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18-Meter National Championships - Meat Loaf

As he said in the song Paradise By the Dashboard Life, "we have a real pressure cooker of a game here."  John Godfrey called a Turn Area Task with a nominal distance of 297 miles.  The weather today had some curves that cost some pilots a lot of time down low.  On the way to the first turn point it was predominantely blue with an inversion at about 4,300 feet.  Once we headed south the weather got really good with strong climbs to 6-7,000 feet.  If you could run energy lines and not lose much time in the northern half of the task, you were in good shape.  Does that sound like anyone we know.  More about the winners later.  

Our Chief Tow Pilot reported for work today riding a miniture 4 wheeled ATV.  It looked like something you would give to your 5 year old for Christmas.  The morning tow pilot meeting attendees all broke out laughing.  Not to be out done, I decided to ride the same vehicle down to my ship before grid time.  The ground crew gave me a brief on the operation of the "toy ATV".  What they didn't tell me is when you push on the accelerator and let it go, well it just keeps speeding up until you hit the brake.  Luckily I was able to stop before I ran into anything.  To keep you from seeing the episode on You Tube video, I bribed the ground crew with a dinner at Texas Roadhouse tonight. Hence the late report.  Safe for now!

Today there were still packs of gliders but their numbers were greatly reduced from yesterday.  The weak conditions in the beginning spread the ships out a lot more.  Once everyone got south of "The Villages" (google the retirement community, you'll get a kick out of it), the clouds filled in and the lift got strong.  You could string groups of clouds together and get large increases in your task speed.  You may have guessed who the winner would be in these types of conditions, Jerzy Szemplinski, the master of getting the best out of the sky.  He flew 315 miles at a speed of 73 mph, 3 mph faster than Sergei who finished in second.  Eric Nelson flew a great race and finished in third claiming a podium spot for the Americans.  Way to go Eric!!  It is still a close race among the Americans but we will not raise the Canadian flag in the hangar just yet.  Sean Fidlere, Eric Nelson, Robin Clark and Gary Ittner are still well within reach.  Well, we may need a little help from Sergei Morozov.  Sergei is flying a superb contest and has accoumulated 3,941 out of 3,993 points available.  I do have some very nice Russian vodka that Sergei may find in his cockpit tomorrow.

Weather tomorrow may change to a more challenging forecast.  Lower cloud bases and weaker lift may greet us in the morning.  We will just have to wait to hear from Richard Kellerman in the morning.   

Thank you for all the inputs on the new tracking system.  After the contest I plan to give the SSA staff a report on how this system has performed.  We know of some changes that need to be made before we are happy.  It is a good start.  We are trying to keep you up to speed on the race and the tracking system is just one of the ways we are attemping to do it.  Thanks to Ken Sorenson and the entire SSA staff for their support.  They paid for half of the cost of the trial with Seminole-Lake Gliderport picking up the rest of the tab.  Thanks also to Leigh Zimmerman for putting our social media posts on the SSA Facebook page.  The old folks may not use this platform but the kids sure like it.  

Thats all for tonight race fans.  Talk with you tomorrow.

Rich Owen




Posted: 5/4/2018


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