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Region 4 North - Day 1 Again... oh so very close

Today dawned clear, crisp, and blue.   It FELT like a good soaring day.    It looked like a good soaring day.   It even smelled like a good soaring day.   Our weather prognosticator, Richard Kellerman, called for slightly better conditions than yesterday, so we were optimistic that we would get our first competition day.  

All gliders were on the grid at 11:30, and we started ops shortly after noon.  Our intrepid sniffer, Danny Brotto, reported a "very smooth tow" and flailed around in broken bubbles before landing back.  We waited a few mintues and put up Danny along with two other competitors, and they stuck.   Reports came back of 4-5 kts to almost 4,000, which was WAY better than yesterday and better even than the forecast.   Game on. 

With gates opening at 13:35 and 13:50, we figured we had plenty of day to get in the assigned  2.5 hour TAT.   The first warning sign was the distinct lack of reported starts as the gates opened.   A bunch of gliders finally went out before 14:00, and most of the fleet was on course shortly thereafter.  

The second warning sign was radio chatter that started shortly before 15:00 related to the landability of various private airstrips near the first turnpoint.    Bowtie, Shultheis, Captain's Folly, etc. were all slated to see glider activity over the next 30 minutes.    Then, the phones started ringing, as pilots reported their landouts.    

The third warning sign was the appearance of several gliders back at the home airport well before the 2.5 hours assigned.  Hmmm...maybe it wasn't as good as forecast after all.  

In the end, we had nobody complete the task or even reach the second turn area.   As I write, we are reviewing flight logs VERY carefully to make sure all pilots have been assigned the optimal start.   It looks like we may have missed an official contest day by an incredibly small margin in the Gold Class, while Silver seems a bit further from achieving a valid contest day.    This could change once we go through the rules more carefully, as there are a number of nuances that will affect the results.   

Stand by,

Erik Mann (P3)


Posted: 10/12/2015


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