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.
Club Biz & News
New (and apparently some old, as in USHPA 4 digit old) members showed up for this meeting to hear about the Palomar issue.
Palomar closing weekdays, potentially all days (TBD)
Why? Pilot can't follow our own rules. The Pala tribe has noted this along with the following infractions over the past few months:
- non members flying the site
- parking in the wrong place, to include blocking ranch employee work/access
- leaving the gate open (includes leaving it chained but unlocked. ALWAYS lock!)
- not checking in with the ranch office (all pilots must check in w/ membership cards)
- leaving unidentified coolers at the shade structure during the day
- leaving trash and using the dumpster without permission
Keep in mind: We don’t pay a use fee. The Pala Tribe & Roberts Ranch are generous in letting us use their launch & LZ sites. We must respect that and follow the rules or we'll lose the site. The Pala tribe has requested a review of our use agreement; this could mean they'll just say "No" to allowing us access to the site if we continue to break the rules.
What we propose to do:
- change lock combo (must coordinate with Pala & RR staff, all club members will receive notice of updated combos)
- sign in and out sheet at office
- buddy check: Introduce yourself to strange pilots. Check their status online. This was met with grumbling by many pilots who don't want to be confrontational. This is literally the main reason we can lose access to the site: Get over your "stranger danger". Be proactive. Be friendly, offer to give a site brief, ask if they've been there before, explain the sensitivity of the site, and check their status.
- update parking pass to include Tribal Security & Ranch office phone numbers
- have an extra blank pass for guests in case they've forgotten to print theirs out; they can hand write their info and it can be checked online
- shoot site video
- call tribal security and Ranch office if you fly there, no matter what (Smiley, Robin, launch)
- not sure if they've been called? If there's any doubt, there is no doubt: Err on the side of caution when calling
Keep in mind those are all propositions, not necessarily what will go into effect. The club will shoot out an email to all members with any changes that go through.
Other ideas suggested in the meeting:
- sign in "day bracelets" you tear from a sheet at the ranch office
- Jason May proposed instituting a basic questionnaire as part of SDGHPA membership requiring pilots to answer the basics of Palomar site etiquette. This would ensure people had to read and answer the questions and no one could claim they didn't know something they had answered a quiz question about. This sounds good, but the digital membership already has some complexity to it so we're leaving this step off for now.
- Other propositions revolved around making the site protocols easier to understand.
SDHGPA XC Contest, club posts monthly updates? (Cote asked about this)
Season runs Nov 1st to Oct 31st
Scott Weiner (former SDHGPA president) recommends a gesture for the Pala tribe
- 7:30-8:30 pm
Read through the Members Only-Clinic & Meeting Talk Materials section of this site, there is a TON of excellent XC information there.
Submitted questions by new pilots focused on planning for XC. The general answer revolved around doing a TON of research on maps, knowing the area very well from all your studies, watching other flights, asking more experienced pilots, and practicing the fundamentals ad nauseum.
Practice thermaling and finding thermals.
Practice gliding out from your home site and back. Get used to judging glide distance.
Get used to looking for and finding thermal triggers.
Fly with more experienced pilots.
Drive retrieve for other pilots. This was repeated multiple times.
Jeff B: Look for shadows of power line poles; the lines themselves are almost impossible to see.
Steve R: Always have 3 LZs
Start landing approach high
Larry Tudor’s method of wind direction:
Fly straight, look at the horizon, see which way it's moving.
90 turn, fly straight and watch horizon movement.
Combine those two measurements in your head and you'll have a good idea of wind direction.
Blossom to El Cap isn’t XC.
LB and Palomar are excellent places for training XC.
Nik's thought: Can we test knowledge on the website with a map quiz?
Desert flying: 2-3 liters water minimum
Extra snacks: protein/fat/carbs
Steve talked about
- Sometimes Part of XC is about being ready to be inconvenienced. The scale and degree can be conservative or aggressive depending on the pilots level of preparedness and lines / routes taken.
- If taking bold deep lines, this inconvenienced factor can become inconvenienced by days, with a retrieve.
- "The Ferris Bueller Effect", basically saying, I'm hucking it because it looks good enough and the safety factors are within the pilots own preparedness & comfort zone, or "Calvin & Hobbs" ignorance is bliss. But if doing so, need to be prepared for the Ferris Bueller fall out.
Kim M: Talked about being prepared to land out. What is your comms plan? Many places in San Diego don't have cell service. Practice flying with extra weight with water.
Bill H talks about site flying and flying super conservatively. He flies known LZ to known LZ, always maintains radio comms with his retrieve driver, and if he loses comms flies back to the last agreed upon site and lands. He still knocks out very respectable cross country flights.
Steve: You don’t always have to go upwind. If pegging into a head wind, Look for LZ and High value thermal trigger options downwind.
Jason May proposed a "mistakes of the month" segment or "learning opportunities" from the last month, if anyone learned anything since the last meeting or made a mistake they'd like to share. General laughter and agreement. :)
Closing by 9:00 pm