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Region2 North - Practice day at Wurtsboro

As I mentioned last night, the popular forecast  for today was for sunny (possibly blue) with a high of about 81 degrees.  This morning when I checked BMapper, I saw 3-4kt to about 6000msl, with some possibility of OD  - huh - how can you have a 'sunny' forecast and an OD prediction for the same day?

Coming out of the micro-castle about 9am, I noticed some great looking clouds already forming.  Unfortunately, they kept right on forming, and by the time we were all assembled around 11pm it was pretty heavily OD'd.  

Hank Nixon (UH) set the practice task so that we could get a look at the contest area without getting too far from the home drome.  As we sat under the tent getting an area briefing, Hank took note of the OD situation, and suggested we should probably delay the launch until about 1pm.  By that time, the clouds had cycled out and things were looking much better again - for about 45 minutes, at which time it started OD'ing again.  By the time I got off tow, conditions were pretty much overcast.  Winds were out of the north, meaning the Wurtsboro ridge not only wasn't working, it wasn't even kicking off thermals.  I (along with several other pilots) was forced to relight, and I didn't get out on task until 3pm for a 2.5Hr TAT.

Out on course, it was a constant fight to maintain altitude in the face of heavy overdevelopment and a mid-altitude shelf coming in from the north.  Some clouds looked superb but didn't produce any lift.  Others looked terrible, but did.  Most climbs were in the 1-3kt category, with an occasional 3-4kt anomaly thrown in to keep us on our toes.  There were a few landouts (all at airports), and all the rest came home at least 15 minutes early.  In FAI class, Frank Paynter (TA) won the day with a blazing 36.04mph raw/ 31.86mph handicapped.  In Sports class, Alisdair Crawford won the day with 37.32mph raw/ 33.74 handicapped.

Consistent with the 'no frills' theme for this contest, dinner was a roll-your-own affair, followed by a 'newbie briefing' by Hank at the airport.  It may have been a 'newbie' briefing, but just about all contest pilots attended, including yours truly and soaring legends like John Seymour (SM).

Popular weather forecast for tomorrow is "Sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind becoming south between 5 and 8 mph".  After today's OD performance, I'm looking a bit askance at that, but we'll see!


Posted: 7/1/2011


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