Hot Mid August Weekend 2020

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Hot Mid August Weekend 2020

Postby sd » Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:03 am

Early Sunday Morning Update

Although Pine Mountain offers spectacular flying year-round, the prime season runs from mid-August through September, and it has arrived this weekend as scheduled.

A lower level cooling costal eddy has spun up that will shut down the coast and costal valleys, so if you want to fly today (Sunday) Pine is the best option locally.

The forecast has trended toward a little more moisture for today compared to expectations last night. Today’s flying offers high cloudbase and stunning views, but like in the song “Hotel California”, you an check in anytime, but it will be hard to leave. Note Andrew’s photo on Telegram yesterday. Expect it to draw from all directions, so not the best day for open distance XC? The south component of the wind should be light enough and the altitude good enough that you should be able to fly out of the mountains toward the coast. You could likely go further other directions, but that might make retrieve lengthy. With a little more flow from the SE forecasted this morning compared to last nights perception, confidence in being able to launch from the South Side is higher, but with more moisture OD is likely, so plan to get off early.

OD at Pine is not the same as OD in the open desert because we have a “safe side” escape route toward the ocean. As long as you can get off and up you can manage the OD by keeping the ocean side of the development within reach (avoid getting vacuumed up in the middle).
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Saturday night Update for Sunday Pine Logistics

7:45 at East Beach, 8:15 in Carpinteria, and 8:45 in Ventura for Pine on Sunday. Expecting to be at launch by 10:30 and be ready to launch by 11ish. There is a possibility we might need to use a north-side launch but are expecting to be able to get off from the south-side.

Our logistic options are currently varied and pending on how many seats we need…

Diablo is confirmed crew, but he is not committing to being a caretaker on launch or chasing down stragglers. Willy is on board with his truck plus Daniel for a current total of and 2 HGs plus Brian and SD on PGs, which fills up Willy’s truck (4 pilots + 1 crew) plus I think Dylan and Chris Lorimer are considering leaving a motorcycle in Ojai and staging a truck somewhere at the base of the hill, but if we have more pilots we can hire Jay as additional crew and split his fee? My Toyota can also hold 4 pilots and a driver, but a larger vehicle might be better? If we end up with more pilots than we can transport from the coast some might want to leave an additional vehicle at the Sand Pile because the possibility of everyone flying out of the mountains is diminished as the team size swells?

If you want a seat, you need communicate because we need to let Jay know if we need him by early Sunday Morning. We could also use a large vehicle and additional crew if available, and maybe a spare hand-held radio… (144.31) The Eagle Van is already scheduled for students in the local SB mountains, so it isn’t available for Pine.

Austin I, a visiting pilot and his wife are camping up there tonight. Austin’s report from today is that he sat on the south launch under OD until about 2:30 when it stated cycling up the north side. He opted not to fly. Willy was intending fly from the Eliminator but it started blowing down at the end of the day. Didn’t hear a final report from the EJ crew today, so don’t know if anyone tagged the high cloudbase shown in Andrew’s photo?

The Pine forecast for Sunday is a little drier than Saturday with less wind, light and variable at launch altitude then increasing with altitude from the SSE to about 10 knots at 12K and maybe 15 knots higher up at cloudbase. The Pine lapse rate looks robust but not so good for the lower launches (SB and Ojai).

Will update with meet locations for Carpinteria and Ventura if anyone wants to meet at those locations.
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Saturday early morning (3 am) update:

The common denominator for this multi-day weather cycle is “HOT” partially due to flow from the south, however there are subtle but significant day to day differences that impact us. The event started Thursday with a lot of instability and moisture. Pilots launching from EJ were treated to unseasonably good altitude (6K). Thursday was not a big mileage day due to many evolving obstacles like overdevelopment and rain in Ojai. The flow on Thursday was predominately from the SW. By Friday, the flow up high was stiff from the south with lenticular clouds rather than cumulus over the back country. The lower level flow was much lighter and tended to come from the east on the east end of the front range course and from the west on the west end. Friday was much drier than Thursday. The skew-t forecast and forecast discussion was calling for more instability than materialized Friday. Ojai was good on Friday (7.5K, a mile over lunch), but not as good as expected. SB was marginal on Friday.

