The weather this morning did not look very good. Overcast skies with lower cloud bases, just below the mountains. The lift prediction today was for poor to weak lift. The winds were out of the northeast, which is supposed to be the worst direction for this area. There was a team leader meeting at 9:00 am where they decided we will fly a task today.
The task that was called was for a double triangle (5 turnpoints) around the Greifenberg valley with one turnpoint in the valley to the south of us. Total distance was 74 miles. This is what they call a "short" task. It was also called a speed task because your time started the last time you entered the start circle. You could start anytime between 2 and 3 pm. The winds at launch were crossing from the left with very short cycles that would blow in at 45 degrees. Everything was going well until Junco, the only woman swift pilot blew her launch. She was not hurt, but she is feeling very depressed about the incident. It took 10 minutes to get her glider out of the way of the launch.
Bruce was the first USA pilot to launch. Most of the top pilot launched early. We could not figure out why they were launching so early (over an hour before the start) when the start circle was only 4 miles away. They knew something we did not. When I launched I got my knee pad stuck in my harness zipper. I worked light lift with it stuck for half and hour. I finally figured I was as high as I was going to get (7,000') so I headed toward the start circle. On glide I was able to unzip and put my knee pad back on, then re-zip.
I made the next ridge and climbed back to 7,000', I did this again and was starting to think I could make the turn point easily. I ran into 1,000 fpm down at the next ridge and was on the ground a couple of minutes later. 4 pilots landed in a field in front of me and 3 landed in a field behind me. Three more landed in my field. One of them was Jim. He ran into the same conditions as I did. Ron also hit the same air. Davis made the turnpoint and landed before the second turnpoint.
Ron was stuck on launch for 10 minutes because it was blowing down. I got stuck on launch through several good cycles because one of the women pilots did not like what she was seeing. She finally backed off and let several of the rigid pilots launch.
Bruce made the turnpoint without too much trouble, but was low for the rest of his flight. He made the third turnpoint and landed 12 miles short of the fourth turnpoint. He said the Aeros Phantom (Stalker) had better performance than he did. They have really improved that glider. The pilot flying the Phantom landed about a mile closer to the fourth turnpoint and Bruce.
None of the class 5 gliders made goal. Manfred and Brian made goal in the swifts. Sorry no pictures today. I am trying to post this before the office closes at 8pm.
We had dinner tonight at Bruce's hotel. Somehow the conversation got to buttermilk and it's taste. Bruce said he liked it and we all thought he was pulling our legs. We put up 5 Euro and had the waitress bring him a glass. He drank all of it. We still are not sure if he drank it for the 5 Euro, or he really likes it. He said to ask his mother. He said she is reading my reports, so Mrs. Barmakian, if he is telling the truth, let me know at this address.