Thursday, February 12, 2009

U.S. Nationals - Dunlap, CA - Briefly

The website is hot and registration is open for the first leg of the US Nationals. Competition will begin on Monday, April 27th and run through May 2nd 2009.

Dunlap is one of the sites I consider a home site and I'm really looking forward to a great week of flying, learning, and visiting with the 'regulars' at these events. Here is some information about the area:

The Flying:
The Dunlap launch (36° 45.916'N 119° 5.879'W) lies along a a 1500 meter high ridge. This is the Eastern (high side) of the Dunlap valley. The valley is approximately 10km long (NW-SE) and 5km wide with the valley floor around 600 meters. The valley, while small, can be technically challenging when trying to make expeditious crossings. The long task options are to the West, North, and South. We usually fly a few valley crossings before leaving to fly into the next ridges West. Once on the Eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley there is little restriction to the distances achievable to the North and South.

The flying in the area can be very consistent. In recent years we have held many NorCal XC League events at this site with only one or two no-fly days. Spring flying in Dunlap can be quite nice with climbs to altitudes above 2700 meters and cumulus clouds to show likely routes. Winds are generally SW-W-NW. The flying isn't as dependent on (or affected by) convergences as the Woodrat area, although some convergences can be found in the afternoon.

The launch area has been improved and expanded to allow 2 or 3 launches simultaneously. A large layout/set-up area is also available adjacent to launch. There is quite a bit of poison oak around the cleared launch area so consider that if you are allergic.

As far as logistics go, Cell Phone reception can be very spotty in the Dunlap area and at launch. Internet access at the St. Nicholas Ranch will be very useful for those with Skype. There are only a few restaurants in the area so the meals served at the Ranch will also be a welcome convenience as well as a nice social gathering. There is no running water available at launch, so bring your own.

Some of my most enjoyable tasks have been in the Dunlap area due to the sometimes low top-of-climbs which make the technical/strategic decisions very important.
HERE are some of my flights from last year -

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