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Region 2 North - Day 1 in the Bag

Greetings from Wurtsboro, NY, site of the 2012 Region 2 contest.  Situated at the northeast end of the Appalachian chain with the Catskill mountains to the northwest,  Wurtsboro Airport is ideally located to take advantage of mountain, ridge, and flatland soaring as the weather dictates.   The airport is rich in gliding history, with names like Schweizer, Wolters, and Moffat among its alumni.  A quaint town (technically, a "village") nearby and on-field cabins complete the setup for a perfect contest.  


With a cold front passing through the area over night,  today promised to be one of the better soaring days of the season.    The morning dawned clear and crisp, with light NNW winds.   Our weatherman, Bill Thar, confirmed our hopes - this was gonna be a good one.   Lift was progged to be in the 5-6kt range with climbs to 7,000 or better in the high ground.  The field gridded under cu-filled skies, and launching the sniffer was a mere formality.
 
I should mention that this year's Wurtsboro Region 2 contest features two classes -  a traditional Sports Class and a Bus Class.  The Bus Class consists entirely of medium performance two place ships including three ASK-21s, two Grob Twins, and a Krosnow.   It's a fantastic way to introduce a lot of new people to soaring (there will be about 20 back seaters in total this week), and it shows that "regular" club equipment is good enough to compete. 

As it turned out, the day was good, but perhaps not up to the promise of the picture-postcard sky.  Most pilots were on course by 1:30, and they reported an uneventful run down to Sussex in the south.   The second leg to Piolis offered the option of running into the Catskill mountains (with peaks approaching 4,000 feet), but from pilot reports it appears that few pilots went all that deep into the tiger country.   The Bus Class finished off with a downhill run to Otisville Prison, while the Sports Class stayed on the higher ground to turn Sullivan County.  

Pilots reported mostly honest climbs, though the occasional Cumulus Prevaricus frustrated a few folks.   Most of the fleet seemed to find climbs to nearly 7,000 feet in a couple of spots, but the average climbs went to a more modest 6,000.   In the Bus Class, Nick Gradinski and his back seater beat out fellow Valley Soaring Club K-21 driver Hank Nixon, with Aero Club Albatross' Grob close behind.   Gregg Leslie walked away from the competition in the Sports Class, putting a gap of 120 points between himself and Richard Kaleta and Rob Dunning in second and third respectively.  The forecast for the week looks very good, and we are hoping to put a lot of miles on those club 2 seaters in the coming days.

Posted: 6/23/2012


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