Sunday, March 13, 2011

Todays Day 3-13-2011

Somethings for me are hard to share. But in our World of Soaring, we share the same Freedom and Joy which is what I believe are different than in many other walks of life.
Today, I feel I would like to share something with you. Just before launch, a good friend walked up and said Hi. I hadn't seen him in close to a year, as the last time was at the Seniors awards dinner in 2010. We sat at the same table and chatted over the past.
Today, I asked how a friend had been. I didn't know my friend had passed on, Dec. 15, 2010. My friend is Rick Howell. Rick and I flew for the same airline, he retired as a Line Captain and a check airman. Rick's love for soaring speaks for it self as where ever he traveled, soaring was his game, his life and love. From contests to encampments at Parowan, his accomplishments were many. He touched many lives, all good, very good.
After I learned this today before launch, I deicated this day to Rick and received a gift. Today was for you, Rick, Godspeed my friend.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

USA 2011 Seniors Practice Day 3-12-2011

DB's dog coming to say Hi. We been buddies along time.

Now the practice day report.

Well, here we are. Ray's weather was very close to being right on. Weak thermals to 3000 msl. I check the soundings and see the same thing.

KS and I rig next to each other and after the pilots meeting, we pulled out to the open grid. He choose the number one spot and I got the number 2 slot. Then it dawned on me, like what am I doing wanting to launch into a weak sky so early?

Ken Sorenson, who tells me he has a poster of me in his garage, riding my motorcycle, which he trains his dog to chase me and bite me, has pulled in right behind me in spot 3. We are one big happy family.

We then have a brief pilots meeting and CD Good anounces a noon launch. Few, and I mean few, if any birds were seen thermaling. I did make that comment, but CD Good went ahead with the launch. Well, off tow and a slow climb was made. We were at least staying up. Maybe 2500 msl. KS, myself and DB are together. Well, DB went off in one direction(he won the day), KS went in another, I made the smartest choice of all, and just kept circling and going lower.

Shortly, DB is reporting North at Grass Roots and lift is just fine, with climbs arount 3500 msl. Don't know where KS is as I am circling even lower now. But lift cycles and we, I mean the whole group who launches, climbs away in weak lift.

I take a late start, not by choice, but by sheer luck in even starting. Its a 2 1/2 hour TAT. North first, then South, then North, then home. Most left around 1:30 pm which is what I wanted to do, but ill forces caused me to start about 1:45 pm. On course near Osborne I nailed a big climb to 3500 msl and now felt alot better. Shortly thereafter met up with KS. A small group of us started digging ourselves out of a hole. Ron Clark , who was riding with KS, smiled and waved several times as we slowly climbed to 2500 msl. Then off we went again, testing low spots and having fun.

The rest of the afternoon just had weak climbs and short glides. KS later reported after landing they had several low points. One being 400 ft. over a small fire.
Looks as most had a good flight and thats what we are here for. Time jumps forward one hour tonight, so practice day went really good, tomorrow the game begins.

Best wishes for all entrants, a safe contest and a good nite to all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

USA Seniors Rules and history.

The story below is from Tom Knauff. Some is from our talks and other parts have been reprinted.

The Special Rules.

1. The emphasis of this unique contest is having a good time, enjoying the companionship, and the good soaring conditions. Nothing serious should be implied about the "competition."

2. Minimum age 55. When Tom Knauff first wrote the rules he was 51 so couldn't get in.

3. Mandatory crew day. The trip is to be fun for everyone, and with all the very special things to do in the area, it would be a shame for the crew not to have fun too.

4. 2 1/2 hour optimal task length. Senior seniors don't need or want to maximize the soaring day.

In order to enforce the low key competition, special penalties would be applied to anyone caught making speacial performance enhancing modifications or preparation to their gliders. Penalties would be assessed for special sealing, cleaning, or waxing.

Penalties would be assessed for winning any contest day, or placing in the top half of the score sheet.

Evening gatherings are encouraged, so an attempt is made to have a social event every other day.

The Seniors future.

Tom Knauff and all others agree that since 1990 this contest has been outstandingly successful. In 2010 their were 77 pilots hoping to get on the list of contestants. The late Charlie Spratt had become the premier soaring contest director. Along with his skills, Knut and Ingrid's Seminole-Lakes gliderport, "The Seniors", found a home, which lasted 20 years.

Now the new owners are showing they are enthusiastic about "The Seniors", and are hosting the 21st Seniors which starts this Sunday, March 13, 2011.

Their is good reason to be comfortable that "The Seniors" will be around in the future.

Seniors Pre-practice Friday 3-11-2011

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Butler, with their ASG 29. Dick will be flying the 2011 Seniors in the 18 Meter version. Today, he headed down to the South, first turning Chalet Suzanne. Then heading North to Montgomery. Dick reported 2.2 kts on the overall day getting up to 4,000 msl. No low spots and had a fun day.

Towing the ASG 29 back to its trailer. DB has a great rig and even has a relaxing sofa inside the van.

KS reported a good day and flew up to Ocala, which is North. Ron Clark went along for the ride.
2-3 kts and up to around 3,000 msl for the day.

Karl and Ron cleaning bugs off before boxing the Duo.

Now, the important stuff. Beer contest. Yep, first person gets a 6 pack when they see me when they email me who these four guys are.
Contest starts now. 3-11-2011 5:15 pm EST.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Seniors Thursday mornin news 3-11-2011

Wednesday evening and everyone is back in the box or tied down and covered. Day was reported as maybe 3500 msl alitudes and 2-3 kts lift. Seems most headed South to the Lake Wales area and then home.

Then around 6:30 pm, thunder was heard, lighting, then the sky just came unglued. This was from a smaller convergence zone passing thru the area. The big front wasn't here...yet, as it came later in the night. Thursday morning still raining and now its around 12 noon and the rain has let up and sky is slowly getting lighter.

These pictures are from last night.

Friday looks flyable, lift will be weak and might be windy. Not to many entrants have pulled in today.Saturday looks better and next week shows a improving trend all week long.
Will get some more pictures when folks start to move around.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2011 Seniors Seminole-Lake Gliderport FL.

Tom and Doris getting their Duo out for a days flight. Click the pic to enlarge.

Shortly, this group will launch into todays skys. Winds are 20 plus kts. @ 2000 msl.

Looking south sky cover is fairly heavy, but its opening up as the day warms.

Sky looking North.

John Good, the CD, has brought his Duo Discus X, as Doug Jacobs will fly it. We have quite a few Duos here, so it going be a great battle for top honors.

Brief wrap.
We had a good day Tuesday, March 8th. Lift was 3-5 kts to a cloud base of 6300 msl in the late afternoon. Today is windy with winds @ 2000 msl around 25 plus knots. Cloud bases are slowly rising and some are hoping they can get in alittle practice. A front is marching down towards us for tomorrow. But sometimes they fall apart, so maybe we can fly tomorrow. Weather for the contest period is looking pretty good. More shortly.