Saturday, September 6, 2014

Elsinore to Marshall, 40 miles flight

Elsinore launch
Last time I flew Elsinore was 7 years ago in September 2007. Weekend forecast for Marshall was great and there was also supposed to be fly-in at Marshall, so my choice in the middle of the week was obvious. However, Jonathan suggested Elsinore. Advantages was that it will not OD and you can fly with any altitude even with 6K you may have a chance, where at Crestline you need at least 8K to make it OTB (over the back), plus there could be OD in the mountains and desert. I hesitate for a while, I don't like Elsinore because you can bomb out there very easy, just slightly wrong timing and you land, no matter what you try to do. And that's exactly what happened with Jonathan. Jeff, Kia, Ziggy, Russ, Mike Everyday and few HG was flying that day too, Ziggy's wife Linda volunteered to drive retrieve. Thank you Linda!

We agreed to meet at LZ at 10:15, but Ziggy was late by half an hour, so we got to launch around 11:00. Good cycles and few pilots was already in the air. I launched at 11:23. Only Jeff who launched early was able to climb high right away and flew north, but he decided to wait for us. Everyone else have to spend some time near launch with Kia and Jonathan landed on primary LZ. After we got to 4500 ft we start flying north and was getting better climbs, eventually topping out at 7600 ft. That was decision point. My plan was to fly straight line with 4 control points I put to my GPS to make sure I avoid all air spaces. Going further NW was off my route, so I stay in zero sink and start drifting north, took another small climb and cross highway 15.
Looking back at Elsinore Lake
All other pilots was keep flying NW toward Santiago Peak, excited by good climbs to 9K+. There are small hills on the other side of 15 and landable valley after, which I had on glide.

Crossing highway 15
My altitude dropped back to 4500 ft after crossing, but I found a good climb just before the valley, which took me all the way to 9600 ft and near the top nice looking clouds start forming. That altitude was enough to glide to Box Springs Mountain Park.
Lake Mathews
I did not encounter any lift of sink on glide, just stable, laminar air. Wind was south at altitude and SW down low. I pick my LZ near small hill and went for some ridge soaring session, which worked. I was able to drift north, but could not climb out. Eventually my altitude dropped to 300 ft AGL and I was on my landing approach when helper thermal knock on my wing's sail. Yahoo!!! Back in the game. The problem was that west wind pushed me 1.5 miles east from my control waypoint and now I had San Bernardino Class D ahead of me. Good news was that top of airspace was 3200 ft and I decided to adjust my plan and try to fly over it. After first climb I got only to 3500 ft, which was not enough. Second climb to 5000 ft gave me some time to find another thermal or push west to avoid airspace. Luckily I found another climb to 6200 ft drifting to the north.
Intersection of 215 and 10
San Bernardino airport
On glide to the mountains
At that point I need one more climb to make it to the mountains, which was easy to find. But task was not over yet, since I came to mountains SE from Arrowhead peak and need to fly 5 miles back to Marshall. Head wind was strong, climbs was rowdy, but it was my home area, I know it very well and it was just matter of time to push back. No PG over Marshall during fly-in with parking lot full of cars is not a good sign, and several, almost parked, Falcons (low pref. HG) did not add inspiration either. My ground speed dropped to 5 mph, but with speed bar I was able to fly out front and (guess it) can't land! because lift was everywhere. I try spirals, wing overs, try to search for sink. After half an hour struggle I was finally able to land. Jeff was able to complete the same flight also, but he took a serious detour flying around March AFB and San Bernardino Class D from the east. Thanks for the ride back to Elsinore Jeff.
Jeff landing at Andy Jackson
Bill Soderquist (HG) flew from Elsinore all the way to Cajon Mountain past Marshall via Yucaipa and all the way back to Elsinore.

Here is my track log: http://www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/1028804
Discussion on Crestline forum: http://www.crestlinesoaring.org/node/913

No comments: