Monday, July 18, 2016

About to depart for Lithuania !!!

Well race fans, the time has come for Team EY to transform into Team YU for the 34th WGC in Pociunai, Lithuania. I leave beginning tomorrow for the 24 hour trip to Prague to meet up with Paul Weeden, then a couple days of learning the glider and trailer, then a buddy road trip of about 1,000 km where the competition can begin. Wish us luck.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Evening Race Fans:

Despite the rather dire weather prediction for today, we actually got some soaring in. After a tow from Siskiyou County airport to 6500 msl on the top of Gunsite Ridge instead of to the top of Craggy Peak at 5200 msl, pilots were greeted with 4-8 knot thermals to about 10,500 msl. Phew... what a relief. If we were to believe the soaring forecasts, the best we were going to get all day was maybe 3-4 kt lift to maybe 9,000 msl and ending by 4-5 pm local. Still, the winds aloft and on our return to Siskiyou were predicted to be quite strong out of the north and it looked pretty bleak for the short wingers - i.e. me!

So off we set out on a 4 turn TAT with 5 miles circles around each point. The Sparrowhawk continues to prove itself an equal to much bigger, more traditional gliders. Today was no exception as the "little yellow bird" did a great job of extracting energy from the sky on the runs to give terrific interthermal L/D's. Many a pilot has said how impressive this ship has been on side by side runs under real world, competition conditions.

I was able to get out of the start at about 9900 msl for the run to China Start. As has been the case with all the tasks we have flown in the Scott Valley area this contest, Duzel Rock was the place to tank up before going for the turns. if you missed the good climbs at Duzel, your day was done. My flight was made when I was able to get on top of the ridge to the east of Quartz Valley TP and then was able to follow Ray Gimmey (7V) to a terrific climb on Forest Mountain for the run into and out of Grenada.

I missed the climb everyone else got on Antelope Mtn so off I went getting lower and lower as I just squeaked into the edge of China Start to get the last TP. Then it was a very nervous bit of ridge soaring back to Antelope Mtn where I was able to dig a climb out of the rocks and trees to get home. Easy...

I guess despite the winds and unpredictable thermal strengths, the day was really meant to be for me as I brought home a 2nd place on the day for the Sparrowhawk. While not enough to materially change my overall placing, I think I changed some minds about the racing characteristics of the Sparrowhawk over the course of this often difficult weather contest. I will write up a pilot's/racers report of this little machine when I get home from being on the road. So check back.

So Who won? Our 2008 Sports Class National Champion is Rick Walters who used his knowledge of the area to stay out of trouble and to fly a great contest. With yet another new name added to the Hal Lattimore Trophy, Sports class continues to show it is one of the most competitive classes out there.

Good luck to Rick as he goes overseas to go after another title in the next few weeks. Go Team USA!!!

That's it for Team EY for this racing season.

See Ya!

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 7 - Day 6

Good Evening Race Fans:

Day 6 of the 2008 US Sports Nationals has come and gone. After a well deserved rest day yesterday, all competitors were ready to get back to racing for the national title. We’ve lost the Region 11 Sports Class competitors (their comp is over) so the grid is down to 31 competitors. With the very efficient line crew and great coordination with “Siskiyou Tower”, the field is getting launched in well under an hour now.

The weather situation for today was for completely blue conditions with the possibility for some small wisps if the temps got high enough. The west coast is seeing a large ridge of high pressure build in with rapidly increasing temperatures for the next 3-4 days. What this means for us here at the contest site are predicted highs of 100 (today), 101 tomorrow), 103/4 Wednesday, and then upper 90’s for Thursday. As a general rule the locals say that the first day or two of a building ridge make for very stable and erratic flying. But that with the passing of a couple days, the conditions should really begin to cook and get some great soaring in. We’ll see.

Gary Kemp, CD, called for a TAT “A” Task consisting of China Start (5 miles), Dry Lake (15 miles), Butte Valley (7 miles) and Mt Hebron (5 miles). With the day totally blue and many of us experiencing difficulties just getting to around 8-9,000 msl in the start cylinder (and that after many struggles to make the “commute” to Gunsite Ridge), it was looking like the day would be very difficult.

With Rick Walters (88) taking over as task advisor from JJ Sinclair (JJ), both 88 and the other advisor, Walt Cannon (NT), prevailed upon the CD to change the task to the backup – our old favorite this year of a 3 hour MAT, China Start as the first and only turn. This looked a lot more fair from my short-wing perspective.

This was actually a pretty fun task for me as I got to get a great view of the mountains in the western task area AND I was actually able to see the terrain out ahead of me for leg planning purposes. My day was pretty much a three lap race of China Start, Duzel, Lefko, and then back to China Start. I threw in one extended leg to the Scott Valley airport after a 6-8 knotter at Duzel, and then eased out of the mountains to get Grenada and then Montague to add a few miles before coming back to the field. The day was basically spent shuttling from the thermals at China Start (on the ridge) and the thermals around Duzel Rock. For me, the thermals just appeared at the right places at the right times and I never got stuck and just flew fast all day.

