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Region 5 North - pre-practice days at Perry

It’s Friday morning at 7:30am, and I’m sitting in my camper at Perry watching the place wake up for the day. I’m cooling down after my morning run, during which I noted that the place had sprouted another batch of glider trailers overnight – the things are like mushrooms around here.

I got here Tuesday night, and four of us (Al Tyler in8H, Sam Zimmerman in SZ, Mitch Deutsch in 6I, yours truly in TA) flew Wednesday. It was a blue day with 2-3kt to 3500-4500’msl, with occasional 4-5kt to 5000’. 8H and SZ are ASG-29’s, and 6I and I are 15m ships, but Mitch and I were able to stay with the -29’s for most of the day.   I was dogging 8H, pulling in about 100’ under him in most thermals, until he got smart and suggested I lead for a while. I promptly went right down to the dirt near Don Bells (about 20mi north of Perry) and spent about 20 minutes digging out, while listening to 8H laughing over the radio.   Later it was Al and the rest of the group struggling while I was fat, dumb and happy in a 5kt thermal to 4800’ – take that! ;-).  Next thing I see is a glider well below me and about 2 miles in front in a thermal. It’s 8H, who has somehow managed to not only dig out, but get out ahead again.  No matter, I bump his thermal and go on ahead.   Several miles later I’m approaching the turn at Barnwell, and here comes 8H, at my altitude, coming out of the turnpoint – how did he DO that?!   And so it went for the rest of the day – 8H out in front and the rest of us trying to catch him. At the end of the day, Al and Sam managed to get in one more turnpoint than Mitch and I, but we all had a pretty good day.

Yesterday was another (mostly) blue day with winds out of the SE (not usually a good direction for winds here at Perry). Thermals in the 4-5kt range to 5000-6000’ predicted, with a possibility of cumulus to the southeast later in the day. We set a 2:30hr TAT more or less along the wind line (Perry, northwest (downwind) to Greenwood with a 30mi radius, southeast (upwind) to St George with a 30mi radius, and then downwind back to Perry), and this time we had about 10 gliders out on task. Several pilots reported 5kt+ climbs to 7000’msl on the way out to Greenwood and nobody got in any real trouble. On the upwind run back across Perry toward St. George, we could see clouds that looked to be just to the east of I-20, but the darned things kept moving east! I chased those suckers for 30 miles, and finally caught up with them about 15 miles south of Perry. Most of them were cumulus-falsus, but I did get one spectacular climb to 7000’ over a small town between Williston and Bamberg. I was seeing 8kt on the averager, and SeeYou said it was a 2700’ climb at 5.4kt bottom-to-top average – nice! This climb allowed me to get into the southwest corner of the St. George circle and (with just a short 2kt insurance climb), back to Perry in good order. I wound up with about 155miles at about 58mph.

Today (Friday) is a bit windy, with winds out of the east at 15-25kt. There may be some cumulus later in the day, but the buoyancy to shear ratios are in the very low single digits – bad :-(. My plan for the day is to just hang out a bit in my brand-new mini-camper, and maybe work on my trailer (trailers always needing work, of course). Saturday doesn’t look too good either, so it may be Sunday (the official practice day) before I fly again.


Posted: 4/15/2011


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