, damn near a straight line. Thanks for the call, looking forward to hearing more about the rain, hail and snow,
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