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Labor Day WE in the Owens

 
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Steve90266



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 447
Location: Manhattan Beach

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 3:38 pm    Post subject: Labor Day WE in the Owens Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Some of us Sylmartians are gathering in the Owens this Labor Day WE to test our skills against the dreaded beast that lives above 10K. All H-4s and long hour H-3s are invited. Camping and camaraderie will abound.

Pilots should bring a locator and emergency first aid kit, along with cold weather gear. If you get up, you really get up. And it gets cold. Oxygen systems are encouraged as well.

Newbies will get an intro to LZs and launches.

Email me or call me on my cell if you're thinking about it. 310-266-4154 or Steve90266@gmail.com

There may be another chance to go on the WE of September 21st. I hear teall that some Crestline pilots are going to be there that WE as well.
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Steve Murillo
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stebbins



Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Posts: 606
Location: Palmdale, CA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm interested in the weekend of the 21st. Probably can't go Labor Day weekend. I'll call.
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Fly High; Fly Far; Fly Safe -- George
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Steve90266



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 447
Location: Manhattan Beach

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:20 am    Post subject: Owens Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I just got an invitation to fly to Chicago for a family reunion on the 22nd of Sept. I am seriously thinking about making that, in which case I would not be going out to the Owens for the WE of the 22nd.
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Steve Murillo
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that.guy



Joined: 23 Aug 2018
Posts: 5
Location: Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:08 pm    Post subject: Definitely want to go Sept 21st! Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Definitely want to go Sept 21st! Unfortunately can't make it for Labor Day. Have plenty of experience lately with big air.

Anybody doing the Central Utah Red-Rocks fly-in Sept 24-29th? I realize 29th is the Sylmar party, would be an epic week!
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H3, 100 hrs, blue Sport 2 ... yea, I'm that cemetery landing guy. Don't worry, I've gotten a bit older and wiser since. Need more cloudbase for the video compilation!
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jdelear



Joined: 26 Dec 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:38 pm    Post subject: Owens Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I will be driving to Owens Valley for Labor Dag weekend, around 7PM Friday and meet up with Steve Murillo. Anybody need a ride?
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Ken Andrews
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Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 209
Location: Pasadena

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:39 am    Post subject: Owens Valley trip report Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Last weekend, the Owens delivered perfect weather and a couple fantastic days of flying. The Sylmar contingent consisted of Greg Angsten, Steve Murillo and his wife Pat, Arthur Simoneau and his significant other Lisa, Jim Delear, Marshall Robin, and myself. We all drove up Friday afternoon, and variously scattered to the Boulder Creek RV park, Tuttle Creek Campground, and the Alabama Hills for the night.

Early on Saturday morning, a few of us scouted the Glass Factory (a.k.a. Cement Plant) LZ, a couple more went for breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe, and the full group gathered at the Lone Pine Airport to consider our next move. The wind was strong and north, so we hang-waited while several vehicles of Santa Barbara pilots arrived. Their opinion was that the wind would die down and that Walt’s Point would soon be launchable, and we weren’t ones to argue. We all gradually migrated up to launch, and had at least fifteen gliders set up by about noon. Launch conditions were excellent, and everyone was soon in the air. If I recall right, Steve and Arthur landed at the Glass Factory along with a couple Santa Barbara pilots, while the rest of us headed up the range. Since I was flying without oxygen, I generally tried to limit my altitude to about 12,500 feet, but many pilots were well above that. Surprisingly, there was essentially no wind for the rest of the day, but given our late launches, the increasing shade on the Sierras began to force people to leave the mountains. Marshall landed at the Independence airport, setting personal bests for cross-country distance, altitude, and time in the air. Greg landed in a fine green field near Aberdeen, but had to flare hard to avoid one of the big wheeled sprinkler things and wrenched an elbow in the process. To Greg’s further dismay, the farmer was evidently growing a crop of prickle-bushes. Jim reported that he left the mountains early, flew up the valley flatlands past Mount Tinemaha, and landed next to highway 395 somewhere near Keough Hot Springs. In the company of a paraglider, I got to Mount Tinemaha, climbed to 14,000 feet in preparation for the valley crossing, and arrived low one the east side at Black Mountain. It worked well enough that I got up again and firmly established on the White Mountains. The lift wasn’t great though, and it was getting late in the day, so Janie’s Ranch looked like an unlikely destination. I could probably have worked along the mountains about as far as Chalfant for a challenging retrieve, and I even had a familiar LZ programmed into my GPS there, but given the shaky radio communication we’d had all day, and (forgive me) incomplete faith in the ability of our chase drivers to find an arbitrary GPS location, I chose to land at the Bishop airport for the cell phone coverage and an easy retrieve. We learned the next day that the Santa Barbara pilots had achieved about the same range of flights. The most notable was by Willy Dydo (a Santa Barbara instructor) who flew up the Sierras to Big Pine, turned around, and returned down the White Mountain side over tiger country (OK, no tigers, but no roads either), and landed back at the Lone Pine airport. His final glide from the mountains to the airport was reported to be 22:1.

