Bruce Barmakian and Wally arrived early yesterday morning, about 1:00 am. They slept until 11:00 and then came by the airport. Bruce and I are sharing Wally's driving services during the meet. Bruce set up his glider and did some last minute tuning. He did no fly.
The dinner last night that was provided by the town of Big Spring was a success. They even had some cantaloupe ice cream for desert. Many of the businesses are supporting this meet. They really want it to come off well. The city council is hoping to attract a world meet to Big Spring. Quest Air has provided a number of tugs and launch carts. Jim Yocom has his tug here. There are a couple more tugs from other pilots here. I think we will end up with 5 tugs and one trike.
The pilots meeting is at 10:00 this morning. I am writing this part of my report from our cabin at 7:45 in the morning. I can no longer get internet connection in the cabin because a couple of large motor homes have parked between me and the antenna.
The task committee chose three task for today. The primary task was a triangle of 54 miles. The secondary task was a dog leg to the northwest of 86 miles. The third task was a larger triangle of 74 miles. The weather called for over development at Big Spring by 4:00 pm. For this reason the launch opened at 12:00 and the rigids were to start at 1:00 and the first start for the flex wings was 1:30. The rigids has only one start, the flew wings had three start times. Due to the weather prediction, the second task was called.
Most of the rigid pilots got in line shortly after the launch opened. I was at cloud base, 6,000', by 12:15. For the next 45 minutes we just boated around waiting for the start. There was a little excitement while we were waiting. I saw Campbell bank up very steep, I looked over and saw Davis heading right for him. From my vantage point 100 yards away, it looked like Davis' tip missed Campbell's body by less than 3'. I had a good start, but I got a weak climb at the first thermal and was about 12 gliders behind (out of 17 rigids). I figured it was still early so I did not worry too much. I just wanted to make goal today.
My glider was flying great. Before the turnpoint, I caught up with Mark Stump in his Atos V. I was able to match his glide, which made me happy. He went off on his own and I caught up to Bruce Barmakian. We are flying on the same radio frequency, but he has been having radio problems so I did not know it was him until I was right over him. He went off on his own and I was alone again.
The best climbs I was seeing were 600 fpm, but these were few and far between. Most of the time the climbs were close to 300 fpm. After the turnpoint I caught up to Ron Gleason and Rich Burton. I had a close call with Rich. I was about 100' below him and entered his thermal, I climbed so fast I almost came up into him. He peeled off and I went wide to let him have the thermal. He left shortly after this (we were at 6,400') but ended up landing in a few more miles. The area in front of us was heavily shaded. It was too wide to go around so I worked 100 fpm for a long time to get as high as I could before crossing.
Bruce was about 4 miles behind me. I made it across in light rain and was 900' agl when I got over the sunny ground. I hit a 700 fpm thermal and rode it to 8,000', 14 miles from goal. I was able to glide into goal from here. Bruce did an end run around me and passed me to my left about 2 miles south while I was climbing. He beat me by about 20 seconds. As we crossed over goal we could see two Atos VXs on the ground. When we landed we saw that it was Davis and Mark P. Mark said he had made goal first. Our time for the task was about 2:56. Jim Yocom landed about 15 minutes later. He actually flew the course pretty fast, but it took him almost 15 minutes to cross the start circle. Jim Lamb landed 10 minutes after Jim Y. Jim L. was the last rigid to make goal before we left.
I was motivated to make goal today, it is my 22nd wedding anniversary. My wife Nancy is back in California working so I can be here and play. The least I could do is fly well. Thank you Nancy for 22 wonderful years.
After landing at the Gaines airport in the city of Seminole, a reporter from the local newspaper came out and interviewed several of us. Then, a representative of the city counsel came out and welcomed us to the city and passed out pins for the city of Seminole. We must be the biggest thing to happen to their city this year. They were a little disappointed that we were not going to fly there every day. I have never been so heartily greeted by a city official after landing.
The first flex wings to make goal crossed 38 minutes after Bruce and I. They took the first start. That means that the first 4 rigids flew faster than the fastest flexwings. I think it was Craig Cumber (sp) and another Lightspeed who crossed first. About 4 flex wings made goal. I saw Dustin and Robin Hamilton make goal.
On the drive back to Big Spring we passed through a gust front.
I hope all the gliders were on the ground and bagged up before it came through.
My track log for the flight.