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Sports Class Nationals - Day 2

Greetings from frigid Mifflin County Airport here in Central Pennsylvania. This race is off to a hot start, which is more than I can say for the temperatures around here. Rick Sheppe pointed out the obvious yesterday, in a posting on the 18 Meter page, and that is, it is dam cold. In the south, that would be a problem, but in PA, that makes for some darn good soaring. For the second day in a row, we have seen just that. A very deep boundry layer, combined with north west winds have made happy pilots and tired pilots. Both classes were sent out on 3 hour, 4 turn TAT’s with a 3 hour minimum time. I have been working contests here since 1996 and never in all that time have I seen 2 days in a row when no contest official talked about the need for a sniffer. Today, as yesterday, we set a launch time and fired the fleet into the air for another go at the brass ring. No one re-lite due to lack of lift either day, and as a tow pilot, I saw no one near the release zone when I arrived at altitude with the next tow. This is what every contest hopes for, and happens far too infrequently at some contests.

With the fleet away, we all sat and watched the winds blow and continue to be just right for a good ridge day. Not the barn burner of some days, and the CD and advisors stuck a leg in that made the field get up off the ridge and thermal up wind to the next turn point, but what the hell, this is a nationals after all. Today’s tasks were a bit shorter, but taking a look at the scores and the tasks does nothing to tell you how good the sky actually was. I talked with a few guys that tell me today was as good a day as yesterday, but not nearly as stressful because the banging on the ridge was much less. It allowed for a nice ridge run and the transitions were just as advertised.  I even had 1 very seasoned contest pilot tell me that he tried the Raystown Lake run for the first time and it was great, if at least a little un nerving for all that water off your left wing. Glad they both could swim, just in case.

Tomorrow looks to be more the same, though I expect with even less wind than today. I have not seen a forecast, so this is only a guess, but this could be the first pure thermal day of the race.  We still appear to be in enourmously unstable air, which is exactly what we like, so here is hoping that we have deep, wide thermals all the way through the week.

As a guy that started writing contest reports under the watchful tutelage of one Mr. Spratt, I would be re-miss if I did not give you news about people as well. Tim and Susan Mc Alister have made the trip here for the first time since 2006. They now are toting along a wonderful little girl named Sara, she is very sweet.  Garret Willat and his wife are here from California. Their 2 girls are here as well, and I must admit, I do not know how some kids become so well behaved. Garret is still getting over his shock of the lack of a “secret weapon.” Seems a few Harris Hill guys had him convinced that they had a well tuned, very modified 201 Libelle in store to race against him. They LIED, but Garret fell for it, poor sucker! He should know better than to believe 1 thing HW tells him!!!  Garret showed em all today by winning first for the day in Club Class. Take that HILL RATS!!! T8, Evan Ludeman, kept KS off his heals by winning Sports for the second day in a row, though he better not let up, lest he find himself looking up the score sheet at more than 1 person. This race is close and competitive.  

Brian Glick

Posted: 5/13/2013


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