31 May 2012

300 Triangle

I flew another good day here in Cordele today.  The forecast called for better condfitions than yesterday and suggested the western half of the task area would be better than the east.

I declared a 325 triangle that went to the west.  At launch time, there was a nice looking street running to the NE, and the direction of the task was primarily blue.  I ran up to a turnpoint to the NE and then back to Cordele to kill some time before starting.

When I arrived back at Cordele, it still did not look as good on course as it did to the north, but I started and went south on task. I completed the task at 115 km/hr.  The condition to the south and  west were not as good as forecast, but to the north for the last 1/3 of the flight they were quite good.

Friday looks like a rain day, but then it gets good again for Saturday, the first official practice day.

30 May 2012


Virginia and I are now in Cordele for the Region 5 South competition.  The contest starts on Monday 4 June, but the MGSA host club is holding a cross-country camp all this week in advance of the contest.  I decided to come down a few days early and fly.

The drive down was uneventful with a few tailwind legs to help with the gas mileage.  On day 2 of the drive as we were southbound on I-75 through southern Tennessee the cu started to pop around 1030 and we drove under a great looking soaring sky all the way through northern Georgia.  Once south of Atlanta, we could see a few build-ups to the south and by the time we reached Macon we were in the deluge, only 50 miles from Cordele

I had not checked the weather before we left home and when we arrived here on Monday, the airport was deserted.  It seems that Tropical depression Byrle was the cause of the rain.  On Tuesday morning, the centre of the depression was almost directly overhead and more low cloud and drizzle covered the airport.  In the afternoon, it started to break up, and by evening the system had moved through the area.  The forecast looked good for Wednesday so I planned a few tasks for the morning.

This morning, the forecast was still very good, calling for 6-9 kts lift up to 6000 ft.  The models did not agree with each other with one suggesting west would be better and the other suggesting east.   I played around with a few more task options and eventually settled on one that looked like it would keep me on the better area.

A 330 km triangle was declared and I was second to launch at 1245.  It was blue with a few wisps, and except for a club member on a 5 hr attempt in a K-21, no one else wanted to go.  I pushed onto the runway, hooked-up and went.  For the first 30 minutes, I stayed within about 500 feet of release height.  With 160 L of water, the lift was not yet strong enough.  Around 1330, it finally broke through and I had a 4 kt climb to 4500 and started.

The first leg was weak with a few wisps along the first half of leg, but I could see a nice field of clouds ahead and kept working towards them.  I eventually connected with the clouds and things got better.  On the second leg, I was able to line up a couple of streets and run upwind with good speed, but things got a little weak around the second turnpoint.  I dribbled in and out and now had a tailwind along the third leg that helped move me along.  About halfway along the leg, I connected with a thermal from a stubble fire where the farmer was burning off his field.  It was rough and strong and took me to 6500 ft at about 6 kts.  The rest of the leg was mostly blue, again with a few wisps, but I could see nice cu at the third turnpoint.  I made it to the cu, but couldn't get anything to work, so I rounded the turnpoint and headed for the next cu on course and was rewarded with a 4 kt climb that took me to 6000 ft and gave me enough height to glide home.

Overall, it was a good challenging day with lots of gear changing required as I went from blue to cu to blue to cu again.  The task distance was 333 km and I completed it at 107 km/hr.  Good practice!