23 June 2012

Canadian Nationals - Day 4

Today was the the third flying day and we had another good day with 5-6 kt lift up to 6000 ft.  But that makes the day sound too easy, so just to mix things up a bit, the clouds lied - but not all the time.  There were areas where it was hard to find a good thermal and areas where you could do no wrong.

The FAI task was an area task with turns at Woodstock, Listowel, and Lucan.  The leg to Woodstock had a few areas where the sky had cycled between Arthur and Kitchener and many people had low points in this area, but once through the soft spot there were good climbs to be had the rest of the way into Woodstock.

The leg from Woodstock to Listowel was upwind and some nice streets formed allowing for a fast run, but once in the Listowel zone the clouds started to lie again.  I also noticed that it was blue along the next leg towards Lucan from the lake( Huron) effect and that going deep to the NW of the Listowel zone would require a large deviation to get around the hole.  I decided to turn early and head south since the last few clouds had not worked for me and part way along the third leg I started thinking I had turned too soon as I was faced with the large blue area in the third zone that might require turning home too soon and coming in undertime.

I was able to use some wisps on the edge of the blue and run far enough into the Lucan zone and get myself into a position where I would not be under time.  On the way back from Lucan, I again had trouble connecting with thermals under some good looking clouds and eventually found myself at 1800 AGL.  I continued to fly under ugly looking clouds and the next one gave me the get home thermal - a 5 kt climb up to 6200 ft.  From there it was a close final glide all the way home.

Looks like a chance we will be rained out tomorrow as another cold front is inbound.

BTW, scores for all three days are now posted on the contest site at:



22 June 2012

Canadian Nationals - Day 3

We had another good flying day today with 3 hr tasks for both classes.  After the cold front passage yesterday the heat and humidity cleared out leaving a cool unstable air mass with moderate NW winds.  The FAI class was assigned an Area Task with the first turn at Melbourne (SW of London) and the second turn at Waterford (S of Brantford).

With the NW winds, Melbourne was completely washed out by lake effect blowing through from Lake Huron.  I think everyone had to go well downwind of course and pass east of London, then over St Thomas to nick the edge of the 25 km circle.  From there is was still a bit of a struggle back to Tillsonburg until finally out of the Lake Huron influence.

As well as the lake effect, there were also large areas of poor to no lift as a result of the thunderstorms that dumped as much as an inch of water yesterday. 

I didn't have any big problems getting around, but with the large deviations and few soft spots I averaged 95 km/hr over 314 km.  The official scores are not posted yet, but it looks like it was either Joerg or me who took the day - we might even have a tie for first.  We'll see tomorrow!  (which looks like another nice day)

Canadian Nationals - Day 2

Yesterday was an unexpectedly good day after the hot, hazy and humid practice days that saw lift top out around 2700 AGL.  Preliminary results show Gabriel Duford W6, winning the club class and I won the FAI class at 105 km/hr raw speed.

Today was scrubbed at the pilot's meeting due to 30 kt winds at altitude and an approaching cold front bringing scattered thunderstorms.  I have been watching them on the radar and out the window and it appears that the front is almost upon us.  Typically we can expect good weather the day after the cold front passes, so I am expecting a couple of nice flying days coming up.

Today we had a Griffon SAR helicopter (piloted by a former SOSA member) visit from Trenton and drop a couple of SAR techs by parachute onto the airport.  Everyone had a chance to look at the helicopter and then the crew was fed some burgers and they headed back to Trenton.

Canadian Nationals - Day 1

Initially, today was not forecast to be a good soaring day, and when weatherman Tony Firmin reported at the meeting that we would see 7000 ft and 7 kt lift, everyone was skeptical.  While the day was not quite as strong as the models suggested, it was still a reasonable day.  I saw 3-5 kt climbs up to 6000 ft.  The biggest issue was the 15-20 kt wind from the west.  It broke up the thermals if you got low and really slowed us down on the leg west from Cambridge to St Mary's.  But it really helped on the leg NE back up to Fergus .  My GPS was showing 180 km/hr groundspeeds with the tailwind.

I had a good day and never got low or into trouble and was able to run cloudstreets on several legs for a speed of 104Km/hr on the day.

Tomorrow appears to be another good day.