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Senior Soaring Championship - Practice Day Report

A large collection of soaring-hungry pilots has again assembled at the Seminole Lake Gliderport in central Florida, in this case for the 28th annual Senior Soaring Contest. A week or so ago weather in Florida was everything the Chamber of Commerce – and glider pilots – could wish, with temperatures in the 80s, lofty cumulus clouds and first-rate thermal conditions. As our contest begins, things have changed a bit: we are in a stretch of severely blue skies, cool (some would say downright cold) temperatures, and lift that struggles to reach 3500’. This is, of course, much better than the rest of the nation can claim, and most are happy with that.

As has been the case been almost since it began, this is once again an oversubscribed contest. A number of prospective entrants have had to cancel for conditions related to weather (both west and east), but pilots on a long waiting list have stepped in to fill their places. At this point the breakdown of gliders looks like this:

ASW-27 – 10

ASG-29 – 7

Discus 2 variants – 6

Arcus M - 5

304S Shark – 3

DuoDiscus variants – 3

Ventus 2 variants – 3

DG-800 variants – 3

ASH-31 – 2

Ventus B variants – 2

LAK-17 variants – 2

LS-8 – 2

ASW-19 – 2

ASH-26 – 1

ASW-24 – 1

DG-1000 – 1

Discus CS – 1

Genesis – 1

JS-1 – 1

LS-4 – 1

StdCirrus – 1

TST-14M – 1

Of the 60 regular entrants, fully 25 are flying motorized gliders. Included are some jet engines that were heard running today, creating an interesting noise not traditionally associated with the sport that used to be described as “silent flight”.

Today was practice day, and with a dose of optimism we were able to have a 2-hour task that saw 10 completions. No one achieved any impressive speed - best was Fernando Silva (2017 Senior Contest champion) at just over 46 mph.

Posted: 3/9/2018


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