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Region 4 North - Stormy Weather...

Buenos días. Here’s a recap for October 10.

At the morning brief, weather-guesser Richard Kellerman (QV) prognosticated the day to be “not horrible but rather troubled.” Prediction for 1 to 2K of lift to 3K MSL (~2.5K AGL) but winds SSW at 25K. The winds were the “troubled” part. In the end, I don’t think I saw that strong of a wind rather I was seeing more like 15K max. This made the day more manageable and a number of folks got around the circuit. 

All 3 classes got in a day. At the October 11 Pilot’s meeting the daily winners recounted their strategies:

18M Daily winner John Semour (SM) recounted it to be the “usual low level mission”. His tactic was to stay high and not go too deep into the 1st turn point which would have necessitated a lot of effort to beat back into the headwind on the way to the 2nd TP.

FAI winner was Baude Litt (LBL) who also had the fastest raw speed for the day. Baude’s day started poorly but steadily improved. He found 3K lift on course. At one point getting low he spied a falcon doing steep wingovers with no seeming intention of climbing. Heading over to the raptor Baude was greeted with a 3K climb. Baude performed a lovely “runway inspection” finish. Christiane Litt remarked “The caged lion is now happy”.


Sport Class winner was Karl with Pepe in the back (KS). The dynamic-duo started the mission by ridge soaring College Mountain waiting for a good climb to get situated. Karl stated that it was a tough day and that he could not have done it if he had 1 inch less wingspan.

Each of the winners applied that new rule that allows starting at the back of the 5 mile start circle.

Today, October 11  was called due to weather; we are under the influence of Tropical Storm Michael. We do not expect any serious inclement conditions other than rain and perhaps a thunderstorm. Various activities being discussed included heading to town to catch a movie. It was decided that good movies all shared certain themes those being space-travel, time-travel or dinosaurs. Not sure which space/time/dinosaur movie they went to see.

Yours truly retreated back to Baltimore to attend a Steely Dan concert ( www.steelydanofficial.com ) at the Lyric Theatre ( www.modell-lyric.com ). I have it on good word that they will perform an encore paying homage to Tim Wells (W3)… you know the song… “Don’t want to do it without the FES on, oh no” Laughing ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdNWfZZN6Ho )

Overnight we should still see that cold front passage bringing in strong NW winds which “should” allow for a ridge day. Pilots’ meeting and grid have all been scheduled for an hour earlier than normal. The trick tomorrow is for the winds to not be out-of-bounds velocity wise and lift good enough to allow for the 25 mile upwind slog to get to the ridges. Wave does not look favorable until late in the day. Check back tomorrow for the (hopefully up-high) low-down!

Posted: 10/11/2018

Region 4 North - 40F Temperature Drop

Sport, FAI, and 18M all get a day in today… more mañana.  

It's been in the mid-80's (Fahrenheit) mid-day during the past few days of the contest. Literally the Spring Peepers (frogs) have been peeping away the past few nights confusing Fall with Spring.  Tomorrow is shaping up to be a “rest” (rain) day.

Friday is looking rather “wicked” with a strong cold front blasting through. We like cold fronts (and cold beer.) Friday night lows in the mid-40’s? WTH, over?


Posted: 10/10/2018

Region 4 North - Pea Soup...

Dzień dobry. Here’s a recap of October 9. It took a while for the pea soup to clear leaving us with low CU but sunlight was filtering through. Two sniffers were sent up. The broken lift and wind conspired to confound the inaugural effort and the sniffers landed in short order (but not after a couple of valiant climbs.) A short while later, another attempt was made this time towing straight out to some clouds over the town of Emmitsburg. Things were more solid there with a slow climb to CB at 2.5K AGL. The wind had abated a bit still out of the SW but now down to 10K. Staying elevated was now not a problem but a high cirrus deck was forming high over the CU. After a sniffer-sticking half hour, Marshall started launching the fleet. That’s right about when that high cirrus overcast cooled things enough. The existing working CU starting looking sad… and the landbacks started. Day was called and free flying started. Things brightened up after a while but it was too late to get in a task. Reports from the free flyers after 4:00 pm were that the conditions turned on and were pleasant.


