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2017 15 Meter, Open, and Standard Class Nationals - Day 2 Happened

Looking more like the Cordele we know and love, the day developed early and went late. We got the first launch off today promptly at 12:30. That was great, except we should have been launching at 12:00. It really did look great and we could have been flying much earlier. Our weatherman’s predictions were nearly spot on. The only thing he got wrong was the prediction of spreadout. As it turned out, there was only a bit of spreadout here and there and the lift went on until nearly sunset. Most pilots were out on course for about a bit over 3 hours and the top finishers had speeds over 70mph for distances over 200 miles. I think most of the pilots were pleased with the day and the task, although it seemed a bit of an undercall to me.

We have done Assigned Speed Tasks the first two days. That seems to be pretty popular with most of the pilots, however, it is clear from the scoresheets that the tasks so far have not done much to spread out the scores. Calling identical or very similar tasks for all the classes favors gaggling together out on course. Also, one should remember that this is a national championship and every pilot here is highly skilled. Scores should be fairly close.

The array of gliders here with auxiliary propulsion is remarkable. We got the conventional “retractable engine/prop-on-a-stick” type motorgliders. Some with two-stroke piston engines, some with Wankel rotaries. There’s a JS-1 with a jet sustainer here. Very James Bond. Then there’s the Front Electric ASW-27 that I mentioned yesterday. Motorgliders that self launch at contests often do so to help the organizers expedite the launch. However, the combustion engine ships present some interesting challenges for the CD.  Most of these ships climb pretty well, but still take longer to get to altitude than the pure gliders with jettisonable 235 hp engines tied to their noses. The motorgliders also need to go a little higher to make up the altitude lost after engine shutdown when they are in a high drag configuration. Then, they have to keep the engines at least partially extended until cool enough to stow and close up the bay doors. If a motorglider at the back of it’s class self launches, then the CD should delay the task opening time by a few minutes to allow the motorglider pilot to get it sorted out.

Dinner tonight was catered by Cordele’s famous Smoakie’s BBQ and most graciously hosted at the Ramada Inn. The pork BBQ, ribs, and chicken were excellent as were the fixins. Oh, and desserts. Gotta have that banana pudding.

Tomorrow’s forecast looks a lot like today’s except the ground will be dryer and it’s going to be warmer. Rest up pilots. I’m working on your tasks for tomorrow. All I can say at this point is expect to launch earlier and fly farther.

Posted: 6/9/2017


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