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Sites / Conditions

I like to look for 10-12MPH base winds with gusts no greater than about 15MPH.  I also don't like to see a large spread between the base and peak wind reports... this seems to usually mean that things are a bit trashy.  Favorable wind direction at the site is WSW-WNW.  Although it is possible to fly when it's a little more NNW or SSW, it generally starts to become much less fun and you have to be much more vigilant about scanning for sources of rotor and keeping away from them.  I usually start by checking the NOAA buoy's in the area... there is one located by the Farralon's about 18NM West of SF, and another one 24NM South-Southwest of SF and West of Half Moon Bay.  The station at Fort Funston is usually quite accurate with respect to direction and speed at an elevation that is about the top of the cliffs of Mussel Rock.  I'll often use the iKitesurf page for a bit of forecasting along with checking the webcam which overlooks Mussel Rock in order to get an idea for local visibility and see if there are any wings in the air.  Based on the forecast I can generally determine if I should expect it to be blown out at any point in the day or estimate the most likely window of time when it will be soarable on a light day.  Finally, it's a good idea to know the tides... I would rather never bomb out on the beach at Mussel Rock, but it's good to know when it is and isn't there and take that into consideration.

Embedded References (hit F5 to refresh)

Pacifica (Facing South-Southwest - Elev. ~515 ft.)
 Mussel Rock Park (Facing North-Northwest - Elev. 515 ft.)
Fort Funston (Facing West - Elev. 187 ft.)
Webcam - Ft. Funston

Mussel Rock / Daly City WX Station (Elev. 515 ft.)
Daly City Weather Station
Fort Funston WX Station (Elev. 187 ft.)

Ed Levin

One of the things that make Ed Levin such a great training location is that the conditions are fairly reliable and benign most mornings.  There is a windsock at the peak of the ridge at the 1750' launch, one at the 600' launch, the 300' launch, and in the LZ.  It's not uncommon to see it coming lightly off the back but still be safe for sled rides at the 600' and 300'.  Be aware, however, that if it is really howling off the back and the lower socks seem to have minds of their own then the site can be quite turbulent and dangerous so it is best to not fly--even if the lower socks appear consistent with it howling off the back you should approach the site apprehensively.  Prevailing conditions seem to be WNW and it frequently turns quite North and occasionally quite South.  Ed Levin is often referred to as "Sled Heaven" because the site is typically quite limited with respect to soarability.  On post-frontal days the road to the top is usually closed due to it being wet and so the only real option is a long and muddy hike if you want to try to soar.  You can still have a lot of fun practicing skills on the lower launches and I often go out there just to keep current on forward launches and anything else I feel that I need to work on.

There is a park entrance fee of $6.00, or you can buy an annual pass good for 12 months for entrance into any Santa Clara County Park for $80.00.

Embedded References (hit F5 to refresh)

 Mt. Hamilton (Facing Northwest - Elev. 4200 ft.)
Mission Launch (Facing East - Elev. 1930 ft.)
Mission Launch - Camera facing East
Oakland Sounding (Twice a day: 0400 and 1600)

Fremont WX Station (Warm Springs - Elev. 60 ft.)
Fremont WX Station (Avalon One - Elev. 575 ft.)
Fremont WX Station
Milpitas WX Station (Mt. Allison - Elev. 2600 ft.)