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1-26 National Champtionships - Day 5, Great Expectations

Day 5, Great Expectations

Contest Director, Steve Statkus’ report for Day 5 started out my thanking the Blue Grass Group. “So, y'all like that Italian food last night? Yay. And what about the band? Was that pretty good? Yeah. Awesome. All right. Well, since we're talking about food, tomorrow it's fried chicken. It's a fried chicken dinner and I've had their fried chicken, it tastes better than Colonel Sanders. After that, the promised Carrier Landing Competition event is going to take place. We're going to do one day ... I know you guys haven't ... Some of you haven't landed but it's going to be foul weather. You get three chances and that's it. It'll be hilarious.

So, let's see, it's the same thing as yesterday and the day before that. So, Jim Bob come up here and get your cup. Tell us how you did it.”

Jim Bob, “Well, it's another good dog fight. Unfortunately, I took off in the second row, so I just milked bubbles out there. Steve Vihlen came along, and I let him go out searching outside the circle. Of course, five minutes before the gate opened, I really wanted to leave quickly. Cause I knew it was going to be a long day. I ended up back at the center, a couple thousand feet lower. Got a little thermal, but I went right back out there and kept fighting distance. I ran into Daniel, and we circled hard, right up to cloud base. I think it was almost 7,000 MSL. I knew it was going to be spectacular. We were perfectly positioned. The gate was open. Literally both of us just dodged outside the back, dodged back in, and dodged out, so that we could get a start.

Glided side by side for over a 3,000 foot loss, which is about midway up the lake before we connected. That was the strongest thermal today, it turned out. It was a solid 7 to 8 knots. We both went up, pretty much side by side out for waves. Another thermal, and he kind of took a different track. We went through turnpoint Mertz and just kept gliding. 

Cue's popping up, really nice. Didn't expect that either. Cruise on into Fayette County over the airport. Actually, I kind of left Daniel behind I thought. Then I ran into him. He was 1,000 foot higher and about two miles beyond us. Couldn't figure out how he did that (laughs). But I made use of him. Caught his thermal, and he went a little bit south, and I went a little bit north of the road. I was just kind of following the cues. Went out the backside and came back in the thermal, then Steve showed back up again. We stuck together for a good 30 miles or more.

Things really petered out at Fayette County. The cues were dissipating. It was kind of cycling out. Every time we hit about a 3 knot thermal, we stopped and did about three turns and continued. Daniel came along again, right over the Fayette County Airport. All three of us were kind of battling. Before the top, Daniel would take off, and I said, "Oh no you don't!" (laughs). So I'd leave the thermal and take off after him, but he wouldn't know it because he was charging hard. I just stayed a quarter of a mile away off of one side, let him do my sniffin' (laughs). Which worked out good. We're probably three thermals, Steve, a little lighter ship came in and wasn't charging so hard. Came in right behind us and caught up. Except by then he was about 1,000 foot lower.

Daniel takes off again, charging. I'm thinking I'm gonna be a little bit more conservative. So I did follow a quarter of a mile away, but I just did more of a speed-to-fly, where Daniel was charging hard. I thought all he needs to do is connect with one good one, and he's got me whipped. But it was after 5:00 pm I think. I just got into the turn circle up there at Fry, and I really wanted 500 more feet to be comfortable making it back down.

I just kept on course because there was a little bit of ragged cues left, and I did find enough of a thermal that I got 300 feet more. But it showed I was gonna get back about 7 or 800 on my final flight, so I just left. Sure enough, I was able to take it up to 70 at the end. 70, 80, and finish at 600 feet (applause).

Steve said, “It’s the Gus and Jonathan show here for the third time as well. Good job. Nice dance.”

Jonathan, “I was in the back of the circle towards after the start with these guys. I ended up a couple 100 feet below. I saw them circling and go out for the last time to start. I said, well, let me make another turn. So, I get a little more height to get out and I did that and went out and came back and turned around and I couldn't see anybody. They were gone into the haze and I was on my own. That's kind of how I flew. I went through the turn points, kind of meandered slowly and made it out to the turn point. I was thinking, okay, looking at the big blue hole and behind the lake. I thought about going deeper, but I thought time would be an issue, or getting back in time. So, I just turned there and kept coming back. I got down to about 1600 feet over the ground by the highway there and found something and worked it slowly and then it finally turned into something enough and got up enough.

I saw a couple people out on course. They helped with some thermals. I saw Jeff and I'm not sure who else, but then made it back, went into the turn point out here and thermaled back enough to make it glide out here (applause).

Steve Statkus introduces Daniel Sazhim The Weatherman, “All righty, folks. They kicked Dan out for today, so Dan replaces him.”

Daniel, “With respect to the weather, the short summary is that it's going to be good but possibly fickle. The big question, and this is pretty much going to be the situation for the next couple days, is that we're going to have basically a good underlying air mass but problems with possible high cloud cover. We'll get to that.

