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Region 11 FAI Class - Race Day 5

All week the weather report had indicated Friday would be the best day, and Saturday would be unflyable due to overdevelopment. Friday turned out to be unflyable mainly due to smoke. The morning weather call was not optimistic about Saturday, wide spread possibility of thunderstorms extending even into Truckee. There was some hope that they would develop later in the afternoon, and would be heavier to the south. It was a difficult task to call, lift was expected to be weak in the north and blown up south, yet if it really was heavy convection high speeds would be achieved by the fastest pilots so at least 200 miles had to be available in a 2 hour task. The CD settled on a turn area task with Air Sailing having a 20 mile radius, and Herlong a 28 mile radius. By going to the ends of the cylinders, just over 200 miles was possible, and it would bring the gliders north as the expected overdevelopment progressed. 

With some urgency to get the task underway ahead of the weather (the cumulus clouds already building at the 10 o’clock pilot’s meeting), the launch was scheduled to begin at 11:15. Though lift was very weak at 8,000, pilots were able to work up to a 12,500 ft cloud base and the gate was opened at 12:50. By this time there was 20,000 ft vertical development in clouds over Reno and elsewhere, many other cumulus clouds, but also sunlight inbetween and it started to look like a pretty good day!

The favored route was straight over Mt Rose to the Virginia range, then along the cloud line to near Fernley at the east end of the range.  This leg could be run without turning at all: there were few thermals of greater than 4 knots but widespread weaker lift under the clouds. Turning north again no or few turns were required to reach the Air Sailing vicinity. There was a choice of clouds heading north west to Herlong, and now some work was required to stay up, the clouds were farther apart and the lift more concentrated. Most pilots headed up the ridge towards Susanville a bit past Herlong, until the computer said they would make the 2 hour minimum task, then turned for home. Adams Pk to Loyalton is the normal route home from there, it was blue so some diverted to the east to follow the clouds, but the faster times crossed the blue, flying the Verdi/Loyalton ridge into Truckee. 

The day was won by Peter Deane (2T) at a raw speed of 78.79 mph. Next was David Greenhill (16) at 69.24 mph, and third Thomas Greenhill (5T) at 59.26 flying a standard Cirrus. That result put everyone on notice that there were now likely to be two generations of Greenhills above them on the score sheet!

The final standings were David Greenhill (16) on top with a 200 point lead on second place Peter Deane (2T), another 200 points separated the third place finisher Hal Woodruff (HW).  Despite challenging weather once again uncharacteristic of Truckee, everyone enjoyed the contest and most said they would return. 

The CM (Tony Gaechter) announced at the dinner that although 21 entries had been accepted for this year, only 18 would be accepted next year to keep the launch time shorter. So get your deposit in early!

Reported by L6 (from 6th place……)

Posted: 7/21/2018


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