I should note here that even though I didn't think it looked like an epic day, I did text another pilot before heading to Home Depot that he should consider flying this day rather than wait to fly Bates with me on Sunday. Of course, the pilot, Todd Quayle, called me too to get me to come up.
Let's see...It's 7:30 now...realistically, after dropping off the sod and getting ready, I wouldn't be out the door until at least 8:30...an hour to pick up him and at least another hour to launch...half hour to set up...hmm, 11:00 launch...that's not so bad...I'm in. Wait, do we have logistics? No. While contemplating whether or not it would be worth the hassle Tony Deleo called to tell me how good it looked and that if worse came worse he would be willing to pick us up at the end of the day. About the same time another text came in saying, "Don't worry, we'll get you back to your truck somehow."
With such short notice, I didn't have the time to charge my radio properly. A fact that may or may not have cost me a longer flight (more later).
About half-way to picking up Todd, Tony called to let me know that an earlier appointment that he had to attend was postponed and that he would be able to drive for us.
I don't know what time it was when we finally arrived at launch. After making a couple of sidetracks it was at least an hour later than what we were thinking. Tom had already gotten a ride up with the PGS and was just getting airborne when we arrived.
I don't know if it was caused by the scramble to get out the door or the political discussion in the truck on the way to launch, but I found myself really distracted setting up. Because of that I probably launched at least a half-hour after the first pilot, Robert Millington punched off.
Launch was good for a couple of turns, but I didn't see the point of hanging around so I took what I had and headed to the Thermal Factory. There I found a nice thermal that took me to just below 5k. Out in front, Robert and the early PGS were reporting good altitudes over Montecito Peak and the Saddle. TQ had been dealing with harness issues and was just climbing out at the Antenna Farm. No other HG planned to fly XC. For that matter, Robert wasn't going to join us XC preferring to fly an out and return instead.
|Launch, Thermal Factory, Momtecito, and The Saddle|
|Powerlines, Noon Peak and Divide Peak|
|Bump 3 to Nordoff|
|Getting High at West Repeater|
|No Love at Santa Paula Peak|
|Comparing the end of the two flights|
Not to make excuses, but I wasn't feeling all that well toward the end of the flight and I just wasn't up to doing what it would take to make it work. But this is where not having a radio didn't help matters. Tom had been in the same area at the same altitude right before me. But he hung in there and found enough cohesive lift to eventually take him to over 7k. He would eventually go on to fly into the Antelope Valley and break the site PG record with a 94 mile (straight line) flight. Had I heard his progress I might have been a little more focused. Having said that, I would not have attempted to follow him into the Antelope. Interstate 5 would have been it for me. At 58 miles I fell 4 miles short.