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Open and Standard Class Nationals - Day 8 Pilot Meeting Report

24 June 2009

Open Class winner Garret Willat: “I thought it would be a really good day. I went  charging off to Antelope with 98. I was going to re-start, but I decided to keep going to China. I saw 98 marking a thermal, and I kept going. I still thought I might re-start, but after I went back to Gunsite, I decided to keep going. I saw people at Cottonwood, but they were too far off course, so I kept going. I went to the second to last cloud and kept going. I went to Carter and thought if I could get to 10,000 feet, I would go to the Marbles [Mountains]. I got to 9,000, decided it was good enough. Going back, I stayed on the Marbles. I made it back to Wright, but it was dead there. I finally connected but too far to the west of cylinder to get into it. I took anything just to get off of it, nicked the cylinder, went out, and then home. I guess the Marbles were working.”

Standard Class winner 2T: “It’s a bit of a blur now. I decided to start later than previously—the day didn’t feel strong to me. I left the start cylinder at 7500 feet—I just couldn’t get a good start. I went to Gunsite and got a good climb. Duzel didn’t work. I ran down the spine, hit China, and got 6 knots off the rocks. I picked up a cloud for a long flight, so I wouldn’t have to mess around at Duzel. I went a little farther for the R Ranch turn, and then straight to Calahan. Then I started to find better climbs. The mountain south of Callahan was beautiful. It’s always a little difficult to find life in the south part of Callahan. I got to 11,000 for a long glide to Gunsite, and nicked the first turn into Restaurant. I didn’t have good luck with the climb and had to push to get the climb at Gunsite. I hit huge sink over Yreka and took a few turns to guarantee height at finish.”

The biggest news of the days is that the Siskiyou County airport is now an active firefighting base. With a fire in a canyon near Happy Camp (west of Wright, about 50 miles northwest of Montague), light, medium, and heavy helicopters will be operating out of the airport.

To complicate matters, Operations Director Bob Ireland noted crosswinds expected later in the day and suggested that pilots keep alternative landing strategies in mind. Steve Leonard (VJS) pointed out that because of the crosswind, operations might want to consider having pilots who land short push off to the east, instead of to the west, as previously mandated. Joking, but not entirely, David Nadler (YO) elaborated, “All ground loops will be to the west.”

CD Nelson Funston: “I liked yesterday’s task, so we’re going to do it again, switching primary and backup. I’m trying to get you east of mountains, so you can work the convergence lines there. Ray was there yesterday and said it worked well. This is a timed task—3 ½ hours. If we don’t get altitudes, we’ll stay on west side.”

Today’s Safety Briefing was brief. CD Funston told everybody, “Keep your head up on landing. There are lots of places to land besides 17 and 35.” Turning to Farmer Rex, who owns the field here, he asked, “Is it okay to land in the alfalfa if it’s windy?”  Farmer Rex answered, “Only if it’s windy.”

Gena Tabery

Posted: 6/25/2009


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