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Region-6 North - No fly day at Ionia

Yesterday was the official practice day at Ionia, and we did everything but fly. We all got our trailers squared away, and got our paperwork inspected by CD Andy McQuigg. I moved my micro castle from where it was out near the highway after an 18-wheeler drove through my bedroom at 0530 as it jake-braked for the stoplight. Then I moved it again when it turned out I was interfering with another RV setup - can't get too much practice uploading and downloading a pickup camper! We started the day with a pre-meeting racing/competition discussion session with a lively discussion of the basics of contest flying, including start cylinder management and a discussion of some of the new contest rules. Then we ended the day at Olivera's restaurant where we drank beer, at really excellent food, and watched soaring movies on an entire wall of flat-screen TV's - it doesn't get much better than that!

Woke up this morning to the sound of light rain on the micro-castle - not a good sign for our first potential contest day. The satellite weather showed a thick shelf of clouds from here to eternity, so I was pretty sure the flying day was going to be a bust. The daily pre-meeting racing/competition discussion this morning focused on thermal etiquette and a discussion about the 'worst day score adjustment' (WDSA)rule that will be tried here for the very first time anywhere. The WDSA essentially gives competitors a chance to recover from one bad day, without having to give up entirely on the contest. I sure could have used that rule at the Chilhowee SC Nats ;-).

After the meeting broke up, pilots and crews went off to do various things. I conned Bob Fidler (F1) and my newly arrived crewman Dan Harder (who happens to be a car restoration expert) into helping me repair some rock nicks in one of my glider's wings. Bob came up with some gelcoat, silica, and accelerant, Dan supplied the finishing expertise, and I supplied the wing. Dan and Bob gave an impromptu seminar on wing nick repair to a crowd of interested pilots.

Three of us (Dan Harder, Peter Baumeler, and myself) set up a short racing  task in Condor in the  Czech Republic scenery and spent a pleasant couple of  hours under a virtual sunny sky, cu's to the horizon, and 3-5kts of lift.  We are thinking of proposing a hybrid regional contest - on good flying days we fly real-life gliders and get scored, and on non-flying days we put the task into Condor and fly there instead ;-)

RC soaring champion Peter Baumeler, who is breaking into the full-size soaring sport by way of Condor flying, put together a spinach and feta cheese sausage dinner for an entire host of hungry glider pilots.

Sean Fidler (F2) also gave some demonstrations of RC model airplane flying (this guy has WAY too many toys!), and even let me try a hand-launch of his RC glider - cool!

Weather forecast for tomorrow is a bit iffy, but Monday and forward looks pretty good, with sunny or partly sunny every day.  Stay tuned!

BTW, the SPOT tracking map for the contest can be found by going to HawkeTracking.com, clicking on 'Current Events' and then one of the Ionia links.


Posted: 5/28/2011


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