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Region 11 Championships - Day 3 Evening Report

Weather for June 17, 2009, the second contest day of the 2009 Open Class and Standard Class nationals and the third contest day for the Region 11 Sports Class, was considerably better than previous days.  Pre-meeting conditions were clear blue skies with jet contrails quickly dissipating and a few cues appearing over the higher ridges by 9 a.m.  And the weatherman confirmed as much. 


The task committee concurred that this day might be as good as it gets.  We decided on 4–hour tasks for both Standard and Open and a 3-hour task for the Sport Regional.  We assigned a longer version of the task that we had been trying to call for the practice day and first day:  a Turn Area task to the southwest corner of the westside soaring area (Callahan), then across the Shasta valley to Backscatter on the eastside, and back again to Carter in the southwest. 


The turn areas were large enough to accommodate both Standard and Open classes (377 mi maximum, 148 mi minimum, and 148 mi nominal).  Sport Regional was assigned a smaller similar task (Callahan, Dry Lake, and Copco Bridge).  Distances were 274 maximum, 103 minimum, and 186 nominal.


Launching started at 12:06 with the Open Class.  Pilots who launched early were soon reporting 2 to 5 kt lift to altitudes over 7000 feet.  The Open task was opened as soon as possible at 12:45.  The Standard Class launched followed by Sport Regional.  The last launch was Sport pilot Martin Grant at 13:15.


Most pilots reported few problems on the first leg to the Callahan area and across the valley to the Medicine Lake and Dry Lake area.  But, when they turned around to come back to the Carter area, it was a different story.  Now, because of stiff 20 kt head winds, going was slow.   The strong northwest wind aloft had not been in the forecast.


Martin Grant in the Sport Regional turned around at Dry Lake when he thought his computer said he would arrive home at about the correct time.  He found an exceptionally good cloud street to the third turn area (Copco Bridge) and arrived home 20 minutes early leaving considerable speed on the table. 


Peter Deane (Standard Class) spent almost 6 hours on the course, completing 269 miles.  He got stuck near Canby and had to make repeated low saves to stay airborne, but he got home. 


The day had contrasts, however, as Open Class pilots flew fast speeds this day:  Ron Tabery smoked the course at 76 mph.  Ron came back from the Backscatter area to Carter along the southern route, crossing Interstate 5 south of Mt. Shasta near Dunsmuir. 

He then went deep into the Trinity Lake area, an area where locals almost never go because of the lack of landing areas.  (Ron has an engine, but on his first attempt to use it at Montague, it refused to make power, not much help to avoid an out-landing.)


In the Open Class, Ron Tabery finished first with 76.16 mph, Dick Butler was second with 71.54 mph, and Garret Willat was third with 68.22 mph.


In the Standard Class, Gary Ittner finished first with 65.13 mph, Chip Garner finished second with 59.25 mph, and David Greenhill was third with 55 mph. 


In the Sport Regional, Dick Pfiffner was first with a handicapped speed of 47.85 mph, Peter Kelly was third with 47.36 mph, and John Sinclair was third with 46.66 mph. 


Conditions on the ground at the airport remained comfortable.  Because of longer contest flying, crews were able to escape to those things they enjoy.  The Shasta valley sky filled with cues in the afternoon before winds increased from the north and the cues appeared to shred apart.  By late evening, Mt. Shasta was completely revealed with drier conditions and the day’s clouds disappeared.  The evening sky was clear.  


Posted: 6/17/2009


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