I'm writing this from the comfort of my home office back in Columbus, Ohio. I got home about 3am Ohio time this morning, after an uneventful drive back from the Tullahoma. We got in a 3rd day on Sunday - a 2hr TAT. Conditions were variable - OK to very good to the north of Tullahoma, not so much to the south with clouds that didn't work very well, and some scary (for me) periods struggling over terrain with limited landing options. I flew with my good friend and team-flying partner John Mittell (BZ) quite a bit, and I have to admit that he kicked my tail soundly with his 15m ASW-27 vs my 18m V2cx - grrr!!
All in all, the Tullahoma GTA race was a resounding success, with three successful racing days (more than some regionals this season). All this with basically no organizational overhead - no sanctioning fees, no extra insurance costs - no scorer, no contest manager, no separate CD. Just a bunch of guys coming together to race and have a good time.
Tullahoma airport, although very busy with corporate/GA traffic and a very vibrant skydiving operation was very accommodating of the 'glider crowd' and we had no trouble at all blending in to the rest of the airport operations. On Day 3 we had to launch from the north end due to south winds, and this involved getting all the gliders to the other end of a 6000' runway. We accomplished this by back-taxiing all the gliders in a convoy along the active 18/36 runway, then bringing all the tow vehicles back (via taxiways) to the south end, then returning all the pilots back to the north end in my crew truck, then returning all the tow-out gear back to the south end in my truck after the launch so they would be there when we returned and rolled out to the south end of 18/36. This was accomplished with 'no fuss, no muss' and other Tullahoma ground and air traffic worked with us to make it happen.
A big thanks to Ted Beckwith and the Eagleville crowd for volunteering to tow, and to Leo Benetti-Longhini for hosting the event.
Dave Coggins (DT) in his brand-new JS1 'revelation', with Leo's wife Jennifer in the background
John Mittel (BZ)
Werner Ruegger (RHR)
Frank Paynter (TA)
Ted Beckwith, Eagleville Towpilot in his Maule
Dave Coggins' brand-new jet-sustainer JS1
Start the launch!
Francois Pin in Leo's (actually Jennifer's) Silent 2 FES ship. Francois will be flying this in the Sports Class Nationals
Dave Coggins (DT)
PS: Beverly Beckwith emailed some corrections/additions, and I have added them here verbatim. I am *always* eager to get feedback, additions, and/or corrections on typos, name misspellings, factual errors or omissions - whatever. I do the very best job I can in the limited time I have available, and I try my darnedest to get names and facts right, but.... In this case I failed to mention Beverly's contribution to the weekend - she was the launch director on all three days, and did a wonderful job. I also had my facts wrong regarding the Maule and Eagleville - bummer. My apologies Beverly!
From Beverly Beckwith (shown here with husband/tow pilot Ted in their Ventus):
Good afternoon, Frank
glad you got back home safely
A couple of things...
1. the Maule belongs to some of the members of Eagleville Soaring Club. Ted has helped keep it flying for several years, but we have never owned a plane quite like that!!
2. there was no Eagleville crew. I am Ted's wife of 50 years, have been glider crew since 1968, and was on the runway because the Maule has limited rear vision, and I have worked that plane, and this runway often...including the maiden flights of DBs Concordia.
3 the Maule was here because the CAP got their plane in for maintenance theMonday before, and, of course, it did not return on time. Ted drove to Eagleville on Thursday evening, left the truck, and the rest is history, except we still have to return it and get our truck home.
4. If the CAP had towed, Ted could have flown his Ventus, I probably would have still been on the hot asphalt for 2+ hours each day, but maybe not??? We did get his Silent off 2 days, after all the launches, and the Maule was secure.
Sorry to be a grump, and I don't expect praise or photos, but straigh facts are better...not our Maule, no Eagleville crew, and the Benetti-Longhinis were flying the CAP Blanik. Leo has two glass ships, but that is the CAP"s.
Hope to see you at other events, maybe back at THA. We enjoy your articles, as Ted told you. Safe, and fun flying..
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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