The CCSC Region 6 contest is now officially the best regional of the season. We have 5 contest days in the bag, including a real barn-burner today, and that is on top of flying 4 out of 5 possible days at the XC camp the week before. And, the weather forecast for tomorrow is for another great day of soaring at CCSC - woo hoo!
As CD here, I have been 'sniffing' for the contest, and then managing the start from the air. I like doing it this way, as I can get a very good feel for conditions, and my glider's radio is much better than the typical hand-held so communications are never a problem. And, just as a minor factor, I get to fly! Anyway, today I was on the radio calling start opening times, and I heard Ron Clark (ZA) flying out of the Indy club. Since our task for the day was going to take everyone almost all the way to their home airport about 100 miles to the northwest, I called Ron to alert them that the fleet was headed their way. As I was talking to Ron, I hear another familiar voice say "TA, is this a party line?" - turns out it was Mike Smith (XM) in the front office of his airliner, going over at 37,000'. We chatted for a few seconds, and he told me that from his vantage point, it sure looked like a superb soaring day. When I told him it was just another normal soaring day at CCSC, there was a few seconds of silence, and then laughter (Mike has been to a few rainfests at CCSC in the past, so he's hard to convince).
We had a weak cold front go through last night with a few sprinkles but nothing major at all. I screwed up and left my pickup truck windows down last night, but although there was some water in the bed of the truck, the seats weren't even wet - yay! At 7 am there were some thick low clouds, with clear skies above, but I was unsure whether we would get enough sunlight to get in a day of soaring. I was sitting out on the patio after my run, and thinking that after 4 days fo flying with an almost sure thing for flying on Saturday, we might want to contemplate calling a rest day (I could certainly use the rest). Fortunately for my continued health, I took a good look at the airmass soundings before going too far with the rest day proposal, and discovered that the cold front had indeed passed through, and all indications were for a very good day out to our northwest. At our task committee meeting, Erik Nelson (5E) and I put together a couple of tasks, and Task A was a 3-hour TAT with a 210 mile maximum. Erik expressed a bit of concern that the task might not be long enough, and I scoffed at him - saying that it would take a 70mph flight to hit the max, and CCSC winning speeds almost never make it into the 60's, much less the 70's. As it turned out, Erik was almost right,and I was certainly wrong. Erik won the day with a speed in the mid-60's, even though he screwed up and turned too early in the first cylinder. He told me he realized his mistake almost immediately, but then it was too late to do anything about it - he had the next 100 miles or so to castigate himself for the error, and he wound up way under time. He said he was actually thinking about making a second try if he could get a climb after the finish, but (fortunately for him and his wife Sarah, I think) he couldn't.
Everyone got home today, and there was lots of joking and laughter on the field as gliders were put away and scores were being turned in. This was truly a spectacular soaring day - clouds in all quadrants, streets to die for, and 9+ kt average climbs (that's NOT a typo!). I kept insisting that the day was just a normal CCSC soaring day, but not one person believed me - go figure ;-).
Erik has managed to erase Jeff Russel (TZ)'s 200+ point lead from the first day with 4 consecutive day wins, and is now walking away with the contest in the handicapped FAI class. In the Sports class it is still a close contest (a "Contest of Biblical Proportions", hee hee) between Genesis pilots Curt Lewis (95) and Don Kroesch (DK).
Tomorrow's popular forecast is for 'sunny with a high near 83, with calm winds becoming northeast at 6mph'. Darn, we are probably going to be forced to endure another spectacular day of soaring - will the torture never end? ;-)