Monday. The day is cancelled. The long-term weather forecast from last week of sunshine and cu’s has yielded to rain and low clouds. We hope for enough of an improvement to launch the fleet tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Tuesday. We gave task racing a try today with two mandatory turn points in a MAT, because cumulus bases were predicted at a bit more than 3,000 agl with the best soaring during the last half of the afternoon. After the sniffer fell out, Geoff launched the 15-Meter class and the Sports class on a good hunch and we proved him right by staying aloft. That said, everyone struggled to heights of less than 3,000 agl in broken lift. The called task seemed “iffy” and well described as “unfair” by the veteran racers so Geoff cancelled the day. Nevertheless, John Seaborn in A8 and Pavel Skrabal in UN flew the task at heights not unlike the latter reaches of a final glide. Amazing. We finished the day at a hangar party with “steak on the grill” that followed last night’s hangar party “Door County fish boil”.
Wednesday-Day1. Our weather this week makes cross country flying challenging and for those choosing to race too, even more so. Geoff tossed the the fleet aloft, believing that they would fly the two turn-point task if they were comfortable soaring at less than 3,000 agl in lighter winds at or near cloud base. Of course, one had to keep a keen eye for red tailed hawks who always marked the narrow thermal cores that could be strong enough to get around. Three of five 15-Meter racers completed the course with John Seaborn winning the day. Just one sports class pilot, Pavel Skrabal, flew the race course to the finish.
Thursday. Our weather interpreters thought today had great potential for stronger thermals to heights well above the previous two days but for the winds. And of course, this was confirmed by the sniffer who found broken, and difficult to center lift under the few and scattered cu’s in the direction of the planned racing tasks. So, after a slow to develop day our CD after consultation with the task advisor cancelled the day’s tasks for both classes.
Friday-Day 2. The story is about the weather. But first, we raced both classes with John Seaborn in A8 winning the MAT in the 15m class with Ron Ridenour a close second in MT. Pavel Skrabal in UN won the Sports Class with Dick Andrews in FH finishing second in their version of a MAT.
Well, the weather is the story and many of you have like stories. The original area task was replaced with a MAT while the 15m class was airborne and during the Sports Class launch. The first turn point to the northwest had turned dark because of a really large thunderstorm, so Geoff replaced the original task with a MAT that had one required turn point straight west of the airport. An early start was necessary, kinda like a Grand Prix start, in order to get away from the approaching storm and most of us did so. After about a long part of an hour, the airmass changed from cu bases at less than 4,000 agl and modest climbs to cu bases at +7,000 agl and really fast climbs. And the lucky part for most pilots had the AEL and the finish circle clear just in time for the minimum times for each class.
Now for the other fun part. NT gained the status of a celebrity by landing out in northern Iowa, so take time to see the main page of the SSA’s website.
Saturday-Day 3. The new data crunching consumer weather models had us flying great distances in triangles today, and boy did we prove to them something different. Because of yesterday’s rain at the airport poor, low lift prevailed in the launch area. But, a north-south line of cumulus clouds developed about 10-15 miles west of the airport at what appeared to be more than enough height to save the day. Geoff saw the chance so he changed both classes task to a free MAT, allowing lots of fun if you could get to that high street of cu’s. And from the scores, you can see that a number of pilots did so with their long lists of captured turn points from heights upto 9,000 agl.
John Seaborn won the day in the 15-Meter class with Ron Ridenour nearly having done so too, and from their speeds and distances flown, they had great flights. And by contest’s end, John was the class winner with Ron a near second.
Pavel Skrabal won the day and finished first overall in the Sports Class by flying as well as the 15-Meter pilots with Dick Andrews doing the same by finishing second for the day and week’s end.
Finally, many thanks to all the volunteers who helped with this contest.