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Region V West - Saturday Report

We’re back for the final weekend of the first SSA Regional at Chilhowee, but rain is falling from a warm front this morning. The low is over Indiana and we expect the cold front to drive through overnight. The wet ground and overcast will likely mean no racing today.

This part of Tennessee needs the rain, which totals about eight inches below normal. There has been no cold snap to start the leaves turning color but the drought may have stressed them. Poplars are already starting to go yellow gold. Amid the dark green ridges at the higher elevations, there is the occasional sour wood or maple that has gone bright red. That’s just a hint of what happens here around Oktoberfest, when the mountains are a riot of fall colors.

Of the nine ships that raced here last weekend, five are here. Colin Mead and Steve Taylor who came up from Florida, have not returned. And Frank Paynter went home to Ohio. He phoned and said he might come tomorrow. Lane Bush stayed home. Robin Clark hung around and took his LS6 to Fred Dey’s shop in the Sequatchie Valley for three days of expert sanding and polishing. The others have relatively short drives from homes in Georgia and Tennessee. Tim McGowin and Wally Berry left their planes on the field. Kevin Anderson returned Friday night and Linwood Stevenson keeps his sailplane here on the field with partner Key Dismukes.

Out at the field, by the time CD Francois Pin wakes up the rain has quit and he is optimistic about getting in a day. The launch is at 2 p.m. with a 1.5 hour MAT. The sky is looking better, but by the time the gate opens at 2:40, it’s raining near the field. Four pilots take tows and make starts. They get to the assigned turnpoint at the Microwave Tower. But after one more climb, they are done. A southerly wind picks up. Nothing works. They all come back home without minimum distance.

Tonight there will be brisket that’s been cooking all day. And some chicken on a beer.

The forecast is for clearing skies Sunday morning.  Light northerly winds aren’t expected to turn on the ridge lift but there should be enough sun on the ground to get in a good day.

So far, we’ve managed to launch without  bothering to put up a sniffer, but tomorrow Francois may have to put himself to work in that role.

Robin Clark “RF”

Posted: 9/11/2010


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