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1-26 National Champtionships - Day 1, Its a Blue, Blue, Blue Christmas in May

The pilot’s meeting started at 10 am and Dan Reagan the weatherman was very optimistic about it being a good soarable day. The Wilmington ILN Soaring Forecast was -1.5. The task was kept close to the field because it most likely was going to be a blue day. South about 15 miles to Firth, northwest 14 miles to Lebanon, 11 miles east to Hagemeyer and then the optional 12 miles east to Clinton. After that, you could go to any other turnpoints for the 2-hour task.

The contestants gridded at 12:30 pm and I went around the grid getting short introductory videos from the contestants.

My name's Larry Williams. I'm from northern Kentucky just over the river from Cincinnati so I'm kind of a hometown guy here. My airplane was built in 1974 by a tech school in Buffalo, New York. As soon as they finished it, they sold it to the Montreal Soaring Club and it was in Canada for most of its life. That's why I've got Canadian registration and this insignia on front, that's their club logo. A fellow bought it from them and brought it to New York and did all the paperwork to get it registered in the United States and disappeared. The club that he had it stored in finally was able to contact him. He was in a nursing home and they said you owe us back money for all the 13 years of storage in our hangar. So they made a deal. The guy said, "I'll sign the title over to you," and the club said, "Okay, we'll give you five free rides every year if you want to do that." And the club had no use for it so they put it up for sale and I went and bought it. That was three years ago.

I'm Cathy Williams. The ship is 392 and I'm from Mid Atlantic Soaring Association, which is in southern Pennsylvania, just near Gettysburg. 392 was built in the early '70s, maybe even '69. It was built for the Schweizer Soaring School and it belonged to a man named Dick Dibble, and then I bought it from him in '05. And I've had it ever since. Had it repainted about 10 years ago.

Hi, my name's Dan Ernst. I'm from Alexandria, Virginia. My number is 316. It's a B model built in 1965, and hoping to have a good time here. Been enjoying it so far.
This is my first contest so I'm glad it's good conditions for that, I think.

I'm Pierre Pierre-Alban Grellet-Aumont. My ship number 686. Beautiful. Polished. But need a good polished but it looks polished on picture I'm sure. Model E. One of the latest ones and I bought it from a gentleman in Texas. Drove it New York, drove it back to Texas last year for TSA. And I'm back here in Ohio with this beautiful glider trying to compete for the first time in the 1-26 Championship.


Hi, I'm Jonathon Leal. I'm flying team with Gus Johnson. It's his glider 008, and we're out here with a wonderful group of pilots and it’s very competitive. I'm Gus Johnson, we've been flying 008. It was a club glider in our home club, Aeroclub Albatross for quite a number of years, and then the club decided that it needed to get refurbished and they just wanted to get rid of it. I bought it from the club, and did some work on it, and brought it back to competition shape. This is serial number eight, possibly the first of the A models. It was kit built by Philadelphia Glider Council. It was registered in 1953, first flown in 1955.

Hi. I'm Ron Schwartz from Blairstown, New Jersey. I've been flying out of there about 40 years. This is a brand new ship to me. Just got it a couple months ago, and I'm pretty happy with it, but it's been taking me a long time to get ready for her. So, glad to be here, always.

I'm Daniel Sazhin. I'm from Brooklyn, New York, though I fly out of Blairstown. This 308, it's McHeffey’s bird. He was gracious enough to let me fly it and I think we'll have a pretty good day today.

Hi, I'm Jeff Day from North Carolina. I fly a 126 A model, serial number 039. I'm the third owner. The kit was purchased in 1954 and finished in 1959 by Nathan Frank. It was then sold to an Allegheny Airlines captain and he completely rebuilt it from the frame out. Had a guy from the Schweizer factory come over and paint it, and when he got it finished, he flew it once for a couple hours and put it in the hangar, and unfortunately passed away soon after that. It sat on the trailer in the garage for 20 years until I bought it in '91, so I've had it since then.

Rolf Hegele. I'm from Caesar Creek Soaring Club, and I'm flying Steve Statkus' 1-26, number 242. It’s a fun ship to try and fly very well, very responsive and I’m gonna give it a try.

Hey everybody, this is Curt Lewis from Rockford, Illinois flying a 1-26B, number 216. I've had it for quite a few years and I love competing in this class. All the guys are just fantastic. It's like a big family. I'm really looking forward to this first contest today. Number one on the grid. Should be good. They're launching the first ship. If he can stay up, then they'll launch the rest of them.

Hi I'm Val Slocum and this is my husband Jim. I go by Jim Bob while we race. We've restored this airplane completely. It's the current defending champion airplane. We're from Moscow, Tennessee, 40 miles east of Memphis. I expect weak conditions, which I really excel at, but I think we'll get through the course, which is going to be a challenging one. I hope to go kind of deep into the course as I usually do.

I'm Milt Moos and my wife, Joan, my sterling crew. We're from western Ohio, an hour and 45 minutes from here. This is my ship 575 and we hope to get around the course today. If not win anything, just get around.

Hi. My name is Steve Vihlen. I live about 30 miles south of Atlanta. I'm here today, or this week, with our 1-26 B Model, number 267. It's our family glider. Several of my boys fly it and I do as well. We've had a lot of fun with it and have had it since 2012. We're looking forward to this week of soaring and hopefully we'll have good conditions and have a lot of fun together.

I’m Wick Wilkinson. I'm president of the 1-26 Association flying my second contest. Been to many, but this the second one I've flown. I'm from Memphis, Tennessee area, ex-FedEx pilot. This is now my new somewhat jet looking device and looking forward to flying all week here.

I'm Bob Hueni from Phoenix, Arizona. Originally, I'm an Ohio State Buckeye. Was born across the line as a Hoosier. Anyway, got into flying because of family. Started flying gliders in Arizona. Initial ratings were at Ohio State. This ship is very much a native of this field. The Hollorans had it for years and campaigned it on the competition circuit. Everybody loved the Hollorans and the airplane. It's like old home week for this airplane.

And finally this is Chuck Lohre. I'm from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I'm the contest reporter for the 2018 1-26 championships. I'm flying in a vintage class here with my ASW15, 6V, so looking forward to flying with these great pilots.

Thanks for your interest in the 1-26 Championships and please call or send your comments and photos to Chuck Lohre, 513-260-9025, chuck@lohre.com.

Posted: 5/23/2018


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