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Region 5 South - Day 4 at Cordele (regional)

NEWS FLASH!!!! Micro-castle under attack by six-legged aliens!  Humanity fighting back vigorously, but issue still in doubt!  Will the aliens overrun the castle?  Stay tuned!

OK, so the 'six-legged aliens' are actually just ants, and 'humanity' is just little ol' me, but it does make a catchy headline ;-).  Tonight I was sitting at my table in shorts, cooling down from the contest day when I feel a slight pinch on my leg; when I felt the area, I came up with an ant that had just bitten me!  Looking around, I found an entire trail of ants along the floor, busily taking over the micro-castle - how in the world did they get in?  Looking outside, I found a thick trail of ants going up and down one of my 6-ft long jack legs and into/out of a crack that was completely invisible to the naked eye.  I know that ant colonies mark food sources with a scent/pheromone trail that other ants follow and reinforce, but how in the world did that first ant decide to climb up the 6-ft jack leg, squeeze inside the camper wall, find food (I actually keep the place pretty clean), and get back out to tell the story? Its a mystery!

OK, back to our regular program:  This morning dawned just like all the rest of the mornings here at Cordele - sunny and already warm, heading toward HOT HOT HOT.  Out the door at 0630, glider assembled, ballasted, and on the grid by 0800, back in the micro-castle by 0830 for breakfast and air-conditioning.  By now the infield trailer parking area at Cordele is mostly just baked earth - all the grass has long since turned to dust.  It's so dry that seeing dust devils winding across the airport grounds is no longer noteworthy unless something significant - like a glider or a small child, has been caught up in it.

At this morning's meeting, Dennis Linnekin gave the winner's speech for his day win yesterday in 15m class, and he brought a crossword puzzle to the front with him.  He explained that he had been told by persons unknown that he had to work at least 4 crossword puzzle clues into his speech, and he did!  After that rousing performance, CD/weatherman Ray Galloway gave us the forecast for the day.  He told us the day might start a little later than yesterday, but we would probably be able to get a bit higher (possibly to 7500'msl), but we might or might not have cu's.  15/18m classes were given a 3hr 3-turn AAT that basically went east - west-east, and then home.  Sports class was given a 3hr 3-turn TAT south, then north, then east, then home.  By grid time there was narry a puffy in sight, and I was starting to hyperventilate - I *HATE* blue days because I have never been able to actually stay with the gaggle, invariably getting separated and having to slog along alone.  Don Wassness (1E) was sent aloft as the sniffer at about 1230pm, and was back on the ground by about 1245.  You know things are not right when 1E can't stay aloft.  After about 30 minutes Don was thrown up again, and this time he stuck, reporting 5kt through 4000'msl, and cu's starting to pop in all quadrants - hooray!

Out on course in the 15/18m task, it was clear that this was at least tied for the best day so far at Cordele (and that's saying a lot!).  We were getting 5-7kt climbs to a  7000' cloudbase, and today the clouds were actually honest - you could drive under one of those huge black flat-bottomed things and plan on getting  your seat kicked right up through the canopy.  However, all was not peaches and cream, as there were some fairly large soft areas that had to be negotiated, and that kept the speeds down below the sound barrier.  In particular the second turnpoint (Americus) was weak and  blue (I think it was the affect of the Lake Blackshear basin myself), so the smart pilots drove deep in the first and third cylinders and just nicked the second one.  For the Sports class guys, they had to deal with the Lake Blackshear effect on both the first and second cylinders, so the challenge was to decide which side of the lake was less likely to be a problem (answer - the east side, as the wind was from the southeast).

Frank Paynter (TA) won the day in 15m with 71.43mph, gaining an additional 100pts or so margin in the overall standings.  In 18m, Rob Ware (DI) won the day with 71.41, but George Green took 2nd for the day and is still in front in the overall standings by a comfortable 200+pt margin.  The big news in Sports class is that Wally Berry *didn't* win the day, leaving that to Steve Taylor (EA) flying a beautifully prepared  LS-3.  Wally took 2nd and still maintains a comfortable 100+ pt lead in the overall standings.

After 4 wonderful days of glider racing here at Cordele, it is still anyone's contest in all three classes.  The leaders have significant, but not insurmountable margins, so anything can still happen.  The popular weather forecast for the next two days is almost exactly the same as the previous four, so it seems pretty certain that the leaders will have to defend their positions two more times (personally I'm praying for rain, but it ain't gonna happen!).  Stay tuned!

TA

Posted: 6/9/2011


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