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Region 5 North - Official practice day (Sunday 17 April)

Official practice day at Perry is in the bag, and I have to say this was one of the more interesting and enjoyable practice tasks I have flown.  The weather forecast was for marginal soaring weather - 2500 to 3500' msl, blue as blue can be, and very light winds from the west and southwest.  The task advisors decided early on to make the day less stressful by keeping everyone in close to the home airport, so they called a 'long MAT' with 5 mandatory turnpoints, all of which were nearby landable airports.  The minimum time was 2 hours, which meant the fast guys might have to go around  2 or three times (or extend out to different turnpoints after the first lap), while the slower guys could go around once without ever getting far from final glide back to Perry.  Out on course, the conditions were better than predicted, with some 4 and 5kt climbs to 4000 - 5000' msl.  With over 50 gliders all in a racetrack pattern around the  airport, it wasn't hard to keep a marked thermal in sight, so not having clouds wasn't a real problem.

There were a few landouts (and 'land-backs' as some pilots just took short hops to check out equipment or just shake the dust off their wings).  There were two landouts at Cato's airport about 10 miles south, and a certain pilot whose name remains confidential but whose contest id is P8 landed in a field about 5 miles from Perry.  Seems he called in to the retrieve office to start the retrieve process when he learned his wife was out on an errand in town and was actually quite close to his landing site.  So he got his wife to come by and pick him up and bring him back to the field, where he then attempted to sneak off the field with his trailer in tow, hoping no one would notice.  Well, a 30-foot long  trailer isn't particularly stealthy, and one that is moving toward the exit road is even more noticeable, so our unnamed pilot received the appropriate amount of good-natured ribbing.

Another interesting  thing about the day was the mix of water ballast loads used.  I flew completely dry, and others flew completely full.  In the end, it didn't seem to make much of a difference - the light guys climbed better, and the heavy ones ran better.  The conditions today were just good enough so you could fly with ballast if you wanted to, but not so good that it produced much, if any, advantage.

The day was topped of with a  great burger and  beans dinner, complete with a huge beer keg on wheels (a utility  trailer with its own cooling system and multiple internal beer tanks).  Now *that's* hospitality!

Tomorrow's weather is  predicted to be a bit better, so here's hoping we are going to have a good contest here at Perry.



Posted: 4/17/2011


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