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Air Sailing Sports Class Contest - Day 4 - Awesome cloud street on the Pinenuts

The weather forecast for the day was as predicted yesterday – except for the “inversion from hell”.   At first we delayed the grid until 12:30, but were then convinced by someone looking at a different sounding that the inversion would break as early as 12 and there would be “honking” lift up to 16,000.  So, we moved the grid back to 12 and launched the sniffer (Stoney again) at 12:15.

Stoney fell out quickly.  We waited a little and launched two contest pilots (1B and SB) at 12:52 to sniff.  They were up for 45 minutes, yoyo flying back and forth between Dogskin and the Red Rocks.  At one point SB made a save from 600 feet right over the field.  That was entertainment for the rest of us waiting on the grid in the 100 degree heat.  Just after 1B landed back, SB broke through 8,500 with good lift and we launched the rest of the fleet. 

The gate opened at 15:08, later than yesterday, and everyone was through the gate by 15:29.    

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  Where did this inversion come from?  Today, as we sat on the grid, we saw cu pop up to the West and South.  Pilots were reporting 15,000 over Truckee before 12:30.  It was very frustrating.

Those of us that were on the ground all day will remember the wait and the heat, but the pilots that flew the task will probably have to be reminded since they ended up having awesome flights.  We originally called a 3.5 hour TAT with Sweetwater (30 mile radius) and Herlong (25 mile radius).  With the start being so late, we decided to change to a 2.5 hour MAT with Tiger Field as the first turn.  Six of the top ten finishers continued South from Tiger, jumped over to the Pinenuts and flew under an awesome cloud street.  Four pilots continued on to the Sweetwater turn, including JV who won the day.  Many reached max altitude with the clouds being far above them.  Jim Darke (1B) reported coming off the Pinenuts and picking up a convergence line that went to Nixon.  He did not turn at all from the time he hit the convergence all the way back to Air Sailing.

JV (Russell Holtz and Al Simmons), flying a Duo Discus, won the day with a flight of 245.13 miles at a handicapped speed of 82.62 mph (actual 92.42 mph).  They caught 2 turn points on the way down to Sweetwater, flew over Mt. Patterson and caught Bridgeport, then caught Fly In Mouse and Tracey Power Plant on the way home.  Their advantage was flying in the strongest lift the longest.  No one else went as far south as they did.  Matt Herron Jr. came in second again with a flight of 237.60 miles at a handicapped speed of 81.42 mph (actual 91.48) and took over the lead.  Matt caught 4 turn points on the way to Sweetwater and caught Tracy Power Plant on the way home.  Z9 (29 on the score sheet), Michael Marshall, the 18 year old who won the first day, also had an awesome flight down to Sweetwater after having to land back at ASI to fix an equipment problem, and came in third for the day.

I’m told that tomorrow will be a lot like today with an inversion in the valley here at Air Sailing and an awesome cloud street on the Pinenuts.  Where to send them will be a tough decision.  It’s the last day and there will be a banquet.


Posted: 7/19/2013


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