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.
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