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Region 4 South - Day 2 Report

New Castle Regional Day 2, 22Sep09


Everyone woke up this morning with eyes toward the sky and unfortunately it continued to be overcast with low ceilings. Ray Galloway our weather man started reviewing weather data from last evening’s soundings at day break and continued with updated information until the pilots meeting at 10:00am. Ray and the CD met with the task advisors at 9:00am and decided to keep yesterday’s task based on today’s marginal weather forecast. The task consisted or a 2hour TAT with minimum distance of 51mi and maximum of 119mi with two turn points along the east side of the ridges in the same valley as New Castle. These two turn points offer acceptable out landing terrain as well as the possibility for backside ridge lift and thermals. Our three task advisors for New Castle are Jim Frantz (standard), Hank Nixon (15m) and Al Tyler (18m). We are extremely fortunate to have such experienced advisors not only from a local knowledge viewpoint from years of flying at New Castle but also the fact that each is an outstanding contest pilot in his own right.


Since the overcast continued to be low at the 10:00am pilots meeting some extra time was used in briefing the pilots on the recent SSA directors meeting in Dallas Texas. We are extremely fortunately to have two directors and the Chairperson for SSA foundation at the contest. Directors Diane Black and Al Tyler and Foundation Chair Penn Smith presented an outstanding briefing of the health of the SSA. It was a real pleasure to hear that the SSA is now on sound financial ground with a plan to stay that way in the future. We all have a large debt of gratitude to Diane and her team for their dedicated effort in developing and implementing a strategy to get the SSA back to a sound and sustainable financial organization over the last two years. Diane, Al and Penn received a standing ovation at the end of the briefing.


Back to contest business the pilots meeting was postponed until 12:00 noon in an effort to get an updated weather briefing before making a decision to grid or cancel the day. As the days get shorter in Virginia we must get on the grid and start lunching no later than 2:15pm in order to get in a 2hr minimum task before the day normally ends at around 5:00pm. At 12:30pm there were a few breaks in the overcast but still low ceilings with the tow plane drop area on the Sinking Creek mountain still under cloud. Ray took another hard look at the surrounding  weather stations and the regional satellite trying to find a hole where we might get the fleet safely launched and a minimum task started. The bottom line is it just didn’t look possible from a safety viewpoint and the day was cancelled.


As the afternoon progressed the sky did continue to clear and the wind from the Southeast increased enough that four pilots took a launch and flew the back side of the ridge. The report I now have is that the cloud base was about 3200ft above ground with weak thermals. One of the pilots launched is ridge pilot extraordinary John Seymour and at the present time is reported to being attempting the task. If anyone can make it work it will be John. As you all know John won the recent Sports Class Nationals at Elmira under extremely difficult weather conditions, will give you an update tomorrow on John’s report for the day and if he was able to complete the task.



We now have 4 days remaining to get in the required two days for a regional contest. All the pilots and organization are setting on ready and with just a little help from the weather we will make it happen. Dick

Posted: 9/22/2009


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