Welcome to the FLYLASALINA.com website authored by Bajabrent (see www.bajabrent.com) Baja's most experienced La Salina paragliding pilot. This website is provided for general information for those wishing to learn more about the La Salina flying area which plays host to many of today's most exciting "free" flight and powered ultralight airsports. For up to date La Salina flying information, INCLUDING 2011 FLY-IN INFORMATION you might want to check out Bajabrent's new La Salina flying blog at http://flylasalina.wordpress.com/ ).
LA SALINA, BAJA OVERVIEW: The Baja Peninsula is generally one of the hottest and driest places on the North American continent. However, a small coastal area of northwestern Mexico surrounding Tijuana has more of a Mediterranean climate with considerable coastal fog and a winter rainy season similar to southern California.
Here the rainy season runs November through March, with very little to no precipitation the rest of the year. Winter storms, generated as far away as the Gulf of Alaska provide areas along the coast only 3-6 inches of rain per year – which is barely enough to support the minimal desert vegetation. Evenings can be chilly any time of the year in comparison to warm daytime temperatures.
Concerened about traveling in Baja, go to: http://bajatraveladvisor.wordpress.com/
LA SALINA COMMUNITY: The busiest border crossing in the world is located at San Diego California and Tijuana (TJ) Baja Mexico. As you head south out of TJ the Pacific coastline area from TJ to Ensenada is known as the "Baja Gold Coast". La Salina is in the "nugget" of the Gold Coast stretching from La Fonda/La Mision through La Salina and onto Bajamar Golf Resort.
La Salina is a small community located approximately 45 minutes south of TJ on Baja’s Gold Coast.Far from the City's bustle, La Salina is cradled by the warm, tranquil Sea of Cortes on the east and the magnificent Pacific Ocean on the west, La Salina sits amid one of the most spectacular and diverse landscapes in the world. Nestled in this Pacific desert of "Eden" is the crown jewel of flying sites in the western hemisphere: La Salina Ridge!
LA SALINA FLYING/SOARING RIDGE: is internationally renown among the "free flight" community of paraglider and hanglider pilots. Several reasons justify: First, it offers year round flying conditions (temp varies from 50-80 degrees F ); Second, onshore coastal ridge lift from the Pacific Ocean 1 mile to the west of launch; Third, significant afternoon thermal activity from desert floor stretching from ocean AND then stretching east across the topside mesa .
Thus the onshore coastal breeze glides across the desert floor pushing rising thermals against the western facing ridge creating a lifting synergy that takes you higher, and higher and HIGHER. And once one climbs high enough they can venture east and catch a second series of thermals pumping off the mesa behind the ridge. Or as most do, soar the ridge out front working the ridge lift synergy for hours on end, and not only on the main ridge. Indeed, one can jump a 300 meter southern gap and soar another 1.5 miles to the south, and be tempted to fly a series of ridges that could take you 20 miles south to Ensenda. OR for those truly "dialed in" fly to the northern gap to cross the 1 mile GUADALUPE RIVER GAP and soar the ridgeline 15 miles north to Cantamar.
HOW TO GET TO LA SALINA LAUNCH: From the US/TJ border crossing, follow the signs to Ensenada via the toll road (Cuota). As you leave TJ along the coastline you will pass through the first of two toll gates. You'll proceed 20 miles until you cross through the second toll gate on the southside of Rosarito Beach. Again you will traverse another 20 or so miles watching the corresponding kilometer markers until you reach KM72. After which you will see the exit for La Salina (there's only one).
After you exit La Salina, follow the ramp down and turn left following the road back under the toll road. The road will jog slightly to the right and transcend into a dirt roadcontinue east on the dirt road. You will pass a few houses on your right.
When the road dead-ends, turn left. go 1/4 mile and look for a fenced parking area on your right. Park and secure your car. Enter through a gate on the northern end. Follow path east to the landing zone. On eastern side of landing zone you'll locate faded white rock markers at beginning of trail.
The trail actually a 1 mile switchback. Actually its now 1556 steps (used to be 1642) to North Launch...how do I know that? I've hiked more than anyone in the world...mostly by myself. You have to do things to entertain yourself. Fastest known ascent from white rocks to north launch 15:34 by Bajabrent (another trivial record for the lizards and rattlesnakes).
Although it was built to facilitate paraglider pilots, many find it an enjoyable hike. Once on top a person can see for miles in both directions up and down the beautiful Baja Coast. (so kids and chix w/ proper footwear can enjoy this too).
Once you crest the top, you most likely come upon a graciously carpeted "North Launch". To your south you will see "South Launch" and not quite so obvious, is Super South all the way on the southern point of the main ridge. (clever names eh?)
Almost all of the rugs and carpets (wi exception of the old green patterned) were pulled out of Bajabrent's homes, apartments, cottages, and offices...a good 4000 s/ft of such, with the mighty Mexican assistance of Juan and Francisco, (although they are amazed at the loco-ness of gringos desiring to carpet the desert floor???)
