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Sports Class Nationals - Day 1 Report

Wednesday July 22, 2009Contest Day 1 Task: 3 hr TAT   Hickox (circle:20) Corning/Painted Post (circle:5) Mansfield Bridge (circle:10) Nom:  136.27 (Min: 70.4, Max: 204.04)

We knew it was not going to be easy today, but with the short term weather forecast being dismal, everyone was eager to get Day 1 in. The weatherman (QV) briefed the pilots that there would be some good areas to soar and some not so good.  Lateral cloud spreading was expected. But once gridded, the sun came out and it started to look up. And the sniffers, SM and 1, soon reported 4000 msl and 2 to 3 knots lift. So after a 46 minute launch, the sky looked good and as soon as the gate was opened at 1.36 pm, the field bolted out. Leaving early was a good thing as the air around Harris Hill soon became overcast and still. Corey Sullivan said ‘ If you did not leave with the first few, it was hard to catch up’.

There were three relights; W3, BP, & 7T.Many landed out and only 4 pilots finished the task: Roy McMasters, John Seymour, Ron Ridenour and Doug Jacobs, in that order on top of the score sheet. 

 Many landed back at Harris Hill without going to the last Mansfield turnpoint. Pilots reported that it was a major gear-shift day. Lift ranged from 1 to 8 knots, and back to sink in rapid succession, with a constant battle to outrun the thickening cirrus. Pilots used the same words to sum up the day: challenging, tip-toeing, following the sun, deviating from courseline, tough.

On his way to Mansfield, Andy Gough (44) passed over Harris Hill and got stuck on the ridge. He treated Harris Hill ground and many crews on a hair-raising 20 minute, 200 ft ridge save. Many words of encouragement, advise, criticism, and awe were beamed in his direction until he slowly climbed up, connected and continued to Mansfield. We almost formed a human arrow on the ground pointing to two hawks on the ridge in an effort to help him.

Praise goes to the Harris Hill juniors. There is a whole new generation helping with the launch, retrieve and recovery after landing. They are helpful, courteous, and fun. And there are many girls among them. Steve Sovis (US) surely gets the  ‘ Happy Pilot’ Award.  He was retrieved by 3 female Harris Hill juniors. When the girls got back they gleefully recounted their retrieve experience to their male peers and wondered what the pilot thought when he saw three girls showing up as his retrieve crew. So, we asked him.  He never paused. ‘My car drove up and three beautiful girls got out. That’s every pilots dream’.

Guery Howard, GH1, damaged his glider while landing in a cornfield. If it is up to the group of contest pilots helping in our workshop tonight, he will be flying tomorrow.

Kai Gertsen, the Ironman, and his wife Helga visited today. Kai was supposed to CD this contest but had to cancel last minute due to health issues. Glad he could be here. 

Top four finishers:1.     Roy  McMasters, 2. John Seymour, 3. Ron Ridenour 4. Dough Jacobs


It was a tough day, but nobody complained.

Karin S.


Posted: 7/22/2009


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