Monday, May 17, 2010

Garlock to Olancha, 55 miles

Forecast was for 5-8 mph south wind almost whole day, cloud base 12K near Garlock and 14K+ in Sierra. Logistics was little bit complicated because Tony Deleo initially plan to fly from Black Hawk and my only choice was to join Joe Greblo's group riding from Sylmar. I was not even sure they have room for me and will allow me to go with them, but I took that risk and came at Sylmar LZ at 7:00 am. After short conversation Joe give me good to go and at the same time Tony call and tell that they coming to Garlock too. Arriving at launch about 11:00, clouds was everywhere already, light thermal cycles. I spend about 15 minutes by clearing west launch from bushes and rocks. Tony took off first, then me and then John (Southside). I had tangle in lines, which I could not clear. It was near center of trailing edge and did not affect wing behavior much, so I decide to go with it rather then top land and struggle again with bushes and rocks risking to cut my lines. I find a good thermal in front of launch and 3 of us topped out at 6200 then Tony went on glide to Black Mt., John find another thermal right away and I sink out to launch altitude. Next one gave me about 7500, which seems enough for transition to Black. But going through strong sink I arrived slightly below top of Black. There is long section of Bad Lands after Black Mt. and I could not find good solid thermal to get up, jumping from one "so-so" thermal to another one and basically maintaining same altitude. There is a retrievable road behind Bad Lands and when I made there I really could relax, but 300 AGL did not leave me many options. I was ready to land when heard "beep-beep-beep" indicating that game is not over yet. Now back to cloud base near intersection of 178 and 14 I don't even need to go to Boomer ridge and glided north along 14. Most of the cloud was back in the mountains, but I prefer stay in front, speed system was surely affected by tangle and I did not want to be trapped. Getting close to Olancha, John reported that he is landed safely near road next to power lines. I also was low and landed near paved road. By the time I finished packing my staff Eddie picked up John and was looking for me. Then we chase Tony to Luning, Nevada, had a quick dinner at Bishop and drove back. I got back home at 2:00 am.

Flight from Garlock to Olancha, 55 miles from Alex Gagarin on Vimeo.

My GPS track
Tony's 214 miles story
Many pilots from Sylmar crew flew 40 miles to Trona