Tuesday Aug 29, 2017


Finally, the day we’ve been waiting for for like six months now. The windgrams chart was volcanic and the reality was some good, strong lift. JD got this day going for all and insisted we start early. That turned out to be a good call as it was lighting up by noon at CL.  We avoided the Crestline launch wasps by traversing well in front of the nest to get to the launch ramp. JD and Mario discussed several XC options but settled on an east round trip. Unfortunately for them, JD’s mic was not working and they did not have two-way communication to coordinate their plans. So JD headed off on his own and Mario sort-of followed, at his own pace. As a side note, JD’s bad mic made for a fun afternoon of radio chatter as me, Mario, David and Gavin could communicate at will without JD scolding us to keep quiet.

Anyway, I headed east and got as far as this odd triangle-about, just past the high school. This thing is a road intersection that is triangular in shape, rather than round, and it was painted white, with some sort of black lined pattern. It looks like some strange alien spaceship signaling monument, like the Nazca formations down in South America. I was generally in the 7-8k range on my way out, with Mario 1-2k over me. I was getting weirded out by the wonky winds out there and decided to turn around and go play on the west side. Mario kept going east and found some great altitude, one report being over 11k.

Going west was fine until Sugarpine. I wanted to go tag Cajon and I felt I had the altitude to do it comfortably, but the winds got wonky again. They were mostly wsw and maybe the flow coming around Cucamonga was disagreeable. But it was rock-and-rolling me pretty good. I got tired of that and headed back to Pine and caught a good thermal. I decided to go back across CL, over to RnR, then down the ridge to the Arrowhead, over the old mansion and then out to Little Mountain. From LM, I turned back to the front hills and eventually got back up and over to BB. Along the way, as I was heading east, across the gap from CL to the Interchange, a rather large airliner (not Southwest) came across the ridge in front of me. It looked like it flew right over RnR and the Arrowhead and was not any more than 500’ higher than I was there at CL. If I would have been over RnR, I would have been either sucked into the engines or rolled into oblivion by the vortices coming off the wings.

Sometime around here, Mario reported that he saw JD heading out to the Brewery and was going to follow. Gavin had already landed there. I went over to Pine and Sugarpine again, and the winds were still disagreeable over there. It was a little over 3 hours at this point and I decided I was done. What was the issue this time? It wasn’t my bladder, it was my knees. They just ached from being trapped in the harness all that time without changing position. So I headed out to the freeway and took a left at Palm, drove down to Walmart, then back to AJX. It was a pretty active time wind-wise to be landing. There was a fairly strong west wind and it was thermic. I did a pretty good job of flaring lightly and coming down on my feet. I almost blew it by flaring a little too much in the strong headwind, but I was able to hang on and bring it down on my shoulders, with the right wing dipping a little. Fun day.

quote from jeffbether: " a rather large airliner (not Southwest) came across the ridge in front of me. It looked like it flew right over RnR and the Arrowhead and was not any more than 500’ higher than I was there at CL. If I would have been over RnR, I would have been either sucked into the engines or rolled into oblivion by the vortices coming off the wings."

***What are airliners doing flying in the fishbowl?  How long til someone is not so lucky? 

Someone has mentioned filing NOTAMS (Notice to airmen).  The first reason given for NOTAMS in Wikipedia is:  "hazards such as air shows, parachute jumps, kite flying, lasers, rocket launches, etc."

I  was just looking on the web to find some NOTAMS info:  There's a new system replacing an older system for filing. It's going  more digital.  Someone at an airport (AJX?) can get certified to issue NOTAMS, or there are ways to files as a third party then certified party OK's it.  A phone call?  Maybe on certain days when there is a lot of activity (fly-ins etc.) or when the soaring predictor indicates our people being high enough to get into their path?  Probably some of us know all about this - sorry if this post is redundant.

NOTAMs don't work. I've tried and it never even posted to the system nor did others' filed NOTAMs ever show up. Even assuming we have a NOTAM that doesn't mean airliners have any obligation to deviate from their otherwise intended flight path. We are mainly in Class E airspace and the FAR states that it is us who must see and avoid rather than them. All of the different landing routes into local airports are published on Skyvector.com if you know where to look. Airband radios can be purchased for a few hundred dollars or less and we are each free to listen in and even transmit on the SOCal TRACON frequency. By learning to monitor for incoming traffic and knowing what pattern they follow for specific runways and specific airports we may have an idea of where to look for heavy aircraft traffic. Having taking a significant amount of video and having analyzed both my own and others' video I am happy to report the preponderance of airliners are many times farther away from us than pilots tend to report. It's not our airspace. It's everyone's and we are second from the very bottom of the food chain in terms of right-of-way. Only powered ultralights have any obligation to see and avoid unpowered ultralights. Nobody else.

Like it or not, reality is that we fly in open airspace and practically anything that can fly is free to fly where we do. So even though we have a designated glider port, that does not give us exclusive rights to use the airspace around it. In my time I've seen lifeflight helicopters, military helicopters, small aircraft, fire bombers, and many Southwest airliners flying over. I've been below, above and beside them (no, I haven't been above SWA yet). Sometimes they're flying right over the mountain tops, sometimes they come right down the freeway. To make matters worse, a Victor Airways corridor is plotted right over our LZ. This corridor is a navigational feature created by the FAA to help direct general aviation traffic around the country. It might seem a bit like Russian Roulette and well, yeah, it probably is. Here's a link to an incident between a jet and a parachuter. Some have said that the video is a fake, but whether it's real or not, it does give a sense of just how fast the big boys can be flying compared to us and how little we can do to avoid a problem.


Happy Flying!

My Avaste security software stopped a virus infection when I clicked on the link. 

I'm running Norton and I've viewed the site several times without any issues. Others who I've traded the link with have not reported any problems either.