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Sports Class Nationals - No Contest day at Chilhowee

The day dawned nice and bright (and cold!) this morning, and everything pointed toward a great day.  BMapper (Dr. Jack/Kramer) showed 3-5kt to 4-5000msl, light winds, B/S in the 10's and probably blue with some possibility of clouds later in the day.  Last night the temperature got down into the 30's, and I was happy to have heat in the micro-condo.

At the 1000 meeting we were given task sheets with A, B, and C tasks - all the same with min times of 3.5, 3.25, and 3.0 hours, and that sounded reasonable based on what I saw on the weather map.  However, there was a note of caution sounded by weatherman Scott Fletcher, as he told us that at least one of the weather models showed poor lift conditions.  

After the weather briefing I retired to my stilt-home to warm up and check my email, only to find that my internet connection had gone missing.  Seems that the crew that was laying a new water line to the field had cut the phone line, along with the internet (DSL) service.  Not only did this wipe out the retrieve lines, but meant we wouldn't have SPOT tracking either - rats and double rats!

Still we were optimistic about the day, and John Good was sent aloft just after noon to sniff.  He didn't beat the towplane back, but it wasn't long before he was back on the ground - oops!  After a short wait he was flung into the air again, and this time he stuck, but he reported weak condiitions and top of climb at about 3500msl.  About this time, CD Rick Sheppe added a 'Task D' to the  list, a 2Hr MAT with two mandatory turnponts.

The launch was started at about 1:15pm, and  the entire fleet was off the ground by about 2:10.  We all gaggled around the main Chilhowee ridge, and the top guys were struggling to get above 4000.  However, the light southwesterly wind made the ridges work, at least as good thermal organizers.  I was all set to start just after the announced gate opening time of 2:26, but the CD postponed the gate opening to see if condiitons would improve.  After another 45 minutes of struggling around between 3000 and 4000msl on the main ridge, Rick accepted the advice of his task advisors and cancelled the day.   After the day was cancelled, many pilots headed for the beer, but several of us decided to try our luck and at least three of us (MT, KS, TA) completed the  task in good order (I flew almost 100miles in just over 2hrs for a raw speed of about 44mph).  As it turned out, the task turned out to be pretty easy, but of course the CD didn't know that at the time.  It was unfortunate for me, as I had hoped to recoup some of the ground I lost by landing out on Day1 - rats!

We had another nice dinner tonight in the pole barn/wind tunnel.  I had my parka hood over my hat, and found that I really could eat OK while wearing gloves! ;-).

Chance of showers for tomorrow, and no one really knows what is going to happen with respect to soaring conditions.  Stay tuned - you will know shortly after we do!


Posted: 5/5/2011


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