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Region 5 North - Monday evening

A truly enormous number of pilots and crew have showed up for the 2014 Perry (SC) contest.  This is perhaps explained by this being the first likely opportunity fly after a long, grim, persistent eastern winter (though it should be noted that we have more than a smattering of western pilots here as well).  We have not fully escaped the winter’s fell influence, as evidenced by three days of cold rain during what should be a normally warm contest practice period.

But today was the first scheduled contest day, and we had sun, blue skies and warm temperatures – conditions about as good as any that have been seen in the east this year.  So optimism was much in evidence as pilots assembled and gridded this morning.

The results were not everything that was hoped for.  The 18-Meter class was first to launch, and was able to stay aloft but failed to find anything booming.  They were sent off on a turn-area task, which proved to be weak, but flyable.  The other classes (there are four here, including 15/Std, Sports and even Open) found conditions that didn’t come up to standards, and thus had their tasks cancelled.

At last report, all who attempted the 18-Meter class got around - reported speeds seem to be in the low 50-mph range.  The day was entirely blue, but wind was low and lift occasionally good - though only rarely to good altitudes.  Probably most of the pilots in this class were glad to have long wings today.

 Scott Fletcher is the weatherman here, and an entry in the FAI 15-Meter/Standard class.  But a couple of days before the contest, stopped at a light, his glider trailer was rear-ended by a pickup truck.  The trailer was totaled, and his ASW-27 suffered significant injury to rudder, wingtips and elevator.  He appeared here at Perry to announce that he could not possibly fly.  But he reckoned without the help of Hank Nixon and John Murray.  Hank loaned his trailer to fetch the damaged glider, and then Hank and John went to work on the repair, which after a couple of late nights was done to an airworthy standard. 

 It should be noted that there isn’t nearly as much of John as there recently used to be to do this sort of work - he has lost close to 100 lbs.  But what is left seems to be just as skilled, and this repair was completed with minimal strain.  Scott is clearly pleased, as he awaits a new Cobra trailer.  


- John Good


Posted: 4/21/2014


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