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15 Meter Nationals - Contest Day 1 May 13

Hi race fans,

Well we got a 15 Meter task in, but no one will say it was pretty, with the exception of the guys with speed points.

We awoke to the prospects of an impending front and almost certain rain day on Monday.  The sky was mainly blue in the early morning with plenty of cold overnight to make things work if we got heating. The weatherman reports that there will be plenty of instability and not to worry, it will work.

Coming out of the pilot’s meeting at 10:00, all is not as predicted. The cirrus that was expected to overrun the task area late in the day can clearly be seen, and appears to be here quicker than anyone thought. We rig and grid under the gloom and doom of the racers, as well as some locals, I must admit, including me. I even cracked a joke with someone that we can open the first beer by 11:30, noon at the latest. No one could see any reason to disagree with me, except the CD, advisors and chief weather guesser, Mr. Kellerman.

I rolled the tow plane out and on the way to the grid, I took an aerial detour to have a look around. Things were much worse than I thought, but only to the north and west. This stuff was moving east, but as of now, the south and east was open, with a few cue popping at 10:00 AM. Good air indeed, if we can only get up into it.

We hurry things along and send up the first 2 sniffers at 11:10. One to the south and one to the north. Surprisingly, the southern guy does nothing, and to the north a big blue hole opens and SM manages to keep things afloat. In fact, right before the launch, I hear him report 5 knots to 5,000 feet.  The 15 M guys go first and are all up in 40 minutes, and they all stuck. While we were busy launching sports, the 15M task opened and by the time we completed the sports launch, those guys had all gotten the heck out of Dodge. This was the difference between a contest day and a missed chance, as Sports did not manage to get one in. Several made great attempts, most ended up in Mifflintown, 20 miles south of here and ended up coming home by tug or trailer.

The winner in 15 M was XG, Jerzy Szemplinski. Jerzy has worked very hard at becoming a consistent and persistent pilot over the last 10 years, and it is definitely showing in his flying. He managed 95 miles at 56 MPH on a day with a very short window and lots of land outs.  8 people got speed points and managed to get around. This is the beauty of a TAT task. Big fat circles around the points give most the flexibility they need to make decisions in the air that show their skills.

Looks like Monday is a total wash. Will report more then.


See you at the airport

Brian Glick

Posted: 5/14/2012


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