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Region 11 FAI Class - And At Last - a real soaring day

The forecast for Saturday looked far more promising than any all week, with heights at Truckee of over 13,000 and in the south approaching 18,000 with clouds. It was also the last day of the contest with a dinner scheduled. The task committee believed that everyone would want a decent task on the one decent day even if dinner were late, so the CD called a 3 hour TAT with a single turn point: Glass Mountain. It had a 30 mile radius to allow the slower gliders to turn at North Mono, and the faster ones to go well beyond Mammoth. The predicted heights at both Mt. Siegel and Freel Peak made the return to Truckee relatively easy. 


The gliders were gridded at 11:40 and the launch commenced at 12:00. The first few in the grid had to scratch for awhile, but by the end of the launch many of the pilots had reached 12,000. The gate was opened at 1:15 but many delayed there departure hoping for a little more. Part of the gaggle reached 14,000 to the north of Mt. Rose 15 minutes later and everyone was gone. The consensus route was to Mineral Peak, then Siegel, then Mt. Patterson before crossing to the Sierra. Many gliders flew to Mineral aggressively and were rewarded with a hard scratch back up. A more conserative glide arrived higher up, there were tight thermals which could be worked at about 11 knots climb if you were willing to sustain a 55 deg bank. At Siegel, clouds where forming and a street ran from there along the Sierra crest as far south as you could see. A few crossed at Siegel, most went on to the clouds at Mt. Patterson before heading southwest onto the Sierra crest. GB got low and went down at Sweetwater, it took nearly the rest of the day to organize a tow out but he did arrive back at Truckee just as the sun set. Two other pilots were aero retrieved from the Carson City area before the day was over.


The run to Mammoth was brilliant, two strategies were employed: those who flew fast then circled up when they could, and those who ran along just under the clouds at 17,000 without turning. In the end the speeds seemed to be similar. The averages were so fast many flew well into the cylinder to achieve the minimum time. L6 and several others flew to the last cloud before the Mammoth gap, then turned north and ran the street to Freel Peak. The clouds were lower there, only about 14,500 but that is plenty for a high speed glide across Lake Tahoe and into Truckee. 


LA won the day with a raw speed of 88.31 mph, P7 would have been a close second at 88.21 but misjudged the distance and arrived at the finish 12 minutes early which dropped him to 82.79. 2T would have been second with a raw speed of 89.72 (and a worse handicap) but was flying only as a guest, leaving L6 in second for the day at 81.49 raw speed. 2BB was third with 85.71 mph raw speed, but a watered down ASG-29-18 handicap. 


The overall ranking at the end was P7 in 1st place, LA in 2nd(only 53 points back) and L6 in third some 300 points behind. Despite some very bad weather and smoke, it tuned into a successful contest enjoyed by those you participated. Faced with the poor forecasts, GW left early, and relayed that he was kicking himself for having done so as the flying got better each day afterwards. The USAF Soaring Team participated with five gliders, enjoying the learning experience of flying out of Truckee.


Dates have already been set for 2018: July 14 - 21.

Posted: 7/22/2017


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