Friday 9 Feb., 2018 Flying!

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A really nice day with good soaring for most.  Good lift and occasional strong sink.  We had four WW pilots out for four rounds of much-needed test flying. 18-some pilots on the mid-day shuttle van trip plus numerous smaller groups all took advantage of the spring-like conditions.

I flew two 195's, a 160, and a 155 for an average of 176.25 sq. ft. per flight.

 

 

 

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I went up on one of the fully-booked noon TwoVans (Rob's) and for shits and giggles, I suggested we block the door on the SanDVan so we could all get better setup spots. Rob kindly obliged by nosing in next to the side door of the SDV.

AJ brought his wolf mask that he created and showed it off. Later, when I looked at the picture I realized the religious significance of it. AJ the WolfRabbi gives his brochas (blessing) on Crestline launch.

So I launched at 1:39 after Rebardan and Tim. I soon found myself with a mystery PG at the house thermal then headed for the cloverleaf where the PG joined me. I buggered out from there and caught a nice climb before RnR and the PG joined me again. I wasn't sure who it was but it was a 2-liner, Ozone Zeon which is one of the best performing PGs ever. I was glad because it gave me a great benchmark to work on my thermalling.

From RnR it was off to Bayliss Park and the PG really gave me a run for the money on glide. At Bayliss we worked together again and by this time we were much better in sync with each other's climbing style and got in extremely close. At one point, the unknown pilot shot a video or stills hand-held and I gave him a big thumb's up.

All this time Dan was pushing on ahead of us but not by too far. Neither Bayliss not Red Rock Wall were working very good so I headed for the canyon at Rim Forrest. At this point Dan came back from the high school and headed for Red Rock. Me and the PG were working either adjacent cores or teamed up to work the same core. I finally headed onward for Switzer Park as the PG made a straight glide toward the Hwy 330 switchbacks.

Switzer was okay but I decided to jump for Santa's Village. It took some hunting there but I finally connected a little out front and got a nice climb. The PG was working the canyon thermal over the ravine between the ranger station and Rim Forrest. He was doing very well there too and got a nice lead lead on me. From Santa's I headed for the middle of Long Point Running Springs while the PG headed for the top of the switchbacks. We spread out in a thermal search pattern until we nailed the big one together topping out in the low 6's.

I reckoned that I could connect at second spur past the sewage farm and went on glide. After a few searches I hit the house thermal and began scanning for the PG but never saw him again. I had R Mountain on glide and arrived a few hundred feet over the R. It was dead. Past experience told me to get out front and look for the thermal line that kicks off mid-way between the front range and the back ridge. I climbed from 5K to 6.1K and decided that gliding back to R Mountain may not work and I could end up worse off the when I left.

I was in touch with John P. (Sylmar pilot) the entire flight and knew he'd come pick me up. I also wanted to show John some bailouts and various points so I headed for Mentone launch, come what may. I didn't have a lot when I arrived and only gained a few hundred feet in a poor climb. I considered heading for Yucaipa but thought it would be better to have him pick me up at Hangar 24. I told John my plan and decided to relax over the flats and work on my flatland skills a little. I found a few weak and broken climbs but nothing good.

From the air and later from the ground, I scoped out a different landing approach since the field next to the brewery looked in pretty poor shape. I used my large cheater drogue to land in the shitty portion and made a very steep descent almost too steep which put me on glide for the saplings by the circle drive. My approach was good but for some reason I let myself balloon up a little during skim then had poor lateral control and tripped as I was tip-toeing my landing and took out my left downtube in a very gentle whack. Oh shucks!

I called John on radio to give him my status then set about splinting the DT and breaking down. Hangar 24 has a tart cherry ale with low ABV of 3.6%. It's kind of pricey but very refreshing. I sat on the deafeningly noisy picnic table as I waited for my ride. After John arrived in my RAV4 I took him on a tour of the Brewery fields, Greenspot Rd Beehives, Highland Water District LZ, Mentone LZ (by the road up), the fields at the foot of Harrison, behind Walmart, the field after Walmart and the Mr Suds Car Wash field. That was it since it was now dark.

While I was in the H24 field I learned that Reavis was back and it was him who I was flying with. He bee-lined back to AJX from the climb we had at the foot of Long Point on his 3-1/2 hour tour. This was the most climbing we ever did together in the years we've known each other. The Zeon thermals fast enough and my T2C 144 with custom raked tips will thermal slow enough that we synced very nicely which bodes well for future joint HG/PG X/C. Ours tracks.

Unfortunately, most of my shots didn't turn out well. Here are a couple of the better ones.