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2017 15 Meter, Open, and Standard Class Nationals - We have a day

A red sunset Wednesday night provided some hope that Thursday would bring sunshine and the chance for our first contest day. That hope was borne out in a better than expected soaring day today. With too much water on the ground and a forecast high of only 81°F, landing everyone out in muddy fields was foremost in my mind. However, we are in need of days to make a valid contest. We are fortunate that Fernando Silva, our Weatherman, has developed some world class forecasting skills. His initial forecast this morning was not terribly optimistic, but Fernando studied the rainfall distribution info and we were able to put together a couple of tasks that looked marginally plausible. Approaching grid time, the forecast began to improve and I was beginning to think we might even have a task undercall. As it turned out, the task worked out OK. Speeds were about as expected and there were no landouts. The tasks were identical for Standards and 15M. Opens had the same task with one turnpoint difference to add a few miles to allow them to stretch their wings. Most pilots reported maximum altitudes of less than 5000 msl and winning speeds appear to be in the upper 50’s and low 60 mph range.

I have to mention today’s spectacular finish. We had close to 50 gliders out on course and the majority arrived home in a very small time span. I have never seen quite that many gliders arriving at the same time. At one point, the “6 miles out” calls were coming so fast, I was having trouble marking them off on my check sheet. The pilots were up to the challenge, though. They sequenced themselves into the landing pattern beautifully, managed their energy to land long or short as needed, and all cleared the runway on rollout. Gliders ended up fairly evenly distributed for the full length of the mile-long runway. It was amazing to see. Great job pilots!

Last night was the traditional and ever popular Fish Fry put on for us by the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce. More about Cordele hospitality in tomorrow’s writeup. For this entry, I want to report on the special event and guest of honor at last nights dinner. Sarah Arnold, Silver Medalist at the Womens World Gliding Championship arrived at the dinner to waving flags, and a standing ovation. Sarah spoke and expressed her appreciation for the support. Congratulations, Sarah!

The forecast for tomorrow is better, so we are looking forward to longer flights and higher speeds. Maybe I can find a few minutes to post a morning update and a short afternoon update.


Posted: 6/8/2017


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