Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last day at 15 Meter Nats

The fleet is almost lauched - 3,000 foot tows. Looks like a weaker day...who do you think will win? The scoresheet has certainly been shaken up alot during this contest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

15 Meter Nationals Tuesday update

Just heard that the weather looks excellent today, with cu popping in all quadrants of the task area. Pilots will be "treated" to a 4 hour Turn Area Task of Thompson (30 mile radius), Salt River Pass (30 mile radius), Downey (28 mile radius). This will let them get a good view of Grand Teton, should they head deep enough into that TP. Distances: Minimum 177, Nominal 288, Max 443 miles

With all of the crazy stuff happening, back injury, land outs, etc, you never know what might shake the score sheet up today. Stay tuned!
More news soon,

Monday, July 25, 2011

15 Meter Nats Day 5

So, I spent day 5 flying well above 18,000 ft. myself, but I was aboard a Canadair Regional Jet reading a book while heading back to DFW, aka 105 degree land. Such altitudes were generally not in the cards for most of the 15 meter competitors, who unfortunately had a bit of a rough time, according to early reports. As of 8:00 this evening, only 5 or so of them were back out of the 20 odd pilots left. Lots of landouts, all of the towplanes out fetching people, and lots of action at the retrieve desk. I'll let you know how it all shook out when I hear more news.

I really enjoyed this contest. No, not just because my pilot won. Logan airport is pretty nice. It's in a lovely valley, with all of the modern conveniences as I have noted earlier. And the hospitality is great! In spite of us tromping through the FBO, the Leading Edge Aviation staff, every last one of them, was so kind to me. Being a contest organizer myself, I tend to want to clean up more or less reflexively. When I tried to refill the paper towels in the restroom, the guys absolutely would not let me and took care of it right away. They keep a basket of candy constantly filled even though the candy was gobbled up by glider pilots and 4 year olds at a pretty rapid rate. So thanks to the Leading Edge team for making it a fun week!

The daily random travel tip for Logan is that you might want to hit the Gossner Foods dairy store while there. It's pretty close to the airport. You can get all kinds of cheeses, ice cream, and a few other locally produced food things that make good gifts. We tried the huckleberry cheesecake flavor and it was extremely tasty.
More news soon,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Region 9 Complete - 15 Meter Nationals Rest Day

The Region 9 contest is now complete. We got 5 days of flying in. I only had one melted crayon (green) in my vehicle. I have misplaced two of the new "My Little Pony Fashion Applejack's" pink plastic shoes. All things considered, a success! And my pilot finally won a regional, which was a nice bonus. He has placed at regionals many times, but never won, even though he has won the Nats once. Congratulations EY! Congratulations to all of the pilots who persevered and completed all 5 contest days, and to Biff Huss for winning the regional "FAI" class, too. BTW, check out how many Club Class ships placed in the top of the Sports Class score sheet. A bunch...

The 15 meter folks had the day off today. Starting tomorrow (Sunday) there will be a changing of the guard for them as Karl Striedieck is leaving for the rest of his vacation with Iris and Mookie, and Tim will be taking over. This was the pre-planned arrangement in the wake of the death of our dear Charlie Minner. Fortunately, Tim's job as a school rowing coach requires him to be in charge of 24 highschoolers every day. So he's used to drama and occasional diva fits. This would seem to be a good preparation for the job of CD! Ha ha. No, of course all pilots are completely well-behaved and never complain or pitch fits!  There are about 20 ships in the 15 Meter Nationals at this point, so it will be a much more manageable number than the 60 or so we had at the start of the combined contests.

I'm heading home on Sunday (starting to run short on vacation days),  but I'll do my best to keep up with what's happening in Logan and let you know, too.

Above: One of the many great shots taken by Andy Blackburn who hiked up some mountain with Jim Cumiford on Day 4. After bushwhacking for a few thousand feet, they found the ideal spot from which to take pictures of gliders on the ridge. Thanks for sharing them, Andy.

