Posted by: cokenias | July 20, 2011

Cutting it a Little Close

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, 11 mph SW 5:50pm

Set up with my wing on the top of Walker ramp, intending to kite up to the south-facing launch. To my annoyance, a dude and his gear were in my way, the same dude I had asked twice not to be there. Either he didn’t understand me or he didn’t care, but he remained in my way and I decided I didn’t want to have the failed talk a third time, so I set about launching west. I dropped the wing a few times in the rotor and took off from a spot not much higher than mid-launch. I headed north to the cliffs, wind at my back. I reached the first slide well above highway 1 but didn’t find a whole lot of lift. I turned back at the second slide and hugged the cliffs, slowly losing altitude. I didn’t follow every curve of the terrain, I was worried about turbulence from sharp vertical edges.

Like a moron, I didn’t use my speed bar. That would have compensated for the significant headwind and I would have lost less height over all. As it was, I’m a moron and forgot what I knew about speed-to-fly. At least I was flying at trim most of the time. I had a choice of landing short on the beach or long on the low road. In between are horrid boulders. I aimed for the road– I cleared the boulders by maybe 10 feet. I landed, a bit stressed, on the low road, in the wind. If I had used my speed bar, I probably would have cleared the boulders by 40 feet or more. I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking, perhaps I was staying off the bar because I was already low and didn’t want to increase my sink rate? Mistaken thinking, if so. Bar increases sink a bit, but horizontal speed a lot, making for a better glide in headwind. The video is hard to watch, I keep saying “speed! speed!”

Those watching thought I landed on the beach, I was coming in so low.


  • Chose my launch based on social nonsense, instead of wind direction and height.
  • Did not use bar to improve glide, contributing to risky final approach.

0:05 Mussel Rock (Walker), reverse launch.


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