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Region 4 South - Day 4 Report




24 Sep 10 Day 4 New Castle R4S


Weather data from all available sources indicated that today would be as good or better than yesterday. The local soundings showed super-adiabatic lapse rates to 10k ft with about 24% cloud cover. As you can imagine the task advisors and CD were excited about selecting an even more challenging task than yesterday. As with yesterday a 7 turn point MAT was selected for all three classes with a three hour minimum time. The turn points crisscrossed the mountain ranges with the first turn being at Union WV, a seldom used turn point unless we have very strong conditions. In addition to the Union turn point we inserted a turn point Buchanan in the James River bottom which is very seldom used for obvious reasons. As is often the case when you have such high expectations something normally happens to bring things back to reality.


Everything was on schedule and following game plan with the sniffer Jim Smiley being launched at 1150. By 1200 Jim was climbing through 4500ft on his way to 6000ft. The standard class was readying for launch to the North when the wind significantly increased from the southwest and we put the launch on hold to access the safety of launching down wind. The ground operations personnel and tow pilots just didn’t feel comfortable with the down wind launch with the increased wind strength. At this point we stopped all operations and repositioned the sailplanes for a southerly launch. Believe it or not we were able to do this in 30min and commenced launching again at 1240 with the 18m now being first on the grid. The repositioning of the sailplanes was the smart thing to do because we now had winds of 15kt gusting to 20kt out of the SW. The 18m was launched and it’s start gate opened at 13:05 with the original assigned of task of 7 turn points and 3hr minimum time. Before the next class (15m) had finished launching we had three 15m sailplanes in the pattern for relights. At this time we reassessed the 15m and standard class task and eliminated the Union WV turn point and shortened the task to 2hr 30min. After a lot of task changing and roll calls in the air we finally got all classes started by 1350.


Not as good in some respects as yesterday, fewer clouds, more wind but still an outstanding day for New Castle in mid September. All classes reported lift averaging about 5kt with an occasional 9-10kt thermal to cloud base of 9000ft. Most everyone including the fast guys had some  point where they got a little too aggressive, missed a thermal, and found themselves getting low with strong winds breaking up the thermals. The task leg most challenging for everyone was near the end of the task when all classes left the most northeasterly turn point Big Hill and headed into a 20kt headwind to the most southwesterly turn point Catawba Valley. This leg was about a 40mi leg passing over New Castle so pilots could bail out at New Castle if necessary. Many pilots took a direct line which took them through the valley between mountain ranges while others diverted slightly to follow the spine of adjacent mountain ranges, for either route it was an interesting and challenging leg. Based on the stories it seems that the guys who diverted and followed the spine made the best decision in the end.


As seen from the scores we still have close races in all three classes. In the Standard Class John Good (X) and Herny Retting (R) are still fighting it out with each of there speeds today being less than one mph apart with John being on top, only 54pts separate their total score. In the 18m, John Murray continues to fly an outstanding contest winning for the 4th day in a row. Although John has consistently won each day, his main competitor Baude Litt (LBL) is only 186 pts behind. In the 15m Class Dennis Linnekin (DL) showed the pros how it is suppose to be done today with a 70.4mph speed, almost 2mph above his closest 15m competitors. Karl Striedieck (KS) continues to lead Hank Nixon (UH) by 196 points. As we all know, anything is possible in sailplane racing so stay tuned it ain’t over “until the fat lady sings”.


Dick Butler,  CD

Posted: 9/24/2010


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