Saturday, December 22, 2007

Elsinore... friends from afar

What a fun day...

Radwhacker and DocSoc (and his lovely family) barreled in from Vegas, GTPowell drove over Santiago Canyon road, and I took the toll out to Elsinore.

It was pretty strong in the morning, but by the time we launched, it was good for ridge soaring. I was the first to launch and the last to land. My track log is pretty repetitive. Back, forth, repeat. But, it was smooth and fun... and relaxing not to have to worry about life. Normally, I wouldn't have stayed up quite so long, but I've been so frustrated by sled rides, I waited until God flicked the off switch on the winds (i.e. until the paragliders could launch).

My patience rewarded me in the LZ; the winds went catabatic and I got to land uphill. From my perspective on high, the LZ was "the killing fields" for most of the day, so I was relieved to nail the touchdown.

Cold beer flowed and smiling pilots chased the sun down.

Pics to follow, when my DocSoc posts them and ETeam Jack mails them to me.

Here is a closeup of my tracklog of my approach and landing:

Here is a panned-out Google Earth shot of the LZ from the same angle, with the Launch in the upper right corner.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Hang 4 the goal

Having started flying a year ago, I chugged along to Hang 3 with pretty decent efficiency, so I decided to calculate how far I am from Hang 4. I was surprised when I did the math.

There are 3 reasons I want to get to my hang 4 as soon as possible:

1. Fly Torrey
2. Land on the beach at Santa Barbara
3. Of course, fly Yosemite

I did the math, to get there I need:

- 18.7 more hours (easy)
- 25 flying days (I average one day a week)
- 2 more flights at Dunlap (will do next spring)
- 4 more flights at Elsinore (no prob)
- 5 flights at Big Sur (going Presidents Day Weekend, if I can get 2 a day, this will happen).
- 5 flights at a 5th site... could easily be Kagel, but will likely be a beach site.

Here's the hard part:
- I need 120 more flights.

Ugh, I am down to 1 flight per trip to the hill... maybe 2. I don't want to game the system by going to Dockweiler and doing a bunch of bunny hill runs.

That leaves a beach site like Funston or Torrey. If I were to do the 25 days (and the other site requirements), I would need 95 more flights. That's a lot. I could maybe bang out 20 a day at a beach site like Torrey, but I wouldn't want to get dangerous about it and push myself too hard.

One other little brainchild would be to go with my wife to a business convention in Salt Lake this spring and go to Point of the Mountain for a couple of days.

In the end, I have no complaints, just an observation; Hang 4 is definitely more than twice as far as Hang 3. I'm glad the requirements are significant and I look forward to meeting them.

My goal is to have it by the end of the summer, so I can fly Yosemite late summer and fly Torrey when my family goes down to San Diego in September.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Popping the E-Team cherry

Santa Ana winds were originally named Satan winds... until someone spun the name into something positive.

The winds at Elsinore were coming from quite a few directions... but ultimately they were North enough for an extended sledder.

I launched well and landed well, which relieved me, given the the downslope LZ.

An E-Teamer named Jack spent hours giving me "the gouge" (the info) I needed to launch, fly, land, etc.

It's nice to have such a good site just as close to my home as Crestline/Marshall. Actually, now that I think of it, counting Kagel, I have 3 good sites 1 hour from my house. Not too shabby.

Here's a pic from the landing. I think I finally flared 100 feet later. Shoulda done a crosswind.

I'm looking forward to flying strong Santa Ana winds and 'sploiting that summer convergence.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Actually numb nuts

Today, Everyday (aka Designby) Dave, Rebardan, Mike Blakely and I flew in strong, cold, postfrontal conditions.

Andy Jackson in the summer is pretty predictable... and usually capped by an inversion layer. In the winter, it's a lot of sled rides and a lower inversion layer.

So, when a front rolls through, it breaks up the inversion layer and, combined with strong SW winds, gives you all-you can eat conditions.

Today, that meant lift pretty much everywhere, up to cloudbase, which ranged from 6-8K.

A little over an hour was enough to freeze us out and down... it was below freezing, which sends Californians to therapy for a week if we have to stand still in it... a month if we fly in it.

I'm having a hard time typing 8, i, k, and , because my right middle finger, which my bro chopped off when I was a kid, is still tweaked from the cold, but I have a very content smile on my face...

thanks to the best flying in months and a mary lou retton landing.