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2015 Nephi OLC/XC Camp - Day 3 in the bag

It is 10:05pm and we are still hanging around the hangar.  What a long and fun day. Because I am beyond exhausted I will keep this short. 

Our big event gridding system finally was put to the test today.  Yesterday was the first attempt but due to many errors trying to rush the grid sheet by yours truely, it was a giant cluster...I think today was a success. 

We have 3 groups and two separate griddings.  Pilots select which of the three groups they want to be in by putting their contest ID into a group box and then we randomize grid spots for that group: Early, Group 1 or Group 2.  We try to launch the early group right before we think the day will turn on for Group 1 to stick with a 2000 ft launch.  They may have to take a higher tow, but for that extra cost, they have the priviledge to go first without making everyone else wait.  Group 1 is for the pilots who want to be up 6-8+ hours in the air.  Group 2 are for the pilots who want to fly the day's task or 4-6 hours that day.

I know what you are thinking, of course you would choose group 1 right?  Not everyone here.  Today we had 4 pick early group, 27 pick group 1 and 23 pick group 2.  What???  That doesn't add up, I thought there were like 127 gliders that went to Nephi!  With last minute cancellations, we ended up with around 60 gliders total.  The gliders that did not place their name in a box ended up at the back of Group 2.

We have set times for staging and gridding and as soon as group 1 is all launched, group 2 can push out to stage.  We then quickly compress for max runway (density altitudes are 8,500'+ in the 100+ degree heat) and then launch 10 minutes after to allow pilots in Group 2 to get ready.  This system allows pilots who want to launch later and fly shorter flights to not have to wait out in the sun for hours waiting for the longer distance pilots (or people who got to the grid before them) to go first.  Again, today seemed to go well but we will wait to hear feedback from the pilots tomorrow.  This system is complex and has many moving parts but it is our best solution for avoiding the free for all grid that people did not care for in previous events.

I'm getting tired and I haven't even talked about the day yet.  Pilots reported seeing lift at times over 12 knots and having to push from busting 18,000'.  Fun!  They also experienced larger than expected areas of over development and storms in certain regions.  I think 5 pilots ended up landing out due to the storms with no reported damage.

As the pilots were coming home to land a storm front from the south decided to hit Nephi.  Winds hit around 25 knots straight from the south so the final half dozen that landed changed from landing 35 to 17. No problems.  Everyone did a great job working together to coordinate and get down safely.  Our ground crew worked hard to get them off the runway as quickly as possible. 

Tonight we had a great catered dinner and BB (John Cochrane) spoke on decision making and keeping your head straight to the pilots.  It seemed like even though we are all tired and sun burned, no one was anxious to leave the hangar and socializing continued until 10pm.  It is now 10:29 and I should be in bed.

As the event organizer, let me again thank everyone who is both participating and volunteering.  Our goal was to have an absolute blast and I think it is working out pretty darn well.  I get to leave ground ops to Ron and fly tomorrow - can't wait! :)  Bruno - B4

Posted: 6/29/2015


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