Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dunlap US Nats May 30

Task 6 tracklog.
Dunlap results.

A monster task was called today to take advantage of the supposed NW winds; also possibly because we could have easily flown to Bakersfield yesterday ;)  The actual goal was just north of Bakersfield, about 135km away, to avoid the airspace around Bakersfield proper.

Task 6
I had a great start but got very low in Drum Valley with Alex and Josh.  Josh got away and with the lead gaggle pulled away, while I was forced to scunge my way along in tiger country, looking at landing many times with a very long hike out, until I could see a highway pass in the distance and knew I was saved as far as a long walk was concerned.

Alex was high at this point but got low as I got high, but was able to get high again to turn around and fly back towards Dunlap.  The reason he did this is because it was actually SW winds, not NW, and the whole south leg was into wind and thus very slow going.  If the entire courseline was going to be SW wind it was gonna be a very long and slow day!

I at least got to see goal today ;)
I finally got grounded just past Woodlake as the crossing there was too much for me alone in the SW headwind, maybe 50km away.  It was definitely dead air there as pretty much no thermals came through the entire time I was waiting there, and in fact Alex Gagarin landed in the exact same field about 1 hour later, complaining of the same thing.

According to the SPOTs we could see the lead gaggle of about 8 pilots was still heading south but shedding pilots every so often.  In the end only 4 pilots made goal, with a few more landing just short.  It looks like most of the lead gaggle took the flats route, reporting a lack of strong thermals and dust devils unlike yesterday, and a SW cross-headwind until at least Porterville where it finally turned more NW.  I think a lot of pilots didn't make it out of Sand Creek so I'm hoping I stayed in the top 10 for today.

Tomorrow is the last day and we are definitely ready for a rest day afterwards, as we've been flying 7 out of 7 tasks.  This place is definitely consistent for reliable sunny flyable weather, so long as the winds stay within reason.

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