Last Weekend in March 2021

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Last Weekend in March 2021

Postby sd » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:35 pm

Summary for Saturday 3/27/2021 Posted at:
Summary for Sunday 3/28/2021 Posted at
Saturday Morning Update:
The lapse rate has trended weaker quicker than previously projected, but still ok in Santa Barbara and robust in Ojai. There is weak katabatic downslope flow all the way to the beach at 7:30, which is good because it holds the marine air offshore. That should turn around soon and draw in. The 2 am forecast discussion was projecting mild Santa Anna flow down the Santa Clara this morning, but the current observations seem to indicate it is light and the offshore gradients are only minimal. The most recent winds aloft forecast is calling for light and variable up through 6K this morning so hopefully the balance of an ok lapse rate and light wind will permit us to get into Casitas Pass where the altitude should get better. As is typical in SB, I suspect the max altitude locally will be late morning to mid-day over La Cumbre Peak. We might need to struggle a bit to get past Castle Ridge and into Casita Pass.
Friday Night look at the weekend

The weekend looks promising, but the course is likely limited eastbound near Fillmore. The Nam is calling for more wind the GFS model

Saturday (tomorrow) The lapse rate is robust by late morning. The 6K temperature is climbing from the mid-40s but the surface temperature is climbing faster. The mid-day temperature spread from the surface to 6K is in the upper 20s F around Santa Barbara and mid-30s F in Ojai, which is robust.

The altitude looks good, maybe 6K in SB and 7 to 8K later in the afternoon in Ojai.

Locally (west of Casitas Pass) the wind starts out from the NE early then comes from the west in the afternoon. Building as the day ages, more from the WSW down lower, then NW up above 5K and more from the north above that. The Santa Clara River is draining solid offshore in the morning then the onshore west pushes up-river in the afternoon to about Fillmore at the lower altitudes, but up higher it is still offshore from the NNE. Ojai looks more protected from the wind than the Santa Barbara side of Casitas Pass, so recommend spending the afternoon in Ojai. There is more north wind up higher. You might be able to do a short leg westbound, then tag the Topa Bluffs or Santa Paula Ridge (recommend staying low on an eastbound leg through Ojai) then if you can get high enough on the east end of the course you might be able to go over the lower level onshore draw toward the beach, but expect an onshore headwind down lower.

The wind on the ocean is much less than it has been for the past week or so, but perhaps enough for Bates to work but likely not good enough to bench back to La Conchita. The Avenue (Ventura) will likely be soarable late in the day. Looks like there could be more wind in the mountains than down at the beaches.

The clouds are gone, and the barometer is climbing. High pressure days with a strong lapse rate and some wind don’t tend to be smooth mid-day.

There is a mild morning inversion that needs to break. I suspect it should be soarable by 11 or earlier

Sunday warms at the surface and a little more so up higher, but the lapse rate still looks good but perhaps not as good as Saturday, The GFS and the Nam continue to disagree on the wind direction and strength with the Nam calling for more wind and more from the east and the GFS calling for less wind and more from the west. The beaches look like even less wind than Saturday.

Monday the lapse rate looks weaker but still positive. The offshore Santa Anna is replaced by flow from the west down lower and NW up higher. The altitude doesn’t look as good as Saturday and Sunday, and there might be more north up at the ridge line, but I suspect it will still work down lower.
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Summary for Saturday 3/27/2021

Postby sd » Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:56 am

Saturday evolved in reasonably alignment with the forecast (see posting above). A number of pilots did the Hoedown task which got them to Spine One in Ojai. The altitude was qood, upper 6Ks in SB and upper 7Ks in Ojai. With bonus altitude, most of the connections were achievable, but Castle Ridge was a struggle for a while. I think the potential past Fillmore was limited by east wind to the east. I opted to reach for and turn at Santa Paula Peak. NW wind through Casitas Pass late in the day was also a limiting factor on the return leg.

Santa Barbara Group Ayvri Web Animation Link for Saturday
A bunch of pilots flew to Padaro or Carpinteria including Marty and Cracka who both did tandem flights with their kids. At least 5 pilots flew to Ojai including Uncle Neal leading the pack, myself, Jeff Longcor, Chris Lorimer, and Jesse Nichols.

