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2020 Senior Soaring Championship - Off to the Cloud Street Drag Race

Day 3

After a very nice St Patrick’s Day, with the exception of the Florida Governor closing all bars at 5:00pm, it was a very successful rest day.  The ladies even had a book club meeting that was a first for the Seniors!  Everyone had a nice time and I think we should make this a regular event.  We had another beautiful day in Florida with a low of 64 in the morning and a high of 88 degrees in the afternoon.  This is our dry season, so the soaring has been great.  John Good decided to send us on a tour of Northern Florida today.  We set out from Start B, north to Grass Roots, west to Chinsegut (we can’t pronounce it either), northeast to Norton, south to Gore and then to Green Swamp and the Finish.  That worked out to a TAT (Turn Area Task) of 178 miles nominal distance with a minimum time of 2:45. Our superb groundcrew led by Dewey Clawson and Don Grillo did another fine job getting everyone airborne in an expeditious, safe manner.  We had a towplane that had to abort a takeoff early in the run.  Martin Holtz (tow pilot) and Bob Fletcher (90) did a great job of deconflicting their path on the runway.  In short order we had Bob in the air and the Husky had the day off.  The Pawnees’ picked up the slack and we were soon on task.  Cloud bases were around 4,500ft around the gliderport rising to almost 6,000ft later in the day.  Lift averaged 4.5kts on average with some topping out at 8kts.  Biggest blast of the flight was a clound street that went almost 70 miles from Norton to Gore.  How you handled this leg was the difference between the leaders and the rest of the field.  As you approached the southern section of the task area, the clouds were disappearing in some of the area around Winter Haven.  However, there was a small line of clouds you could work towards the lake.  The trip to Green Swamp was very short and most pilots did not go very far into that circle.  Final glides were pretty tame due to some nice cu on the way home.  Karl Striedieck and Sarah Arnold took the day running away from the field in an Arcus.  Their 216 miles was covered at a blazing 77 miles an hour.  Phil Gaisford finished second with a raw speed of 68.32 mph in a Discus 2b with Rich Owen finishing third in a trusty LS-8 at 68.09 mph.  The score sheet is really tight right now with the top 10 pilots separated by about 200 points.  Overall, Phil Gaisford is in first with Karl and Sarah in second with Rich Owen in third.  Ken Sorenson, Tom Holloran, Fernando Silva, Jake Alspaugh, Nico Bennet/Ryszard Krolikowski, Bob Fletcher, with John Seaborn rounding out the top 10.  It is anyone’s race but Phil has a pretty good lead. 

With two days left in the contest, we are still being very careful with social distancing, no pilots meeting, lots of hand washing and dinners being served with volunteers in gloves.  It was a little awkward to do away with the pilots meeting but now everyone is getting used to it.  Information is delivered electronically but a paper task sheet is available with Rick Sheppe outfitted in blue dish gloves.  I need to get Bo to get a picture for the magazine article.  We talked to the banquet vendor and they decided to cancel our event.  That was great because we really wanted to do it in the hangar and limit outside handling of food service.  So, we are doing a Mexican dinner with margaritas for the awards banquet!  Just an early Cinco de Mayo party. 

Well, the ships are put away, hangar is cleaned up and everyone is digesting the Prime Rib dinner with leftover cake from the US Team night.  That’s all for tonight, stay turned to Day 4 tomorrow!

Posted: 3/18/2020


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