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Air Sailing Sports Class Contest - Day 3 - Keep it simple and save up for tomorrow

Everyone came back rested after a day off to enjoy all that Reno and Lake Tahoe have to offer, but the weather reports indicated that the soaring would be challenging.  So, we decided to call a task that would keep everyone in close – a 2.5 hour MAT with 4 turns (Tracy power plant, Constantia, Woodfords and Herlong).  Each leg would bring them over or close by Air Sailing.  We wanted to increase the probability that any land outs would be back at the airport.

There was another reason, however, for calling such a task.  All of the weather forecasts, including the one by our off-field advisor (thank you Luke Skywalker!), indicated that there would be great soaring tomorrow and fantastic soaring on Saturday. 

We gridded at noon and launched the Contest and Operations Manager, Stoney, in an ASK-21 with SB’s crew and father, who is a pilot for Southwest Airlines.  They scratched around for 45 minutes or so, but were not able to get any higher than 7,500 feet.  It turned out there was an inversion.  This did not show on any of the forecasts that we had consulted.

As we sat there on the grid in the hot (93 degree) sun, not a cloud to be seen anywhere, with only an occasional light breeze, the day was getting shorter.  We decided to shorten the task to 2 hours and eliminate Herlong as a turn point (one pilot went to Herlong anyway).  At around 13:30, the first two pilots on the grid, DV and 1B, agreed to launch and see if it was getting any better.  When they were climbing through 7,900 at 4 knots, we launched the fleet.  The gate opened at 14:58 and there was a rush of “start” calls. 

The first pilots up experienced the inversion, though they found it at 9,000 feet, and there was definitely an inversion at 13,000 feet.  However, as it heated up, the thermals were strong enough to punch through and altitudes of 15,000+ were achieved.  All but one pilot got the three prescribed turn points with many getting several more in the valley and a couple going back to Tracy and Constantia.  The speeds were reasonable (fastest actual 72 mph) and everyone felt it was a good call.

The radio came alive just before 17:00 and soon gliders were landing in every direction in light and variable winds.  By 18:30, the gliderport was quiet and just the scorer, CD and P9, who started after 16:00, remained.

JJ, in the Genesis, won the day with a (handicapped) speed of 67.6 mph over 140.62 miles, which put him in first place.  Matt Herron Jr. (22T) was second and moved into second place overall.  Kerry Richards, P9, who was in the lead at the end of Day 2, came in 10th and dropped to third overall.  All four Air Force ships flew and one of the Duo’s, 5AF, came in third for the day.

 Tomorrow should be a great day and everyone should be rested and ready to fly!

KH (Lucky Lady)

Posted: 7/18/2013


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