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2019 15 Meter National - Practice Day

Well, here we are again at Frank and Jayne's beautiful jewell of a gliderport, Bermuda High in Jefferson, South Carolina.

This is the site of some memorable contests: the 18 Meter National Championships in 2013 and 2016, and several of the competitors who attended those events are back again for the 2019 15 Meter Nationals.

Compared with the recently completed Perry Regionals, this will be a small contest. But if you peruse the entry list, you will find that the very best 15 Meter Class pilots in two countries have made the effort to come here. We have no fewer than 17 pilots who have previously represented their countries in World and Continental Championships!

The seriousness of this competition is reflected by the effort it has taken many of the participants to get here. Those of us who brag about traveling up and down the east coast were put to shame by Cliff Hilty, Gary Ittner, and Tim Taylor, who jouneyed here from Arizona, California, and Utah, respectively. But the long distance award definitely belongs to Geena Wilson (P7 crew), who endured a harrowing 48 hour trip from Auckland, New Zealand to be with us.

Today was the practice day, and after a couple of days of poor soaring conditions, we were really ready for some simulated racing. The Task was a 97/188/288 mile TAT that went up to North Carolina, then southeast to a big circle east of here, then home via a steering turnpoint to our south.

Photo #15111 | May 06 Task


The winner of the day was Jerzy Szemplinski, who flew 202 miles at 68 mph.

But, of course, none of this counts, and the real race begins tomorrow. The forecast is for continued good weather, but you never know.

The day ended with a catered welcome dinner that was supposed to take place in the hangar, but we moved the tables and chairs out onto the apron to enjoy the beautiful sunset.  Jayne relaxed her rule about driving on the runway in order to accommodate a pair of "service vehicles" that pulled right up to the party.  The first was a familiar white Sprinter from California whose service consisted a pair of taps that dispensed the latest selections from the P7 microbrewery: "Overcall IPA," and "Brake Czech" ale.  The second was a local homemade ice cream truck that served generous portions of a multitude of flavors that impressed everyone, including the ice cream connoisseur from Vermont.


Posted: 5/6/2019


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