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Seniors Soaring Championship - Mar 14 Report

After five days of (more or less successful) struggle with blue, weak, difficult conditions, we felt entitled to some low-stress soaring.  And today we had it: east winds, cumulus clouds, strong climbs to over 5000’, and speeds well above 60 mph.  (Ice on windshields at dawn was taken by some as a good omen.)

The task took pilots south – some as far as Sebring (about 70 miles south of home).  This is a popular run here, as it follows Highway 27 and a line of seven or eight friendly airfields including Winter Haven, Lake Wales and Avon Park.  It’s also often a good place to find lift – and so it proved yesterday.

Soaring conditions – and thus speeds – were actually a bit better than forecast, and some pilots failed to realize this in time to go deep enough into the first turn cylinder.  We thus had a number of finishers under the 2 hr 45 min minimum time, which hurt their scores a bit.

But the smart money avoided that trap, and returned home with easily the best speeds of the week. Ken Sorenson (KM) again won the day with a nearly flawless flight at 68.3 mph over 191 miles. (Ken has bounced back from a Day 2 landout with two daily wins, and is threatening to crawl back near the top of the scoresheet).  Karl Striedieck (KS) was a close second for the day, and now holds the overall lead.

We have been told to expect more of the same for tomorrow.  Indeed, forecast temperatures in the low 80s may allow climbs above 6000 feet.

John Good


Posted: 3/14/2014


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