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Region 4 North - Day 1

Well, we got in an interesting day today.   The general synoptic situation was very similar to yesterday but without the high cloud.   Instead, we had bright sunshine and blue skies with rapid and consistent heating. 

We launched P6 (Danny Brotto) as sniffer at about 11:45 and he stuck, albeit below tow release height.  But with temps coming up quickly, we were able to start the launch by 12:15 and had everyone in the air by a little after 13:00.    Most everyone went through the gate between about 13:45 and 14:00.   

The first leg to Union Bridge in the SE was scratchy, but with plenty of markers, the fleet made consistent progress.   We did have a couple of early landouts and abanoned tasks, but most pilots made it to or slightly beyond the first turnpoint.  The leg to the NW was at times quite good, with thermals topping 4,000 and a few corkers (okay, 3-4 knots) thrown in.    The winners found those couple of stronger thermals among the generally 1-2 knot climbs. 

Heading NW, it became obvious that the cirrus deck that was progged to come in late in the afternoon was running a little ahead of schedule.    Good climbs became scarcer, and those who banked on running up into the hills past Biglerville were met with broken climbs and rising terrain.   The last part of the day became a game of patience and survivival.   A couple of late landouts resulted, but the majority of the fleet was able to tag the Taneytown cylinder and limp home.   

As of now, it looks like Erik Nelson took the FAI Class, Frank Paynter won the 18M, and Karl Streidieck took the Sports.   SM is struggling with flight log downloading,  so he may upset the standings in the 18M.    

The forecast for the rest of the week keeps changing every hour, so it's anybody's guess what comes next.   


I neglected to include the following important information earlier.  As many of you know Bruce Conrad (IA) lost his battle with ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease) back in August. Bruce was one of those immensely talented and interesting people that soaring tends to attract.    

Tonight, we had a small cocktail party in Bruce's honor.   It was appropriate that we have the gathering here, as Region IV North was the last contest that  Bruce was able to fly in before his illness began to take hold.   Mary Nelson did a wonderful job reading a beautiful letter from his family to the assembled pilots (I know I couldn't have held it together as well as she did).   The letter closes:  

"Now please raise a glass (or several) to the guy you called India Alpha and we called son and brother. His knowledge, humor, and passion for excellence touched all of our lives for nearly 65 years.   The time Bruce spent with you and his cherished gliders helped make him the genuine nice guy who was such good company on evenings like this.   So - from now on - whenever you get a little extra lift you didn't expect,  stop and think;  it might just be Bruce lending a hand. "

Good finish IA. 




Posted: 10/15/2013


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