We were hosted last night by Karen and John Machamer at their hangar for a Chili Dinner with all of the fixins. The Machamer’s hangar is just chock full of very interesting aviation-centric historical pieces. John also has a beautifully restored Davis and Super Cub that we all ogled over. Good times; thanks John and Karen!


Reviewing the numbers from Day 1, it looks like the FAI class got a day in. So we have 1 day for 18M and FAI.


Today, Oct 10, the CD is launching the Sports Class first in an attempt to get them their first day in. Conditions today look tricky with light lift and breezy conditions. We will give it a go and see what unfolds. Tomorrow we will likely need to batten-the-hatches in anticipation of the remnants of Hurricane Michael. A cold front passes overnight Thursday with Friday shaping up to be a ridge day. Saturday is also shaping up nicely.


Grid at 11:45 am with Pilot’s meeting at noon. We’ll see how it goes. Come back for an update!


Posted: 10/10/2018

Region 4 North - October 8, Recap...

Guten Tag race fans! The wake up weather for the past few mornings has presented as “Fifty Shades of Grey (fog)”.  Regardless the sun has been consistent and (eventually) posting although tardier than ideal. 

Day 1 Eighteen Meter winner was Erik Mann (P3). Erik recounted his winning strategy which centered around using the gas-fired power plant located a few miles to the east of the town of Gettysburg. Don’t look for it on a sectional as it’s not marked so it really does not exist in this dimension. Regardless Eric was able to use this nonexistent thermal generator for 3 circuits.  On the first pass, the thermal presented as 1K. Eric found 3 K on his second pass boosting him to the nose-bleed height of 4K AGL. His thrid pass presented as 5K to 3.5K AGL. When it’s working, the power plant acts like a “Blow torch in a dark room” and when it’s not, well, there are suitable fields around; Karl (KS) and Baude (LBL) can point them out for you. Chip Bearden (JB) reported 6K at the power plant. Chip and Eric are starting a support group for pilots diagnosed with STD (“Synthetic Thermal Disorder”.)

It was noted at the pilot’s meeting that M-ASA’s own Tom Jones (OB) flew his first contest task on Day 1. A rousing round of applause ensured. Good job and best wishes for the remainder of the meet go out to Tom.

On the grid the sun was very lazy waking up and did not peek out from the clouds until about 1:00 pm. I guess El Sol didn’t like what it saw and hit snooze for a bit more time over the covers. At 2:00 pm, CD Marshall Mcclung called the day but a number of pilots, not wanting to waste gap seal tape, took “sport” tows and free flew. Everyone who took tows stuck and reported CB at 2K AGL. 

With all of this moisture in the air the late afternoon and sunset sky has been quite spectacular. The sun is working very hard at lighting up the remaining clouds and blow-off tops resulting in truly gorgeous colors and textures. I’m thinking if the sun didn’t work so hard it might be better rested and able to get up a bit earlier for us. That would be a welcome tradeoff. 

This Tuesday morning, while still foggy, I perceive a “Brighter Shade of Pale” than yesterday. Pilot’s meeting at 10:00 am. I’m off to rig. Check back later gang. 



Posted: 10/9/2018

Region 4 North - Another Soggy Morning

This morning broke with fog down to our ankles.  We're just now (1245) starting see some sun and optimism among the pilots.  Stay tuned for more.


Rick Fuller


Posted: 10/8/2018

Region 4 North - Buongiorno, Day 1 Recap

Buongiorno race fans. The first contest day for Region 4 N is in the bag and it was a mixed bag at that. The day started in heavy fog. While we could see the tree line across the runway, the ski hill remained obscured. Good times. Regardless the forecast looked promising and after the morning meetings, we got down to the business of rigging. The sky began to show through and the ski hill began to appear; yeah. Then the temperature and humidity began to rise; huh? “Is this Pennsylvania in the fall or Georgia in the summer?” someone quipped.

CD Marshall McClung sent off sniffer Danny Brotto (P6) and acting-sniffer Karl Striedieck (Duo Discus KS with Peppi Sare in the back) into a 2K AGL cloud base. Lift was pretty weak and broken but when P6 announced “lift for a full circle on that one”, John Seymour declared “fait accompli” and it was on. 

Launch commenced and everyone stuck with no relights required. 

