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Sports Class Nationals - Letter to RK

Dear Sarah,

Congratulations on your win at the Sports Class Nationals!

I was especially impressed by the way you kept your game face on and abjured congratulations until it was over.  You'll need that discipline at the Club Class World Championships.  By the way, I think that you, Sean, and Ryszard, along with the other eleven Club Class pilots have finally proved that the USA Club Class is here to stay.

In hindsight, I think that my first mistake as CD was giving you a "maybe" when you invited me to take on the job, back in January.  I had a terrific time, and I won't hesitate to participate in the next contest at Chilhowee.

My next mistake was landing everybody out on May 7.  It was a clear demonstration that, for CDs as well as competitors, hope is not a strategy.  I wish I could have that one back.  Ignoring that day, I think that the number of landouts at this contest was below average, and that we achieved a good balance between challenging the pilots and giving everyone a realistic chance of coming home.

You have a jewell of a gliderport, and I think that this contest proves something that the GTA folks have been trying to keep secret: it is an outstanding contest site.  The facilities are excellent (except when they're chopping up the phone and water lines just upstream of the clubhouse).  The task area, bounded by the scary-looking Smoky Mountains to the east and the alluring Sequatchie Valley to the west, is fascinating and completely safe for cross-country flying.

Thank you for the chance to fly your Ka-7 while I was there.  Your runway is nice and wide - it is tempting to land on the side near the hangar and trailers, but I stuck to the centerline, which is smooth from end to end, as you promised.

Please convey my thanks to the contest staff, many of whom I had not met before, and all of whom graciously took direction from the strange Yankee with the clipboard.  Between the Navy and the airlines, I think that most of the contest volunteers hold the title "Captain," and the good humor shown by these professionals to this amateur was truly unforgettable.

Good luck with the rest of your soaring season, and congratulations again, Champ.


Posted: 5/13/2011


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