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By Felix
#398904
^^^What he said!
For me it's the South and North side in Utah at POTM; about 300 feet or so. Nice thermals coming through all the time. Just....turn! :mosh:
And once I flew the Calvert Cliffs, about 60-80 feet or so? Take off right over the water and no good landing options but a good ways away...funtimes! Mechanical lift that turned into some magic air, I was turning like in a thermal and got up to 2500' over!
By once&future
#398905
If you mean the smallest hill I launched from then beamed out - 500': Round Mountain, a nice ridge/thermal site in Ventura County that we lost almost 20 years ago due to a litigious PG pilot.

If you mean the smallest hill that served as a thermal trigger while flying XC, then... way smaller than that.
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By Karl_A
#398907
Wonder Boy wrote:Circles, lots of circles
As tight as I could.

The smallest hill I have launched from and climbed out in thermals is the 600 foot (above the LZ) hill at Ed Levin. Oddly enough, the thermals were not right at the hill but farther out, at the base of the hill or even over the flat part of the LZ. I think that is because that LZ has hills on the windward side so it is a bit sheltered from the prevailing wind, allowing more ground heating of the air.

As far as how to do it, what worked for me was being aggressive to get in the thermal and turning tight to stay in it because at 500 feet above the ground thermals are quite small. Efficiency is all well and good but if I tried to fly slow in a shallow bank to get a good sink rate I would get dumped out of it and land rather than climb out.
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By pec1985
#398908
I've done that too, Karl. I launched at the 600ft hill at Ed Levin and caught a thermal, but this time it was right in front of launch. I turned aggressively and very close to the hill (I know my limits), very tight 360's. Eventually, I doubled my altitude, and that was it. 5 minutes later I was landing.
Ed Levin is a training site. Soaring from the 600ft hill is not very common.

Pedro
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By kukailimoku
#398909
A combination of thermal heat and a convergence working together, launch about 25', hooked it at around 35', topped out somewhere around 2400'. Marina Beach.

The memory is dim but maybe BubbleBoy was in the gaggle? I'm pretty sure KB was.

Smoooooth.
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By flybop
#398911
My home site, the Hog Back, is only 300 feet on the north side. We soar it all the time. Personally I like 15 to 20 to provide enough ridge lift so you can work the ridge enough to eventually find a thermal. Launch is 5150 feet msl. Mt personal highest is just over 11,000 msl. There have been much higher flights and many long xc's from the Hog. I have many flights when I was scratching below launch for well over 10 minutes before I eventually made it. There have been many times that I have sunk out as well.

The south side launch is less than 200 feet agl and I have soared that as well. I have also sank out more times than not though.
By Fletcher
#398912
Not a hill but low still.
We were doing some pattern scooter towing at a party for fun and when I strapped my vario on the falcon some people laughed and asked why. My response was you just never know when you'll need it.
Hooked a thermal at 150 feet and climbed out. Unfortunately others were waiting for the glider so I had to bail and head back.
No one was laughing when I landed!!!
Chance favors the prepared mind
Fletcher
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By Ground Slammer
#398917
After a loooong hiatus I restored an old billow cruzer (Flexi Flyer) for my first bunny hops. The locals took me to Strawberry Rock (Mattol). There is a shallow hill section that they train on so I set up for maybe 5 feet 10 max and gave it a poor first run. The CG was too far back, and the bar was too far back, and I was seated :( . A thermal blew in and I lifted off. In seconds it became obvious that I was going to fly off the mountain as my L/D to the edge of the mountain was about 1 to 1 and I could not dive :shock: . Other than the take off run--hang gliding was like a bicycle-it all came back in an instant-I turned out , got out of the lift and high stalled it over bushes, rode it in like an old rogallo as it was an old rogallo.
I'm convinced that under the right conditions one can get sucked up from flat ground and just get carried off.
PS-the sink rate of a Standard is 450 feet per min, first try and I just started floating away in a plastic sail junker. :ahh:
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By TjW
#398918
Lowest hill to beam out from is The Rock in Rubidoux. About a 200 foot cliff formed by quarrying operations.
It had a phenomena we called "Magic Lift", in which late in the day you could follow a little "string" of 50-100 fpm out and out and up and up. Sometimes it stopped, or you lost it and had to go back to the ridge. Sometimes it didn't. Kenny Westfall, Mike Wall, Steve Corbin have all experienced that. We went as high as 4500 feet.

