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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

13.5 Meter Super Regionals Day 6

Team YYY is back to full force now since Amy has returned from her weekend in Austin. We got to the airport early and had YYY ready to fly in record time. 

Today Daniel's weather report indicated much improved conditions. We all were hopeful that he was right. Bill Snead told us how he beat us all on Day 5.  He thought the cloud line I saw was a dew line, which is a common Texas phenomenon. I'm embarrassed that I didn't recognize it, as there was significantly lower cloudbases to the East. I should've known to stay on the high side of the line. Oh well. Tom McKnight in PW-5 "67" made the same mistake and we had nearly identical flights. I think we landed within 2 miles of each other.

The good news was that the weather today was looking good and we were given a 3 hr TAT. I was excited for a longer task as it would give us a good chance to rack up some more miles and have more time to recover from mistakes! I was on the front row of the grid but the launch with smooth with only 2 relights I think and I started off soon after the gate opened with a pretty good start.  The run upwind to the first circle generally went well. The only problem I had was that teenager Daniel Sazhin was running away from me in 1-26 #428. I couldn't stand to watch it anymore so I turned down a slightly different land and followed Tom for a bit in 67.  We found a good line of clouds and I decided to go deep into the circle so that I could avoid needing to build up distance in the last one.  Before the start the clouds to the west had looked pretty lousy and I didn't want to have to count on it still working there at the end of the day.

I got down to nearly Hubbard when I found a good climb back up to cloudbase which was a great opportunity to head back north, downwind. I was aiming for Ennis or so which was in the middle of the circle. I found a few more good lines and with the wind at my back didn't really have too many problems going north. I got to the south side of the lake by Ennis and turned back crosswind for the last circle. 

The only real lousy low point in the flight occurred about half way to the last circle as I got below 2000 AGL near Italy. I noticed that 215 was sitting in a field east of Italy as I was dropping down around 1500 feet. I found a weak thermal that averaged .8 knots and I climbed in that back up to around 2000. Then, thankfully, I saw a bird just to the west. A short run of maybe a mile and I was in a 5 knot thermal that took me to cloudbase! Whew! Of course I lost a lot of time with this little excursion. While I was there 215's crew showed up and I heard Jacob in 430 land out south of Italy right next to I-35E. I was really happy to be in the air and from there just did everything I could to stay high. I generally stayed above 3000 MSL for the rest of the flight and tried my best to stay above 4000.

I got to the last circle and sure enough it was blueing out to the west. Thankfully I could stay on the east edge of it and run to the town of Hillsboro to get my distance. From there it was somewhat blue back to TSA but there were a few clouds just north of the Hillsboro airport. I saw Mel in 97 in the last circle and was excited to see him make it that far. I also saw Tom in 67 again, as I had many times during the flight. With the climb north of Hillsboro I made final glide according to the Oudie. I needed 19:1 to make TSA at 500 ft and had about a 15 mph tailwind.  I managed to do better than that and had it down to 14:1 and finished about 800 feet, 6 or 7 minutes over time. Perfect!

Most people made it back, i think 215 and 430 were the only landouts. A few did come back early but most people made it around the entire task. We were happy to see Glenn Fisher make another finish in 508. He is having a great first contest. Daniel Sazhin the Condor Wunderkid won the day. This is his 2nd day win for the 1-26 contest and his first day win in the 13.5 meter contest. He enjoyed not only finishing the task but also landing back at TSA after the finish!

Tomorrow is the last day of the contest and then we will drive back home on Thursday. We'll need to get some new tires for the trailer as it is running on the spare at the moment. My Day 3 (I think) landout in the pasture managed to wreck the left tire on the trailer. Not a huge deal though since those tires are well past their expected life, they've got a lot of good miles on them.

The banquet tomorrow is at 6 PM and i hope to get a report up after that but before bedtime. Talk to you then!

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