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Day 1 We fly

Well, today was supposed to be a repeat of yesterday, but without the clouds.  And sure enough, it ended up being a repeat of yesterday WITH the clouds!  However, it did take a long time to warm up so the tasks were cut a bit short with changes on the flight-line.

We finally launched around 1pm, and being gridded near the back of the pack today it was almost 2pm before I got aloft.  Initially it was a struggle for everyone near the airport.  Lots of people couldn't get above 5000', and I sunk to 2500' almost immediately off tow.  I almost came in and landed, but caught some lift on the way to the pattern entry.  Nevertheless, it was a long grind back up to altitude!  Others in the start-cylinder were having the same experience, with a couple of sniffers and contestants taking relights.

The Sports Class was sent on a 2 hour TAT with turnpoints at Waterville and Nilles Corner.  This nearly duplicated my flight-plan from yesterday, so I felt confident as I headed out on-course.  Cruise speeds of 80 knots seemed to work well.  I got a little bit low near Waterville, but flew past the turnpoint to a blooming Cumulus cloud over the northwestern corner of Badger Mountain, which took me up to cloudbase.  From there it was an easy cruise between clouds up past Nilles Corner.  Unfortunately I caught the cycle wrong and had a long lift-less glide back south towards home!  I should have stopped in a couple of clouds that were giving moderate lift, but a huge dust-devil suckered me further south than I should have gone.  Finally, just below 5000' I found some decent lift and was able to work it up a ways.  Eventually I was able to shift positions and climb in a good thermal back up to cloudbase for a good long final glide back to Ephrata.  Several other gliders had good flights as well and came in "hot" right after I landed.  A couple of folks had to tiptoe their way home later in the day because of high clouds to the west of the task area, and a few of the "legends" kept on flying until sunset, simply because they could.

After the flying was done, many of us cooked at the clubhouse tonight and ate in groups.  Good flights, good wine, good desserts, and good camaraderie - it doesn't get much better than this (and the fact that I finished in 2nd place today probably helped, too)!  Tomorrow we wake up and try to do it all over again...  The weather gods appear to have stirred from their slumber, so we'll see what the day brings and hope for the best!

Good night from Ephrata,

DG-300 "Kilo Romeo"

Posted: 6/28/2010 By: Noel Wade

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