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Seniors Championship - TA Report

I’m writing this report after stuffing myself silly at the superb Welcome dinner hosted by Andreea and Florin Alexandrescu in the ‘back hangar’ (which, according to rumor, is also where many of the Bass Pro Shop commercials are shot).  You know Mike Fuller the owner is a real fishing nut because one hanger wall has a poster showing a boat with a great pair of Johnson outboards!  The menu included some really superb seafood gumbo soup, and some really delicious brownies for dessert.  CD John Good was heard complaining that some of us had eaten all the brownies before he could get any, so I explained that we were simply helping him maintain his svelte figure by sacrificing ourselves on the altar of chocolate (he was not amused).

At the morning meeting Ray Galloway told us that if we liked the practice day, we would love today.  Blue skies again, with top of lift around 3500 early, increasing to 4000-4500 later, better to the south than north.  CD John Good called a 2-turn TAT – Wines (45 miles SSE), then Wauchulla (35 WSW from Wines) then home.  The launch went off without a hitch, with the entire fleet off in less than an hour – wow!

Pre-start conditions were pretty much as predicted, with weak climbs to just above 3000.  By start time, some pilots reported climbs to 4000, and, mostly by mistake, I actually started out the top of the 4000’ cylinder.  Conditions improved the farther south we went, with some 5-6kt climbs to 5000’ in the Wines cylinder.  Visibility was good, so it was pretty easy to see marked thermals all the way down the course line.  The field spread out considerably on the second leg, as pilots made different decisions about where to make the right turn toward the second cylinder.  The fast guys went almost to the back of the first cylinder, and then aimed toward the south-eastern corner of the second one, while the slower ships tended to turn earlier and head more toward the center and northern edge of the second cylinder.  Unfortunately, the back half of the second cylinder got pretty soft, so several of the fast guys saw their speeds wilting in front of their eyes as they struggled to get up and make it home.   Coming back north toward home, conditions improved again, so the run home was relatively easy.

The normal chaotic finish appeared to be much less of a goat rope today, with pilots landing and exiting the runway in good order.  I did hear the rumor that Dave Nadler in YO gave an excellent demonstration of the durability of the main gear on the Antares by dropping it in from an altitude that made both wingtips touch the ground simultaneously!

At the end of the day, Tom Kelley won the day with a raw speed of 57.86mph/ 51.06mph handicapped, Doug Jacobs (flying John Good’s Duo) took second with a raw speed of 56.49mph / 50.51mph handicapped, and Frank Paynter sneaked into third place with a raw speed of 55.86 / 49.23mph handicapped.

We are hoping for continued good weather for tomorrow, and there are some unsubstantiated rumors that some white puffy things may put in an appearance – cool!

The day ended with the traditional Welcome Dinner in the hangar. Picture 300 friends enjoying a reunion after a long winter in a comfortable setting with food and libation to spare.  Nice!


Posted: 3/13/2011


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