Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pine to Antelope Valley, 52 miles

I flew with Jonathan and Tony Deleo. We arrived to launch around 10:30 and wait for thermal cycles block light north wind around noon. We all climbed to 11K or so and headed NE toward Lockwood valley, hang gliders choose fastest and most reliable route A (see following picture):

The problem with route A is that if you don't find lift its a long glide out through strong west wind, which is feeding convergence. I have tried this route before and it was not successful, so this time I decide to try more conservative route B. There are many LZs available in this direction, thermals usually are not well defined, but in my case there was two forming clouds. When I made it to Lockwood valley it was mostly covered by clouds, regardless I had a good glide toward Frazier:

After Frazier its quite tricky to make transition into Antelope valley. There are 3 different air masses mixing here. One is a stable air from Central valley, then breeze coming from Santa Barbara (via Pine) and last one hot and dry air from Mojave desert. General advice is to climb as high as possible over Frazier and then glide toward Quail lake. Well, I try to gain some altitude there, but left it at 9K without much hope. Got really low near Gorman and was ready to land when find a good thermal, which gave me another chance. Topped out at 9600 near I-5 and 138 intersection and headed toward Quail lake:

North wind changed to SW. After crossing the lake I got down to 5500, but once again manage to find very strong +7 m/s (1400 fpm) thermal and continue. At this point Tony and Jonathan landed and Jonathan reported surface winds 15 mph gusting to 30 from the SSW near the mountain, so I decide to land before it pick up even stronger. Another reason for landing was my unpreparedness for this flight in particular I forget to upload class D Lancaster, Palmdale and restricted R-2515 airspace to my GPS and had no idea where they are. But first I want to flew north, out from the mountain, so wind would be at least not turbulent, which I did. I landed backwards and here is illustration to wind profile near the ground:

Flight from Pine Mt., 52 miles from Alex Gagarin on Vimeo.

My GPS track:

Discussion on Santa Barbara forum:

1 comment:

Tim said...

Nice flight and write-up Alex!