26 June 2010

18 Meter US Nationals

We had only four contest days, last day was canceled due to potential for strong wind and weak thermals.

23 June 2010

Day 5

The word of the day was long glides.  We had another day of thunderstorms blanking large areas of the task requiring long glides (30 km) across blue holes to reach the next area of usable lift.  At the end of the day, 55 km final glides were required to get from the last clouds home.  In the FAI class, most got home, but in the club class those without the 40 + L/D ratios couldn't make the long glide and landed short.

The task was again called on the grid because the weather was too unpredictable to use any of the tasks that were concocted during the task committee meeting.  Fortunately, we again picked the best quadrant of the task area as all other quadrants had significant CB's and lightning.

With the large blue holes and streets aligned about 45 degrees to the course lines, I did a lot of deviating to stay in the lift.  According to Seeyou, I flew 358 km to cover a task distance of 280 km!  In hindsight, it was too much as Joerg who flew straight home across two large blue holes won the day, while my faster but longer route cost me about 5 km/hr.  At the time, I didn't think that it would be possible to get across the long glides and connect with lift to get home - but it worked.

Overall results now have Joerg, me, Dennis Vreeken in 1,2 3 in the FAI class and Bill Cole who was one of the few finishers in the Club class moves into first.

21 June 2010

Flying Day 4

Today, the task committee tried to cover all the possibilities with 3 different tasks going in different directions, but once again, the weather did not cooperate and a new task had to be made up on the grid and while the club class was being launched.  The problem today was the 40% forecast of thunderstorms and at launch time about 4 shafts of rain could be seen in the SE quadrant.  By the time the tail end of the FAI class was launched the shadow from one of the storms was over the airport making it difficult to climb away for the start.  Nick and I were the last two on the grid and had a hard time getting started.

Our first turnpoint was on a heading of about 245 and once started we had to run about 330 to get around the storm.  This made for a 20 km diversion before we could actually head on course.  The run down the first leg once we got around the storm was pretty good, but another problem - high cirrus - started to shade parts of the task area creating large holes.  The second turn area was pretty much covered by cirrus and there was no sign of thermals.  This meant going deep in the first turn, but to do that there was a 20-30 km hole to cross with no guarantee that you could come back.  Derek Mackie took the risk and it worked, netting him the win for the day at 92 km/hr while Joerg, Nick and I came home early by about 25 minutes with about 75 km less distance.

The weather threw another tough hand at us today and we managed to work around it, but had  a bunch of landouts and also had a couple of towplanes out on retrieve come back empty because of storms enroute.

The forecast for tomorrow shows 0% chance of rain - I hope it stays that way.

Overall results in the FAI class are Joerg, Nick and me in 1,2,3.


18Meter Nationals- No Task Today

Heavy thunderstorm arrived - no flying today

20 June 2010

Flying Day 3

We had a great flying day in North Battleford today.  Joerg showed us all how to do it with 108 km/hr win in the FAI class.  Bruce Friesen in his Standard Austria took the win in the club class with 79 km/hr.

The day started slowly with the sniffers struggling low around the airport, but they were able to maintain, so we launched 4 more in the club class for a total of 6 in the air.  Within 15 minutes 3 of 6 were back on the ground, so after a short delay and reports from the 3 airborne the rest of the class was launched.

A task change on the grid to take advantage of the better looking conditions to the south and the FAI class was launched.  The FAI class had a Turn area task with a nominal distance of 295 km and 3 hours.  The club class had a 220 km nominal distance for 3 hours.

The conditions were good for the first leg and part of the second leg, but the second and third turn areas were somewhat blue with long glides between climbs.  When I got to the third area it looked like I would be undertime, so I extended into the blue, and this cost me as I ended up low and had to dump my water.  In hindsight, it probably would have been better to come home 10 minutes early!

Tomorrow looks like another good flying day, but they are calling for 40% chance of T-storms in the afternoon.

18 M US Nationals -Sunday

Very hot today and blue ,but we found some Cu's on the sky.

We had 3 hours area task today. Thermals were broken reaching 4,000' agl , because of strong wind I was able to connect a little wave and climb above cloud base. I started as one of the first pilots and went for the blue alone with some Cu's on the horizon I was able to connect with them, but after 15 minutes they were gone and I was in survival mode again.
Around 25% 0f pilots landed out today , I finished second for the day and moved one place up overall.