Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dunlap US Nats May 31

Dunlap results.
Task 7 tracklog.

It's been a long competition but it's finally over after 7 epic tasks.  Sunny and lightish winds so the task committee created a 60km closed circuit course to take us back to the Pizza goalfield in time for awards etc.

Task 7
The flying was pretty uneventful until Bear Mountain, where a few of us were trying to climb out over the antennas for the jump to Doyles when we saw a glider sitting open in a field in the middle of nowhere.  Repeated radio calls to the pilot got no response and there was no movement of him or his gear for coming on 20 minutes.  After circling over him and still seeing no movement, I decided it was weird enough to warrant a personal check so spiralled down (through lift) to land next to him.

A spread-out and not-moved glider is the universal sign for "I'm in trouble" or "I'm hurt" or "I'm dead" so I was preparing for the worst, making a mental checklist of what I had onboard for emergency supplies and hoping I would have cell service when I landed in case   I needed to call 9-11, and thinking of having to use my SPOT to call it in otherwise.  But as I came in on final approach the idiot got up from his harness and started bundling his glider.

Turns out it was a free-flying tandem pilot and his girlfriend, and he was completely surprised to hear that leaving a glider out in the middle of nowhere without moving it, and not being on the radio to communicate with others, is not cool.  I was so annoyed with him that I gave him a piece of my mind about pilot and glider etiquette when landing out and that everyone flying above him thought he was in trouble and HQ was getting involved.  I'm not sure what they taught him in flight school, but bundling your gear when you land out on XC is the first thing you do so that everyone else knows you're OK.

I don't really know (or care) what they were doing for all that time, but they walked off, leaving me to pack up and hike out from the middle of nowhere by myself.  After radioing the other pilots and HQ that they were fine, I had a nice 1 1/2 hour hike in the 30 degree heat until I reached a very nice farmer who gave me a ride to the goal field, just in time to watch the lead gaggle coming in on final glide.

In the end only 4 or 5 pilots made goal, with Brett just landing short and Josh having a cravatte early on in the race which necessitated a landout after he didn't have the altitude to keep flying after dealing with it.  But he was so far ahead of everyone else it didn't really matter ;)

As for myself, the organization decided to give me a "normalized" score based on my previous days' scores to compensate me.  That was quite nice and appreciated, but I am still highly irritated that the tandem pilot would show so little consideration when landing out and not having safety as his priority.  For a while, a lot of us were wondering what was going on with that nonmoving glider and slowing down to take a look, using up some mental horsepower that we didn't really have to spare after 7 full-on days of flying and racing.  I'm glad the tandem folks are OK but the pilot in command was very unprofessional in my opinion.

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