While Saturday’s flying conditions were extremely good, Sunday set up to be even better. After our excellent flights the previous day, though, our group wasn’t properly motivated to make the most of it. Jim decided he had accomplished his mission and drove home that day, while Greg decided to join the drivers given the state of his elbow, so we were down to four pilots. With coaching from Marshall, Steve got his vario set up with waypoints, a route, and a polar. That gave him the confidence to fly to the Lone Pine airport, an nice accomplishment. Arthur got low early, but kept going and landed on a dirt side-road off of Whitney Portal Road. Marshall’s last radio communication was from the north end of the Alabama Hills, but our drivers couldn’t find him on the ground there, so we have to put his story on hold. I flew a topless glider on Sunday, and after climbing to 12,500 feet, I shot north with a ground speed of 50 miles/hour, stopping only occasionally for thermals that put the averager over 1000 feet/minute. I flew the usual course to Mount Tinemaha and across the valley to Big Pine, but then looking for something different and inspired by Willy Dydo’s flight of the previous day, I turned back south and aimed to fly down the middle of the valley as far as I could. There were unusually good thermals in the valley, but also a 10 MPH headwind, so progress was slow. While I was flying south, Greg was driving north, and we reached each other at Black Rock Springs Road, just south of the rest area. I was pretty much out of altitude at that point, so Greg picked an LZ for me, and I landed there for the best retrieve service one could hope for. As we we were about to set off in search of Marshall, he sent a message from his DeLorme inReach tracking device. I know nothing about such things, but this was a pretty compelling demonstration of its value for anyone interested in cross-country flying. That put Marshall’s location on the bank of the Owens River about one thermal short of the Bishop Airport, thereby beating all his personal bests of the previous day, and we promptly found him there. Marshall’s flight ended with a surprise, but I’ll let him tell that story if he chooses to.

After retrieving everyone, we gathered at the Keough Hot Springs and soaked for a long while before finding dinner at Perry’s Italian Cafe in Bishop. From there, Arthur and Lisa disappeared into the wilderness to camp locally somewhere, Greg stopped to buy a kayak (seriously, someone was selling a sea kayak in Big Pine for $100), and the rest of us returned to the Boulder Creek Campground for our third night under a clear sky and absolutely gorgeous stars.

On Monday, we had all had our fill of flying, and we were down to four people. Marshall, Steve, Pat, and I had a leisurely breakfast at the Alabama Hills Cafe, after which Marshall headed home, Steve and Pat finished packing up their camping gear and prepared to depart as well, and I Googled for information on the local hiking trails. I decided on Horseshoe Meadows, and so drove back up to Walt’s, getting there at the right moment to hear the gossip and to help a couple pilots launch. On Sunday, one of the NorCal pilots got up to 16K or so, flew deeper in the range over Mount Whitney, and got all the way to Mount Tinemaha without turning. He crossed to the Whites, but they just weren’t working well, so he landed at Chalfant or thereabouts. Our conclusion was that there was a significant west wind above 13K on the Sierra side, but it didn’t extend across the valley, so the Whites had a south or southeast wind, and there was a convergence of sorts in the middle of the valley. After the pilots launched, I drove the last little distance to Horseshoe Meadows, and hiked up to the Cottonwood Lakes. They’re at about 11,000 feet and the tree line, which is 1000 feet above Horseshoe meadows and about a ten-mile round trip. That used up the rest of the day, and it was nearly six o'clock by the time I got back down the mountain and pointed the car south on Highway 395. By then, there were big clouds over the Sierras, smaller clouds over the Whites, and a good deal of virga around, so it wasn’t nearly the flying day that the previous two had been.

Such is the the tale of an excellent Owens Valley weekend, aside from a postscript. Ten minutes down the road from Lone Pine, the traffic came to a standstill, and looked to stay that way all night. After a half hour of going nowhere, I followed a few bold cars into the one-lane dirt tracks that parallel the highway under the power lines and along the edge of the aqueduct. While the risk was high of getting stopped by locked gates or stuck behind cars less prepared for off-roading, it all worked out, and I extricated myself back to civilization in Olancha. From that point on, traffic was full-speed all the way back to Sylmar. If this is a normal traffic pattern on holiday weekends, it would be well worth scouting those roads for future use.
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