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Region 4 North - Contest Day 3 Report

Region 4 North, Fairfield PA
Friday 15 October 2010 – Contest Day 3 (18m & 15m/Standard), Contest Day 2 (Sports)

“Brutal”  “Ugly”  “Wild Ride”  “Toughest Day I’ve ever had in a glider”

We knew it would be a booming day. The forecast called for WNW winds 15-18kts, gusting to over 30; cu starting before noon; 6-8kt lift to 5000-6000ft; with the possibility of a few showers. What we got was pretty much as advertised. The task was a MAT to give pilots the flexibility to run the ridges or stay away if they were not comfortable. Turnpoints could only be used once.

The first concern was: Could we safely launch the fleet? We gridded on the taxiway and only put 5 gliders on the runway at a time, in order to provide maximum space for the downhill, downwind launch (we cannot take off in the other direction due to rotor off the nearby ski hill). The launch went off without a hitch although a bit later, after a few relights, a couple of tow pilots had to stop towing due to the turbulent conditions.

Crossing the Chambersburg Valley to get to the ridge proved to be a challenge for all who attempted it. 5500’ cloud streets ended before the ridge and then there was rain to negotiate. Some never made it and landed out. Baude Litt [LBL] drove through the rain, picking up an 8 knotter in the process.

Generally speaking, cloudbase was in the 4500-5000’ range (Rob Dunning got to 6000’ in wave). Lift could be vario-pegging at times (10-14kts) with equally large sink. With no water ballast, the ridge was brutal. 35kts at ridge top. Even seasoned ridge runners had a hard time of it. Some couldn’t even get down on the ridge, staying 500-1000’ above it. The CD [SM] recorded G-forces from +4 to -1.

Gregg Leslie [GL] smoked everyone and won the 15m/Std Class with 86.94 mph/320 mi by running the ridges at 120kts (and hitting his head on the canopy at least 30 times). Tim Welles [W3] was the only finisher in 18m with 72.20/241. In the Sports, Rob Dunning [V3] wins with a handicapped 33.71/100.

There were a lot of land outs, but all made it back in time for dinner in the hangar: More of Pat Buckley’s appetizers and soup, salad & chili made by Pat, Joan Jackson, and Chuck Forrester. It was a tough day and everyone is tired.

Janine Acee (SM Ground)

Posted: 10/15/2010


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