Sunday, July 19, 2009

more flying in the San Benitos

A very interesting day in the San Benito mountains. I am really enjoying flying there recently. Apart from being 1hr30 from my house, it is a challenging place to fly. There are few roads and few places to land, and the lift is deep in the mountains. Quite similar to Woodrat I think. My skill level is just now upto it.
I am still trying to get a good poto of a Condor, this guy was really big, alas far away in this shot. Saturday I went over Red mountain into Hernandez valley. I was really low doing this, drifting halfway there in a sketchy thermal, crossed the peak at 4500ft. The risk was landing in a area that would have required a 3 mile hike, it was 104'F. Starting to pick out an approach I was hit by a blast of hot turbulent air, I flailed around like a leaf while the thermal formed. It was drifting me in the right direction so I stuck with it. Eventually I got up to 10.6k. where it was nice and cold.Over goat, looking over at Wildass (San Carlos peak)From Goat I headed over into Priest Valley, this is where things get tricky. It was unfamilar terrain, and the retrieve road is two valleys east. I had also gotten 20miles ahead of my driver and out of radio contact. So I started flying much more conservatively. I probably should have headed straight out across this valley. Heading into Priest Valley I turned around and saw this range, I was slighten taken back by it. I had been flying pointy toed and missed the view on the way over. The potential retreivable LZ's are far, far away. Instead I followed the ridge that lead back to Coalinger, where my driver would emerge. I thought I might be able to climb over Parkfield grade from there. On the way to it, I didn't hit a bump. I was flying over the top of a harder inversion. The air remained smooth and calm down to about 2500ft, by which time it was game over unless I could drift in bubbles down the central valley. I landed just south of coalinger for 48 miles. A nice day out indeed. Especially as I almost sank out right off launch.
Here are the tracklogs me on the left, Mario (my Driver on the right).On the way home, we took 198 and got another look at Preist Valley from the far side.

4 comments:

John Hesch said...

Sounds like a fun flight Ben. Give me a shout sometime you are heading there if you want company. I've been wanting to get back there ever since first flying Goat. You're welcome down here too-Cal Valley a couple months-

agohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdmhuTXoBgo

wind burns & earth turns said...

good to hear from you John, yes - I'd like to come fly your site too. Texas first though :) Are you going ?

John Hesch said...

Yeah, at this time I'm planning on heading out on the 6th.

Joe Jackson said...

Nice flight, Ben. Nothing like hanging it out there to sweeten the success. Great pics, too.