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Air Sailing Sports Class Contest - Day 5 - Watch out for over development

Preliminary report....

The launch went quickly - less than an hour.  We had to send the borrowed tow plane back to Minden because they were down to 1 tow plane with a lot of people waiting for a tow.  The gate opened at 14:13 and they were on their way quickly on task A - 3 hour TAT with Sweetwater (30 mile radius) and Herlong (25 mile radius).  

The Pinenuts were booming again, but began overdeveloping before most of our fleet got there.  In spite of that, we had only one landout and all but one other contestant completed the task.   The Air Force called one of their DUO's (5AF) back early because they were worried about the storm that was approaching Air Sailing from the West.  There were two cadets flying 5AF and they came within 4 miles of getting a fix in the Herlong turnpoint.  Sarah, one of the cadets in 5AF, told me they had the glideslope to get the turn when they were back over Air Sailing, but proceeding would have been disobeying orders.  As disappointing as it was to get so close and get no speed points, she said they still had an awesome flight in spite of having to stratch around the glider port and come very close to a re-light before the start.

The picnic tables were set up on the parking pad and the veranda as the pilots and crews packed up the planes and the “Association of Graduates of the Air Force Academy” finished cooking the barbeque ribs, chicken and brats.  It was at that point that the storm approaching from the West reached us.  We had about 10 minutes of light rain (sparse, big drops) and it was gone.  I did not pay attention to how fast the blow off from the storm cleared, but by the time the sun was setting and I was getting ready to leave the glider port, around 8 pm, there were few clouds in the sky anywhere.

The conversation and hanger flying during the banquet was very lively.  Everyone, including the one land out, Matt Herron, Sr. (T2), had a great flight.  The big storm to the South that overdeveloped was on top of Mt. Patterson, so everyone was able to get within the 30 mile radius of the Sweetwater turn.  Many left the Pinenuts and went out into Smith Valley to get a fix for this turn, but were able to get back on the Pinenuts for the run back North.

Not being able to penetrate much into the Sweetwater turn, combined with the storm at Hallelujah Junction threatening to move over Air Sailing, brought almost everyone across the finish in under the 3 hours minimum task time.  This led to a slight devaluation for the day.  The winner of the day was JJ, flying the Genesis 218.94 miles at a handicapped speed of 70.71 mph (73.66 actual), which left him in second place overall.  This might have been strategic since historically the winner is responsible for organizing and managing this contest the following year.

Michael Oliver in a Standard Cirrus (SB) was 2nd for the day flying 209.7 miles at 70.19 mph, which netted him just 7 points less than JJ and moving him up to 6th overall.  Michael is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and has flown in (and won!) this contest in the past.    

Matt Herron Jr. (22T) in his Ventus B-1 came in third for the day flying 235.14 miles at a handicapped speed of 69.82 mph (78.45 actual) to hold on to first place and become the Air Sailing Sports Class Regional Champion.  Matt’s consistent flying won the contest.  Except for Day 1, he was one of the first three finishers every day. 

Congratulations Matt!

This was another great experience at Air Sailing for all the participants, the pilots, the crews, the contest staff and volunteers.  Most of all, it was a challenging but very safe contest – thanks to everyone involved.


Posted: 7/20/2013


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