Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flight from Walt's to Bishop (Owens valley), 60 miles

Record amount of snow this season delayed Horseshoe Meadows road opening, which leads to Walt's point PG/HG launch in Owens valley. I was calling ranger station since May to check when it can happen. Finally road was opened at June 8th. There was a big group of pilots from Crestline/Sylmar planning to fly Father's day weekend, but the best weather was for Wednesday 15th, so instead of waiting we decide to go for it. Wake up at 3:00 am, pick up Eddie our driver from Ventura at 4:30, back to home and meet with Jonathan at 5:45, made Lone Pine by 8:45. Our typical meet place in Lone Pine, High Sierra Cafe was closed this year, so we meet with Marcus (HG) and PG pilots from Tahoe on Whitney Portal road. At launch by 9:45. Day did not start until 11:00, so I had some time to walk around and get used to altitude. Since I had entire launch for myself I want to try new launch techniques. Tried reverse launch from plateau, but it did not work out, not enough wind. Then forward launch was successful. It’s harder to execute, but safer because you can stop easily as opposed to launch from steep rocky slope, which I usually do. Air was rough and turbulent from beginning, got few small asymmetric collapses, but major one was few miles into the flight. It started from 50%-60% asymmetric and reopened just fine, however I pull opposite brake too hard (hello hypoxia?) and spin a glider. Exit a spin fine after 360, still around 200 meters over terrain. I did not want to be deep after this point and headed out toward the valley where thermals were nicer. The rest of the flight was uneventful. Jonathan catch up after Onion valley and landed before Big Pine, Marcus before Bishop. There was SE/W convergence line running straight north through Bishop, but it stopped after 5-7 miles. There was massive development over Boundary Peak and clouds show NW out there. I opted to land just next to Marcus on nice, green meadow. 10 minutes later Dave, another PG from Canada joined us. Back to Lone Pine at 6:00 pm and back home at 12:30 am. Good, long day!

Flight from Walt's to Bishop in Owens valley from Alex Gagarin on Vimeo.
My GPS track:

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