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2019 15 Meter National - Day 4

One of the best features of this site is that we grid from the side. There is no pre-grid staging, and at grid time everyone is already in their takeoff spots. We were in a big hurry to get out of here today, and I was able to start the launch a minute after grid time, at 12:01 (I’m not sure if the rules allow me to launch at grid time, so I waited an extra minute).

The senior citizen launch crew did a fantastic job, but we did suffer one casualty. Our friend Chris Sanders, a local LS 4 pilot, stretched a tendon in his lower leg, and as line crew, he will be out for the season. We hope this won’t affect his flying after the contest ends. Despite this mishap, we were able to get everyone in the air in just 42 minutes, a record for this contest.

We had a fine day of soaring today. The forecast was for good conditions, with clouds in the entire task area. The winds were from the north, backing to the northwest with altitude. The Task was a 240 mile AT with the long leg on the wind line. The northern turnpoint was in a cutout in the Charlotte Class B airspace, which I figured would give the pilots a good view of the skyline of one of the most architecturally beautiful cities in the East. At the end of the day, I asked about the view, and without exception, the pilots reported that they had never looked at the ground all day. So much for trying to set an aesthetically pleasing task.

There were three turnpoints, which, according to our rules, allows everyone to tack on additional distance of up to six miles. It’s fun to see how far into each turnpoint circle everyone goes. Typically, the pilots who just touch the circles are concerned about getting home, and the ones who go deep think that the task is an undercall. Today, almost everybody grabbed the extra distance, which makes me think that tomorrow’s task needs to be longer.

Most everybody started in the 13:15 to 13:30 time frame, and the bulk of the finishers arrived at about 17:00.

While they were out there, some of us apricated, some of us napped, and some of us quilted.

Photo #15126 | Quilt

When the dust settled, we had a 1000 point day with 100% completions. Remarkably, we had a virtual tie for first place among six pilots. They were (in order) Sergei Morozov, Jerzy Szemplinski, Erik Nelson, Sean Murphy, Luke Szepaniak, and Bob Fletcher.

Here is Sergei’s flight:

Photo #15127 | May 14 MS

Tomorrow is the last day of the contest, and we hope to get everyone home in time for the awards banquet. But that’s not a promise for a wimpy task. It is the Nationals, after all.

-Rick

Posted: 5/14/2019


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