There were some doubts that I would be able to make it to CCSC this year for the contest but with some help from all at Blue Ridge Soaring Society (My club) I have made it in Peter Pfortner’s LS-8 for my first contest (Thanks again Peter!) The CCSC saga started on Saturday, meeting Peter to go over the glider and then flying it for around 2 hrs. My Dad and I shared the drive and arrived mid-day Sunday with enough time to get settled in but not much more.
Monday was expected to be a wash-out from the get go and the day was called in the pilot’s meeting but that afternoon the sky cleared up and CU started popping. Though I have a little over 100 hrs in the club LS-6 and the ‘8 wasn’t a big jump, I wanted to try and sneak a few more hours in before the contest started so I took the opportunity to launch. There was great lift but it was all shut down when a thunderstorm blew in from the West and I landed after 40 minutes aloft with just a little time to spare following disassembly before the sky released the rain.
During this whole time, Daniel Sazhin had been busy prepping a 1-26 that was made available to him for the contest. After the passage of the storm, he took the other tow for the day, though the lift was gone by then.
The night concluded by looking over some of the planning that Dan Reagan completed for his straight out flight to Blairstown, NJ as well as some general discussion on the flight.
Tuesday began with some mixed optimism and mixed forecasts. The general gist was to expect some CU to 4000msl in the 2-3kt range and the potential of it blue-ing out and cirrus, the caveat was that the land was still wet and would make for an interesting time. This is ultimately what happened, just on a different time scale. Gird was set for 12:00, but first launches didn’t happen until 1:45 with the task for both classes being a 2 hr MAT: CCSC-Hook-Green-Clinton-Frith-Lebanon-CCSC. After having trouble finding lift over 3500 ft msl (field elevation is 940 ft) I eventually found a nice thermal that I used to start out the top. The first leg to Hook was smooth sailing and I turned around the center of the area before heading to Green County. Right around here I connected with one of my best thermals and climbed to join the streets running to the north-east. Things started falling apart at Green when the clouds didn’t work as advertised but I managed to join a gaggle and get high enough to continue. The run to Clinton was when the day really started becoming interesting… At this point the dryness advertised earlier kicked in and the thermals became very soft. I joined a gaggle there and limped along in the blue to Frith. It was here that I decided to cut my losses and head for home, saving my speed points. Had I not been alone now, I would have likely continued toward Lebanon but seemed to offer a high chance of landing out and the loss of the aforementioned speed points. The only catch was that I was now undertime… In hind sight, the best strategy would have been to spend those 10 or so minutes trying to get a thermal within glide range of the CCSC and then try for Lebanon if I had enough success, but hindsight is 20-20 and that was worth learning. After a spaghetti dinner a few folks gathered in the club house to watch “A boy who flew with the condors” and “Sailplane Racing in the Andes”