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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

13.5 Meter Super Regionals Day 7

Well the contest finished off with a great day of soaring. CD Jim was faced with a dilemma this morning as there is always pressure to make sure everyone gets home for the closing banquet but the top spots in both the 13.5 Meter and 1-26 contest were pretty tight. He set us up with a 2.5 hr TAT that went down to the south with a big circle and then back up to the east of TSA, a steering point at Maypearl, and home. We gridded early, at 11:30, with hopes that we could get started early. The forecast was showing that the skies would blue out later. This would also allow any landouts to get back in time for the festivities. Unfortunately the sniffer report wasn't too great and we ended up launching just a little before our normal time. It went well though and the task opened quickly. Luckily we were towards the back of the grid so it was a short wait before the start and I found a few good climbs. I started good and high out the side of the circle and was on my way.

Out on course there were once again several mini-streets that made working into the wind relatively easy. Just south of the start circle I picked up a thermal with Glenn in 508 and Jacob in 430. We worked together a bit and Glenn and I headed out together towards Hillsboro. I had fun flying with him as we both tried different lines and more or less kept up with each other. However as we approached Hillsboro we both found a distinct lack of good thermals, or our standards were too high and we both ended up low east of town. I remembered my days of flying with the Silent Knights in Ames, IA and headed for the Wal-Mart parking lot where I found about 1 knot up. 1 knot was OK for the moment. I saw Glenn up around the north side of town circling and cheered him on, hoping he would be able to dig out too. At 2000 feet, for some reason, I decided to either be a hero or a zero and pressed upwind another mile or so for a nice dirt field that was getting a lot of sunlight. Luckily it was putting out about a 3 knot thermal and I dug out without too much trouble.

Back up high I managed to generally stay that way as I got to about the middle of the first circle. I wanted to go as far as possible into the first circle so that I wouldn't have to make up any more distance in the 2nd one and put myself downwind of TSA. I was doing good, I found a great climb over Hillsboro on my way back and couldn't help but notice that Glenn had landed out in the field I had picked out! He and 508 were just fine and this was his first honest to goodness land out in a real field. He had 'landed out' the rest of the week at airports, often getting an aero retrieve home. He did a good job but it was a bummer that he didn't make it around the task.

Somewhere after Hillsboro I managed top out at 6000 feet and was starting to get on the edge of a final glide. I just needed one more good thermal. I kept finding lift that would get me a little bit closer but never anything that would positively put me over the edge, and my max altitudes were starting to trend down. I nicked the 2nd circle and headed for Maypearl, still about 400 or so feet under final glide. I worked some weak lift and got that up to 100 under for a little while. I nicked Maypearl and turned downwind for TSA. Things were looking a bit grim for a while but I found some weak lift around 1000 feet and was able to drift a little closer to the airport while climbing slightly and made a good finish and had a comfortable pattern and landing. We de-rigged quickly and headed for the hotel to clean up for the banquet

YYY just landed with 428 on short final

The PW-5 guys dominated, with Francois winning the contest and Bill Snead in 2nd and Pat Tuckey in 3rd. 1-26 scores aren't final yet so we'll find out at the morning breakfast who the top 3 were. We enjoyed the banquet and the company. I presented Francois with the James LeSueur Trophy for his win. It is presented every year to the top finisher at the Region 10 contest, and the 13.5 Meter Super Regionals were the only contest this year in Region 10.

The Podium, (L to R), Bill (2nd), Francois (1st), Pat (3rd)

Francois receives the LeSueur Trophy

Tomorrow morning we have the 1-26 breakfast and awards, then we'll get two new tires for YYY's trailer and head for Wichita. It's been a great contest but I think we'll all be happy to be back home. I'm not sure what my plans are for YYY the rest of the season. The NG-1 needs some attention and "Kate" the Standard Cirrus needs to be flown too. I'll certainly have it out for the Vintage Rally at the end of September if not before.

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