Other pilots including Willi Cannell and Gavin McClurg opted to try the first legs of Logan’s Hike and Fly (which Gavin successfully completed the following day, Sunday)

Sundowner’s Saturday Flight / Data, Links, and Narrative
Launch at 11:13 PDT, Land at 4:24 PDT
...first off, last down
Skyport westbound past Painted the Cave Windmill (PCW) / 6.9 mile
...longest initial westbound leg and westernmost west point of the day
PCW eastbound to Santa Paula Peak (SPP) / 45.6 mile
...longest eastbound leg and easternmost east point of the day
SPP westbound to Divide / 24.2 miles
...longest westbound return leg of the day
Divide fall off SE bound back to landing at Lake Casitas / 6.6 miles
80.3 total SLOFD miles around 3 turnpoints
Start at 11:13:25 PDT, End at 4:19:19 PDT = 5:05:54 ~ 5.10 Hr ~ 15.8 mph average

SD's Google Earth KMZ file for Saturday
(340.23 KiB) Downloaded 46 times
and SD’s Solo Ayvri Link

Took the #20 bus from Carpinteria to East Beach for a 9:30 meet time with the Eagle Van driven by Sangwon. Loaded 8-ish pilots, then 9:45 at Lower Parma to max out the capacity in a 6-minute load. A turkey vulture was circling up at the Rock. Light but weak up at the Bypass. The Skyport looked launchable and soarable, but no one wanted out, so all 3 vehicles continued up to EJ where it was light OTB but expected to switch.

Logan and Sophia stopped to say hello on their way to the Skyport from the other direction, so I opted to hop in and go back down because I prefer launching from the Skyport and my assessment is often that if I can’t make it work from the Skyport I’m not going anywhere anyway? It was also nice to catch up with Logan and Sophia.

A half dozen seasoned pilots showed up while we were setting up. We were already a tad late so I didn’t squander. Took two pulls because I had a line caught on something on the first attempt, which left me low for the 2nd pull but I like being low for fall away clearance and the launch was fun and effective.

Initially got a couple hundred over launch but was able to map out the trajectory and eventually take it up to 500 over, which is more than bonus altitude to transition to the RnR, which got me to more bonus altitude (4900). Drift was light and more influenced by the draw than the base wind. La Cumber Peak was also better than expected. I was hoping for 6Kish based on the my preflight perception but got to almost 68 drifting light from the NE on climb and then from the north on glide westbound

Kept some crab angle into the light north component. Stopped at the VOR cone to climb from 52 to 6K and then reached past the Painted Cave Windmill a little ways into San Marcos Pass against increasing flow from the NW. Got back into the upper 5s at the VOR on the return eastbound leg and continued to crab into the light north to hold the back ridge to Ramero Saddle where I angled out for Castle Ridge.

Pilots ahead along Castle were struggling down lower. I skipped along the ridge to the spine behind Castle Point 3, trying a couple of turns along the way. Seemed like the west wind was starting to pick up a bit and the early weak thermals were coming off the sunny wind protected east faces then drifting eastbound into the lee of their trigger spines. This was going to be the 1st challenge of the day. If I could claw just a little further, I expected the altitude to start getting better. Down to 33 behind Castle Point 3. Went past the spine ready to turn out.
The technique worked as advertised with the thermals coming off the sunny lee sides of the spines somewhat race tracked shaped. Each point got better and by the time I was passing the Power Lines the terrain was higher and the protection from the ocean better. 51 plus at Noon, 61 at Divide, and over 7K above the High Step behind White Ledge.

Had enough altitude to bypass the Nuthouse and go direct to Spine One, which didn’t have much drift and went straight up from 37 to 54 (bonus altitude). Did just a couple of turns on the east side of Nordhoff so I’d have enough for an easy connection over to Twin Peaks but didn’t bother to try to get high at Nordhoff because I thought there might be some NE wind at altitude.

