Wednesday, March 24th

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Wednesday, March 24th

Postby timobarker » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:47 am

Tim's article along with some of his other flights is also posted on at

Personal Best from Skyport / to Interstate 5
Ayvri Visualization:
and or Group Ayvri with Tim and Dilan ... 6ldrtb49vu

Tim's Google Earth KMZ file for Wednesday, 3/24/2021
(306.9 KiB) Downloaded 53 times

On Wednesday morning I started my day ill-informed about flying due to all the wind that was forecasted through the week. That's why I was surprised when Jesse text me about flying. I quickly got on windy and checked wind at all elevations through our flying region. I noted that the strong onshore flow down south in the Santa Paula drainage dissipated rapidly mid day. I also noted that strongish west wind was predicted through our local range mid day. To me, without looking at lapse, it looked like a day to really extend our flying.

I met Garcia, Logan, Willi, Lorimer, and Dave P. at East Beach at 9:30 and then drove my truck up to Skyport. We arrived at launch at around 10:00. Dylan was already there and reported that North West wind was still spilling over launch. We quickly noted the same. Neal and others joined the party soon after.
Just before 10:30 conditions improved and Lorimer started our day. I followed him a few minutes later and we both climbed well at Skyport. I think I crested 4400 at Skyport. I dove back toward EJ Bowl but was rejected and noted a steady North west wind at ridge level that was blowing at least 6+ mph. I went to Cathedral and climbed out again. At this point, I noticed Dylan getting high over Skyport. I headed back over but didn't find the climb and continued to Thermal Factory. I didn't get near as high there and continued down range. By the time I got to Romero, I thought my day might have been done. Logan had noted an inversion in the car ride up and I was definitely under it. I couldn't get up past 3,000 ft. When I reached Castle, I was on my last glide had I not gotten a weak thermal that turned robust and carried me all the way to 5000 ft. At this point the west wind had gotten stronger, so the down wind glide was excellent. Willi and Dylan were well ahead of me and I could only make out specs down toward White Ledge. They were over 7,000 feet.

The path to Ojai was routine and pleasant.
Not having flown a ton in Ojai, I made a series of poor decisions. None of them were dangerous, but they did hurt my efficiency and one could have led me to land out. The first was my line from White Ledge. I stayed out front of the ridge and experienced zero lift and a lot of sink. I decided to stay out front because of all the wind. But, that was a mistake as I lost almost 4000 ft on the glide toward the Nuthouse.

My second mistake was after Nordhoff Peak. I was at almost 6000ft. The front points were working great, but I decided to glide toward Cheif's Peak. That was an inefficient use of time (although at the time, I wasn't thinking about time and I was thinking about soaring the Topas).

Then, feeling shallow, I decided to glide out to the front points again. I should have glided toward the Topas. The South West Wind was ranging as high as 12 mph and I'm sure that the Topas would have produced great lift, but it seemed deep and I couldn't commit. That's where I though perhaps I might have landed. I was on shallow terrain (repeaters???), and I was sinking fast. I decided to jog upwind to try to reestablish, with the option to glide down to the east ridge if that didn't work. I found a nice climb to 6800' again, reminding me that the front points were the better option all along.

I made the glide to Santa Paula Peak coming in below peak height. As I turned the corner, my 30 mph downwind speed increased to 35+ mph. It also seemed turbulent. Not having made this crossing before I was also a little gripped thinking I was flying into the lee of the south west wind in Ojai. I found a thermal on the 2nd or 3rd east facing spine and climbed to almost 6000'. That was my last big climb.

The rest of the flight I was frisbee flying down the river toward Magic Mountain. I've never really flown like this before, but found it more comfortable after the first 20 minutes. I would turn into the wind and often feel like I was flying backwards. It was unnerving at first, but I realized that there were plenty of landing zones and while I was flying backwards, I was also going up. I realize that after flying for so many years, I haven't done a lot of flying in high wind. I usually go land when it crests 10 - 12 mph. So, it was kind of fun to learn to fly like this.

My altitude was also pretty low through the valley and I even thought I'd land a couple of times. But almost every time I turned into the wind, I found more lift. I could definitely use some advise about the line I took. I went shallow to guarantee landing near the road. Perhaps flying a little deeper would have given me more altitude to work with. It seemed to work for Dylan. When I made the i-5, the wind abated a little bit and I found a thermal with birds circling 100s of feet above me. But, I was done and wasn't sure where to go from there. In hindsight, I should have topped that out to see where it might have taken me. But, I was also pretty done and outside my comfort zone already. So, I don't have any regrets.

I landed in 8 - 10 mph wind. Shortly after I landed (within 5 minutes) the wind increased to 15 - 20 mph and didn't abate while I was packing up.

This epic day only got better when Mitch picked Willi and me up at the I-5. Thanks Mitch!!! Also, I need to give a big thanks to SD for the in flight conditions report and offering to come get me after I landed. So rad!!!

Any advise about this part of the course and advise about any mistakes I might have made is welcome and appreciated.
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