Sunday 2/21/2021

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Sunday 2/21/2021

Postby sd » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:38 pm

Sunday Morning Update

The winds aloft forecast for SBA is calling for Light and Variable up through 6K this morning, but it is still blowing stiff across the ridge line from the NW. The north wind inhibited the morning inversion, so it is already warmer in the foothills compared to the ridgeline. From a thermal perspective we should be able to launch early, but if you want to get off at EJ rather than the lower launches you will need to wait for the north wind to block (which I expect it will). On Thursday it was launchable earlier down lower and by 10:30 up at ridgeline (EJ). Thursday had less wind OTB at dawn but more wind in the forecast. Thursday’s temperature profile was similar to what we are seeing this morning.

Our local ocean is calm at dawn out through mid-channel, but it is currently blowing stiff from the NE at Anacapa Island and stiff from the NW around Point Conception.
Saturday night look at Sunday 2/21/2021

Expect Sunday to be somewhat similar to Thursday with some variation. The offshore Santa Anna drainage down the Santa Clara river is more pronounced and persistent than it was on Thursday, so we are course limited eastbound. You might be able to reach the Topa Bluffs, but Santa Paula Ridge looks iffy and it looks like a day to avoid the Santa Clara River.

Sunday’s lapse rate is looking a little stronger compared to Thursday. Surface temps are forecasted to be 70ish in SB and low 70s in Ojai while the 6K temp is forecasted to be in the low 40s, so a tad warmer on the surface and a tad cooler at 6K. On paper the altitude looks a bit better, but we got to 6K in SB on Thursday, which was better than the forecast, so I suspect Sunday’s altitude in SB will be similar to Thursday? The altitude in Ojai also looks a better on Sunday, perhaps 7Kish? We were only getting to 6K in Ojai on Thursday. On Thursday the lapse rate faded some in the afternoon as the upper atmosphere warmed, but on Sunday there is less warming of the upper air and the lapse rate holds up better, but it is typical in SB to get higher late morning through mid-day compared to later in the day. I suspect the altitude I Ojai will be good late in the day.

Sunday has a much weaker capping in version compared to Thursday, but there is less wind aloft on Sunday compared to Thursday, so we won’t need as much protection. There is more east wind on the east end the course but there may be less west flow pushing through on the west end of the course. Windy seems to think there will be more wind out near the beaches compared to the mountains. Bates may work from early afternoon through mid-afternoon.

Sunday is a high-pressure day with a good to robust lapse rate, so don’t expect the mid-day thermals to be mellow, but with less wind than Thursday, hopefully it will less bumpy?

Not a record setting day, but perhaps a good day start from SB with a westbound leg then go eastbound over Casitas Pass to tag Twin Peaks or the Topa Bluffs and then back westbound over Casitas Pass to Carpinteria or Summerland, but expect a building headwind from the west coming over Casitas Pass. Hopefully the late afternoon altitude will be better in Casitas Pass compared to Thursday. On Thursday we could only get into the upper 4s late in the day between White Ledge and East Divide. If we can get a thousand higher on the upwind westbound leg we should have better odds of getting up an over the high ground of Casitas Pass. I would note that my personal preference is to make an effort to go up and over rather than down and around. If I can’t get over I’ll turn around and fly out to Lake Casitas or back to Ojai. It is common that there is more west wind in the throat of the pass compared to up on the back ridge. The last 2 pilots who recently tried the low upwind route westbound through the throat of Casitas Pass late in the day came up short.

Also note that it is generically much easier going eastbound late in the day compared to westbound for various reasons. Going eastbound is typically downwind and you can come in low on sunny faces and surf up. Going westbound is typically upwind into sinky shade so you can’t come in low and surf up, you need to power around the corners. Also note that going westbound from White Ledge to East Divide is an uphill move away from retrievable LZs

Somewhat of an odd day in that Windy thinks there will be more west wind toward Carpinteria and through Casitas Pass comparted to further west in Santa Barbara?

As with Thursday, the overnight wind should help minimize the morning inversion so it should be launchable early. On Thursday the lower launches were working earlier than EJ, but once EJ turned on the altitudes were better up high over the back ridge compared to the front points. The front points did work but I think Thursday was a better day to stay high. Sunday has some similarities to Thursday, but we should have plenty of course markers to show where and what is working.

Monday and Tuesday also look promising with Tuesday maybe being better than Monday, but the course eastbound continues to be limited so out and back?
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Group Ayvri Link and SD Flight Report for Sunday 2/21/2021

Postby sd » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:16 pm

I suspect Jeff Longcor might have been able to set new a new Out and Back record for Santa Barbara on Sunday, had he not spent over an hour zigzagging around before getting on course?

The Group Ayvri Web Animation link for Sunday is:
Others can optionally post their personal articles and KMZ files as a reply to this topic for Sunday.

SD Launch from Skyport at 10:59 PST, fly westbound 5.4 miles to the VOR Cone
then Eastbound 38.6 miles to the Topa Topa Bluffs
then westbound 25.7 miles to landing in Carpinteria at 3:44 PST
4 hour 45 minutes airtime
69.7 miles total SLOFD around 2 turnpoints
10 miles less than Thursday’s flight around 3 turnpoints, but Sunday was less stressful and more enjoyable

I’ve attached my KMZ for reference. My narrative makes more sense if you follow along with the Google Earth track on a decent sized monitor and read the narrative on another device.
SD GE Track for Sunday 2/21/2021
(308.97 KiB) Downloaded 59 times

For me, the day started out with mellow air but slow climbs. I opted to turn at the VOR rather than Painted Cave because I ran out of time on Thursday and was already a half hour behind Thursday’s pace. The front points seemed to be working and I didn’t have enough altitude at the VOR for the back line so I angled over No Name for West Bowl then stepped back to La Cumbre Peak because the high route had worked good on Thursday with the north and south converging over the back ridge. On Sunday we initially had some drift from the north up high with Sarah reporting 6K over La Cumbre Peak, but by noon the south flow was becoming dominant, so the altitude was worth more out front. After crossing behind the Thermal Factory on the back ridge I angled back out front behind Shadow Peak for Montecito Peak.