Having seen a bunch of pilots flush out from Castle, I thought I was in the lead, but Uncle Neal spotted me crossing Hwy 33 as he circled up at the Pyramid. We hooked up at Twin Peaks in drift from the west in a climb into the mid 6s. Took a middle line to Puckers, the last Ojai spine coming off the Topa Bluffs.

My thermal at Puckers seemed to be aided by some east/west convergence with the leading edge on the east side. Very little drift as I reached my highest altitude of the day, 7726 Ft MSL. M preflight objective was to turn at either the Topa Bluffs or further east across Santa Paula Canyon, preferably Santa Paula Peak. Seemed like a light headwind on the way across. The air was bumpy, but I had plenty of altitude to simply stay on bar and keep going. Stopped to give a few cores a test turn along the ridge line, but mostly continued dolphining toward Santa Paula Peak. Nothing directly over the Peak, but just a little way down the SE spine I found one I liked and climbed from 55 to over 6900 drifting from the ESE. I was willing to stop for weaker stuff going downwind westbound and got over 7500 a mile into my return leg.

Fished NNW along the Topa Bluffs hoping for bigger altitude but the best I could do was about 7400 in a couple of places. I was hoping to get up into a NE flow to get over the lower level SW, which I did a little but not much. Had a decent tailwind till I cross the Chiefs spine with about 5K and started encountering some headwind from the SW. Down to 37 at Stooges looking at a marginal upwind crossing to Bruce’s but lucked into a good core on the west side of Stooges that got me back above 53 for an easy run to Nordhoff.

My last upwind leg along Nordhoff a few weeks early (3/6) I got high but then missed the thermal at Spine One (thermals are easier to work up high but easier to find down low), so I didn’t bother to climb up as much on the east end. Still didn’t find a boost at Spine One. Continued upwind down the spine toward the SW hoping to get lucky but didn’t. The probability of a successful upwind glide across Hwy 33 from below 4K seemed poor, so I opted to turn back for the high ground and look for more. Fished back up the spine behind the front point and found what I needed, climbing to almost 5200 for a much easier connection across Hwy 33.

Had an easy skip over to Bump 3, which is usually dependable for at least 45 or more, but I couldn’t break 4K. Opted to claw the back ridge and that worked to just below the Back Step where I typically end up going out and around later in the afternoon. Encountered some buoyant air as I cleared the knob below the Back Step but didn’t stop because I can usually ridge up along the SW face around the corner, but the bushes were calm so I had to come limping back out to the Tit below the saddle. Fortunately, the Tit worked so I was able to try again and thermal up the spine behind the saddle toward the Back Step. That thermal drifted from the SE (drawing toward White Ledge?) so I extended upwind a couple of times and eventually got over 5500 above the back ridge, drifting from the east. Boosted one more time to almost 6K a little past the High Step (behind White Ledge).

Uncle Neal reported surface wind in Carpinteria was from the SW in the mid to upper single digits. Jeff Longcor had gone to the Topa Bluffs and was westbound along the Sulphur Mountain ridge. He was seeing stiff wind on Lake Casitas. I thought I had the Casitas Pass crossing made, but as I continued on glide I started encountering progressively more north wind. I initially crabbed into it trying to hold the back ridge but as the north increased, I had to fall off a bit and try to cross the East Divide spine a little out front. The wind kept getting stronger and was clocking around from mostly north to come from the NW. I repeatedly adjusted my expectations to the left, initially thinking I would make West Divide out front, then perhaps the Gobernador, then maybe I could clear Laguna Ridge and find somewhere to land behind Rincon Mountain along Hwy 150, but I eventually had to throw in the towel and run downwind back toward the lake.

Dropped anchor in the back of the big fields east of the lake, not wanting to go behind and land in the lee because it was gusting into the high teens at my altitude. Though it would lighten near the surface, but I was mostly parked with very little penetration all the way to the ground.

Jorge Granier had flown from EJ to No-Name to Summerland then ran chase to collect half of the Ojai Pilots including Jeff Longcor, Chris Lorimer, and me.

