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Region 4 South - Day 1 Report




New Castle Region 4 South


It was the kind of soaring day at New Castle, Va. that you always want for the first day of a contest. The morning started with a blue sky resulting from a weak dry cold front passing through last evening. The accompanying slightly unstable air from the cold front coupled with the dry conditions over the contest area all added up to a good day with 8k cloud bases and 4-5kt lift. The task advisors agreed on a 3 hour TAT for all three classes with a max distance of 312 miles and a minimum of 77 miles. Of the 27 pilots entered in the contest we have experience levels ranging from 3 first time New Castle contest pilots to several national champions and past USA team pilots. The task advisors did an outstanding job of designing a task that provided a challenge for all level pilots. The task consisted of three turn points with 20mi radius. The first turn was down the ridge about 40mi Southwest of New Castle to New River then back northwest about 70mi to Ingalls and finally back Southwest 60 mi to Mountain Lake. Each of these turnpoints offered the possibility of using the ridge for lift.


The weather forecast was for a thermal day with little possibility of ridge lift and very few if any clouds. As it turned out we did have about 25-30% cumulus clouds and some ridge lift with winds from the northwest at 10-12kts. Most pilots had a good flight and as you can image an interesting story to tell of the low points and high points of each flight. In the 18m class John Murray showed the boys how it should be done with a speed of 69.36 mph. John didn’t go very deep into the New River turn because it was getting blue and soft as he approached the turn. Heading North he let down on the front ridge going to Ingalls and found it to be working good enough to maintain 70-80kts. After turning Ingalls he thermaled back to altitude and crossed over to the Sinking Creek ridge at New Castle and used that ridge to penetrate the last turn and then home. Not far off John’s speed was Baude Litt with 67.59 mph. Baude was able to achieve such a good speed using only thermals. Baude diverted to the Southeast of the first turn circle to stay in contact with the better clouds and obviously made it work to his advantage, an outstanding flight using only thermals.


In the 15m class Karl Striedieck won the day at 63mph with Hank Nixon close behind at 62mph. Karl made a commitment early on not to use the ridge but after not finding that killer thermal  on the way to the second turn found himself on the ridge with little choice but  to made it work for a significant part of the flight. Hank  flew most of the flight in thermals but used the Sinking Creek ridge on the leg home from the last turn point thus improving his overall speed.


In the Standard Class John Good had the winning speed at 62mph with Henry Retting  not far behind in second at 59mph. Both John and Henry flew the entire flight in thermals diverting to the best clouds within the large radius turns and obviously made it work with speed near the 15m guys who flew the ridge. Good job standard class. 


To use ridge or not use ridge was a strategic decision today and in the end it really didn’t make a lot of difference as seen from the scores. Good job by all the pilots today with only one land out early in the day.  Maybe the best flight of the day was by John Semones who earned his Silver C a few weeks ago and immediately proceeded to enter the contest in the standard class.  John did an outstanding job completing his first contest day with speed points. Speaking for myself and many others it took several contest days as a new start contest pilot before we were able to complete a task for speed points, good job John.


Hopefully the weather will support similar soaring conditions in the days ahead, stay tuned.



Dick Butler, CD




Posted: 9/20/2010


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