Saturday, November 29, 2008

The E Team's Turkey Meet at the New Lake Elsinore LZ

Lake Elsinore's weather is very hard to predict in Santa Anas. Right up to the moment of launch, you can't really tell if it's going to be soarable, unless it's really honking, then you're worried about getting off safely.

The E Team, led by Mickey, have an annual fly in they call the Turkey Meet. Nov. 29 this year was a real hoot, though the winds were not strong enough for ridge soaring. The burgers were tasty, the beer cold, the Marina LZ fun to land on, and the company good.

Lake Elsinore Turkey Meet from knumbknuts on Vimeo.

My two flights were both 7 minutes long, straight bingos to the LZ. My bombs were 3 out of 4 in the outer circle and my second landing sucked, but my first was one of my favorites ever. I was beating myself up for my second launch, where I dropped a wingtip and missed the left downtube on transition, until I saw on a video that my wireman twanged my left sidewire while clearing, causing the drop.

I have added something to my list: watch the wiremen clear.

My bad landing was due to the fact that I cut the approach on the Sport 2 tight and retained less energy than I expected. I have to remember that my cocoon harness is like a big drogue and that I will lose speed in a tight turn, especially if I don't carve it, which I didn't. I was expecting about another half second or second when the bottom fell out and I belly flopped. But, it wasn't a whack and I got 4th in the HG comp, thanks to the good bomb drops on the run.

The good landing was after an approach that started higher and gave me more room to manuever. I came in over the water and landed into East winds. I was the first to launch and was really surprised to see the East winds, but they gave me a great shot of the Marina on my side mounted camera. That berm in the little bay sure loomed large as I came up to it at 30+ mph. I overshot the circle, but I was going for a good, safe landing... not the circle.

Fun day. I hope to fly Elsinore a few more times this winter and maybe next summer. It's a nice change of pace, though the lack of predicability can be frustrating.

Here's a fun landing Dave Aldrich caught of Wolfgang Siass, a comp pilot from Austria.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Panoramic Photos of the Lake Elsinore Launches and LZs

Below you will find descriptions and links to panoramic photos of the current launches and LZs at Lake Elsinore. The Oak Tree LZ lawsuit is headed for appeal but the E Team needs support ( I believe the information I am including about the LZs will show the benefit of reopening the Oak Tree LZ, which is reachable from either launch in any conditions.

There are two launches for Elsinore: Edwards and "The E." Edwards is primarily used in Santa Ana conditions, as North winds cause rotor at The E, which is used for "normal" days. The ratio you need to glide from Edwards to Marina is 6:5 to 1, so bring your double surface wing. My two sled rides there, I had the Sport 2 VG on full and arrived high enough to get a good approach in, but not much more.

Edwards is at 33.638, -117.387 and its panoramic photo can be found by clicking on this pic:

The E is at 33.629, -117.371 and its panoramic photo can be found found by clicking on this pic:

There are two new LZ's to replace the closed-back-in-litigation-please-support-the-eteam-by-donating-to-the-cause Oak Tree LZ.

The LZ closest to The E is known as "Everyday Mike's LZ." Everyday Mike is a PG pilot (learning HG too) who cleared some land and got permission from the owner to land there. It's a hang 4 LZ, in my opinion. I'd land uphill unless it was really honking off the lake. Then, you'd be dealing with rotor and shadow from the trees and houses. Everyday Mike's LZ is at 33.633, -117.345 and the trees in Google Earth have mostly been cleared. To get there, you go down Grand Ave and turn right at the Circle K, left at Hayes. The panoramic can be found by clicking on this pic:

The LZ closest to Edwards is the Marina LZ. The use of double surface wings is recommended to be able reach there, though single surface wings have done it many times. There are also numerous bailouts along the way. The fee is $5 a day or (I think $100/year) to use the facility. They sell beer and are very friendly. The Marina LZ is at 33.666, -117.377. Google Earth currently shows the problem with this LZ long-term. It has a way of being under water at certain times of the year. Its panoramic can be found by clicking on this pic:

A note about the panoramics. is selling a widget that automates taking panoramic photos. Pretty nifty. I don't think my Canon SD750 is optimal, as the lens doesn't seem to expose the edges of the photos evenly at full zoom. I'd recommend waiting for the SLR version to come out, but it's pretty spiffy, anyway.