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2017 Quest Air Open

The forecast:

2017 Quest Air Open and Re-Open, Wednesday April 19th

National Weather Service forecast:

Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. East wind 5 to 10 mph.

Hourly forecast shows surface winds east 11 mph from noon to 7 PM

NAM forecast:

2 PM

1000 - 1100 fpm lift

6,000' - 7,000' top of lift

5,000' - 6,000' cloudbase

12 mph east wind at top of lift

11 mph east wind at 30'

5 PM

300 - 400 fpm lift (Area of 300 - 400 fpm from the Villages south to Lakeland)

5,000' - 7,000' top of lift

No cu's or 5,000' - 6,000' cloudbase

12 mph east wind at top of lift

RAP forecast:

2 PM

700 - 900 fpm lift

7,000' - 8,000' top of lift

6,000' - 7,000' cloudbase

11 mph east wind at top of lift

9 mph east wind at 30'

5 PM

700 - 800 fpm lift (300 - 400 fpm by Bushnell and from there to the southwest to
Spring Hill)

7,000' - 8,000' top of lift

7,000' - 8,000' cloudbase

12 mph east wind at top of lift

Op40 at 2 PM shows cloudbase at 7500' at 46 degrees, with an east wind of 12 mph
(Same wind throughout the day).

Given the stronger than the previous day east wind Larry came up with a task zig
zagging to the northwest.

Quest, 5km

Panolk, 2km

Gross, 1km

Invrns, 400m

Sierra, 1km

Crystl, 400m

97.9 km

I was the first to launch six minutes after the launch window. I was scheduled
to launch third but apparently the first two pilots wanted to wait. After a
while I found 270 fpm to 3900'. Larry called that he was going up slowly under
the clouds to the south. I joined him but it was going no where.

We headed back toward Sheets field and Larry then found a strong thermal in the
blue and we climbed to 4900'. The north edge of the 5 KM start cylinder was over
5 KM away.  We headed in that direction and found weak lift at 3,500' at
the edge waiting for the 1:30 PM start window.

I headed out as Larry continued to climb. There were only four of us up at the
start. Many pilots were struggling in the wind. The Sport Class launch was
closed due to the rough conditions.

In two kilometers I found 240 fpm to 4700' drifting with a 17 mph east southeast
wind. The strong wind made the thermals broken and difficult to follow.

Things were not going well for me with the strong wind. I did find 300 fpm on
average and then 400 fpm in the next two thermals, the second one to 4,800' but
not to cloudbase.

I was down to 1,700' by Bushnell when I found 250 fpm. The climb was slow
and the drift was fast. Instead of sticking with it in the broken lift I headed
back up wind to another cloud. No luck and I was soon on the ground.

Larry was right above me at 4,800' and in the lead. Soon other pilots came
overhead. The lift improved as the day got later and pilots were able to get to
7,000'. Numerous pilots made goal.

The results are slow getting up because of an error I made in setting up the
task on Airtribune. Pilots have to send in their track logs manually. Just like
the bad old days.
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