As expected about mid-afternoon, ground crews began to get busy. I went off to pick up Lou McDonald (LM), Mike Smith for Baude Litt (LBL). FES and SOLO also were called in for retrieve duty. 

One of the sustainer-equipped pilots had engine run problems and actually had to thermal back home; hmmm… 

Peppi Sare: “We struggled like everybody else”.

Baude Litt (LBL): “I never struggled. It was great, good climbs. It was great up until it wasn’t and I had to land out.”

Eric Mann (P3): “I used the Power Plant multiple times. It was working great and was very reliable.”

Karl Striedieck (KS): “We went over to the Power Plant and it was not working. Landed in a field near the power station.” 

The 18M guys got a day in but the FAI and Club classes did not. Check scores for more detail. 

Mid-evening, a compact thunderstorm formed over Hancock Md about 40 miles to our west. The blow off from the cell spread out across the sky making for a particularly colorful close to a very busy day. 

Dinner was Lasagna (www.stouffers.com/Frozen/Lasagna) and a very nice salad (salad prepared by Christiane Litt.) 

Day 2 beaks foggy. A half hour ago, the tree line across the runway was not visible but now we can see an outline of trees, sort of. Looks to be improving. Pilot’s meeting at 10.

Danny Brotto



Posted: 10/8/2018

Region 4 North - Practice Day Recap

Welcome to the final tournament of the 2018 Contest season being held at the lovely Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association near Fairfield PA. Today was the official practice day. Lou McDonald (LM) practiced putting on contest numbers. John Seymour (SM) practiced rolling his fuselage in and out of the trailer. Ross Clements (pilot in training) practiced his RC soaring skills with his FES-inspired Styrofoam glider. You get the picture. Low ceilings and the occasional cloud “spit” favored terrestrial rather than aerial activities. Never-the-less the promise of improving conditions over the next few days kept the growing crowd inspired. Or maybe it was the promise of the Bratwurst dinner scheduled for 6:30? We had two 6 burner grills going and that could barely keep up with the throng of hungry pilots, family and friends (and extended friends). Served up at this popular annual event is a smorgasbord of brauts (www.binkerts.com), beans, kraut, “Tin Potatoes” (Sandi Love’s secret recipe), pies (www.fenwickbakery.com) all washed down with local beer (we like beer.) Everyone was happy and satiated even given the non-flying outcome today.


Tomorrow is the first scheduled contest day. It will likely be foggy in the morning but the afternoon promises to be contestable. Check back for the rousing racing report.

Posted: 10/6/2018

Region 4 North - Practice Day Cancelled

Overcast and low-lying fog obscuring the ski hill caused the practice day to be cancelled.

Posted: 10/6/2018


Yes you guessed it...

Posted: 9/27/2018

Region 4 South - DATES CHANGED - Wednesday still soaked

Lets back up to practice day Saturday; an obligatory task was called with the clear understanding no one in their right mind would attempt and certainly there would be no completions. Guess what - - Dan MacMonagle (EA) did and congratulations. Dan’s a relative newcomer with the good fortune of having Evan Ludeman as a mentor. Dan’s a real tiger … just like Evan. Good job both!

Known at Wednesday’s pilot meeting was the NCI saturation gauge was pegged; the pools of standing water on the runway left nothing to be questioned. Day canceled stated CD Richard Kellerman! Then followed the weather forecast predicting thunder storms Wednesday afternoon continuing into Thursday and maybe even Friday. Though not officially said, I afraid the Fat Lady is me, me, me, meing.

There is a picture on SSA Facebook of the R4S Frequent Flyers. Left to right: 2H Jim Frantz 20+ yrs, LX John Murray 34 yrs, X John Good 33 yrs, UH Hank Nixon 35 yrs, hosts Thecla & Lanier Frantz, SM John Seymour 30+ yrs, KS Karl Striedieck 46 yrs, W3 Tim Wells 33 yrs.  The numbers after their names represent the years they have competed R4S NCI; that’s over 231 cumulative years of flying R4S … impressive. For Lanier … that would be 58 years at NCI.

And as always, thanks to all the BRSS members whose hard work makes this event so special.
Respectfully, Marshall McClung.

Posted: 9/26/2018


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