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Region2 North - Day 5 at Wurtsboro

Mist in the valley again on my morning run.  I've worked my way up to the point where I can make it all the way around the airport without collapsing.  My long term goal is to still be running when I'm Karl Striedieck's age ;-)

At the morning meeting, weatherman Bill Thar (G8) told us we should have a good day today with cu's covering about 50% of the sky, with a slight chance of high clouds advecting in late in the day (they did).  Lift in the 2-3kt range to 5000-6000msl, and light/variable winds mostly out of the west (sound familiar?).

By grid time things were looking pretty good. Gregg Leslie (GL) did the sniffing honors and after having some early difficulty, soon reported going through 3000msl at 3kt, and the launch started soon thereafter.  The task today was the same one we had on day 1 - a 2.5hr TAT south to Monument with a 10-mile circle, north to Ellenville with an 8-mile circle, southeast to Middletown with a 10-mile circle, and then west to Sullivan with a 15-mile circle.  

After the launch many pilots had to struggle to get to a good start height, and once again we found the thermals to be maddeningly narrow and stringy.  You really had to crank up the bank angle to have any hope of staying in them, and even then you could only count on 2-3kt average climb rates.

The west side of the valley out over the plateau seemed to be the better side again, although with the winds out of the west you'd think the eastern ridge would have worked better. - go figure.  Even though the conditions actually looked better today than yesterday, speeds were generally slower.  At the end of the day, Ryszard Krolikowski (RW) took 1st again in Sports (he's only missed one day so far) with 45.11mph raw/42.45 handicapped, increasing his lead over 2nd place to almost 700pts! Nikola Gradinski (XN) took 2nd for the day and second overall, and Rob Dunning (V3) took 3rd overall.   In FAI class, Evan Ludeman (T8) notched a win with 47.98mph raw/43.66mph handicapped.  John Seymour was 2nd with 986 and Gregg Leslie was 3rd with 964, with Gregg's hold on 1st overall now pared to a bare 7 points!  Frank Paynter (TA) got in big trouble and had to make a very low 500' agl save over Ellenville airport, finishing 5th for the day but remaining in 3rd overall.

Tomorrow (Friday) is the last contest day, and the weather forecasts are calling for rain all day.  So, my plan is to get up at my normal 0630-0700 time, pack up the micro-castle, and head for home.  With Logan coming up soon, an extra day to get things in order prior to that 2000+ mile trip will be welcome, and I might even be able to spend some extra time with the wife, too! ;-).

This was my first contest here at Wurtsboro, and I have to say I was very impressed with the setup and the contest management.  True to the 'no frills' format there weren't any formal dinners, but Jeff Short seemed to put something together almost every night under the tent at the "El Overdee" cabins.  Each morning at the pilot's meeting he would propose a menu and ask for a show of hands.  Then he got all the materials, cooked everything in his cabin, and served it all under shade tent - nice.  The soaring area here is a bit more 'interesting' than I'm used to in my flatland Ohio home club, but other than the really scary final glides from Sullivan over the plateau (you can't see the field until you are just a few miles away, and all you CAN see are trees, trees, and more trees!), we were really never that far away from at least reasonable landing options.

The contest management here was the full-time staff of Wurtsboro Aviation, a commercial glider operation.  They did a great job, supplying kids on golf carts to move gliders around, towplanes (two of which were very nice L-19's in vintage livery) and tow pilots.

Of course, being able to fly 6 days (5 contest days and one practice day) does tend to give one a more favorable impression of a soaring site, especially when coming off the total washout at my home club's contest the week before.

See you at the next contest!



Posted: 7/7/2011


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