Preflight perception for the last weekend in March posted at
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Summary for Sunday, 3/28/2021 / Out n Back plus Hike n Fly

Postby bb_secretary » Tue Apr 06, 2021 2:36 pm

Group Ayvri Web Animation for Sunday 3/28/2021

Summary for Sunday, 3/28/2021
Originally posted by Cracka on the SBSA Telegram Chat on Suncay 3/28/2021 at 6:49
Hot dang! Jesse, Byron, JLo did Soggy Fishsticks from la cumbre-divide-vor-parma, then two of them flew home to carp, Carter flew to the topa bluffs and back again for the out and return record(getting to be his regular afternoon flight), willi and gavin were the first to attempt and complete the hike and fly Divide task by hiking up from parma, launching skyport-topland ej-topland vor-topland chiefs- tag oat mtn and finish at vons in fillmore, a handful to ojai, derek to fillmore, sangwon did cool acro tricks at launch then flew to carp, master bader returned after a 2 year hiatus binge watching netflix and flew home to carp, clontzy flew to ojai and back to parma, etc, etc. the funny part is, it wasnt even that great of a flying day. Everyone is just rippin. Badass and congrats to all! Thanks Eagle for getting a whole bus load of pilots to the diving board. Talk to me
Plus, noteworthy flight details from
Carter Crowe’s Out and Return Flight to the Topa Bluffs and Back
(note: still waiting on Carter’s narrative as per local rules?)
Carter’s individual Ayvri Web Animation
Carter's Google Earth KMZ for Sunday 3/28/2021
(427.64 KiB) Downloaded 49 times

Gavin McClurg’s successful completion of the Hike and Fly from Parma to EJ to VOR to Chiefs to Oat to Vons LZ in Fillmore
Gavin’s individual Ayvri Web Animation
Gavin's Google Earth KMZ for Sunday 3/28/2021
(202.05 KiB) Downloaded 45 times

Hike and Fly Links:

Preflight perceptions for the last weekend in March posted at
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Re: Last Weekend in March 2021

Postby OaB » Sun Apr 11, 2021 7:42 am

EJ Bowl – Topatopa Bluffs – Parma Park - 3/28/2021
Carter Crowe – Ozone Mantra M7 Large – Advance Impress 3

The forecast for Sunday, March 28, 2021 appeared quite promising for an open distance adventure towards San Bernardino. Light east winds were forecast to give way to a moderate west around midday (approximately at the time we would be leaving Ojai eastbound). The lapse rate looked good in Ojai, mediocre in Santa Barbara. Light winds and lack of stratus clouds meant (to me) that the day could potentially allow us to cover distance at a moderate pace late in the day.

I drove up with Marty, Mitch and Logan. Arrived EJ Bowl just before 9. It was blowing in nicely. After an aborted launch due to sticks in my lines, I followed Marty to La Cumbre Peak at 9:15 to get established in the early lift. Mitch and Brian K joined Marty and me and we headed east.

It was early, so we headed east as quickly as possible while taking care to stay high-ish and avoid the early bomb-out. Brian and I chased Mitch and Marty to Noon Peak. The light headwind caused little problem for our gaggle and we progressively gained speed as we headed towards the pass.

At the pass, Marty, Mitch and Brian opted to stay out above the front points. They were getting good quality lift, but to my eye it looked slightly windier out front, so I tucked in deep and stuck to the high points to fly in more protected air. Mitch and Marty headed out into Ojai first while Brian and I climbed out from low southeast of White Ledge. We eventually reached 5k MSL and set out on glide towards Ojai.

Brian took the deeper line towards the nuthouse. I stayed out front, flying over trigger points in search of a thermal. Marty was climbing above me, so I aimed at – what I thought – was the source of the thermal: a small ridge at approx. 2500 ft MSL. After a brief search, I found a thermal and climbed up to 5100 ft MSL.
At this point, Brian, Mitch and Marty all headed to the southeast, looking to cross over Ojai and get on course eastbound on the range south of Ojai. I headed for Nordhoff, then Chiefs, trying to stay high and work the terrain as the day began to feel less “stellar” than expected. I reached 6500 ft at Chiefs and headed for the Bluffs with the intention of crossing to Santa Paula Peak then joining the others on the course eastbound.

