Due to the short day yesterday, I took the time to do my laundry the old fashioned way, in a washer and dryer (the microwave was not big enough). It never did rain yesterday. I hear much grumbling from the pilots regarding the task cancellations. I keep my mouth shut. Florida must have some terrible weather that can explode at any second for the powers-that-be to be so quick to cancel the task.

At the pilots meeting an out and return task was called with a single turnpoint of Coleman; a 90 mile round trip. Several pilots who read my report talked to me about towing behind a trike. I appreciate their input. Very few clouds were visible by 9:30 this morning. Most days, it is almost overcast by 9:30. This should help heat the ground and make for better lift. JC apologized for calling the day.

Davis Straub giving the weather briefing.

The wind shifted just before the first tow window opened and the odd pilots had to move all the way to the other end of the Ranch. Malcolm was right on top of it, rounding up all the carts so pilots could move their gliders easier. They delayed the first tow until 11:15 so we could get the entire line moved.

The wind dummies were towed up and stayed up. Some of the tug pilots started towing gliders downwind. Malcolm let them all know to tow us upwind so we'd have a chance to get up or land back at the Ranch. I towed at 11:40.

I was thinking about taking the second start time at 12:30, but decided that since I would need 4 hours to complete the task, I'd better take the 12:15 start. I was not in a good position to start so I was 3 minutes late. This Florida lift makes no sense to me. Some clouds have lift and some don’t. I would keep an eye out for clouds forming, but even that did not work. Most of the time I just looked for other gliders turning. I found lift from 50 fpm up to 1100 fpm. I had my hang strap go slack several times. It felt a little like home.

Rich took the first start time and decked it at Quest. He said Bo and another top pilot landed there as well. I was down to 800 feet 2 miles before Quest and got a save back to 4,000. Steve Rudy got a save from 240’ all the way to 4,700’. Things went well until I tried to lead a gaggle. I was back down to 1200’ when I found lift. I just could not find the cores. I worked back to 3000’ when a bunch of the gaggle I led showed up under me, so I guess I did not do too badly.

Five miles from the turnpoint, the lead gaggle passed me on their way back from the turn point. I don’t know how they find thermals so fast. Many of them made only 4 or 5 turns in my thermal before heading out again. I was flying slow trying to stay high. I was now able to stay between 4000’ and 5000’. I thought I had a chance to make it back to the Ranch.

I was getting less and less thermal markers. About 28 miles out I was at 5000’. I never found another thermal I could get up in. Like I said before, nothing makes sense. I went under clouds, over sunny areas, woods and parking lots, yet never found a thing. I was a mile south of Quest and over a completely shaded area. I flew back to Quest which was in the sun. I worked at 900 feet for 8 minutes before drifting over the trees. As I approached to land, I worked at 300’ for four 360’s (I was thinking of Steve’s save) before that broke up as well, so I landed at Quest.

I thought I had not done very well, but I saw that several of the top rigid pilots did not make it back either. At least I had my longest duration flight ever, 4 hours and 40 minutes, about 30 minutes more than my previous best. I flew 65 miles. JC said that 20 to 25% of the field made it back.

I am going to the Ranch to eat tonight and try their vegetarian meal. I may post more later when I get back from dinner.

It's 10:10 PM and I just got back from dinner at the Ranch. They had an excellent vegetarian stew. I talked to some of the people who were here at goal today and heard some good stories. The biggest story was that Gerolf had taken an in-flight piss. When he zipped back up, he got his package caught in his zipper. He flew the rest of the way to the Ranch like that. He could not go upright for landing so he landed prone. The ground crew thought he was injured and rushed over to him. He ordered them all away and lay on the ground for 10 minutes while he extricated himself. The other pilots have named him Zippy.

A glider coming in to land hit the 30' wind sock at the top and fell the 30' to the ground with the pilot and glider landing on their back. The pilot was not injured.

When the Top Secret came fast into goal the ground crew said the sail had an incredible amount of flutter. They said it looked like it would come apart in flight.

The pilots passed the hat and raised some money to buy Nancy Smith some flowers. Any extra money would go to help fix her glider.

Davis did not complete the task?

My vario trace, click on it for a larger version.


PS three pilots came in after 5:30. One made goal by 20' and one was 100 yards short.