More flying at the 2018 Big Spring Nationals
On this day (Tuesday, the second task day) I was not quite as
fortunate as I was on the first task. I had been at 9,400' waiting for the start
window to open but was lower at 8,300' but 4 km from the edge of the start
cylinder at the first start time. I decided to wait for the second start as only
one pilot had headed out. By the time the second start window came around I was
down to 5,900' and 2.5 km for the edge of the start cylinder. Larry Bunner would
take off but I would have to wait again for the third clock.
I spotted a cu to the south east with Gary Osoba circling in his Stemme (glider)
near it. I wanted to go that direction anyway to get upwind of the course line
so off I went.
I got in under the cu at 6,300' at just before the third start window opened,
half a kilometer away from the edge of the start cylinder and climbed out at 550
fpm through the edge to 9,300'. I was very lucky to get that lift in exactly the
right spot, even if I was five minutes late to going on glide.
The task line was right down wind to the north northwest and with cu's along the
course line, unlike the area to the west where most of the pilots were. I was
able to make great time and start catching up with the pilots who took the
The second leg was to the west northwest which still offered some tail wind
component. It was a bit soft and I was down below 5,000' before I found the core
of 530 fpm thermal near highway 87 back to over 9,200'.
The cu's had mostly disappeared and it was a bit trickier finding lift heading
to the turnpoint. I was close to Larry Bunner but he was getting reasonable lift
upwind a few kilometers south of the turnpoint. I went into the turnpoint 2 km
radius cylinder over the small town and found 440 fpm just north of the small
town. This put me downwind of the course line but back to 9,000' up from 5,200'.
The wind was 16 mph at 162 degrees.
Reflecting on the lesson from the day before I was actually able to head east
and get upwind of the course line and find lift from 5,000'. I had to work some
thermals averaging around 300 fpm, but I had positioned myself correctly and
when the 19 mph wind took me back to the course line I was still in a good
position. The course line was to the north northwest which was perfect for
the now south southeast winds.
There was light sink along the the course line so I was able to glide for ten
kilometers until just before the turnpoint and enter the thermal at 7,400'.
This beaut of the thermal averaged 4440 fpm and got me to 10,800' just in time
to nick the 8KM turnpoint around the Tahoka airfield.
The wind was 19 mph at 166 degrees I headed due west for 27 kilometers toward
the Brownfield airfield. I was north of the course line but it looked good.
At 22 kilometers out from goal I climbed back to 10,300'. That made it plenty of
altitude to make it to goal.