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Senior Soaring Championship - Mar 16 Report

At the morning briefing, weatherman Fernando Silva told us to expect a long lasting soaring day with light winds and strengthening conditions throughout the afternoon. However he cautioned us that this forecast assumed that we would not be troubled by the cirrus that was expected both to our north and to our south.  This posed the classic pilot’s dilemma: leave early enough to guarantee a safe return, or delay starting with the expectation that the day would both strengthen and last till sunset.

CD John Good set a 2:45 Turn Area Task going both north and south, using five circles.

Most of the pilots left within half an hour of Task opening time (1335 EDT) and were on their way.  A few, including Sam Zimmerman (SZ) elected to trust the forecast and wait till the last minute.  Sam started at 1436.

Five turn areas offered a lot of options for gathering distance.  But there was a trap awaiting some of them – the final Turn Area was bisected by prohibited airspace, and not everyone realized that fact before they made their turns in the second-to-last area.  With only half a Turn Area available at the end, some found themselves undertime at the Finish.  Thankfully, there were no airspace incursions today.

The winners today were Rich Owen (EA) at 64 mph, followed closely by Ron Ridenour (CGC) and Jerry Zieba (ZL).  In the end, Sam’s gamble did not pay off.  He made good time until the day ended, and he started his engine after 163 miles, only ten miles from home.

In the overall standings, Karl Striedieck (KS) and Ron Ridenour are virtually tied for first, and there are four others (Smith, Sorenson, Bennet, Owen) contending for second.  We have only two more days to sort this all out.

At the end of the day in the briefing hangar, the US Team Committee made presentations about the Team while we enjoyed a catered roast beef dinner with gourmet ice cream provided by Janine Acee (J9) and the Penn State Creamery.

Rick Sheppe

Posted: 3/16/2016


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