What's going on with Palomar? Is it really closing for good? What can we do about it? Also, XC for new pilots, Q&A with salty dogs.
MEETING MINUTES FROM CLUB MEETING 4/18
What's going on with Palomar? Is it really closing for good? What can we do about it? Also, XC for new pilots, Q&A with salty dogs.
San Diego Sky People!
UPDATE: Palomar closed to pilots on week days M-F until further notice. This is due to the power pole project and recent site issues with pilots & non-pilots not following rules. We'll keep you updated regarding when this site will re-open for free flight.
SDG&E is using the Palomar LZ as a staging area for its power pole replacement project. This project will be staging massive pilot-impaling ankle-rolling leg-snapping wing 'n line catching telephone poles in the Palomar Main LZ through May 8th.
SDHGPA Annual 2019 Membership Renewal is open for the 2019 Calendar Year!
Now is the Time to renew as All 2018 memberships expire on Dec 31st.
All Gate Codes are available in the Member Only Section
Reminder: All 2018 Annual (calendar year) memberships expire on Dec 31st.
For 2019 Site & Gate access: Join or Renew SDHGPA Membership if you have not already done so for the 2019 calendar year.
Plus you get all the other great SDHGPA membership benefits:
You can check Current Membership Status under the Membership menu.
The Palomar Site Guide has been updated to highlight some Protocols that are being overlooked.
Specifically to: Check in with the Ranch Office Manager (Clarissa) Monday - Friday (& Saturday if ranch hands are present) and introduce your self.
Also, Please pack up before dark: SDHGPA access has been granted for Day Use only. Do not linger in the LZ past dark unless we have specific permission to do so for an event. If the security flood lights trigger on, that is the time to be heading out. (after dusk, head over to El Rey for post flight socializing)
San Diego Free Flyers, we’ve got a bunch to catch up on!
I should probably start naming names: Bill Davis was the one who saw the opportunity to shove me into a thermal over at Little Black, and I’ll probably always remember his super simple and intensely shared advice over the radio: “Keep turning, ya knucklehead!”
As funny as it sounds, that’s really all you need to get started with thermalling, although that’s just the start of the invisible elevator game.
Chris Cote spent lots of time at Blossom with me going over what he looks for and how he understands the sky from the ground and from the riser-feel once he’s skyward. It’s always nice to get the perspective of someone who has put in a ton of time in a very short period (and who holds more than one of the local site records.)
Ivan Guajardo was also more patient than he needed to be when it came to talking through the first steps of Blossom and the crossing to El Capitan, and Mike Dowdall has been about the most generous and encouraging pilot I’ve met on launch.
Yes, Phil Russman was there barking his occasional gems of wisdom, Paton always drops the technical flying info-bombs, and before he got sucked into buying a house, Robert Michiels was a fairly constant wingman.
I got to enjoy the glory of a hike with Dave Metzgar and hear his gravelly version of what’s right and wrong in the world of paragliding, which is one of those experiences that just makes you want to hear more.
On a few car rides to club meetings or out to Horse with Josh Gelb I got an exceptional and interesting view into club history, including many lines that are rarely flown now and the genesis of the Palomar launch.
Why SDHGPA & Why it Maters
Finally, an exhortation to those of you who either haven’t renewed your membership yet OR who are new and wondering what a membership actually gets you.
One of the reasons San Diego is such an excellent and reliable place to fly is that we lean heavily on just a few people to do all the paperwork and admin “stuff” to keep our sites open.
Access to Horse, the permission to fly Palomar, the ability to put up weather stations, keeping sites maintained, the website itself, and keeping us an insured & recognized club in good standing with USPHA is frankly a huge PITA.
There are two ways to contribute, one is easy, one is hard.
The easy way is to take the money you’d spend on your sweetie for a cheap dinner once a year and pay your membership dues. That’s a one-time action that allows the 4 or 5 people who do 98% of the volunteer work that keeps San Diego such a great flying area to keep on slaving away on our behalf.
Oh, and if you find anything other than a cheap dinner in San Diego for under $40, let me know!
The hard way is to volunteer to actually do all that paperwork, and there is a TON!
While I’d encourage you to volunteer, it’s far easier and also pretty effective to just pay your dues. We’ve got about 100 pilots who haven’t renewed yet, which represents a good chunk of our yearly income as a club. If you fly any more than 3 times a year it’s basically a no-brainer to continue supporting.
Finally, if you’re new and thinking about joining SDHGPA, please do!
Most club members are happy to chat with you and share as much as we know, along with introducing you to potential flying buddies and mentors. You can eat $40 worth of tacos at any one of our fly-ins, so if you’re a hungry pilot, think of coming to multiple fly-ins as basically being paid to fly and eat.