Now to the northwest, if we make it there, it's going to be great 6,000 feet, four knots. Probably not quite as good as last time but similar. If you can get away, it's going to be solid. We're going to have watch out for the high cirrus, the moisture up high. No wind to speak of, we're pretty much in the high pressure here. I never thought I'd ever say this, but of all the places that around in this area, we're lucky to be in Ohio. Because this is what it looks like everywhere else. (Daniel shows a weather map of the US and it pretty much has bad weather everywhere but in southwest Ohio.) But, luckily, we're over here and not over here. If we end up going this way, which is what the plan is, things will work out very nicely. That's 18Z for the prog by the way.

Now someone asked about rain yesterday, so I pulled up the 24 hour "precip." We got about a half inch of rain more or less. It's very dry ground. I don't think it's going to be much of a problem, but it might be a little softer earlier in the day. Err to the side of a little bit more pessimism in the forecast, because the forecasts don't tend to accommodate for rain as well as they ought to. But once you get to Richmond and beyond, it's perfectly dry. The guys going far, it should be pretty solid over there.

TAFs, no wind. Wilmington is calling 5,000 feet by noon. Toward Dayton, they're not predicting any cloud, but we're going to get cloud. SkySight, the big thing to look at here is the high cloud cover. South of us, it's pretty much 50%. As we head out toward Richmond, it thins out toward 36 and 21%. Now, bearing in mind that high cloud cover forecasts are terrible ... That's one of the things that they're still struggling to be able to do well. It's one of those kind of things that if it moves in a bit quicker, or if it's a little bit thicker, then it can really shut down flight. If it doesn't, then might be working solid quite a bit later than that. But that's going to be a major, major question today.

Yeah, so day begins at 12:30. If all goes well, we should be at 5,000 feet by the time the gate opens, 6300 feet to the north and west. As noted, the high cloud cover is the big problem today.

I also like to look at a couple soundings. This gives a good picture of what we're looking at. This is Wilmington at 18Z. This is the RAP model. We have a really nice underlying air mass, no wind. Pretty good air in most of the upper profile, but up here, that's basically ... That's the high cloud cover. Now, if we look toward Richmond, it's a whole different ... It's a completely different area. Look, it just goes ... It gets really dry. It's going to be wonderful out there. Just a wonderful, wonderful temperature profile, but it's still pretty close on the high cloud ... at the upper level, so may get cirrus, maybe not. It's ... but definitely questioned. And then, toward the end of the day, toward four o'clock, this is Wilmington again. Again, you see that it gets a little bit drier over here at the lower parts, but still we get quite a bit of moisture up high.” 

So, it looked like okay, I'm into the wind. I got back here in about 2000 feet. So, I went around the back of the circle and came in at the back of the finish and it was about 1000 feet and then came and landed and it worked out.”

Contest Director, Bill Vickland presented the task for the day, “Okay so Richmond and return grid at 12 for sure. We may launch by 12:30 pm. The task time is three hours. If we begin to get weather we'll call attempt B. It'll be two and a half hours. We got lots of options if it really deteriorates. We can even go beyond that but right now that's task A, task B. We'll call task B if we do it. Not likely I don't think cause I just think optimistically. But we'll do a pilot B on the grid.

After the pilot’s meeting, I took my ASW 15 “6V” out to the back of the line and after taking the group photo, got a chance to video introduction of Steve Statkus.

Hi, Chuck. I'm Steve Statkus and my glider here is a 1-26-C. I bought it down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The guy I bought it from ... I was just looking for parts. I was restoring another 126. He says, "I got all the parts you need. I only want $2000 for them," and I thought that I didn't know what I was buying, so I drove down there with my wife and I thought I was going to get a utility trailer full of 126 parts, but the whole airplane was sitting on the trailer.

When he said he wanted $2000 for it, I couldn't get my billfold out of my pocket quick enough. I drug that thing home and the wings were a little rough, but the fuselage was pretty good. Had good fabric on it and he had restored the fuselage. At the time, I was repairing a glider that flipped over here at Caesar Creek and the wings had damage on the wingtips and the ailerons, so I bought some hardware from K and L to repair the wingtips and I just repaired the ailerons myself. This is really a Franken-plane. The fuselage is 242 and the wings are 293. I guess the real number is somewhere in between there, but I went with 242.

I've been flying this for about five years. When I finished the restoration and I painted it, my experience with 1-26s at the time was a whole bunch of short flights, so I named this thing after Don Quixote's girlfriend, Dulcinea. In the story, she was a prostitute, and I felt like I was paying, so why not do that? Then for the last 1-26 championship we had here about four years ago, I got a kid from the Cincinnati Art Academy who did graffiti work and I wanted him to do a little graffiti work on my wing. I had the wings in my hangar he attacked these things with a spray can in each hand. I'm watching him and I'm thinking, "What have I done?" In about two hours, he had finished it. I don't know whether you can read it, but it says, "1-26s Rule."

Chuck, “Well, that's great, Steve and thanks for being the contest manager here for the 1-26 2018 Championships.”

Steve Statkus, “You're welcome. Well, this is more of a family reunion than a glider contest and that's why I like these guys.”

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: 5/27/2018


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