More news soon,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

FAI class 1. Biff huss 2. Jim frantz 3. Walt Rogers
Sports Class 1. T McAllister 2. Colin Barry 3. Mike Reid congrats to all!
Banquet time! Thanks to the Weaver family & Leading Edge Aviation for a great regional.

Walt Rogers waiting for a tow.
Launch will start at 2:15

Grid squatting for the last day of the Regional. 15 meter has a rest day. We just launched a sniffer. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 3 at Logan

We got another day in today, Day 3 for both the Regional and the Nationals. The Regional will wrap up on Saturday, and I don't expect to have any more rest days, since we didn't fly on Monday. It is Thursday night, right? I tend to lose track of the days at contests. We started launching at about 14:10 without too many relights. It was another challenging day, but a different sort of challenging from the previous two days. Tim was one of the first pilots back, having started pretty early. Slowly, the tiedown line started to be re-populated with gilders, but there was also good business in aeroretrieves for the towpilots tonight.

A nice relaxed grill evening capped off the day. The local folks are very friendly and hospitable and we really appreciate all they do to make the glider pilots feel welcome.

More news tomorrow,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Launch underway, 14:20


This is what we do on our summer vacations. Duane & Enza on the ramp, day 3.

Day 2 at Logan

Interesting days at Logan. The weahter is not enitrely coorperative, but it's not entirely uncooperative either. We got a day in today, Wednesday, July 20 ("One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind" anniversary day) but had a bunch of landouts and a few more incidents with broken ships. What leads to damaged ships on landouts? Many people smarter than I have considered this question. I have been to another contest here before and not seen this many broken shops. I kind of think it's about knowing your limits and making safer choices, like choosing an airport for your landout (Airport bonus!) or just making good field selections. It's always hard to see people leaving with their broken ships before the contest is over. I have been there and feel their pain!

Fixing that shredded tape on Wednesday morning.

Look-ee-there! There is a tilt-rotor in the middle of the tiedown area! They are doing some kind of tests with the Osprey that involve it hovering for a long period of time then stopping and being hauled in to a hangar for engine maintenance. They aren't impacting our operations at all, nor we theirs, that we can tell. It's interesting to see this aircraft up close.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pilots out on a 3 hour MAT in total blue conditions. Check the Spot tracking page link (right) to see how they're going.
Towing back from a long day at Logan, Utah. Note the peeling tape on the top of the tailplane from flying through some hard rain. Pieces of the contest ID lettering were also shredded. Was one of the turnpoints in Hades?

Logan Day 1

It's Tuesday, July 19, and we just got our first day of competition in at the Logan Region 9 and 15 Meter Nationals contest. What a day! Lots of land outs. Not my pilot, thank goodness. Lots of changing weather. The pilots I talked with at the end of the day described so many moments that one might have "gotten flushed" (i.e. sent earthward, toward a landout). Some had landed out really far away, in places like Lava Springs. I don't know where that is. It sounds far. Yikes!

The weather is appropriately hot during the day, cool at night. A major upgrade from Dallas' 105-84 temperature range. We have seen monsoonal moisture pressing this far north over the past two days, which is unusual for this time of year. But everyone seems to be saying that about the weather lately. "It's never like this here in (fill in month)," people say.

Logan is such a great place from a crew person's perspective. I have, within 5 minutes' drive, a Walmart, Subway, Chick-fil-a, and many more restaurants, Harbor Freight, Home Depot, bookstores, a mall, and a DRIVE THROUGH STARBUCK'S which deserves to be in all caps. If you need it, want it, or just kind of have a whim to get something, it's probably nearby.This is quite different from pretty much every other soaring location I have ever been to, where the main entertainment of an evening is watching the truck stop gas price sign switch back and forth from cash to credit price. I have actually done this on the porch swing at the Motel 6 de Moriarty. Sad. I know.

We also have such nice hosts at Leading Edge, the local FBO, and great leadership in Micki Minner, who is carrying on in excellent form. Those of us who knew Charlie are certainly working this contest in his memory. He is sorely missed, of course. I raise a red Gatorade toast to him each day when I am out on the line.
More news soon,
EY Crew