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Sports Class Nationals - Day 7

I have almost run out of different things to say about the contest we have going here at Mifflin, ALMOST. Today is one of those days that I would not have given you 2 cents for when I drove to the field this morning. Pessimism was rampant in the pilot’s meeting and throughout the morning as a heavy fog and dreary overcast slowly worked its way off of us. This is the kind of weather that no one wants to see at a contest, and especially after some of the wonderful weather we have had earlier in the contest period.  I will admit that my pessimism level was as high as everyone else’s was. I scurried around the field taking care of what needed done and heard all kinds of poo pooing about what lie ahead. I even saw one of the younger pilot’s take a dark colored, empty beer bottle, fill it with water and walk down through the trailer area sipping off it regularly, Many guys bit on that prank, saying “wow, this guy already knows we are not going to fly” We all got good laughs out of that and continued to move to the grid while still griping and groaning. Grid time was 12:30 and no one was in a hurry, but it was clearing a bit. We sat around and watched as the crud slowly baked off into a so so looking sky. At about 1:30 PM we launched the first sniffer to a few sneers and snickers and still more nay sayers. Soon after, sniffer #2 and both report back that it is improving and it cannot hurt anything to continue the launch and see what happens. Not a robust endorsement by any means, but what the heck, I am a tow pilot, why should I care. Off we went, though even the launch crew was not in a hurry, mainly because most of our young line crew has already departed and today’s crew looked like they missed the appointment for a game of bridge at the local senior center. It was just not a day to get in a hurry for, and that worked out as a benefit in the end. We had lots of people waddling around in the release area low and slow and a few re-lights. Bases were never reported at more than 3600 MSL and this is not great, but manageable.

After a delay in opening, and 1 advisor urging the CD to be cautious and the other saying let’s go, the CD went with optimism and opened the gate for Club Class at 2:40 and sport’s soon after. Several guys had come back and went again about gate opening time and when I went up with these tows it was substantially better with the sun now hitting the ground and much larger areas of lift. This is not to say it was great, but soarable, yes.

In truth, we had only a few land outs, I think 5, and a few people came back and gave up, but those that went out got around but admitted it was work.  HW, who has flown in worlds, told me this would be the type of day that would get you 2.5 to 3 hour tasks in Europe, and we had 1 hour 45 minutes.

A quick look at the scores will tell the tale of a de valued day, but still a race day. KS wins Sport’s, and up jumps EY, Tim Mc Alister, one terrific weak weather guy, to win Club class.

The last meal of the contest was held tonight. It was not as well attended as lots of crews and some racers have departed, but all had a nice evening. Tomorrow is the day I always dread, it is the last day and by evening the airport will be mostly devoid of activity and lose some of the character these races bring to every site they go to. I have become a huge contest fan, and love everything about them.

Tomorrow looks a little better than today, though possibly with some afternoon blow ups that could spoil the day. Time will tell. This morning I would have declared to anyone that we were standing down today. Goes to show that a day can change fast at Mifflin.

Brian Glick

Posted: 5/20/2013


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