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Region 11 FAI Class - Smoky TAT

The soaring prediction was a little better for Thursday, still not high enough to get back from the south so tasks to the north were considered. A TAT with Herlong, Mt. Pluto, and Adams Peak was called with generous radii to accommodate the range of flying skills. This was complicated by a TFR for fire suppression just to the east of the course, and the possibility of smoke.


The gliders gridded at 12:00 hoping for a launch at 12:30. At 12:15 L6 self launched as the sniffer, and found the lift still quite weak with initial climbs only to 8000 ft, delayed perhaps by the increasing smoke. By 1:00 the tops had lifted to 11,000 so the launch was on. The best strategy seemed to be to start out of the top of the 10,000 cylinder, then head for Verdi ridge to turn north towards Herlong. The lift was pretty good in spots, but the visibility continued to deteriorate and most pilots were very happy to have Flarm (every glider in the contest was Flarm equipped). Gliders were confined to the ridge corridor and those ahead turned to meet those behind head on, often at the same altitude. Fortunately everyone was alert and no close calls were reported. 


Some pilots arrived low at Adams Peak after crossing the Sierraville valley, others were able to climb at Loyalton high enough to arrive above the peak. Most pilots turned at Adams (which was within the Herlong cylinder) and headed back down the Verdi ridge to get the Pluto turnpoint. Lift had gone soft in the Truckee area, and there were various strategies employed to get back out. On the second go around, to nick the Adams cylinder required only going about half way along the ridge, and few ventured much further than they had to. There was one landout in Reno-Stead, and one glider abandon the task but everyone else made it around. Considering the conditions, this was a successful task. 


The top three pilots LA, 2BB, and P7 had raw speeds of 65.34, 64.58, and 64.51 mph respectively - very competitive! They corrected out in the same order since all were flying ASG-29 ships, with LA gaining some points as he flew with 15m tips and a better handicap. 


The forecast looks slightly better for Friday, but smoke will be a prime consideration.

Posted: 7/20/2017


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