The First Florida Sailplane Grand Prix

As in many places around the US cold weather is coming and even snow in some; however, in Florida the good soaring season is about to start. And through the initiative of CD Andy McQuigg and a few other pilots there a grand prix race was put together to run through the winter, on a monthly basis, until March 2014. Sean and Tiffany Fidler are also part of the team making this race possible. Sean providing great help with the website and Tiffany with scoring for the event.

This first edition took place last weekend and I was happy to be at Seminole Lake Gliderport and catch up with dear friends. Although at first we were expecting around 20 pilots to fly the three classes (handicapped), because of capricious weather on Friday and Saturday, 10 ended up flying the only race day, Sunday, when I need to mention, the weather was lovely, with nice cu’s, hardly any wind and cloud base above 4,000 feet.

The task was: Start – Jordan – Dunellon – Green Swamp – Weeks – Finish. Sean Fidler won class A (<.885) against Roger Buchanan. Enrique Mertins won class B (.885 – .950) against Steve Taylor, Billy Kerns and Wes Lineberry and Wally Berry won class C (>/= .950) against Greg Shugg, Colin Mead and Doug Eastman.

After a day of just hanging around the clubhouse and catching up on Saturday, in the evening we had a lovely gathering hosted by the across-the-runway neighbors, Connie and Shawn Knickerbocker. Shawn is an FAA DE and a pilot for everything it seems; his hangar at Seminole Lake houses a Nimbus, a T6 and a Steamer…and he will gladly take you for a ride when you come to visit.

It was a wonderful weekend with old friends and seems a promising event for the winter, so make sure to check the race website for dates and more info.  Itcould be a great escape for some winter soaring in sunny Florida!

Safe flying all,