But even more important is the effortless contribution of "' MAD MAXINE', La Reina de La Montana", Bajabrents ancient rusty dually pickup which carries those rugs to launch. Not only does she transport heavy rugs, but she's been known to transport 12 pilots and their gear to launch (again to the amazement of the Santa Anita natives) and then return home at night with all of her crown jewels aglow. Despite her age/rust her crown still shimmers!!!
WEATHER TO FLY (all credit to Dennis Pagan my weather guru) and his book that I read once, then twice, the thrice, then again and again. Together with the Bible, another book I don't always understand, I have come to these conlusions about flying La Salina:
The premier question of pilots worldwide is: "what are the best months (or season) of the year to fly La Salina." And I always have to ponder that question, because realistically, there are NO BAD MONTHS/SEASONS. I've had awesome flights in mid winter, summer, spring and autumn; January- December. Especially when it comes to temperature, it never gets too cold to fly! Bottom line: it has less to do about the time of year or the season rather than the local weather conditions on the day at hand. Yes, this may be said about every flying site, but at La Salina, where we can fly all year round, this is especially true.
So one must not focus on the time of year, but rather the conditions of the day at hand. It is very unusual to get skunked 7 days in a row. In fact, it is more likely that you will fly 5-7 days a week if you are dialed in to the daily conditions. Having shared that there are a few rules of thumb: 1) In the winter there tends to be one flying session per day with the launch window opening between 10:15-11:00 AM and sometimes a little later.
In the other 7 months of the year, generally there are two flying sessions beginning at 9 -9:30 and blowing out between noon and one. Should you choose to fly summer afternoons....watch out...its strong and turbulent. I prefer to have lunch and catch glass off. Afternoon launch is around 4 or more and can go to sunset. The evening flights can be smooth and glassy fun!
La Salina is much better with a Low Pressure system in place rather than a High Pressure. Better thermals cook off in LP, whereas HP means blue thermals or bullets which can be fun but are harder to core cause they are small; and you sink as quickly as you rise; and finally you rarely reach high altitude all of which creates a roller coaster experience: and you rock and roll. There also seems to be a lot more cross with high pressure creating a combination of more complexities.
When it comes to wind, a few things should be considered. La Salina has a southerly exposure, which means true west winds hit the ridge at with an apparent northerly component. It is "north" a bit a fair amount of time if not 50% of the time. Wind meters at launch altitude probably read 1-2 miles less than actual wind speed at the height of your inflated glider. Thus 12-14 is probably a little strong for most intermediate pilots. At 15 and above, you better have a strong capability of manipulating your C risers together with your A's and brakes. You should be just as competent at manipulating your Cs as any other of your primary launch risers.
Do not "assume" that your flying techniques which you may have mastered at your home coastal site will work equally well at La Salina. Scratching too close in light conditions can rack you up if a bullet thermal pops you against the rocks. Don't assume you can read a bullet as quickly as you can desert thermals that cook up in the open hot desert. Be alert and aware when you are soaring close in front.
I have placed/maintained flags at the launches and posted at least two other banners at the house thermals along the ridge. Be aware of their importance and use them to your advantage. But also be aware that you will experience strong lift in front of all of these, including in front of both primary launches.
WHETHER TO FLY A rhetorical question, perhaps but one each and every one of you should ask. This is no beginner flying site. It is not for inexperienced P-2's. Its not even for P-2s who are dialed in at their home sites and have flown elsewhere. If you are a P-2 you should not fly La Salina without a qualified instructor with you providing on launch advice and assistance.
P-3s who have never flown La Salina should fly there with others who have or can provide advice. Everyone should locate a local to provide a site introduction. Remember this is not the USA. There are no nearby ambulances, hospitals, emergency rooms or paramedics. You get in an accident, you may have a problem. If you are not connected locally you may also have a problem.
I share this information to the world because I care about safety and I care about promoting a flying site that is free from accidents. But rest assured we have had serious and fatal accidents here. Be aware and take nothing for granted. I've flown hundreds of hours at La Salina with no serious injuries. But I have been "popped" off launch more than anyone worldwide. It can be very tricky calculating the precise launch cycle with sporadic thermals coming across, so be careful and have fun! All pilots fly at their own risk
Bajabrent has flown this site more than anyone worldwide...so HE'LL HOOK YOU UP.
Ultralight/Paramotoring: Done right in front of house all the time. In fact, if you look close at the homepage split photo, you will see a delta wing on the sand to the right. Yep one of the residents parks his tandem ultralight right on the beach.
Bajabrent loves to wake up in the morning and read the windsock, don't even have to get out of bed if its still offshore! But on cross days or very light afternoons, there's nothing like strapping into an eggbeater and getting in some yummy fly time.
Whether its an ultralight or a powered paraglider you can launch your craft right out in front of the B-4 Beach house. A Dr. lives a couple doors down and flies his ultralight everyday possible. I'm sure he'd share his knowlege as he seems a nice fellow.He parks his wing on the beach at night, so not to worry!
Meanwhile you can fly your ultralight to La Fonda, where Gabrielle keeps a fleet of ultralights or fly to Ensenada or follow back the valley gap to Guadalupe wine country! Up Up and Away!!!! BTW Of course buzzing the rooftops doesn't create neighborly love so practice flying manners. please.