Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pemberton Canadian Nationals July 23

Today was the first day of the Canadian Nationals!  We have a lot of American and International pilots in town, and I was excited to show them our playground.  Unfortunately there was some NW wind (30+ kph) forecasted up high, which would cramp our flying today.

Initially we set a task up toward Goat Mountain and then a goal at the Rodeo grounds, but the Rodeo LZ is still under negotiation as an official goal field so we had to find an alternative.  Unfortunately with the NW wind that was going to be an issue since most of our alternative goal fields are to the NW of Pemberton, which would make any flying we did today have a lot of upwind component.  So we decided to make the best of things by sending pilots towards Goat, back to launch, and then back towards Copper to land at the Van Loons LZ, which is nice and safe for NW wind.

Hope this truck has good suspension!
We have 80+ pilots in this competition so I was a bit curious to see how the launch was going to work out with that many.  After waiting for the clouds to lift and the skies to clear (which was slower than we expected), I launched and there was abundant lift right over the antennas.  Phew!  At least pilots will be able to get high while waiting for the start.

Big clouds (but not the overdeveloping kind) meant there was plenty of lift all over the McKenzie basin but the NW wind also meant pilots were topping out over the back range, which is not ideal if you get pinned back there.  I watched a few pilots go back there in lift and slowly make their way back to the front ridge so I was glad there weren't any landouts back there!
Launch is all ready for 100+ pilots and volunteers!

I actually had a pretty bad start; I got low about 20 minutes before the start and wasn't able to get back up to cloudbase (2600m) by the time 2:45pm came around, so I started the task lower than I would have liked.  But I decided to go for it anyways since there seemed to be plenty of lift and I thought I could get it later on, at Barbour or Copper if need be.

Task briefing.
At Owl it was quite shady but we could see sun on the other side near Copper Mound so I decided to make the crossing, figuring I could get back up in the sun on the other side.  Alas, my plan didn't work and I ended up scunging along below Copper, trying to scratch my way back up to the safety of the big mountains.  No joy, and I ended up landing at the Van Loon LZ along with a handful of other pilots.
Outhouse with a view!

Initially I was a bit bummed, then I realized that because of 25% FTV, we'll be able to throw away our worst day after 4 tasks.  So I'm looking at today as my probable throw-away day!  I'm just happy that we had a chance to show off the glaciers and big mountain views to everyone as the clouds cleared.  I'm also happy that the task was well-received by most pilots I talked to, given the wind forecast while at the same time keeping everyone safe.  The forecast is looking fantastic for the rest of the week sun-wise, we just have to keep an eye on the wind and stability.  Tomorrow is looking like very light winds so I'm hoping it will make things more comfortable for all the pilots.

Results, when finalized, will be available here.





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