Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kagel to Brian Ranch Airport, 37 miles

Forecast was for 10K+ cloud base, light SE wind for front (San Gabriel Mountains) range and NNE wind for back range changing to SW (and NNW) later in the day. When its east wind Marshall is more preferable, but since I did not have a driver for Marshall and my wife Karina volunteered to drive if I go to Kagel I choose Kagel. Got a ride on 10 am track, we were packed like sardines in the can, but starting early was very important. In fact cycles on launch was too strong and I was concerned I could not even launch, but wind during lulls was light and lulls last for few minutes, so I did launched successfully at 11:46. No problem with penetration climbed to 5.5K and went for Big T. SE wind there was much stronger then predicted in forecast. I could not go east even on full speed bar, so I turn around and fly back to west towers. I got to 8.2K there and consider jumping west to Oat Mt. or north-west to Santa Clarita.
Flying high over Sylmar
By that time most of Sylmar XC crew was in the air over Big T. discussing plans where to go. Jonathan went east on the front range and the rest of pilots jump to the back ridge aiming to fly OTB (over the back) via Mount Gleason. I was dreaming to try this route for a long time, so there was no question any more where to go. Ron reported 11K+ on the back ridge with other HG pilots joining him. I was last to commit and even though I had 10.4K it’s was one of the scariest move in my PG career. There is a 10 miles stretch with no place to land from Big Tujunga canyon until you get to Gleason. It took only 20 minutes to cover this distance and I arrived at 7.5K (1.6K AGL) over the last ridge near Gleason. As expected there was a strong thermal out there and I took it all the way to 13.5K, but higher I was getting the stronger north wind become, so I have to leave thermal and fly upwind toward the highway 14.
Flying over San Gabriel Mountains
Plenty of LZ after that point, but with north wind my progress to the east was slow. Most of HG landed at Crystal airport, but when I got there they was gone already, so I landed at 6:25 near highway 138 and 18 intersection for easy retrieve.
Landing near highway 138 and 18 intersection
Enjoyed beautiful sunset and stars, Karina get there around 8:20, back home at 10:00 pm.
My GPS track:

No comments: