Sunday, September 15, 2013

Nine Mile to Bishop

Igor and Mike (HG pilots) was organizing a trip to Owens, so I and my friend Dmitry from San Diego decided to join them. We all met Friday night at Boulder Creek RV camp, just few miles south from Lone Pine. HG want to fly Walt's, but Dmitry want to fly Nine Mile, so we took his car and drive to Nine Mile Saturday morning. When we hiked to launch at 9:30 it was already windy from SE (15 mph) and I had doubts about launching. By 10:00 am wind was pretty much the same (good), so I launched and Dmitry follow me shortly. We climbed easily to 10K and went north. Weather forecast was so-so with north wind in the morning switching to south in the afternoon. HG pilots at Walt's had to wait until 11 or 12 before they can launch, but we was 40 miles south and had advantage, it was already south here. However, along the flight we encountered north wind couple times, which made our progress quite slow. By the time we made to Whitney there was already signs of over development in the mountains and I try to stay out front. But real OD happened only at 4:00 pm and I have to escape from Sierra. I found a thermal near Big Pine and could get higher there, but OD looked scary and I decided to cross without necessary altitude and finally landed at 4:40 pm. Total distance 94 miles duration 6:40 hours. While I was hiking out to highway 168 one gentlemen offer a ride to Big Pine. Turned out he was a long time hang glider pilot, but retired 10 years ago and don't fly anymore. Dmitry landed closer to Bishop along 395 and also managed to hitch a ride to Big Pine where we met. Igor flew locally and landed at Diaz Lake. He took my car and pick us up at Big Pine, thanks a lot Igor. We got Dmitry's car on the way back, home by midnight or so.

Here is a video covering first part of flight from Nine Mile to Walt's:

Track log:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

SoCal XC league at Pine mountain

I was suggesting Pine Mt. for North California XC league for years, but Jug was deaf. Flying is similar to Whaleback and driving time from San Francisco (5 hours) just half an hour longer compared to Whaleback (4:30 hours). Now with South California league most of the pilots live in San Diego, so driving time (4 hours) also an issue, but very good opportunity to join for local Santa Barbara pilots.
Task was to Frazier Mountain and back, I bombed out at Lockwood valley, but that allow enough time for glass off flight, which was remarkable. Climbed to 13.5K and with 25 km/h tail north wind made it to Ojai in no time. Now with 8K over Ojai making beach seemed possible, but lower I get stronger SW breeze become. Finally I have to bail out to highway 33 landing on the huge abandoned field in strong, but laminar breeze.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Flight from Towers (Kagel) to Lukens

This is first time I was launching from Towers (near Kagel) and I don't recommend it for PG. It's cliff launch similar to Walt's but with much less space and bushes all over around. So, any failed attempt will put your glider into the bush, which will take at least 5-10 minutes to rescue. Advantage of Towers compared to Kagel is paved road and no gate, but again I would rather spend hour hiking to Kagel from the road then come back to Towers again. In case you still want to try Towers the best approach would be forward launch from the road and expect some major turbulence immediately if wind is not directly from SE.
Weather was not as good as expected, so we all landed in BigT wash with Jonathan and Tavis.