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Region 5 West - First Contest Weekend

Sept 3-5 Weekend

The first weekend of the Region 5 west contest held at Chilhowee TN lLbor Day weekend and which will be continued the following weekend held some interesting weather for the contestants.

Day 1 was forecast 4 to5 knots to 7000 with slight chance of over development.Francois and Sarah chose a TAT, Cornstassel (10),Hardwick(15),Ferguson(10) with a nominal distance of 146 miles and 3 hr min.It was a great day fast enough that I (RHR) had to go to the far side of Hardwick and Ferguson to eat up the 3 hrs. On the way to Ferguson we had scattered showers. On the way back there were showers everywhere. So much for the slight chance. The radio chatter was interesting as we tried to figure out how to get home. Ultimately Harley (KF) went west with lightning on his left, I went east with lightning on my right and Fernando (FS) went between showers with lightning on both sides which knocked out some of his electronics. My eastern route took me to the back side of the ridge. Since there are few fields in the Cherokee forest I looked for lift near the small cluster of decent fields below me but the showers had shut things down. Ultimately I provided Tabi at the retrieve desk with something to do since everyone else made it home.Fernando Silva(FS) won the day with 184 miles @61mph. Hartley Falbaum (KF) and Key Dismukes (PS) tied for 2nd.

Day 2 we awoke to high overcast with tropical storm Lee bearing down on us. Francois thought we had a small window to get in a contest day before the rains came.   I suspect he was the only one who felt that way.  He called a 2 hr TAT changed in the air to a 1.5 hr TAT with all legs close to and crisscrossing Chilhowee, Lookout tower(2), microwave(2), McMinn (8) for a nominal of 55m.

After relighting I was able to climb to 4500.  With showers approaching, I headed towards the start cylinder.  When the gate was open, I was down to 3700  and started immediately north toward light since the start cylinder was only rain.   Lift near lookout took me to 5000 and I was thinking positively.  Each time I passed over Chilhowee, I counted more sailplanes on the ground.  When Fernando radioed he was landing, I knew all I had to do was to finish.  On the way to microwave, it rained hard enough that I had to shut the vent to stay dry and the yaw string was plastered to the canopy.  Good lift again on the other side of the shower to 4500 which got me final glide.  I nicked microwave, flew over Chilhowee, nicked McMinn and headed home while I could still see the airport.  I went 30 miles in one hour but I was happy.  Little did I know there was a 40 mile minimum required for a regional. 

Day 3 fell victim to Lee. 

Sarah organized a first class event with outstanding personnel at every position.  She was contest manager and score keeper, providing a comprehensive information packet which included sectionals with all turnpoints and airports highlighted.  Francois Pin has to be the most optimistic  CD and weather man on the planet.  The tow pilot consistently dropped us in the best lift and the line and operations conducted by Dakota Thompson and Jason Arnold respectively, performed flawlessly. Tabi Thomas manned the retrieve phones.  The brisket dinner was delicious.

This 5 day weekend contest is a great format for those not traveling too far.  Going home between weekends means you don't have to miss work or other activities and the break between contest days is a plus as well

Bob Richard - RHR

Posted: 9/6/2011


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