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2019 Region 5 South - It's Hot Down here in the South

   The trailers started rolling in last week as the Mid Georgia Soaring club held their annual GTA Race and cross-country camp.  The weather is continuing to provide outstanding soaring conditions for the Region 5 Regional in Cordele Georgia.  For those of you who are not familiar, Cordele does not have a commercial operation or local club.  It is just a southern town that enjoys having glider pilots descend on their community for a couple of weeks of fun.  The whole town knows when we are here and welcomes us like any other southern city that has open arms for their family. 

Chris Carter is running the show with Lyn Forbes as co-contest manger.  Together they are adding life to a contest that has a fabled history in Region 5.   We had a free flying day on Saturday for competitors to work out all the bugs in their ships.  Saturday night we provided a class in the Best Western lobby on how to fly faster.  Today was the first official practice day and what a day it was.  Scott Fletcher briefed the weather this morning as a potentially great day.  With high hopes, the task advisors of Dennis Linnekin, Rob Ware and Wally Berry designed a task to test the pilots bold enough to rig on this practice day.  The 18 Meter, and 15 Meter Combined Class were set on an Assigned Task just shy of 300k.  For those not familiar with the metric system, that is just less than 186 miles.  Each class had an easy run to Douglas as the first turnpoint but had to turn into the wind for a long leg to Berrien.  This turned out to be the deciding leg for both classes.  John Murray put in a great flight of 70.08 mph over 181.42 miles followed by Alan Smith who has just returned to racing after a long layoff.  Not to be outdone, the 15 Meter Class put in a fantastic run.  John Mittell turned in a 73.70 mph over 177.09 miles to win the fastest speed of the day award.  I am sure this was a result of someone complaining that the 15 Meter task sheets were printed on pink paper.  When I responded that they should buy a glider with 3 more meters of wingspan, the fight was on.  Fernando Silva, who did not fly today, bet me the 15 Meter Class would beat the 18 Meter Class each day of the contest.  A good bottle of wine is up for grabs and I’m sure, my fellow 18 Meter racers will prevail…..I hope. 


An experienced competitor In Sports Class won the day at 60.18 raw and 55.86 handicapped.  Kevin Anderson and his DG-400-17 beat the rest of the field by over 4 mph.  I have to brag now, Jim Zombakis from the Tampa Bay Soaring Club is one of my mentees.  He turned in a great flight but returned 15 minutes early.  If he had continued on course a little longer, he would have been in 3rd place for the day at a handicapped speed of 50 mph.  By the way, he is a first time competitor!!!!

We have just returned from the Mandatory Safety Meeting and hopes are high for this week.  The airport, staff and pilots are ready.  For those of you not here this week, sorry you had to work.  We will raise our glasses to you at our no host cocktail party tomorrow night under the tent.  Join us next year if you can.  Stay tuned for more action tomorrow.


Rich Owen



Posted: 6/2/2019


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