The altitude had been good earlier, but once the west wind picked up a bit the game changed. Everyone in my gaggle was stuck at the Ramero Road Cut, so after making spaghetti I took what I could and drifted with the west wind. My lowest altitude of the day (2500 MSL) was below the middle spine on the first section of Castle Ridge. Reports from further east were encouraging. Conner was eastbound with 55 from White Ledge, but everyone along Ramero and Castle was struggling. Historically the middle spine seems to work the best and I didn’t want to flush to the Castle Points, so I focused on my lucky find and tracked it back up the spine to get back in the game.

A little low along Powerline Ridge, but it got better at Noon (typical). The building south flow at ridgeline back in Santa Barbara was replaced by some north up high through Casitas Pass so I opted to search for convergence extenders along the high route. Got over 65 just past White Ledge, but the upper level drift was from the NE so the climb was arguably a waste of time, but I was glad that I tested the altitude because it gave me some idea on what to expect on the return trip.

Watching the clock, I told myself I’d turn back at 2 PM, which was just enough time to reach Puckers on the SE corner of the Topa Topa Bluffs. Wanted to get up into the NE flow to go over as much of the lower SW flow as possible for the westbound return leg, so I searched the full length of the Bluffs toward the NW, but the best I could do was just sneak above (about 6500, but Jeff Longcor got over 7K). The Bluffs are spectacular but intimidating so I was cautious with the wind above from the NE and the draw below the lip mostly upslope from the west. I might have gotten higher if I spent more time trying to get up on the flat above, but I was already 10 minutes past 2 so I took what I could and enjoyed a downwind glide for a short while.

Down lower it was upwind, but I came into Nordhoff in good shape and got back up into the NE flow over the Pyramid for an easy glide across the river with over 6K. White Ledge Ridge will often draw up from the east up higher even when it is SW down lower out front, so with bonus altitude it was easier than usual. Down below ridgeline on the SW face of the Back Step I can typically ridge up in the boundary layer convection, but that wasn’t working so I had to find a bubble and figure 8 drifting from the SSW. Above ridgeline my bubble merged with other feeds and the climb was sweet. Going through about 5K the drift shifted to come from the NE. Topped about 6100 thinking I needed one or 2 more thermals to get home, which I didn’t get, but I did get a really buoyant dolphin glide crabbing to the right to hold the ridgeline against the north component of the light NE flow.

Lost the buoyant convergence seam after passing behind Noon Peak with 5K and my light tailwind had progressively faded with altitude. I was starting to perceive a light headwind. My car was at the school by Jeff’s house in Carpinteria. I figured I had plenty get there direct on glide, but I also suspected there was more wind down lower out by the beach so I stayed the course till a little past the Powerlines to get a better glide out angle. Turned south toward the ocean with 4300 to follow the spine running out toward Snowball.

Butter smooth late day glide. Crossed Snowball with 3K still not sensing much if any headwind despite texture on the ocean. Started picking up some headwind as I approached the beach and could see whitecaps just offshore. Cruised about a half mile out to sea, directly upwind of the LZs knowing it would be an easy glide back. Looked for Jorge’s truck but it was still at the Skyport. The fan palms were indicating 12 to 15 so I considered the big field at the end of Linden for cleaner air, but the approach is fairly unobstructed to Jeff’s personal school yard across the street from his front porch, so I opted to deal with some gyration the last 150 feet.

Air quality wise the high-pressure midday stuff was a bit unsettling, but not as bad as Thursday so I enjoyed the flight more. The early air was nice, and the late day butter was sweet.

A bunch of other pilots had stellar flights and personal best… If you post your memories here you can than post a direct link to it in Telegram?
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Postby DJL » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:58 pm

The lapse looked good enough to try something new, so I flew my Freestyle 3 @ 4.4 kg/m². Our car stopped at Skyport, but I hopped in another one going up to EJ. I didn't know the glide ratio on this glider yet, so I wanted an easier arrival to RR. While EJ was still blowing North, we saw the Skyport pilots showing great lift at RR, at least 4500'. After launching, I tried climbing at EJ, but gave up quick and went to RR. It's the thermal that would consistently get me up, but I didn't know where the acro box would be until I saw the wind drift. I did 4 runs in total, climbing between 4-5000', then gliding SW slightly in front of the Tit.

The throw zone sucked, likely drifting me into Rattlesnake Canyon, if I threw high enough. There were power lines just below me, so I planned for some drift to help me cross safely to the North side of them. I had a steerable reserve, and secondary PDA, but next time I will do this on my BASE harness since it's a much more maneuverable parachute. It will give me a better chance to land somewhere better, and completely escape my wing.

To keep the tricks safe, I chose not to do any connections. I warmed up with a stall, then a SAT to see what it was like to do tricks in thermic air, and check the altitude loss. After about 1000'', I'd stop and go back to the thermal. The rest of the runs were mostly misty flip practice, with one good heli. After the 4th run, the climbs were getting weak, so I quit.

Next time I will use the BASE harness for extra safety, and get a little trickier. Coconut spins and dynamic stalls are easy enough if I'm on point.
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