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Region 11 Soar Truckee FAI - Race Day 4 - How do you like your thermals

More wind forecast, and again low heights making a return from the south problematic. The CD was faced with the prospect of having to call another MAT, or get creative. It looked possible to come back from the north via the Loyalton ridge, as the wind can actually assist this route. The call was a 3 turn MAT, this would encourage flight out of the valley but leave some scoring available at the end if speeds turned out to be good. The three points where Air Sailing, Hallelujah Junction, Mt Pluto, and then pilot option, with a minimum of 2:30 time on course. 

There was wind torn lift in the Truckee valley which allowed starts of around 12,500 for the top of the gaggle. There was also lift on the way to Air Sailing, but the return over Peterson Ridge was softer, leaving many pilots low attempting Hallelujah. Some scratched it out over Peterson, some went south to Reno Stead where there was still strong thermals, and a few just pushed through expecting to either see lift in the Loyalton bowl or the Loyalton farm fields as their landing site. There turned out to be lift at Loyalton, the conservative pilots used what was there to get above ridge height then headed south, the more aggressive pilots simply headed south and let the ridge lift them as they went. At Verdi Peak, there were thermals allowing a climb to 10,500 and a fairly easy glide back towards Truckee. Once there, thermals were easy to find to get to Mt. Pluto.

The speeds were faster than expected, so many pilots found themselves with need to find turn points for an additional hour of flying. Mt. Rose, Mt. Pluto, and Verdi Peak were popular, but the thermals had gotten even trashier on into the afternoon, leading someone to ask on the radio, “How do you like your thermals? Scrambled?”  Luke Ashcroft (LA) won the day with a handicapped speed of 55 mph (67 mph raw). Both John Cochrane (BB) and Bill Gawthrop (F8) had slightly higher raw speeds, but Luke was flying with 15 meter wings vs. 18 and 21. 

There was only one landout so the tow pilots got the evening off. 

Reported by Jon Fitch (L6)

Posted: 7/24/2016


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