Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Barbara XC Map

Santa Barbara XC Map
After struggling with bus numbers, stops, transfers, schedules from my phone, I decided to make a map with all important information in one place. You can also download Waypoints and review them in Google if you're not familiar with them yet. Casitas Pass Overview was created by Tom Truax
Assuming you don't have a driver you still can fly XC and get back to your car using public transportation. Here is few options based on weather quality and other factors:
1. East beach is relatively easy destination I would not even consider it as XC flight, but view is breathtaking especially when you're over the ocean. You need to be P4/H4, stay below 1500 ft when crossing freeway 101, so you not violate Class C airspace and land on the sand, south from bicycle path. Its very likely that someone else will land there and give you a ride. If not go to Milpitas St, after you cross 101 take bus #2 toward Downtown SB, exit at Anapamu & Garden. Go one block north to Garden and E. Victoria St. take bus #22 to Old Mission. From there its 1.9 miles hike to Parma.
2. Padaro beach. If conditions better then sled ride, but not good enough for going through the pass you can fly to Pararo beach. It's also popular destination and you have good chances to get a ride from there with other pilots. If not from the LZ go north 0.3 miles, turn right to Padaro Lane and after you cross 101 you will see bus stop (Via Real & East Parado). Take bus 20 or 21 to Santa Barbara downtown. Exit at Anapamu & State. Take bus #22 toward Old Mission. From there it's 1.9 mile hike to Parma.
3. Ojai. After you cross power lines there are no landings for 7 miles or so. There're many articles about going through the pass, read them all, review as many GPS tracks as you can find. The only advise I would like to emphasis is don't hurry in this section or you end up landing in front of White ledge, which is not too bad if you make there, because you can hike 1-2 miles and re-launch. If you can make to Nordhoff LZ then you can take bus #16 to Ventura. If not then land as close to highway 150 as possible. There is a bus stop at 150 & 33 intersection, so you don't need to hike all the way to Nordhoff LZ. In Ventura you have 2 options. Exit at Pacific Mall if you have time or if its late and you can't catch last bus to SB at 5:31 pm, exit at Thompson & Oak and take Amtrak at 8:59 pm. If you use smartphone note that Google does not know about Vista Coastal Express that's the name of your bus to SB.
4. Fillmore (or Piru). Bus Vista Highway 126 is going from Piru to Ventura, there is also stop in Santa Paula if you bombed out there. Go to Pacific Mall and transfer to Coastal Express. If you're late take bus #16 to Thompson & Oak and take Amtrak.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Skyport to VOR to Ojai

Skyport launch
Eagle was coaching big group of students from San Francisco. I watched few launches, but it took them forever, so I squeezed on the right side of launch and got off right away. Few turns over launch and follow Bob and white UP glider to R&R. We climbed there to 5500 and continue west.
Westbound leg
Easy going to VOR where I turn around and go east. Day seems to be ok for big flight. I saw a group of gliders just few peaks ahead of me and assumed they would go through the pass, but it turned out they went for Padaro beach.
Just before power lines meet with Marty who was flying from Nuthouse in opposite direction this day.
Marty flying west
I also have hang glider friend who was chasing me since Montecito peak.
HG friend
Going through the pass was tough, I was getting lower and lower finally landing on the fire road at 3 pm and then hiking about a mile to re-launch. Made few phone calls and realized I'm the only one going through the pass, so retrieve will be epic.
Hiking to re-launch
First knob (on photo) was not good because of long glide out and chance to end up in bushed closed canyon, but next one seemed ok.
Re-launch options
After first unsuccessful attempt I decide to clear enough space from bushes and debris, which helped. In the air at 4:25 pm. Unfortunately no thermal activity, 10 minutes extended sledder toward Ojai. Hiked 2.5 miles to intersection of highway 150 and 33 to get bus #16 to Ventura. Missed the last bus from Ventura to Santa Barbara and try to use Amtrak.
Waiting for the train
Train was scheduled to arrive at 8:59, but was 1 hour late, so I arrived to Santa Barbra at 11, taxi to Parma and home at 0:30 am. It was a long day.

Track log: