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Region 5 East - Practice Day Report

Jefferson, SC 
May 31, 2009

This is my first trip to Bermuda High Soaring, site of the Region 5 East contest, and I have to say it is a very impressive facility.  Huge grass runway, beautifully manicured grounds, plenty of camper/RV sites and an air-conditioned clubhouse!  I have always considered my home club (Caesar Creek Soaring Club near Waynesville, Ohio) to have the best facilities in the U.S., but I am now having to reconsider that ranking!

I arrived Friday evening, to be greeted by Frank Reid, the owner/operator of Bermuda High.  He showed me around and listened to me saying "Wow, this is neat!" several times, and then left me to set up my camper van.  Saturday was not an official practice day, but some of us early arrivals set up an informal task in anticipation of the very good soaring weather indicated by the forecast.  Unfortunately, the actual weather didn't match the forecast, and I wound up landing at a nice grass strip some 50 miles from home.  One of Frank's towpilots brought a Pawnee down to fetch me, and I was home in time for a shower, a beer or two, and a cookout in the camping area.

Today's initial weather forecast was every bit as good as yesterday's, and our erstwhile CD Rick Sheppe called a three-circle AAT with big radii so that both the ASG-29's and the 1-26's had room to play.  The task was a 2.5hr TAT: north to 21 Knapp with a 25-mile circle, southeast to 15 Darlington with a 20-mile circle, west to 11 Camden with a 15-mile circle, and then home - nominal distance 144 miles.  The Cu's started popping around noon, and the launch started about 12:30 and went smoothly.  Things were sort of scratchy for a while, and we did have a couple of relights, but conditions slowly improved and pilots started out on course about 1:30 or so.  Early starters were having trouble getting above 4000', but late starters were getting to almost 6000'. The first leg to the north was a little soft, with thready and inconsistent thermals below 4000', although Wally Berry (WB) said that he flew almost the entire first leg of about 30 miles without turning.  Conditions improved on the way south to Darlington, and some pilots were getting to almost 7000 and reporting some 6+kt climbs.  Kevin Anderson,  getting himself and his 1-26 (192) tuned up for the 1-26 nationals, took three tries to get out the start cylinder, but got around the course with a respectable (handicapped) 36mph.   Frank Paynter (TA) won the (practice) day in Std/15m with 54mph and Chris Ruf (H6) won in Sports with 48mph.  Everyone got home again, and John Bojack (J4) showed his impeccable timing by driving up just in time for the wonderful welcome dinner hosted by Jayne and Frank Reid.

Tomorrow's weather looks to be pretty decent, and we are all looking forward to the first competition day.  See ya at the airport, Charlie.

- Frank Paynter

Posted: 5/31/2009


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