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Region 5 North - Ninja Turtle Day

Thursday morning pilot’s meeting began with a cry of “cowabunga dude” as JA came forward to receive his award string of Mardi Gras beads. (Don’t bother to ask!) The chuckles and smiles were short lived as the Anemoi really punished R5N with hammering winds throughout the launch and task. By 0 beer thirty all the Turtles were shaking their heads; if you heard “gnarly dude” once, you heard it a hundred times.

Back the truck up. 18M launched first today. Half way through the class many doubtful faces were visible. Thankfully, wind was straight down the runway and tow planes kept launching until all 18M were flying. 18M task was confirmed “fair and safe” and it opened.

After a short operations hold for wind gusts, it was FAI’s turn to launch. Ground winds were now steady over 20 MPH with gusts going higher. No surprise more than half of the FAI class pulled out of the grid taking the “wait and see” approach. Smart decision.
Monkey see, monkey do, right? Now, the Sports class correctly bails out too. Still gridded behind the Sport class is Open and they want to fly. Man-oh-man, we’re having fun now. How are “we” (being me) going to untangle this backlash?  Then came the “Big One”; about 5 minutes of steady 30 MPH wind down the runway with stinging sand peppering anything exposed. Enough … tow pilots wisely and correctly pulled the plug; no more tows and Perry International was closed to any departure. FAI, Sports, Open classes were canceled for Thursday, April 19.

Back to the 18M task. It was a 2:15 TAT. Start, Twin Lakes (26) miles, Perry (59.94) miles, Edgefield County (86.06), and finish for a total of 114.26 nominal miles. Winner was Rich Owen (ZO) going 126.28 @ 50.07 MPH, 2nd Jerzy Szemplinski (XG) going 126.67 @ 47.04 MPH, and 3rd Jae Walker (JW) going 120.20 @ 46.86 MPH. Great job guys!

So, let me sum this day up. Amazingly, there were no land-outs. Those who pulled off the grid wisely chose to stay in their comfort zone; winners! Those who did not make the task but returned to land safely at Perry; winners! And those who completed the task and landed safely, winners!  Today, everyone was a winner because we enjoyed a safe day with no damage of any sort.

Keep your head out of the cockpit, respect your safety zone, and bring home a smile.

Respectfully, Marshall McClung

Posted: 4/20/2018


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