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Copyright 2014
Jeff Goin



Santa Barbara Aloft

2015-10-21 (added 10-24) Trying Out

"A day in the life of Chad Bastian" would be every flyer's dream. Tim & I got to experience a slice of his heaven.

Go to the hill, eke out flight from unlikely lift for an hour or so, come home to your beautiful, loving spouse, ship orders for a couple hours, eat, drink, then relax to insanely spectacular scenery painting itself on the mountains outside enormous picture windows.

We also enjoyed iconic dining at Harry's Plaza Cafe after a full day of soaring and motoring. Motoring there was as beautiful as it was brief. He had a Miniplane Minari that I wanted to try so we took turns flying it. Nice machine. The review will be in an upcoming edition of Cross Country Magazine.


We also flew "Bates" for a few seconds. It was too light for anybody to be flying but Chad had to take a stab at it. He almost could stay up. After a couple passes, sinking slowly each time, he did a cool side-hill landing in bare feet and controlled the wing brilliantly -- no walking up from the beach. That looked cool so, when he offered it to me I had to try.

I ran sideways along the top edge and pushed off hard for maximum starting energy. Ridge soaring is mostly brainless but, with really light lift, you've got to stay in the lift band. I sunk a bit during the turn then recovered most of the lost height while flying next to the hill.

It was clearly a losing proposition so I did the side hill thing, too, which I was hoping to try. I've done plenty of side hill landings but not on something this steep and narrow. It's like a swoop one-step landing where you swing up with the intention to touch down going slightly uphill right as your body reaches the maximum forward swing. And it worked! Mostly. I did let the wing fall on some folks who were sitting there at the edge. Practice, practice.

Here's the story in pics.

Chad trying to eke out level flight at Bates, a soaring site south of Santa Barbara.


The motor had been warmed up but I was able to easily start it on my back.


After a short flight, I shut the power off and came in for a slider.


Chad foot drags a launch and comes through on a fly by. Shoes? Only if they're required!


Leanne, Chad, Tim & I enjoyed a good time at the local haunt "Harry's".



Remember, If there's air there, it should be flown in!