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Open and Standard Class Nationals - Day 4 Evening Report

June 19 was the sixth straight day of flying at the Standard and Open Class nationals, and Region 11 Sport contest.  The Regional has one more day to fly and the Nationals has six assuming there will be at least one rest day. 


Friday started out overcast and dark; several pilots asked if we would be flying today which meant more likely “would we not be flying.”  The weatherman was not optimistic: high winds all day and low cloud bases that would descend in the afternoon.  Nevertheless, we attempted to put together a task that would make the best of the day. 


We chose a short task for all classes:  3 hours for Open, 2.5 hours for Standard, and 2 hours for Sport.  Because of the possibility of wave and local shear lines from the wind, we wanted to keep the field of gliders generally together to minimize the possibility of someone finding a fluke elevator.  We assigned a series of turnpoints with 10-mile radiuses:  five turns for Open, four for Standard, and three for Sport Regional.  We wanted as early launch as possible, approximately 1.5 hours after the pilots meeting.


The day started out much as predicted.  The sniffer quickly found sustainable lift on Craggy, and we immediately launched the fleet in slightly over one hour.  Toward the end of the launch, the Sport Regional group were having more trouble staying up than the earlier launches and we had a few re-lights.  On course, the day got progressively better as temperatures did not decline much during the day as predicted.  Consequently speeds were fast.


Open class saw over 80 mph:  Garret 81.7, Walters 79.0, and Tabery 74.8.  Standard class leaders were Garner 75.6, Greenhill 70.0, and Parker 65.5.  Sport Regional Kelly 53.3 handicapped (64.0 actual), Green 53 handicapped (60.3 actual), Pfiffer 51.3 handicapped (58.0 actual).


Today shook up the score a bit.  Garner won the Standard day after landing out the day before.  Ittner had been leading the contest after several wins and landed out, dropping to fifth.


Ittner’s landout was especially painful since it was right out of the gate while he was trying to return to the airport for a re-light.  Peter Deane landed one mile short of the airport on his return, having completed the task. 


Cooler temperatures again were appreciated by contest crews on the ground.  A number of wonderful assistants are helping the contest operations, and we’re glad that they are a happy group of lads.  The night-time skies are great for star gazing, and the valley has wonderful scenery especially views of Mt. Shasta to the south and Mt. Ashland to the north.  Years ago, a contest pilot wandered away from day’s task just to get a view of beautiful Crater Lake in southern Oregon. 


Montague and the Shasta valley provided varied flying on this contest day.  There was powerful sink and not much lift in the Shasta valley all day.  Wind shear broke up thermals, and ragged cu’s peppered the area most of the day.  Overall it was a bit of an under call.  Rick Walters said it was the best day he had ever seen for the Scott Valley (west) soaring area.  What will the 20th  bring to the contest flying?


Posted: 6/20/2009


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