Monday, February 02, 2015

2014 Soaring Summary

Looking back at 2014 - it was another great soaring year. Although not quiet as many hours and miles as 2013, I managed to cover a lot of ground again, and had few amazing and unforgettable flights.
The traces below are from 59 cross country flights I had in 2014, totaling 18,151 miles (29,211km) and 338 hours, averaging 307 miles per flight. The flights spanned the whole length and width of Claifornia from the Mexican border to Oregon and from the Pacific to Reno, as well as Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado. During those trips I visited 16 airports.

Some of the year highlights:
  • Broke my last year Byron record with a 775km flight to Warner Springs
  • Had my longest straight out: 515 miles (828 km) from Tehachapi to Oregon (landed in Lakeview)
  • Did the first 1000km (1052km) flight from Nephi, UT
  • Had a total of two flights over 1000km
  • Won the west zone Henri Comb Trophy with 4 back to back straight out diamond (over 500km)  flights during two consecutive weekends. 
  • Had my most amazing soaring adventure: Byron to Warner Springs and back with overnight in San Diego, over 400 miles each direction, without a crew following!
The traces below are just the straight outs this year. While most of it without a crew, I owe my success this year to those who crewed for me or retrieved me: My wife Katia, Terence, Mathew and Jim.

Here is a short write up of the Warner Springs adventure:
On the 2nd weekend of September, Eric Rupp, Morgan Hall and myself  had a fantastic weekend flying back to back straight outs from our respective airports, myself from Byron, Eric from Hollister and Morgan from Avenal. We chose Warner Spring as our ultimate goal and made it there and back the next day, without a crew (and without motor).We put our faith on the epic forecast and our ability to pull this off, with up to 5 alternate landings at gliderports along the way where we could get tows if we needed to. The soaring conditions along the coastal ranges and Mojave were so amazing it was actually quiet easy.  We spent the night In Escondido, and flew back the next day via Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez area with a 10:30AM launch into strong convergence. Conditions from Warner to Santa Ynez area were fantastic again, but much softer further north making the return more challenging, yet all three of us made it back to our respective airports. A weekend to remember!

Another memorable weekend was the Tehachapi Dust Devil Dash on the 1st  September weekend. 
My plan was to start from Truckee the prior day by flying straight out south to Tehachapi, crewless.  I didnt quiet made Tehachapi and landed some 20 miles away at California City instead, but thanks to good friends I was soon at Tehachapi and the next day I won 3rd place with my 515 miles straight out to Lakeview, Oregon, thanks to Mathew and Terrence who volunteered to crew from Truckee. I have fond memories of Lakeview from my hang gliding days, so was great to visit this friendly town again and spend the night there. 

Some of my favorites photos and video clip from 2014:

Over Vacaville in wave


Sacramento Valley

Clear Lake

Big Bear Lake

Trinity Alps

Mount Shasta

Trinity Alps

Grand Canyon

Lakeview, Oregon

Lake Tahoe

Discovery Bay