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Sports Class Nationals - Day 4 at Chilhowee

Its official now - with Day 4 in the bag, we have a non-devalued Sports Class championships - yay!

Today promised to be a real scorcher - from a temperature standpoint at least.  The high today was in the 80's, and with no wind to speak of and very high humidity it was more like Florida than Tennessee.  The main ridge (only a few miles to the east) was visibly shrouded in haze this morning, and it didn't get much better throughout the day.  At least with very light winds the thermals, such as they were, were a little easier to work.  The big fly in the ointment was yet another band of middle-level cirrus clouds encroaching in from the west.  At grid time (12 noon) the leading edge of this band was about halfway up the western horizon, but by launch time it had covered the soaring area.  Fortunately (I think) the clouds were thin enough so it didn't completely kill the lift - just enough to make things "interesting". 

The  task call today was a 2-turn 2.5hr TAT with the first turn to the south about 35 miles, and the second turn to  the north about 20 miles. The launch started about 1:15, and all 19 gliders were in the air before 2pm. A few lucky pilots who found climbs to the 4500-5000'msl cloudbase right away, and they could only be seen as small dots up there cruising around, while the rest of us just struggled to stay aloft.

Out on course it was definitely a survival day, and travelling in a pack contributed mightily to survival.  Getting caught out alone was a prescription for a very slow speed or worse.  I got another racting lesson by following KS, and learned just how slow a Duo Discus can go and still stay in the air - I was literally unable to stay behind him, and wound up going out in front at least some of the time (until I screwed up and he caught me again).  At one point Karl (KS), Monty (97) and I were all down to about 1500'agl when Karl found a 2kt thermal over Chatsworth, Ga (yes, the same place I landed out on Day1) and we were all glad to stay with it for as high as it would go.  Later on we were thermalling over the Rostex airport and we noticed there was a glider on the runway getting set up for an aerotow home.  I was the one on the ground looking up on Day 1, so I can sympathize with whoever that was (I think it was Tim Larson, 1FL).

Most pilots went well into the south circle, and just nicked the north one, and more pilots than not came in well under time, leading to a heavily devalued day.  Manfred Franke (HF) won the day with a blistering 42.71mph raw speed for a whole 810pts - ouch!

To finish up the day I took Phil and Lynda LaBerge to Scotties resturant for burgers to get my retrieve karma back in order.  Phil came to get me when I landed out at Perry on Day 1 there, and we weren't able to connect up at Perry for the traditinal dinner.  Scotties is a  very small diner-car resturant that specializes in burgers and breakfasts, and actually does a pretty good job with both.

Tomorrow promises to be more of the same, oh boy!!

TA

Posted: 5/9/2011


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