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Region 2 - Day 1 at Mifflin

Well, this day was a bit of a surprise.  The forecast was for partly sunny, with cloudbases at 4000-6000'msl.  As the launch started, the sniffer was reporting 1-2kt climbs to 3500'msl.  By the time the gate opened, cloudbase had risen to about 4500', with some climbs a little higher.  the task for the day was pretty ambitious.  A 4-hour TAT for the handicapped FAI class, and 3.5hr TAT for Sports, with the first turn area to Nittany in the north, then south to Blair county, then north again to 3 Barns, then home. From the point of view of the start circle, conditions out on course looked do-able, if not pretty good.  However, that opinion changed pretty rapidly as we flew north toward the first circle.  We could see that the entire first circle was OD'd, and now the challenge was to get into and out of the first circle, and hope to make up enough distance in the south circle to run out the time.  The ones who changed gears quickly enough made it around, and the rest (me among them) didn't fare as well.  I continued my newly found tradition of first-day landouts by lawn-darting into a field just 20 miles outside the start cylinder.  My misery had some company, as Tim Welles (W3), the guy I was flying with at the time, had to start his engine to avoid the same fate.
The guys who *did* manage to figure out the problem and adjust did OK.  Rather than trying to get onto the western plataue, they stayed on the high ground to the east of the circles, basically going north and south along the same line.
In the handicapped FAI class, Jerzy Szemplinski (XG), won the day with 222 miles at 55mph raw, 47.5mph handicapped.  In Sports class, Karl Striedieck (KS) took the day flying his Duo Discus with 189 miles raw at 53mph.  Kevin Christner (his back seater for the day) reported that "It was just like in the movie "A Fine Week of Soaring", complete with whistling and a 400'AGL save on Jack's mountain in sight of the crowd at Mifflin airport.
The evening was topped of with a wonderful dinner under the pavilion, with pleasantly cool weather, good frieds, and lots of beer to drown my sorrows ;-).
Tomorrow's weather is a mixed bag - partly sunny with a 60% chance of rain, and that pattern is forecast to continue for the rest of the week.  It's going to be a struggle to get a contest in, but we'll see.

Posted: 5/21/2011


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