At this point, some HAM operators were on frequency testing new antennas, so I lost contact with the others and had to turn the radio down (constant static is quite unpleasant). I followed the Topatopa ridge towards Santa Paula Peak but the air seemed to smooth out and felt quite stable to me. I began to debate continuing eastward or returning to Ojai. There was almost no wind, and it was approximately 13:00 when I got a climb to just over 7k. I more or less decided that it didn’t feel so active the farther I headed East and I had no contact with other pilots, so I turned back westbound.

A couple nice glides got me back towards Nordhoff Peak. I tanked up just west of the peak while Gavin and Willi flew past eastbound and headed to the shark fin to work my way back through the pass. I was getting great glides but my ground speed was decreasing slightly, so I knew that I would face some lee-side work. I also knew that with the increasing west wind, I could do some ridge soaring on the way back should the day start to turn off.

I spent some time low in the pass. I would have bailed out to Ojai, but birds were climbing out and I was able to maintain my altitude with the ridge lift. Chris Klontz was high above me at East Divide and I settled in for a slow methodical climb up as high as possible to make the larger transitions in the pass.
My strategy was to stay on west facing slopes and search upwind for thermals if I felt any turbulence or movement in the wing. I hugged the terrain as long as possible then would glide due south just beyond the rotor until I could creep around the next ridge and repeat the process.

Ultimately, I made it to Noon Peak using this ridge soaring/thermal strategy with glides to the south. I was quite relieved once on glide to the powerlines at 3700 ft (below ridge height) because I felt I had access to nicer LZ’s once again.

I caught a nice climb before the powerlines and was able to cross over them with a comfortable safety margin. It was now 3:00 and I began wondering when the day would shut off completely. Though I was anxious to get westbound, I tried to remain patient and get on top of the ridge. I wanted to stay high for two reasons: first, I wanted to be able to glide out to a nice LZ in case the day shut down entirely, and second, I made the mistake of getting just below ridge height in my last return trip from Ojai and fell out of the lift band on my transition to Romero.

I continued to work the west-facing terrain and mashed bar to get around corners. Reaching the OHV bumps I slowed down to find something that might get me on top of Castle Ridge. The protected west faces provided and I was able to get on top of Castle before gliding to the eastern road cut at Romero.

This is getting repetitive – again, more ridge soaring and using birds to locate thermals farther from the terrain. I got a great glide from layer cake to Montecito, soared the bowl, climbed at the tree by the trail on the west side of the Montecito spine. It was now 3:45 and time to make my final moves. I saw Klontz climbing nicely above shadow, so I dove in relatively low, soared up until I could turn circles and topped out at 3000 ft.

I headed out on final glide to Parma. I went directly towards the lee of Thermal Factory for the first part of the glide where there was less West wind, then hooked south to the west of Parkers hoping to get one more bump before heading to Parma. I got nothing and hopped on full bar into the increasing West wind, tucked into my harness to be as aerodynamic as possible.

I had room for two setup turns before landing Parma and landed in conditions more reminiscent of a sledder than a thermic day.

Making it back to Parma from the Topatopas has been a huge goal of mine ever since I first tried it with Marty in May 2020. I received supportive messages from stoked friends while on final and had a peaceful packup alone at Parma after the longest duration flight of my flying career: 6 hours and 52 minutes.
It’s strange to me that this was the day I achieved my goal. It was slow, patient, careful flying for much of the journey 75% of the trip was upwind, and I set out from EJ Bowl with the intent of going open distance beyond Ojai for the first time.

From what I know, this is the farthest a PG has flown from the fishbowl and landed at Parma. I am looking forward to seeing others take on this challenge. Flying westbound through the pass is incredibly challenging and rewarding, in my opinion, and I think this is a benchmark that will be beaten handily the next time a quality day with light winds comes around. I am convinced that Santa Paula Peak and back is possible.

If you took the time to read this, good on you. This was a big personal achievement for me and I hope it inspires others to take on the challenge and go farther before turning around. 55.65km (from EJ Bowl). Good luck to all. Happy flights and safe landings.
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