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15 Meter Nationals - Aug 10 Report

2010 15-Meter National Soaring Championships – Uvalde, TX

Report for 10 August


After a day of rest, pilots were ready for some serious racing.  Our weather cooperated, serving up perhaps the best-looking sky of the contest so far - which is to say simply superb. It was a day that looked as if it could support just about any task anyone could name.  We went with a 5-hour turn-area task that took pilots east, south, northwest, northeast, east, and north of home.  Distances ranged from a minimum of 227 to a maximum of 690 possible miles (and no, not even at Uvalde are pilots going to do 140 mph).

 The flying proved to be almost but not quite as good as the sky promised.  Conditions were often inconsistent from place to place, and the endless north-south cloudstreets for which Uvalde is famous failed to set up: pilots had to be content with runs of 10 and 15 miles between climbs, rather than the anticipated 50 to 60.

Of 23 pilots who launched, two returned home with incomplete tasks; the rest were finishers.  For the second contest day in a row, the best result was turned in by Bill Ruehle (WR), who did 78.6 mph over 404 miles.  Three pilots exceeded 400 miles; the best distance was 407 miles (655 km).

 The cumulative scoresheet remains tight, with steady Mark Keene (HK - daily placings: 5, 1, 4, 3, 4, 2) holding a 39-point lead over Bill.  Rounding out the top 5 are John Seaborn (A8), Gary Ittner (P7), and Chris Saunders (UH).

 As almost everyone has noticed, satellite tracking is becoming popular for gliders.  Compact SPOT trackers report their horizontal position every 10 minutes, which makes it possible to follow a chosen pilot’s progress. (Of course what we really need is once-a-minute reporting, that includes altitude.)

 This is especially popular with crews, not least because it allows a pilot to report the precise location of a landout, even when this happens in an area of poor cellphone coverage.  (What a long way we’ve come from the days when every landout meant an uncertain hike in search of a land-line telephone.)

 Pilots who have yet to “get with the program” of satellite tracking might wish to consider this e-mail, received this morning by Brenda (A8 crew) from her mother-in-law:

I get 15 pilots on the Spot mapping site. I don't have: WR, UH, P7, JW, K1, XC, ST, 011, W7.  I can not believe everyone does not have a SPOT!  I suspect these pilots don't want anyone to know where they are; I am pretty sure P7 feels that way. I don't imagine there is anything we can do about it but it's hard to make any kind of a judgment on John's progress compared to those front runners if we can't track them. Bummer!

- Peg Seaborn

Peg speaks with the experience of 93 years on this earth.  Listen to your mother!

 Two scheduled competition days remain in this contest.  Current weather forecasts say that both look fully flyable, and probably good.  Our race is far from decided.  Stay tuned.







Posted: 8/10/2010


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