Tullahoma Tenn GTA Race, Day 2

Most days when the weather doesn't work out as forecast, it is because something bad happened - high overcast, storms popping up, spread-out/overdevelopment - you know the list. Today, however, we got what CD Francois Pin (PF) referred to as 'the other side of the coin.  The forecast was for blue all day - we actually got cumulus clouds in all quadrants.  The forecast was for 3-5kt to 5000' msl - we actually got 4-6kt to 6000'.  This just doesn't happen; I don't think I've ever had a contest day that was so unlike the forecast - but I'm not complaining!

In any case, we had cu's developing by noon, and we started the launch around 1230.  David Coggins (DT) was first off in his brand-new JS1 'revelation' with 21m tips installed (he said he couldn't catch me yesterday at 18m, so he was bringing out the big guns!).   He wanted to launch first as he was trying to get his required 5 flights in for insurance purposes before taking the glider home, so he launched first, then landed and relit after the rest of the grid was out of the way.

The task was opened around 1:30, and most gliders were out on task by 2:00 (the notable exception being Francois Pin flying Leo Benetti-Longhini's Silent 2 electric JEN).  There were clouds in all quadrants, and there was some nice streeting, but there were also spots with a lot of cumulus-falsus and some very narrow cores.  It was easy to go fast in the streets, but also easy to get low and in trouble if you didn't stay connected.  I tried very hard to stay above 4000' msl (3000 agl) all day, and mostly succeeded, but got down to 3000 msl on at least three different (and somewhat nail-biting) occasions.  Francois reported that he had a fantastically fast first half, but the second half sucked big time, and he spent a LOT of time below 3000 msl.

Leo and his beautiful and very talented wife Jen flew the course in their 2-place Blanik, and Leo reported that they did get low in a few places, and he was wondering just how long it would take to unearth the Blanik trailer from behind/underneath all the stuff in their hangar, and whether or not the tires would still hold air!  There was a happy ending to the story, as they were able to dig out and make it back to Tullahoma unscathed ;-).

Dinner was again provided by the skydiving group in the big hangar - BBQ brisket and pork, all kinds of vegetables from their own garden, some banana pudding to die for, and even chocolate cake!  I wound up eating way too much, but boy was it good ;-))))

Looks like another flyable day tomorrow, and if so it will cap off a GREAT Tullahoma GTA experience - stay tuned! ;-))

 

Frank (TA)

PS: Forgot to mention in this morning's post that friend and team flying partner John Mittel (BZ) landed out on day 1, and he happened to land in a nice wheat field right across the street from the Myers-Smith airstrip.(he elected to land in the huge, freshly cut hay field across the street because it was into the wind and the runway wasn't, and he couldn't tell from the air how high the 'hedges' were).   When I did the airport review, I had crossed this one off my personal list because of visible hedges on both sides of the runway, and I think I mentioned that this particular airstrip could benefit from a physical eyes-on visit to determine the nature of the 'hedges'. Well, when I went to get BZ, I was able to do just that, and it turns out the 'hedges' are about 10" high and made entirely of grass.  So, although the strip will indeed accommodate my 18m wondership, although the wingtips might hang over a bit.

Frank Paynter

Dr. Frank (TA) Paynter has a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He retired from a successful 25-year civil-service career in 1993 and spent the next 15 years as a antenna researcher at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, retiring again in 2008 to become a full-time soaring bum.He is the author of the book “Cross Country Soaring with Condor”, co-authors (along with Scott Manley) the popular Condor Corner column for ‘Soaring’ magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Condor section at SoaringCafe.com.Along with Mark Hawkins, he is part owner of Hawke Tracking, the company that provides SPOT tracking services for contests and clubs. Before soaring came along, Frank was a national champion skydiver and still holds the record for the most number of consecutive dead-centers in skydiving competition. Frank started soaring in the mid-1990’s at Caesar’s Creek Soaring Club near Waynesville, Ohio and instantly fell in love with Cross-Country racing. Now he goes to as many contests as his wife of over 30 years will allow, and spends his winter months racing and instructing in Condor.

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