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Seniors Championship - TA Early Report

It’s Saturday morning at 0700, and I’m sitting in my camper at Seminole Lake Gliderport, sipping my coffee and watching the airport take form through the dawn and the fog.  Right now I can just see the top of Bob Spitz’s camper, but in a few minutes the office, the runway, and the trailers on the far side will slowly appear, and the temporary residents of Geezer City will start a new day.  So far we have had five wonderful days of soaring in this 2011 Seniors, with every anticipation of another wonderful (if a bit blue) day today.  Local pilots and national champions have traded top honors on various days, and the result, after five days is a real horse race for the top five spots.  The Alexandrescu family (Andreea, Florian, Michael) have answered the question “will the Seniors continue into the foreseeable future?” with a resounding “YES” - this Seniors has been as well run and as pleasant as any in my memory (admittedly short in terms of the number of Seniors I have attended).  In addition to continued great contest management by the John Good/Rick Sheppe CD/Scorer duo, this year we had a much better internet experience due to the long-awaited arrival of DSL to the field, and for the first time Mike Fuller opened his huge (and very interesting) hangar to us for morning meeting and social activities.

This contest marks the start of the year for many U.S. soaring pilots, even the ones who have the misfortune to be tied to real jobs and careers that prevent them from actually attending the contest in person (hey, somebody has to pay for my  retirement checks!).  For me, the transition from winter Condor flying to summer real-life flying is always a bit strange.  Out on course I find myself thinking about the view out the canopy as if I were in Condor, and it takes me a little while to figure out why those gliders out in front of me don’t have little blue ID tags floating above them – “oh, yeah, this is real life!”.  Another minor strangeness is that my partner in the Condor Corner column series, Scott Manley, is also my crew here at the Seniors.  Turns out that Scott is just as nice a guy in real life as he is in the Condor world – go figure! ;-)

Tonight we have the awards dinner, so things will be a little hectic between getting  gliders put away, getting cleaned up for the dinner, and getting the scores out.  I have a plan to use the banquet hotel’s internet connection to get the evening report out, but at the very least I will get it out Sunday morning to the soaring newsgroup and SoaringCafe.net.

Ah, the trees on the other side of the runway are just becoming visible – must be time to change into my running gear and go scare the hawks again. 

TA

Posted: 3/19/2011


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