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Senior Soaring Championship - Mar 13 Report

In Florida, the passage of a cold front has different implications for soaring than in locations further north. It will reliably be cold (in this case, with overnight temperatures near freezing). But by the time it marches this far south, the “wedge” of cold air is thin, with a strong temperature inversion above. The result is a severely blue day with weak lift to very modest altitudes.

So it was today: a good thermal was 2 kts to not much over 3000 ft. But lift there was, and with the many airfields in our task area, a 2-hour task was possible and about 90% of the pilots who attempted it got around. Best was local guru Rich Owen, with 48 mph over 107 miles.

Spotted during the noon front-of-the-grid pilot meeting were two Swallow-Tailed Kites, welcome local residents who typically set up housekeeping near the gliderport around this time of year. In terms of visual elegance and soaring skill, these birds have few peers anywhere: in the few minutes they were in view, neither climbed much above treetop height, circled, or flapped once.

Posted: 3/13/2018


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