After taking a quick glance at the score sheet, it looks like the Sparrowhawk, or to quote Roy Cundiff “the little yellow rabbit”, took 3rd for the Day. That will earn some points back!

In a recap of Day 5, once again I gave up another 93 points by missing a TP - only my second penalty I’ve ever gotten in a soaring contest, the first being a couple days ago. Winpilot apparently does not use attributes given to turnpoints in a logical way. One would think that the waypoints designated as FINISHES, would be the only ones to have a 2 mile radius drawn around them. Ah… but one be wrong about that since apparently if you have any TP as the last TP in the task, then that will be marked as a finish, and therefore Winpilot will draw a 2 mile ring around that TP. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Gee, if I had the 204 points for missed TP’s back, then add another 300-500 for my boneheaded Day 1 landout, where would that put me???… and the Sparrowhawk???

And in closing, Team EY’s thoughts are with our US Club Class Team (and Standard Class/World Class) competing on Day 1 of the World Championships in Reiti, Italy.
GO Team USA!!!

See Ya,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Video of fire bomber

Susan took this video and managed to send it directly to the blog. You can hear her talking to line crew about our weak link during the film.

Day 4 - Fourth of July

Good Evening race Fans:

Well that one was tough! For only about 4.5 hours in the air and a 3 hour TAT, I don’t think I have ever had to change gears so drastically, so many times in one task.

The day dawned a little less smoky and with cu all around by about 10-11 am. However, the high temp of the day was still forecast for only 83 degrees. Lucky for us the trigger was to be about 77, and this happened early on in the morning. But the rub here was that the cloudbase by launch time had only risen to about 7700 msl.

But we still launched into the best looking cu of the contest with all hopes of a great flight. The task call was a 3 hour minimum, TAT (Turn Area task) with the first turn China Start (5 mile radius), way out east to Dry Lake (20 mile Radius), then back in to radar (10 mile radius), and finally, Restaurant (10 mile radius) then back home … to the welcoming arms of ATC (Air Traffic Control).

For a short winged Sparrowhawk, and even some of the “big wings”, making the “commute“ from Craggy to the Gunsite Ridge was very difficult. I, along with Boyd Willat (JP), got into some shear wave that let us get above cloudbase at Craggy and then transition over to the Gunsite Ridge.

I thought I had it made… until I was unceremoniously flushed off Gunsite and into the valley for a very probable off-field landing at Montague. At least that was how it looked for a while. I was able to dig out very slowly and eventually work into the start cylinder and up to a little less than 10,000 msl (the top of the start cylinder). But this was still 2 miles short of the cylinder wall with nothing much in the way of clouds until Antelope Mtn (slightly off track to the first turn) ahead. Time to get out of Dodge for the little yellow glider.

Interestingly, I think I make the tower controller’s day when I come into the pattern because they can actually identify me. “Are you the yellow one st midfield on downwind?” Otherwise they are pretty limited to viewing all gliders as “the white one over there, the other white one over there” etc. It’s kind of funny despite the weirdness of it all.

Just remember all you glider pilots out there: Study up on your proper radio phraseology for when an FAA Tower drops in on your contest.

Back to the task…

The run to China was alright but hardly anything to crow about. But at this critical transition point, the highest I was able to get was about 8500 msl. But in keeping with my former status as the CSA (Colorado Soaring Association) “Duck Head” Award winner, I struck off across the valley into blue skies. By poking my way across the valley I was able to transition onto the best looking clouds of the day running from Whaleback Mtn (just in the lee of Mt Shasta) into the turn area at Dry Lake. While bumping along the cloudstreet I was able to work thermals, shear wave, and convergence up to about 12,500 msl to get into the turn area and then strike off toward Radar where Rick Walters proclaimed to me that “there is always a thermal there to get you back up” Hmmmm.

Well the run to Radar went really well for me and put me a little bit above the radar dome on the top of the hill… where I found exactly nothing for the next 20-30minutes. The clouds weren't working and the day seemed to be dying off. Oh boy. I decided to hang on until the cavalry caught up with me to give me some help in getting back up. Sometimes the best thing to do is just wait for some more thermal detectors to show up and let everyone save each other. Sure enough here came the main pack screaming out of the good conditions coming out of Dry lake and into the area of desperation.

Many pilots got very low getting into and out of Radar. Many landed out at Butte valley and a few in fields and the airport toward Klamath Falls. The rest of us just struggled in very soft and pulsing lift to get up to about 9,000 msl around Copco Bridge before going out into the blue again to try and get the last turn area at Restaurant.

I was sure glad I took the extra couple turns at Copco, because it was quite marginal getting in to touch the radius at Restaurant before heading for home. Topping up with MH about 8 miles out got me into the finish cylinder without a rolling finish, almost exactly on time, and with some extra energy to comply with Siskiyou Tower instructions.

I do not know how I did but there is a growing chorus amongst the pilots here that “Boy, can that Sparrowhawk climb And go!” Hopefully I can do Greg Cole’s terrific design the justice it deserves as the contest progresses.

See Ya!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Heres that fire bomber.

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