The pilots meeting went quickly last night. David had his quick wit in high gear as usual. No major changes from years past other than you have to have two ways to release your tow bridle. I just put a barrel release on each side. You also have to have a complete track log, you can't turn your GPS on and off in flight (actually I think you can, but the scoring computer will place you at the back of the pack). If you leave before the first start time you get distance points only, but they said they would make the first start time early (45 minutes after the launch window opens).
We awoke this morning to snow flurries, or maybe it just felt like it was that cold. This was the first time I have seen all the pilots wearing jackets at the pilots meeting. The mosquitoes are almost as bad as last year. Our only saving grace is when the wind picks up at night and makes it a more difficult for the little bastards to find their targets. My tent door was only open for a couple of seconds and I found 4 of the buggers in my teny, which I quickly dispatched.
The pilot's meeting today was called at 9:30 am. The weather report called for winds out of the north northwest at 20 to 25 mph. A task was called to the south, 71 miles to the Wauchula airport. I was amazed that they would route us 3 miles from the second biggest fly-in in the world. Terry Presley had the same concern and voiced his opinion on the matter. The task committee said there was little chance that we would fly today due to the winds and they would look into it later. I believe they never planned on us flying in the first place. They day was officially canceled at 12:00.
Since we had the time Kari Kastle, Dennis Pagen and I spend an hour and a half trying to learn how to program and use our new Flytec 5030 varios. I have had only one flight with mine and that was yesterday. It has some really nice features that I am hoping to take advantage of. It has distance and direction to last climb which I used yesterday and it worked beautifully. The day had lots of broken lift and I lost a 300 fpm thermal. I just followed the arrow and in no time I was back climbing at 300 fpm. Another feature I like is the arrival height above waypoint (or goal). Unlike previous versions this is your expected height above goal at your current speed and sink rate, not height above best glide as previous versions gave. I flew a small task yesterday and on the 9 mile return leg, I initially had 600 feet above goal displayed. If the number started to decrease I just slowed down, if it went up I sped up. I reached my goal right at 600 feet. When flying height above best glide, once the number went below zero, the only way to make goal was to find lift or at least less sink. This really helps with the final race into goal. Sometimes you loose more points being 5 seconds behind than 5 minutes behind if you finish later. The program seems to reward that final race across the goal line.
Ollie Gregory was kind enough to let us use his truck for the meet. We spend a couple of minutes adding some padding to his rack and fixing an electrical problem with his radio. We really appreciate his generosity. We would have had to spend a lot of time making some kind of rack for the rental car as I have done in the past.
Most of the VR pilots got nervous about leaving our gliders set up with the other flex wings. They have so much more span that many of the flex wing pilots are just not aware of it. Jim Lamb had a hole poked in his new glider yesterday. We finally just broke them down and packed them in the bag for safe keeping. It was good practice since this was the first time we had ever packed them up.
This is me working on the Vince report. We kind of took over Jim Yocom's screen tent. He has been very generous to let us share.
We sent Wally to get a picture of Jamie's new rack, but he came back with this picture of Bruce Barmakian on the lake at Quest, looking skyward as usual.