Lowest altitude to catch a thermal was at the old PineCrest Airpark LZ. I was below the top of the big windsock -- so less than 45 feet -- when a thermal started lifting me. At first I thought I was going for the all-time longest pizza run. But by the time I got over the far end of the LZ I was high enough to safely 360. I never fell out of it, so I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity. It took me to 6500 MSL over the Billboard.
I will freely admit here this was not the result of any great skill thermaling or willingness to take a risk. It was just being lucky enough to be in the right spot when an enormous thermal came through. I'm actually glad I hadn't just landed when that thing came through.
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By atosvr2
#398921
got to 9300'msl from a 400' (800'msl) hill in '97 on a sensor 610f...very rare day here (upstate n.y.) as base was over 10k...a few 180's, then a bunch of 270's, then a gazillion 360's... 8) ....john sillero
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By kukailimoku
#398938
I had a student flying in a mountain clinic in Nevada who set up an absolutely perfect approach that had the best chance of hitting the spot of the entire day. He was at around 20' when the windsock spun and up he went. At least he cleared the cactus on the downwind end of the field. Dang long walk though.

:lol:
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By Rotor
#399015
The great memories of 150 ft Bird Rd. in California. :drool: It was 1989 when i started flying there almost daily for a couple years, the site was 20 minutes from home. I was told it was a ridge soaring site to low for thermals.After about a year flying there and talking to Tim Morley and Ken Muscio about thermaling up out of there and how to go about it. It started happening. I had a four XC flights out of there, my best was 30 miles. One day my brother Bryan and I both left XC out of there using the same thermal. Then a bay area fly school moved in and made it a training site that was then soon over run with many cars students and instructors that the land owner shut it down for good. :surrender: It was one of my favorite sites of all time. :cuss: Oh but thanks for the memories . :drool: :P
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By Maineiac
#399017
Morningside. Grass 250'. Flying a MONSTER "BFG" by Sky Sports that Vickery wanted me to fly at Pico in '78. Ran off, straight up, with Tom Peghiny yelling "turn, turn, turn!!!!!" I gained way more than I wanted to, flew straight out and landed the thing and said NO. HUGE glider, and my hook-in was around 150 at the time (at best). I stuck with my squirrely Osprey II for the Pico thing. About 75sf smaller than the BFG Sweeny built. Maybe more.
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By ChattaroyMan
#399018
flybop wrote:My home site, the Hog Back, is only 300 feet on the north side. We soar it all the time. Personally I like 15 to 20 to provide enough ridge lift so you can work the ridge enough to eventually find a thermal. Launch is 5150 feet msl. Mt personal highest is just over 11,000 msl. There have been much higher flights and many long xc's from the Hog. I have many flights when I was scratching below launch for well over 10 minutes before I eventually made it. There have been many times that I have sunk out as well.

The south side launch is less than 200 feet agl and I have soared that as well. I have also sank out more times than not though.
My lowest T catching as well - on the S side back in 1979-80. Quite an adventure on that flight - smooth/strong lift to cloudbase (actually cloud suck!). First time I wanted down in a hang flight! The ride up was fun - getting away from the cloud - not-so-much fun!

I figured on getting in a sledder but on the way out from the hill I maintained altitude so flew back towards launch. From there it was Up City. Dan & Barney got to watch from a higher S side launch when the wind went cross. Ended up across the Yellowstone valley. I was only wearing a wrist altimeter for instruments. Can't remember what cloudbase was --- somewhere over 9K. I was right at the base - dark, misty & moist. Never lost sight of the ground but that took stuffing the basetube.

The Hogback is one awesome flying site!
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