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2019 Club Class Nationals - Final Two Days

On Day 5, we were post frontal with all indications pointing to an excellent soaring day. Hugh and the task advisors consulted with our weather experts and set a 226 mile Assigned Task. We were not aware that the longest Club Class Assigned Task was 227 miles from Hobbs, or we would've made it a little longer!

The first leg was tough and it caught one glider. That area had gotten a lot of rain from storms the night before which had dropped pea size hail on Sunflower (no damage, but it was loud in the campers). After we got west of Lyons though the ground was dry and the soaring was fantastic. We were all frantic to get the speed up but 5+ knot thermals helped a lot. A few gliders pushed too hard and landed in the vicinity of Kinsley, the westernmost turnpoint of the task.

A couple doglegs with downwind runs at the end of the day were enjoyable and most pilots were able to get high enough at Kingman to make the glide back into the wind and finish. Everyone who was listening on the radio let out a cheer when XK, John Bird in his Standard Libelle, called 4 miles! Yes a Libelle did 226 miles, fighting a 20 kt wind, in KANSAS. John bought his Libelle for $6000 from the club in Lawrenceville, IL about 2 weeks before the contest. Now that is what the Club Class is all about.

Danny Sorenson was fastest for the day and moved to second overall.

The final day dawned with a pretty pessimistic soaring forecast. The weather experts were not too optimistic as a band of thick cirrus was forecast to move through. Hugh, on the other hand, wanted to get us in the air for another day, so a short assigned task to the east (away from the Cirrus) was called. Climbs were actually pretty good with 3 kts to 4000 AGL out there in the blue. Wind was south at 15 kts. As we started the task the edge of the cirrus was within 20 miles of Sunflower. There was one landout on the second leg but otherwise the gaggle made decent time around the task. 

We came back to the SW of Sunflower for Castleton, which was under complete shadow. After the dead glide to Castelton we turned back for the sunlight and Haven where we all hoped to get to final glide. I caught 3.5 kts with a Bald Eagle to get final glide and then some which got me around Haven, out the Hutchinson VOR, and to the finish. It was a good enough performance for a day win. 

Danny struggled at the end of the task and slipped back to third overall. 

Mike Westbrook maintained his steady consistent flying and is the 2019 Club Class Champion. He was awared the Nathan Maleady and the Mary Klassen Trophies as he had the fastest handicapped speed on a task and was the overall winner. Tom Holloran is runner up with Danny third.

Danny showed great perserverance during this contest. It seemed like something was always going wrong for him, except for his flying. He had a landing gear repair that kept him up late the night before the first contest day. With four A&P's and a skilled welder on the field he was back in service though. Through the rest of the contest in no particular order he had his car breakdown, he got t-boned by a deer, the Air Conditioning back home went out in the middle of the night, his neighbors at the hotel got into a domestic violence incident. Through all that he just kept putting good speeds up and showed us all what a good pilot he is.

We enjoyed a great meal and enjoyable banquet at the new Soaring Center. The Sunflower Soaring Foundation really hit it out of the park with this new building. All the competitors were really complimentary of the transformation at Sunflower and are excited to come back soon for another contest.


Posted: 6/14/2019


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