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15M Nationals - 15M Nats day 1, Club class Day 2

Wednesday  May 13, 2009

Contest Day One- 15m

Contest Day Two - Club Class



Well, we were expecting a good one today but it turned into one of those days that separate the men from the boys instead.   Unfortunately, a lot of good men went down, too.   


Tow pilot Jayne Reid described it as "one of those days that had total cloud cover and you really didn't know where to take them and just kinda drove around up there until you found a gaggle to drop them off in."   Lift was at best 3 knots and went to maybe 4000 if you were lucky.   More typical was 1.5 knots to about 3600 feet msl.  (we're at 500msl on the ground)   Then, to top it all off a higher layer of cloud came in late in the day to really turn the lift off, and that's what got many of the later starters or those who went deep into the first circles and were late getting back to the last turnpoint.


Many of the 15 meter "landouts" with recorded airport bonuses were the guys who were driving to the third turnpoint which happened to take them right over Cordele, the home airfield.   It was just impossible to get away from the field from the low altitudes they had glided to, and the safety of the airport with its associated bonus points was just the prudent decision.   The other choice was to try more cross country over a large stretch of mostly forest and wet ground and, with the high deck moved in and the lift going from weak to puny, it was "Cordele traffic, right pattern for runway 23".


There were also many field landouts.  More than a few of these occurred very early on the first leg as we failed to switch gears from the "partially water ballasted- driving with reflexed flaps mode"  to the tiptoeing empty and working everything you could find to stay alive technique that was required.    Water ballast was streaming as several planes could be spotted down low desperate to climb back to the clouds that actually weren't that far above them.    But, the efforts were mostly to no avail as lift became  very  narrow and elusive much below 2000msl and often the best result one could hope for was positive vario readings for only half the turn which, if patiently worked, would bring you back to a higher altitude where the vario needle went positive for the entire circle.


I can tell you things about the 15m task with greater detail as I experienced it myself for 85 miles before  it was  "allez aux vaches" myself, but I know little about  the club class course line.   Looking at the scoresheet it looks like they've had their fun, too.   I know of one club class plane that was damaged during a landout, but without injury to the pilot.


The weather for the next several days is promising isolated thunderstorms later in the evening.  We're betting this means some classic Cordele weather is coming, as this brings some good racing.....but, that's what we expected today so......?      Hopefully we'll get the rip snorter we all want.


Stay tuned.



Posted: 5/13/2009


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