19 June 2010

No flying today (Sat)

We awoke to overcast skies again today and the forecasts said  60% chance of rain in the morning and the afternoon could go either way.  The rain appeared during the pilots' meeting and there was a chance of CB's in the afternoon, so everyone was told to rig and stage near the terminal, but not to push out to the grid in case a CB appeared.

After checking the weather again at noon and with no sign of CB's on the radar, we gridded and launched a sniffer as a band of towering Cu moved over the airport.  As the sniffer was on tow he reported rain and soon the rain hit the grid.  It poured for about 30 minutes and all the gliders and many of the pilots were soaked.  The ground at the edge of the runway had about 2 inches of standing water.  Meanwhile, the sniffer who was able to climb away and move out of the rain found good conditions away from the airport.

With the amount of rain that fell and all the drenched pilots, the day was scrubbed at about 2:30.  I towed back to my trailer to dry the glider off and de-rig, and as soon as I had it nicely dried, another shower came through, lasting about 20 minutes -so I dried my glider for a third time today (see rain during pilots' meeting in the morning) and finally got it put away dry. 

As the rain was falling around the airport, a good field of cu could be seen to the east and southeast and nice cu lasted until about 7:30 pm, unfortunately with the rain right over the airport, we could not get launch and get everyone to the cu.

The forecast looks great for the next few days, and if the airmass we saw after the rain today sticks around, we expect some great Saskatchewan conditions.

18Meter part III

Third valid contest day -3Hour area task maximum distance around 280km some of the pilots were calculating where to go to have maximum distance as they planned to fly fast. We had a little Cu's but rest of the contest area was blue. Task was survival flight and the winner's speed was just above glider stall speed . On average we had 2kts thermals and couple times around 3. I finished second for the day and recovered some of the lost points.

50% of pilots landed out, some of them just short of finish cylinder.

Saturday - day was cancelled due to rain in the morning and strong winds, blue sky with some Cu's are 30km west of the airfield with low cloud base . Sunday should be good soaring day.

18 Meter part II

We lost first day of contest due to weather, in addition plenty of water on the fields.

Second contest day gave us chance to fly two hour Area Task .
Weather improved substantially during task, but large holes slowed some pilots.
I finished 3rd with 15 points loss to the winner.
Second valid task was assigned 315km triangle , but due to high cloud coming from East and West task was changed in the air to 3hours Modified assigned task with one turn point.
Cloud base was low and clouds didn't work very well . After compulsory first turn point I went to wrong point and I had to change decisions where to go several times due to changing weather conditions .It cost me a lot I finished on the bottom of score sheet. Personally I don't like this kind of task with one turn point, luck plays big part on the results of such task . Good that we don't have such tasks during World Championships.

18-Meters US Nationals

I had hard decision to make between Canadian Nationals North Battleford SK and 18Meter US Nationals Caesar Creek OH

Due to limited time I decided to drive 8hours one way instead 0f 35.

I gave up first day of training to cut out of office time and flew only one day in marginal conditions . There was a lot of rain in OH recently, no good news for soaring. Due to very soft field CD decided that we fly without water untill conditions will improve.

18 June 2010

Flying Day 2

The satellite picture still does not look much better, but the system is slowly moving out of the task area and the forecast shows that we should have good conditions for the next 6 days.  If we can fly all of them we will have an 8 day contest.

With about 10 mm of rain over the previous 24 hrs and limited sun on the ground as a result of the high cloud the conditions for today were very challenging. The sniffer reported 3 kts through 3000 agl, so the club class was launched.  By the end of their grid there were many gliders low and 3 landed back for relights as a result of high cloud shutting off the sun near the airport.  After a short delay, the FAI class was launched and the pilots at the front of the grid had a pretty easy time climbing to 5-6000 agl, but the last three were again caught by another large shaded area over the airport and two had to relight.  To ensure a fair start for everyone the gate was held until the relights could climb up.

The club class gate opened at 2:30 pm and they flew a turn area task with only three completions and the rest either landing out or not getting away from the airport,

The FAI class gate opened at 4:00 pm for a 1:30 hr MAT as a result of the changing conditions.  This allowed all but three to complete the task in challenging conditions.  I had a bad day after abandoning a turnpoint after committing about 40 km of distance towards it only to discover that the clouds for the last 20 km were not working, so instead of risking a landout, I had to turn around and make my way home without the added distance, but better to get home with some speed points, than to be in a field with none. (especially with all the water on the ground and the mosquitoes)

17 June 2010

Contest Day 3

Today is a rain day, the weather system is spinning cloud and rain into the area from the east. The rain started around 10:30 today and the day was scrubbed at the pilots' meeting.

16 June 2010

Flying Day 1

The trough over the prairies is still causing some problems for us, but at least we got in our first flying day today.  The satellite shot shows the clouds that we are still dealing with and our task area is represented by the circle inside the red square.

At the task committee meeting we made up three tasks to cover the NE, NW and a shorter 2 hr task in case we didn't get the temperature needed for thermals until late.  As it turns out, none of the tasks were usable today as the weather changed rapidly and any pre-planned task was not going to work.

Part way through the club class launch, we decided the only option would be a 3 hr MAT with no mandatory turnpoints to allow the pilots to fly to the sun and stay in the lift.  The gates were opened just before 2 pm with cu in the NE sector and overcast in all other sectors.  As it turns out the MAT was the right call today with only four landouts and a few early finishers.

Ground elevation here in North Battleford is 1850 feet and most thermals went to 8000 ASL with a few up to 9000.  The strongest thermals were in the 7-8 knot range and and 5-6 knots was common under the good clouds.

I was able to cover 302 km in 2:56, coming in just under minimum time, but close enough to the full 3 hours.

15 June 2010

Day 1 scrubbed

The satellite image shows the picture for today, there was a trough moving through the area with a lot of high cloud that clamped down the thermal activity today.  We waited in the grid from 11:30 to 2:30.  100 kilometers to the west was a good looking field of cu that we hoped would  make its way into our task area, but it stayed just out of reach.  At 2:30 the day was scrubbed and is typically the case the weather suddenly improves, but in this instance not enough to have launched the grid and flown a meaningful task.  We had some nice cu over the airport for about an hour and then the high cloud started to cover up again shutting things down.

The forecast for the next couple of days shows cloudy and rain, but they have been wrong before!

Canadian Nationals - Contest Day 1

An approaching system is threatening to shut us down today, the public forecast has a 60% chance of rain late morning followed by a risk of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  It looks like the worst of it might slide just south and let us get a task in to the north.

Time to go rig!