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Seniors Championship - March 10 Report

2010 Senior Contest – Seminole Lake Gliderport, Clermont Florida

Report for March 10

Florida weather cooperated rather well today.  Some pessimistic forecasts of yesterday gave way to sunny skies and predictions of blue lift to 4000’.  Winds looked to be a problem: one forecast said we’d see 30 knots at 3000’ AGL.

In the event, thermals were stronger (5 knots) and higher (5000’) than predicted, and winds aloft were about half of the dire values predicted.  Even better, some area had useful cumulus clouds – the first seen during this contest (local wisdom says that southerly winds will yield cumulus clouds in Florida even when soundings say the day must remain blue).

The result was the best winning speeds of the contest thus far. But area of suppressed lift and troubles at low altitudes also led to more abandoned tasks, outlandings and motor starts than on any previous day.

Dick Butler did the best job of handling the variable conditions, posting an unhandicapped speed of 68.5 mph over a task of 185 miles.  Like contest leader Tom Kelley, Dick is flying an ASG-29 at 15 meters span, which seems to yield a good combination of performance, wingloading and handicap.  (It also helps if you can fly as well as Tom & Dick consistently do.)

With three good flying days out of four, this easily qualifies as the best soaring week in Florida so far this year (a number of pilots that have been here for a couple of months have doubled their total flying hours during this contest).  The forecast for Thursday and Friday calls for rain, and so Friday has been declared the official rest day (a feature of the Senior Contest).  Based on current predictions, we have some chance of good flying on Saturday.

John Good


Posted: 3/10/2010


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