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18-Meter National Championships - Practice Days are Over

Tfe 18 Meter Nationals are underway at the Seminole-Lake Gliderport in sunny Clermont Florida.  The practice days saw 5-6 knot lift to 6,000 ft and the long range forecast does not show any let up to the great weather.  Speaking about weather, Richard Kellerman is doing an outstanding job providing spot on forecasts via an internet video link called Zoom.  On practice day one his face appeared right on schedule during the pilots meeting on the big screen.  Remote weather can be a challenge but Richard more than met the call to duty.  On the first day, Jim Lee smoked the fleet with an 81 mph overall speed even with returning 3 minutes early.  He is one of two pilots that have to forget about the old adage that winning a practice day spells disaster for the rest of the contest.  Rich Owen won the second practice day due to the fact only half the fleet went airborne.  Flying with Dave Springford, they covered the 230 miles at nearly 77 mph.  Seperated by only .03 mph they started together and performed a formation fly by over the center of the gliderport. 

The evenings are very friendly, this is the south by the way!  Snacks by the pool highlighted the first night after flying entertainment.  Gary Ittner was the big hit providing his famous Miss Turnpoint Ale and Bug Hitter Lager both nights.  One nice surprise I received was a gift from F8 that appeared in the DG syndicate refridgerator.  Thanks Bill and Diane!  

We provided trackers to all the pilots that wanted to use them.  You can follow the contest with a 15 minute delay by logging onto Airtribune.com.  Look for the 18 Meter Nationals and click on Live Trackers.  These trackers use cell phone connections so in the middle of the Green Swamp they may have some lose of data.  Hope you will enjoy the view!  Thats all for now.  Stay tuned for a great event!  Wish ya'all were here!

Posted: 4/30/2018


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