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Seniors Soaring Championship - Mar 13 Report

After a rest day that neatly coincided with rain, wind and low clouds, today offered normal Florida March post-cold-front conditions: cold temperatures, a gusty northwest wind, low, weak broken, severely blue thermals.

Conventional wisdom says that gliders can’t profitably fly cross-country in such conditions, but having spent the previous day on the ground we decided to try anyway.  We needed temperatures to reach the high end of what was said to be possible, while winds would need to be toward the low end.

And so it happened.  Nowhere in the state of Florida was a single scrap of cumulus seen that might help indicate lift, and the launch started late.  But most pilots managed to find enough lift for the short (1.5-hour minimum) task. We started the day with 20- to 25-kt winds at altitude, but these obligingly weakened to around 12 by the time the first gliders were headed home.  The result was 42 complete tasks over distances up to 90 miles. 

The day winner was Ken Sorenson (KM), showing that his skill does not require Texas-like conditions. Second was Steve Arndt (S2A) in his 13.5 meter Silent 2. Local guru Rich Owen (FA) retains a small lead in cumulative score over many-time Senior champion Karl Striedieck (KS).

With 2 days remaining the weather forecast seems to be on an optimistic trend – we may actually see altitudes above 4000’, and even cumulus clouds. 

John Good


Posted: 3/13/2014


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