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La Conchita Gas Plant Launch

PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2022 12:24 am
by sd
Attached is a KMZ file showing access to the La Conchita Gas Plant Launch.
Updated 4/15/2022
La Conchita Gas Plant Launch Access Options
(3.1 KiB) Downloaded 709 times

The gas plant was de-commissioned some years ago. The launch was occasionally utilized by several pilots back when the plant was operational, however they accessed the fire break by hiking up the creek. Currently, the fence is still intact around the main equipment area of the plant, however, the fence is no longer complete around areas east of the main plant, including the large tank, so you no longer need to hike the creek. You can reach the fire break road by traveling along the eastern side of the berm that surrounds the tank, just west of the creek. There is a pipe that runs along the top of the berm, so follow the pipe to the back of the berm and then westbound along a concrete drain terrace.

You can access the property road network from either of the parking options shown. From the property road, hike up to the top of the SE corner of the berm from just west of the creek.

I’ve personally used a couple different launches above the gas plant, both solo and tandem. The firebreak launch (placemarked in the KMZ file) works in a SW wind. I’ve also launched higher up, but it may be overgrown with mustard or other seasonal vegetation. I have not launched from the Gas Plant in the SE wind, but I have ridge soared there in a SE wind, however, there isn't anywhere to go from there in a SE other than perhaps Bates? In a SW wind you can try to work your way down the coast toward Ventura.

I suspect there may be property issues (I don’t know who owns the firebreak or the launch area)? so I would recommend striving to be discrete. I didn’t see any “private property” or “no trespass” signs when we scouted access to the fire break this past Tuesday. We also scouted the old legacy 300 launch (which is actually about 460 MSL) that was used in the late 70s and early 80 on windy days to get off and down the coast to Ventura (when the road was public). We did see numerous private property / no trespass signs at the base of Ocean View Road (the road to the 300 legacy launch).

When flying to La Conchita from Bates we typically stop for an altitude gain at the Gas Plant, which seems to work better than the old legacy 300 launch. We sometimes top land above the gas plant after jumping the freeway from Bates because you often get your highest at Bates when the wind is building, but the wind may not have pushed around the corner into La Conchita yet, so you can top land above the Gas Plant and wait for the wind to arrive (I've personally done that both solo and tandem). I suspect the gas plant will also work good on days when you can't get high enough at Bates to jump the freeway to La Conchita?

The hike is about 500 vertical and a half mile, depending on where you start from. Takes about 10 to 20 minutes. I've landed at the Gas Plant Freeway ramp a number of times (launching from other places like the Skyport). You can also cross the freeway to the bigger beach LZ, but will need to exit to the La Conchita side of the freeway via the undercross pedestrian tunnel.