This is the blog for the USA Soaring Teams. Check here for the latest on-site contest reports from the team members.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 5

Yesterday turned out to be another fairly good day. Corey placed 12th overall. For the most part they guys are able to fly together, but have occasionally found themselves on their own, or with separate packs. The slight difference in the gliders' performances makes it hard to stay right with each other all the time. This got them separated, as at one point, Corey found it hard to keep up with the Discus, and Devin got in the lead by a few km. A little while afterwards Corey caught a 7 kt thermal, which helped him catch up and eventually pass Devin, who had to take some weaker thermals in order to get home. There were also quite strong headwinds for the run home and a lot of pilots had a tough time, several landing out. Corey made it home with a speed of 85km/h; Devin came in a bit later with a speed of 79km/h.

They have quite a different selection of towplanes at this contest. We have 2 Pawnees, a Pik-23, Pik-27, Cessna Ag-wagon, Robin, and a Rallye. Yesterday, another Pik series towplane was here. Cycle times for each of these planes is about 6 mins, however they all climb and descend at different rates. The Pik-27 climbs slowly but is equipped with a water-cooled engine so it is able to descend quickly and is able to keep pace with the other tow aircraft. I asked the Finns about this airplane, and they said they have a lot of nicknames for it, none of which they will repeat in public. The Dutch team calls it the lawnmower. I did witness on a few occasions the Pik-27 towing a Duo Discus with two people on board, so it must do reasonably well.

Aviation Gasoline runs about 2 Euro per liter here. A quick calculation shows this is about $10 per gallon. Tows to 1500 feet however cost about 26 Euros or roughly $37. Rental of the club K-21 is 16 euro or $23 per flight. Interesting that despite the pricier gas, tow prices are still comparable to the US. A club member mentioned that most launches here in Finland are aerotow.

The guys are now out on course, it is a weak blue day. Spot Tracking shows them all lumped into a large pack. More to follow...


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