At $40 per year for a full annual membership, this is about the most valuable spend you’ll make this year. Ping us with any questions, and see ya in the sky!
Dave’s Unabridged Meeting Notes: 10-18-18
Little Black Weather Station: Jeff Brown - weather station for LB is in hand, next need to finalize location - suggest we put station on top or on cow hill. Ask Ranger Ed. Prefer top. Otherwise maybe in shrubbery near the top (between towers and switchback launch, etc). Somebody suggested better lower, on north side (ie cow hill) so it represents launch better.
Steve R and Jeff to give Dave coordinates to run by Ranger Ed for approval
See New WX Station post for more details
Blossom Site Update: Asking for everyone’s support to help counter the proposed sand mining project in the valley. Nik is leading the current efforts and has written a October Update post about what is needed to Help Counter the Sand Mining Project.
10/27 Halloween fly in: Need help with stuff for fly-in
Bill has some stuff but needs pickups to transport - Joseph, Luke, etc...
Steve to put up sign up sheet – See Sign-up Genius link on Halloween Fly-in info page
USHPA Film Fest 2018 at UCSD 11/17? Or at Palomar with a fly in 11/17/18
Other Club Business:
Dues the same for next year, approved by board unanimously
Lots of people not renewing but still flying:
Ask em to join if u see em. Best tactic in my experience - present it as an essentially voluntary and supportive action, of little cost - a way of protecting and maintaining our sites and doing right by your fellow pilots.
SDHGPA 2019 Elections
SDHGPA Board Nominations & appointed committee positions for 2019 will open at the next scheduled meeting in November. Please think about how you would like to be support your flying community in this next year. Elections will be in Dec - Jan via mail in ballots.
LiveTrack24 SDHGPA Group
Steve R- everybody should use LiveTrack24 and sign up for the SDHGPA tracking group, so we can find em. Any tacking device dealio from satellite Spot or Garmin inReach type to cell phone app can be linked and combined in LiveTrack24. Our Livetrack24 Group is a good way for us to merge all of the different tracking devices and methods into one location for our SDHGPA group to quickly and easy access pilot locations for retrieve or emergency purposes.
A good practice is to use both Satellite and phone app for tracking for redundancy and that the cell apps can fill in more data points between the 5 or 10 min satellite tracker data send intervals. (If using phone for tracking, it is a good idea to also use a back-up battery supply)
Bill D. - everybody that doesn’t have a dedicated SOS-sending satellite tracking dealio is basically committing suicide. But if they want to go with wimpy-ass LiveTrack, whatever. Maybe we’ll come find em, maybe not. And off we go into the abyss . . .
Topic Discussion: Weather Tools
Great talk by Chris Cote on weather-casting tools and how he uses them to crush the rest of us in XC-land. If you missed it, it’s your loss. Or gain - if you or I tried to fly in some of the crazy conditions he calls “awesome”, we would just be scared out of our minds and likely give up paragliding for golf.
If flying Laguna or XC North from Horse, should now carry a CDFW Lands Pass
Note: The entire San Felipe Valley, including the usual Banner Emergency landing areas, are now open year long but require a CDFW Lands Pass.
If you are forced or choose to land in the San Felipe Valley, you risk getting a ticket from the Sheriff, or Fish and Game Ranger if not carrying a CDFW Lands Pass.
San Felipe Valley CDFW Lands Pass Requirement
On lands pass properties, each visitor who is 16 years of age or older is required to carry a daily (1 day) or annual lands pass while on the property. Visitors who are carrying their own valid California hunting or fishing license are exempt from the requirement. School and organized youth groups (including accompanying adults), are also exempt.
Types of Passes
How To Purchase
Laguna XC Route LZs in the San Felipe Valley:
Site Maps & Locations of All LZs is available in the Members Only Section Maps & Waypoints page.
Banner LZ - Emergency Bail-out (San Felipe Valley) (CDFW Lands Pass required)
"Fish and Game" LZ - Emergency Bail-out (San Felipe Valley) (CDFW Lands Pass required)
Be sure to read to full Laguna Site Guide for the latest most up to date information.
2018 Election Results
The Following 2018 Voting (Board) positions were ratified by each receiving 100% of votes cast:
Appointed Non-voting positions for 2018:
Thank you to all that responded to the Survey!
It helps to direct what we as Club Members want the Club to be and set some direction. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the SDHGPA & its direction, please let us know. by talking with one of the Bard Members or come to the meetings. If you offered to help or are willing to help, please reach out and we will try to get you involved. Help is always appreciated.
We will try to incorporate the higher requested meeting topics into this calendar year meetings
SDHGPA General Meeting Notes 1/18/18
Quorum of Directors present
Site Brief - Bill Helliwell
Laguna - all new State Park folks, Bill talked to a temporary ranger about existing permit, sent to Heidi, got form letter on how to apply for a permit instead of info on existing permit, tried to clarify. We have heard nothing. Assuming permit is still valid. Chief Ranger position appears to be open.
