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Region 4 North - Thursday - No Contest Day, but almost...

We gave it our best shot today but came up a little short.   The early morning was the least encouraging of any day yet, with clouds just above the treetops.  However, the model forecasts showed a clearing trend with a potential window of 2-4 hours from late morning until mid-afternoon.   The question was exactly when the conditions would be good enough to sustain the fleet and when the forecast OD and rainshowers would shut us down. 

The low clouds cleared on schedule, and we actually got pretty rapid heating and localized cu development.   The sniffer launched shortly after noon and managed to stick for a while.  We launched a few more gliders and they stuck, though not at altitudes sufficient to open the gate.  A little after 13:00 local, it started to get good (okay -  "good" means "not terrible"),  and the satellite and station reports showed good looking skies in the direction of our short task to the SE and NE.    Gates opened at 13:40.  

For about 30 minutes it looked like we'd pull a rabbit out of the hat, but just as quickly as the day developed, it fell apart.   High clouds began to cut off our heating, and whatever the high clouds didn't cover, the spreadout cu took care of.   The retrieve phone began to ring around 2:30, and it kept up at a rapid pace for quite a while. 

In the end, everyone who attempted the task landed out.   A couple of guys got awfully close to the 50 mile minumum required to meet the criteria for a contest day,  but nobody made the magic number.   John Murray (LX) had the flight of the day, managing to tag 3 of the 4 turnpoints before landing back at Fairfiled.   Eric Nelson (5E), also made 3 turnpoints, landing at Gettysburg airport.  The rest of the field found (for the most part) some of the many nice grass airports scattered throughout the task area.   Everyone was retrieved quickly by many volunteers,  and nobody missed the cocktail hour at the well-attended banquet this evening.   

Tomorrow looks like a legitimately good day, with post-frontal conditions and a chance of some serious ridge running.  


Posted: 10/17/2013


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