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Practice Day report form John Good

(A dwindling number of ancient pilots fondly remember spring contests at Chester SC.  This was the first contest of the year, always attracting a strong field consisting of top pilots eager to get back into form after a long winter’s layoff from competition and a host of others suffering from a glider pilot’s case of cabin fever.  That contest ceased its long run in the early 1990s - among other issues, its airspace was overrun by huge increases in traffic at the Charlotte NC airport.  Its successor is now enjoying a long and equally storied run at a beautiful location just a couple of hours southwest of Chester.)

The 19thversion of the Region 5 North contest is now underway at Perry SC.  Al and Rhonda Tyler have one again extended their gracious hospitality to 65 of their best friends, most of whom have traveled from locations unsuitable for April flying to a place that has established a solid reputation for excellent early-season motorless aviation.

Easter weather here was everything a soaring pilot could wish.  Good Friday featured a cold front that brought some heavy rain and strong winds (though not the damaging weather that some forecasts predicted).  Saturday was post-frontal and seemed to offer some promise, but this was spoiled by low temperatures, high winds, scudding cloud and occasional showers.  Today made the wait worthwhile, presenting beautiful cumulus clouds organized into streets by moderate northwest winds, and good climbs to over 5000’.

The 2-hour practice task was perhaps a bit short for these very good conditions.  Nearly everyone who attempted the task finished; winning speeds ranged from 57 mph in Sport class to 77 mph in 18-Meter class (where waterballast is permitted).

Notable on the airfield is a beautiful new hangar at the west end, a combined Zimmerman-Mozer project, home to Sam’s ASH-31Mi and Eric’s ASG-32Mi.  Tucked in one corner is a luxurious bathroom, seemingly built more to the standards of an upscale hotel than a glider hangar.  Eric is happy to show this to his many guests, always with a broad smile.


 John Good

Posted: 4/22/2019