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18 Meter Nationals - Taylor Phillips on Days 3 to 6

Pardon my non-posting abilities. On top of my day off yesterday, towing for the contest takes it out of you, but it has gone smoothly and in a timely manner! Anyway, I am posting on Day 5 (repeat as the CD called yesterday a non-contest day) in the morning as I sit in the pilot briefing for the day.

Let's summarize the last few days real quick from my point of view.

Thursday, June 12, Day 3 We saw stronger and more put together wave. As we so interestingly towed off of runway 16, we were pushing the crosswind components of the towplanes. (Noteworthy:  all the gliders landed on the closed runway 21 directly into wind). It remained very windy and the contest pilots were not the happiest, yet not in too poor of moods. Some pilots even saw a little hail and virga.  (Taylor said he had a blast fighting the rotor all day - Editor.)


OK. So, as we sat at JT's for our Basque dinner that evening, Dan Gudgel and John Godfrey mentioned that our contestants had been flying through a “live firing” area!!! Apparently,  SoaringNV got the call from Oakland Center . . . which woke QT from his nap to say the least . . . The flight briefers who provide such info during the pilot briefing (all knowing pilot knowledge gods), didn’t EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE LIVE FIRE!!!  No NOTAM or any other passing of info to the contest management or anyone else for that matter.

The contestants keep brushing this off as a joke and it took about 5 minutes for Dan and John to reassure them that this isn't a joke. Haha! The military went through proper channels, but the mechanism they used is so obscure that the NOTAM was missed by all the briefers. . . . Fortunately, after a lot of bug eyed, worried, mouth opened, contestants listening closely to Dan and John began to laugh, and it turns out that the airspace was not active that day.  But, fortunately (well, that we were not flying through it) a Temporary Flight Restriction south of Coleville was put into place, so we know where not to go!  (After receiving the coordinates for the restricted area, it was determined that Mt. Patterson and Sweetwater were included in the restricted area which is going to prove challenging for settings tasks to the south – Editor.)

Friday, June 13, Day 4 was filled with non-favorable conditions and as the weather man, Dan said, “... you have your choice of [bad] thermals or [bad] wave, you pick.” The lack of good looking clouds seconded his point. The contestants landed in a nice, spaced out manner, with looks and statements of curiosity as to whether other pilots used wave or thermals. It seemed to be 50/50, some pilots used one or the other, and some used both. The wave trend seems to be giving pilots a forecast for a “late spring wave camp," as Mike Moore (Lead Tow Pilot) puts it. The wave was noticeably scattered, changing, but workable, from a tow-pilot point of view. I noticed towing directly into the wave and working portions of it with up to 1600 kts/min ascending with gliders on tow!

Saturday, June 14, Day 5 (cancelled) The 9am meeting laughs are good reminiscences of the well enjoyed fundraiser BBQ last night for the Minden Soaring Club Youth Scholarship Program and a bran muffin with candles for John (CD) as his birthday is soon to come.  Day 5 was … poor. From my house in Carson City you could see the high overcast conditions, no air apparently going up, or going down.  Words like, “rotor suppressed,” “...played it dumb,” and “washout,” were used this morning to describe yesterday’s conditions.  The day was called off, however, F8, one of the sniffers, found wave, made it up to 11K. As he talks about his “poor day” everyone is laughing at his modesty.

Sunday, June 15, Day 5. The conditions starting this morning are of a little more hope. You can see some standing lenticular clouds over Mt. Rose among other locations. However, Stewart Tattersall, mentions (standing in for Dan today), we are anticipating a thermal day as the wave will not be usable for us.  (The fleet took off and the day proved to be one of the best of the contest with beautifully marked thermals and a good day for all. – Editor)

Monday, June 16, Day 6 was cancelled due to high winds and a significant cross-wind component that made launching too uncomfortable for all pilots. Editor

-Taylor Phillips, Le Tow Pilot

For a full collection of photos, go to http://candidskyproductions.com

Posted: 6/18/2014


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