SBXC Challenge Photo Gallery and Stories
Sunday 12/4 - From Skippy
Sunday 12/4 - From Bo
Finally a really good day in Santa Barbara!!! Alternator was busy when we arrived and I think it only got busier. 2 pilots had climbed up over launch when we got there. I think they were visiting from NY. Dean was the first to launch from the Challenge crew and was quick to head over to LaCumbre. Irene climbed well over the main spine and I went out to join her. It didn't take long to get high and head for LaCumbre. Irene and I struggled for a while before getting booted high and we headed off to the RR. By this time Dean was already over the Thermal Factory and climbing slowly. I arrived high at the RR and decided to just move on to see if I could fly with Dean. The thermal was just past the spine at the Thermal Factory and a bit illusive, but eventually I connected and climbed well over the terrain. I got a very nice thermal over Shadow Peak that put me in good position over Montecito Peak. For the first time in 5 weeks, Montecito Peak worked and I climbed well up to about 4500 feet. I tried to be slow and patient and climb as high as I could on each peak. This worked for a while until I found a 2 mile stretch of "shake it up." I pushed on getting lower, but thinking it would be nice to get past this bump zone. It paid off as 2 peaks later, I found a mature thermal that climbed nicely out in front. I approached the Powerlines and was about even with the top of the ridge hoping for more, but not getting it. I decided to push on. The day was working and I had faith I could continue connecting the dots.
About that time, Tony Deleo and Bob Anderson flew over me heading the opposite way. They had launched with John Kloer at Nordoff Peak in Ojai and were heading in to Santa Barbara. It was nice to have some company for a while and John passed me soon after. I was getting low as I approached the base of White Ledge and I pushed on to the next spine. Thankfully it worked well or I might have been walking out on Chismahoo Road. I knew I needed to climb high if I had a chance of connecting on the other side of the 33, so I hung on and climbed to 4500. I got one bonus thermal before I crossed the 33. It was some punchy air as I crossed the 33 canyon and I didn't know if I had a side, head or tail wind, so I pushed on quickly. I started to connect a spine or two past the Nuthouse, but it never took me to the top of the ridge. I was experiencing a slight tail wind now as I headed East getting a few circles over the front lowest bumps trying to extend my mileage. A few Hawks and Sparrows helped along the way, but I never connected with a really good climb. I spotted a few fields ahead and put down in a beautiful spot just below Bruce's Point at Ladera Road. GPS said I went 30.2 miles and I'll await the GPS download to see my flight time. It may be 3 hours and a few minutes, we'll see. I packed up and hitched a ride to Propeller Field where Tom Pipkin picked me up and took me back to town. I caught a bus for Ventura and hitchhiked back to Milpas in Santa Barbara where Andy Palmer picked me up - Thanks Tom and Andy and Richard (hitched ride).
I heard that Irene and Jim Maddox flew to Santa Claus Lane, Ben had his best XC flight from Santa Barbara, Dean made it to Nordoff High School from the Alternator, John Scott made the 154 at the "T" from Nordoff, Bob Anderson and Tony Deleo made it to East Beach from Ojai, John Kloer made it into Montecito from Ojai, and Bob Hurlbett had top landed near the Powerlines. Benson and Kevin Dumain had gone out and hiked up to help Bob retrieve. More details to follow - but what a great day.
Saturday 12/3 - From Bo
Well, we had a strange wind day. The wind was from the north, but the further we got away from Montecito Peak, the lighter it got. So I met Stephan, from the Yukon, who will be in town a few days. He has been flying paragliders for 15 years and hang gliders for 12. We met at Parma with Bob Peloquin and decided to try our luck by heading up the mountain.
On the way up, we saw gusty conditions from the north and knew we probably wouldn't fly. We headed up to the Brotherhood where we met up with Skippy, Tony, John Greynald, John deBruin, Aaron LaPlante, Bob Anderson and John the hang glider. They were checking out the conditions, but it seemed irratic. I enjoyed watching Bob Anderson take a long look at the wind streamer, hoping to take a flight from the Brotherhood. They mentioned that they had seen a paraglider pilot, possibly coming from Alternator.
Bob, Stephan and I decided to go check it out. Winds were lightly over the back and from the east, but considerably less than what we had felt at the Brotherhood. We decided to go check out the VOR, which also showed light wind over the back, but very light. From the VOR we saw several RC pilots playing over near Naps Castle using ridge lift and dynamic soaring techniques. We headed over and had a nice talk with them about Dynamic Soaring.
They called themselves the SB Slopers and have a cool website with movies here. I took some photos and you can see them here. We headed back down and checked out Skyport. It was some of the windiest, coldest, irratic conditions I've seen there. So our hope is tomorrow the winds subside and we take to the skies again.