Saturday (today) looks like the best day of the hot weather heat event. The forecast is for a slightly lower inversion and higher surface temperatures, so perhaps EJ will work better than Friday. Ojai should work better than Friday. There is less wind aloft, so Pine may be a better option than it was on Friday, but still not so good for flying east? There is more moisture in the forecast for Saturday (compared to Friday) with higher cloudbase (16K?). Saturday looks to be a couple of degrees warmer on the surface compared to Friday, but that might vary depending on potential OD in the backcountry. Ojai was forecasted to be 106 on Friday and today (Saturday) they are forecasting 108 degrees F in Ojai.

My recommendations for Saturday and Sunday:

Chiefs launch in Ojai would offer the highest probability of success, but the road is closed. Hiking up to the Nuthouse in the heat is too much for me 2 days in succession, but if you are game for hiking in the heat, the Nuthouse might be the next best high probability option after Chiefs.

Pine looks more probable today (less wind aloft) compared to Friday, but by Sunday Pine will be the only local option (with even less wind aloft compared to Saturday). Saturday is the last day of this heat cycle that the front range offers XC potential so I would recommend flying from Fillmore on Saturday and Pine on Sunday.

Fillmore might be a challenge to climb up San Cayetano Ridge and secure enough altitude to reach uphill into Ojai, but it is looking better on paper compared to Friday with a little more flow from the east and a better lapse rate. Fillmore is mostly a P2 site. It will likely pull upriver in the afternoon and the first leg is down river, so the strategy is to launch early enough to avoid or minimize having to plug against the upriver flow. It is soarable in the afternoon, but the XC options westbound against the upriver afternoon flow are problematic.

EJ will hopefully work better on Saturday compared to Friday, and it does look better on paper with a slightly lower inversion, but expect some initial flow from the SE early.

There is some onshore flow from the west forecasted down at the lower altitudes, but up higher (above 35 hundred) the flow is light from the ESE, so if you prefer downwind then you might be able fly back to the SB area from Fillmore but plugging upwind to Fillmore from SB would be slow slugging. Also note that onshore flow from the west often brings cooler ocean air that can stabilize the airmass, but they are calling for unseasonably hot temperature in downtown SB today (a couple degrees hotter than Friday)

By Sunday, it is still hot, but an eddy sets up that cools and stabilizes the coast and coastal valleys. The higher inversion extends all the way into Ojai, so the best option on Sunday is to get above it (Pine). Fortunately, the east eddy is confined to the coast and the wind at Pine on Sunday is forecast to be light.

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Thursday night perception:
Posted to the SBSA Telegram Chat on Friday at 9:23 PM
Both Friday and Saturday are offering unseasonably good potential from the front range…

The altitude looks impressive, but there is increasing wind from the south with increasing altitude. More wind on Friday compared to Saturday. Pine might be a bit strong on launch midday Friday.

SB might be a bit close to the water with an inversion below 3K, but you might be able to launch above the inversion from EJ and go OTB?

Chiefs Peak in Ojai looks like the most conservative launch offering numerous options, all eventually to the north, either from Ojai proper, Devils Heart, or the Watershed Divide. Unfortunately, I don’t think the road is open. We can also launch from the Nuthouse, but that requires a hike, and you do need to get up at launch, which can be iffy when launching early.

Fillmore isn’t as robust as Ojai, but has more ocean protection than SB. The SE faces work early. The wind is forecast to come up-river in the afternoon so you would need to get up and out early. It is a little iffy because you launch and then glide across the Sespe River to hopefully climb up San Cayetano Ridge. San Cayetano works early and it is good to go early to avoid the afternoon upriver flow, but you won’t know if you are too early until the wind dummy’s report in.

Fillmore looks a little better on paper Saturday compared to Friday but should work both days.

Didn’t run the Skew T’s for Fig, but I suspect it will work, however, it is more of a boutique day than a big mileage day and you might be able to connect to Fig from EJ. If you don’t connect going OTB from EJ then you can drive back to Fig for an another try in the afternoon and still have time to reach the Cuyama Valley?

Logistics: Sounds like Fast Eddie might be pulling the plug if we don’t go to Pine. Logan is leaning toward the Nuthouse on Friday. I’d go to Fillmore to avoid the hike, but without crew I’ll likely team up with Logan on Friday then try to fly from Fillmore on Saturday.

On Sunday the lower level lapse rate is more inverted and the wind builds...
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