SDHGPA Calendar & Upcoming Events:
Activities & Calendar was discussed and set for the Next 3 months:
SDHGPA New Year Fly-in & Awards @ Palomar - Saturday, February 3:
SDHGPA XC Clinic - The old Triple XC - Will be back in action this year
April 19: SDHGPA Club Meeting & BBQ Mixer - Topic: TBD
Spring Fly-in : Tentative Dates: May 5th or June 2nd
Other items in planning to be added soon:
*** SDHGPA XC Clinic Fly Day @ Laguna - WX dependent Date.
Other SDHGPA News & General Board Business Minutes:
Motions and Club Business discussions:
1. Annual Windsock Flag Replacements per usual plan and two Masts to be placed on order in the next few weeks for windsocks at Palomar, Little Black and Horse. (motion Passed)
2. Increase Temp Membership Dues to at least cover costs of Fly-ins and keep the no excuses low Annual Membership of $40. Proposed Membership structure: Week $10, Month $20, Annual $40. After review of other clubs in CA and surrounding states. SDHGPA remains one of the least expensive while including the most sites. (Motion Passed)
Dues adjustment discussion: We’re low for clubs with actively maintained sites. Maintained sites with outhouses, groomed launches, etc, are usually much more. Suggestions to have daily fees for visiting pilots floated, but detractors pointed out that daily fees are unlikely to be paid daily without site monitors to collect. Noted that primary purpose should be compliance rather than income, to decrease risk of uninsured accidents. Steve R proposed week should be $10, month $20, year $40.
Round-up of other Club Dues for comparison:
4. Improve Palomar Launch surface to minimize line snags from exposed sharp rocks and weed snags. Motion was modified to put together a proposal looking at several alternatives from Heavy Erosion Control Matting typically used in Road Bed construction, Road Base Aggregate infill, Native GD infill. Anything installed will need to blend in with natural surroundings the majority of the year. (Motion Passed)
Discussion Notes: Palomar needs a DG fill on launch, to cover stubs and rocks. AstroTurf from worn football field was suggested (However, would need to be a natural color and blend in with the surroundings so recycled field turf wold likely not meet the pre approved criteria) Or Landscape Fabric (in beige/ light brown color) Or 3/4 in gravel. No carpet. All options have good examples of effective use at launches here or elsewhere, but must be acceptable to the tribe. In our Palomar Use Agreement , Artificial turf is pre-approved in concept, but would need to be in a “natural color.” James Goodpasture (Pala Tribe Program Manager that worked on the original launch improvement project) might have leftover DG or gravel from a nearby site. Steve R will call to check on cost and delivery options/cost. Seems like using a tribal source and DG/gravel rather than artificial material like AstroTurf, carpet, or landscape fabric would decrease potential rejection by the tribe? Note: Additional Improvement project proposals beyond Site Maintenance need to be cleared through the Tribal Council.
5. Laguna Site Intro as we have done in years past in conjunction with an XC clinic. (Motion Passed) and added to the Calendar
7. Chapter Renewal and related application & activities need to be completed by the end of Jan to assure no gap in coverage: Risk Management / Risk Assessment for club insurance renewal. New forms required to streamline USHPA processing. Bill and Phil are going to do it. Giant cut n paste adventure, with some new items to cover. Mar 1st Insurance renewal Date, but there is a potentially long processing time upstream and Chapters are proceed on a 1st in 1st out queue so trying to complete by end of January so that we do not have a laps in coverage.
2017 SDHGPA Annual Income & Expense Report:
In 2017 largest reoccurring expense increase and expense overall was adding in the 2nd Portable and maintaining the 2 at Palomar. This year we also invested in 3 weather stations that are non reoccurring cost. There are about $500-$600 outstanding expenses incurred in 2017 that not hit the books and will be rolled into 2018. As a result the Chapter ended out the year with a net negative cash flow of -$138.62. Reserves remain at ~ 12k approximately 12 months of annual operating budget and appropriate for a 501 (c) (7) non profit organization of our size.
2018 Budget: Expect 2018 to be similar with larger improvement projects slated (less being allocated to weather station expenses, and more for Palomar launch upgrade). Although, may need to do a fundraiser or apply for a Foundation for Free Flight grant to cover part of the Palomar project depending on project scope defined in the discovery process/ proposal.
Note that expenses and improvement projects at Palomar, Horse, Little Black, Laguna, and Big Black are scaled to balance the budget each year. Annual and Temporary Memberships overall have been declining over the past 3 years.
Data from the Laguna station is live and is working well
About the SDHGPA Laguna Weather Station
The Weather Station data can be viewed in several ways:
The San Diego Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association