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Ojai Site Protocol
Please Familiarize yourself with the protocols prior to flying the Ojai Sites.
The posted information does not negate the need to contact a local guide for a complete site-specific orientation.
Various agreements with local entities insist that all pilots be current USHPA members for insurance purposes.
There is at least 1 hike up launch, The Nuthouse
The road to the ridge line launches is a gated 4 wheel drive Forrest Service Road. It is open to the public on a first come first serve basis, depending on the weather and road conditions. The Forrest Service requires 4 wheel drive. A Forrest Service Nordhoff Ridge Road Permit is required to go through the locked gate in Rose Valley and be on the road. You get the permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office, just west of the Bowling Alley on the east side of town, on the north side of the main road through town (Hwy 150). You don't need to state that you are a pilot or give a reason for access. One piece of information the permit will ask for is number of vehicle occupants. The Forrest Service does not like to see more than 4 persons on the form, so... There is no cost for the permit, but you must also have an Adventure Pass for the vehicle, $5 per day or you can get a yearly pass. The Office is closed on the weekends, but they will leave a permit for you in the box outside on request. If you get a reputation of asking the office to leave a permit for you and it goes uncollected, they may refuse to issue you permits in the future. They issue a limited number of permits per day, which isn't usually a problem, but can be during hunting season.
[US Forrest Service Ojai Ranger District Office]
1190 East Ojai Avenue
Ojai, CA 93023
The road will frequently be closed during the winter months, with some winter closures being more extended than others depending on the amount of rain.
Ojai has a number of fields that are landable, but some fields that appear attractive are forbidden. Ojai's political culture is resistant to sprawling development. The community has resisted widening the 2 lane roads into town (all access roads to town are only 2 lanes, 1 lane each direction). In keeping with the cultural sediment, the flying community going back to the 70's has tried to maintain a low profile. There are a number of fields where we don't have specific permission but do land at occasionally. By being quiet, discrete, and respectful we have been generally successful in not incurring the wrath of landowners. Some fields come and go as they are cleared and planted or ownership changes.
Thatcher School is at the base of the hill and should not be used for landing. Ever. Back in the 80's, the site was rated H4 specifically to prevent occasional landings at Thatcher School. We historically get 1 or 2 landings per year at the school for various reasons. Sometimes an administrator will give a warning, and other times the pilot may perceive a warm welcome. If you land there and receive a warm welcome, that does not mean the administration condones the practice. If we receive too many warnings it will get conveyed to the Forest Service and strain our image with entities we need to deal with.
Do not land at school yards during school days when school is in session. We don't have permission to use any of the school yards, but for many years we have been landing at various school on the weekends when no one is around. Please try to keep a low profile.