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Open and Standard Class Nationals - Day 7 Pilots Meeting Report

23 June 2009

Today we lost one Open Class pilot and gained a Standard Class pilot. Rick Walters did some cosmetic damage to glider CW and will be leaving the contest for a touch-up on the glider at Williams Soaring. Veteran pilot Ray Gimmey (7V), rolled in yesterday and said he realized the others are way ahead on the scoresheet, but figures he can make it up.

Three pilots in Open Class finished yesterday; two in Standard. Several Standard Class pilots landed at Weed; the rest of the pilots were scattered over the task area. Walters was the last pilot to find himself out standing in his field, landing out at 7:45 p.m.

Standard Class winner Peter Deane (2T) started in the middle of the pack and found “incredibly weak” air. With nothing good happening at Duzel, he rounded China Start and just a little beyond that, he ran into several pilots, most of them dumping water. After a detour near Longbell Ranch, he made his way to Dry Lake, flying with CG, SS, and a few others. “The whole day was full of ‘save your ass’ experiences,” he said. After Dry Lake, Deane flew with CG and found it helped greatly to work with someone else. At Radar, Deane met David Greenhill (16). He felt it was best to return to Tennant the way they had arrived. After a long glide into trees, with conditions not improving, Deane detoured to the field where Walters later landed, seeing dust kicking up in that area. Both he and Greenhill hung on at Tennant as if it were the last thermal they’d ever get. Deane had to  work  hard to find the last climb and found himself holding on to 600’ above McCready 0 to get home. “It was 60 knots and helplessness,” he said.

Coming to the front of the room to review his flight on the big screen, Open Class winner Dick Butler (DB) said, “Let’s fast-forward the flight trace; it was a long day.” Butler started later than he wanted to because he couldn’t seem to climb. Starting at 7500’, he dribbled down to China, in and out of crevices, seeing nothing. He was able to get up near Weed high enough to get to Deer Mountain, where he saw other gliders marking thermals. He passed Medicine Lake on the way to  Dry Lake and flew with Walters and Garret Willat (H7). Taking a detour to the right,  he headed back to Deer Mountain, while Garret took a direct line—he found Garret back at Deer Mountain. Garret and DB got a good climb. After Medicine Lake, Garret went straight home. DB, on the other hand, said “I diverted over every hill and knob and finally found a thermal about 7:15. I don’t know where it came from—it wasn’t in any of the places I was looking.” Scared about getting through the gap in the ridge before Siskiyou County Airport, Butler climbed 1,000 feet too high.

Third place finisher for the day, SS, received a start penalty for remaining below maximum start height for less than two minutes—the result of sheer nervousness to start the task that lay ahead. He said it was a day on which you would find the most bugs on the trailing edge of your glider. SS also received a finish penalty for a low finish, his only option other than a no finish.

The prize for the highest flying of the day probably goes to Dale Kramer (K1), who got to 13,000 feet early in the day, not far from China.

Contest Manager Noelle Mayes reported that most of yesterday’s landouts were on the east side of valley, where many cell phones did not work. Text messages, however, did seem to come through. Rick Walters walked three miles to get to a road looking for a ride, and the only car he saw all night was that of his retrieve crew.

Weatherman Peter Kelly reported that today would hold lighter winds, slightly from the north. Pilots can expect thermals and cu’s similar to yesterday’s, and there will be wispy clouds, if any. The “dreaded northeast winds,” should result in ground and lower air warming at same rate. “The weather service doesn’t appreciate how fast it’s going to warm up,” said Kelly. No cirrus are expected. Kelly predicted convergence lines similar to yesterday, but more of a marked line along southern side of task area and along Scott Valley from Carter up to Happy Camp, most of the day. Kelly offered to show the weather at Weed, since so many pilots seemed to end up there yesterday.

CD Nelson Funston began, “Montague humbles CDs even more than it humbles pilots.” He apologized for a “serious overcall,” and said, “We won’t make that mistake again today. We may make another one. But you were in the cockpit for 7 hours yesterday. Today it will be 3 hours, because it’s a 3 hour task.”

Both classes will have the same task, which Funston described as “basically a free-for-all, with all of you in the same area going the same direction.” The task sheet listed a back-up task and a third “Desperation Task,” a 3-hour MAT “free-for-all from Duzel.” Said Funston, “The weatherman assured me we won’t have to use it, but then he assured me that yesterday.”

After pilot meeting, privately CD was heard to ask Garret Willat (H4), “How do you feel about today’s task?” Responded Willat, “I don’t want to do it.”

Gena Tabery

Posted: 6/23/2009


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