2006 18-Meter Nationals

Dave's Blog from

Hobbs, New Mexico

Last Update: Saturday 5-August-2006

Practice Period

Flew into Midland Texas Saturday afternoon to nice building cumulus and a bit of overdevelopment. Trusty crew Steve Donovan picked me up at the airport. There's a Commemorative Air Force (nee Confederate Air Force) museum at the airport, had to stop. They've almost managed to convert all the plaques to the new politically correct name, but the nice bronze plaques in the Vietnam area still have the old name. A B-29, twin-Mustang, and B-25 were especially interesting. Drove up to Hobbs and moved into the hotel for our two week adventure.

Check out the clouds in the background as well as this beautiful B-25. Trusty crew Steve, standing in front of something really odd...
Click on image for a bigger picture...

Practice Day 1 Sunday 16th

Met Charlie Spratt and Dennis Wright at the local breakfast place and did some important catching up. Dennis is the contest manager here in addition to his day job as SSA executive director. Dennis gave us an excellent safety and weather briefing, looks like a great Hobbs soaring day. And of course Charlie Spratt is competition director. Lots of folks are already here to practice. I need a nice long flight to shake the rust off and re familiarize myself with the task area; haven't raced here since 1999 ! And since last year's nationals I've got more time in the Antares (in Germany) than in the Ventus, so I need some practice...

Task is Tatum, Tahoka, Jal, and return for 268 miles. Started at 1:30, flew straight most way to the first turn, especially as I had cramps in my legs and it hurt to use the rudder. Glider climbs better going straight anyway. Looks like the crowd is cutting the turn short as its blue and only a practice day, so off I go by myself. Second leg is a bit soft, average down in the high 60's from the first leg's 85+ mph. Great to be back in the air and gradually remembering how to fly this thing. Third leg strong for a while (8+ knots lift permitting running at 110 knots and only a bit of circling required), but approaching Jal it blues out. So some other gliders cut the corner at Jal. Managed to find a sink street on final glide, got low at Eunice, and as usual hit amazing lift after struggling back up to final glide height. Back at Hobbs, a bit of traffic on the ramp, so I climbed out after finishing and hung out for a bit...

OK, if I had read the task sheet, I would have seen it was a TAT and not an assigned task, so I didn't actually need to fly into the blue holes at all three turns and take an extra hour. But I needed the practice anyway !

Practice Day 2, Monday 17th

We watched the shuttle landing today - Fox showed the live view from the orbiter, which was absolutely amazing. Viewing experience marred by the constant mindless chatter from Fox, the worst being the news bimbo explaining breathlessly how the tailwind would help the shuttle land shorter !

Dr. Jack's looks very strong, decreasing moisture means low chance of T-storms, should be a boomer. Charlie calls another TAT running north-south. Rapid cycling cu yielded some extremely strong climbs over 8 knots, and some streeting in the blue, with a shear and short inversion layer around 10k. Above this haze layer the thermals were strong with bases somewhere up around 13k.

When you're in sync with the weather, you pull up only in lift, turn right into the cores, accelerate before hitting sink, and the speed-to-fly audio command is silent. Not today. It was ugly. I'm really out of practice ! I was the slowest finisher today. Most of the fleet couldn't resist the lure of the Juniors fund-raiser dinner at the airport and didn't complete the task.

Race Day 1, Tuesday 18th

The AM weather loop shows some light showers drifting across the area. Lots of mid-level moisture means likely OD and T-storms. Charlie is anxious to get going. Grid time moved earlier to 11:30 AM means we need to get the plane ready before the pilots meeting. And we need to get it weighed, and fueled up, and the O2 bottle filled.

Charlie hands out the briefing sheet and tells us to ignore the task - it'll be called on the ramp with the latest weather info. I draw the short straw and the first take-off position - sure coulda used another hour to get ready ! On the ramp, task sheets are handed out and the sniffer launched. A bit of a panic to load the O2 bottle, set up the task in the ILEC SN10, chute on and strap in, and run the checklists, in 10 minutes...

The sniffer radios that there is no lift, its completely dead, and he's landing.
Charlie: Tow pilots, start your engines, launch in 5 minutes.
Dave: Um, Charlie, did I understand the sniffer is landing because there's no lift, and you're starting the launch ?
Charlie: Yes sir.
Dave: When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
Charlie: Ya gotta go.
Its amazingly still on tow. Gently glided down to 1k and eventually found a .3 knot thermal. The next few pilots launched weren't so lucky and landed for relights. I advised holding the launch for a few minutes, and after grinding around for 10 minutes the thermal actually got going, and launch resumed. Did I mention the lightening strikes 40 miles North ?

Amazingly, things improved fairly rapidly and our task opened at just after 1. We're on a 4 hour three turn TAT North-East towards Littlefield, South, then South-West to Andrews, and return. With 4 hours and build-ups already there's not too much hanging about. Started at 11k and bumped East. Ran out a ways and hit 9 knots. Weaker past Littlefield, with a cell building inside our triangle. I'm very nervous about getting cut off from home and just nicked the second cylinder. Follow the clouds, don't circle in less than 6 knots, and keep clear of the storm and assorted OD. If I keep reasonable speed I'll be under 4 hours but if I go long and get blocked by storms it'll be worse. Press in to Andrews and there's a monster street running to the southern edge of the cylinder. Scream along at 110 knots, pulling up in strong lift with minimal circling, stay away from the light rain from the OD. Running another street back towards Hobbs its clear I'm going to be massively early. I actually backtracked and climbed to cloudbase to make the final glide easier. 175 mph groundspeed for the last 30 miles pulls the average speed into the 80s, but as I'm still way under 4 hours I scored 77mph.

Lots of folks way under 4 hours. And of course the usual suspects at the top of the score-sheet ! A magnificent soaring day to start this nationals, and a perfect task from Charlie.

Race Day 2, Wednesday 19th

At pilots briefing we were entertained by yesterday's day winners. John Cochrane (former MITSA member) allowed as how he won because of his shorter wings (he's flying a 27), and offered the use of a nice saw to adjust our 18-meter machines. Liz blew our doors off in a last-minute borrowed Nimbus and explained she forgot that the big machines weren't supposed to cruise so fast and just jammed the stick forward.

No excess moisture, light wind, and strong lift for today. Today launch rotation has me at the back of the grid which will be less exciting and save milling about an hour prior to the task opening. 4 hour TAT North, East, and South. Clouds developed nicely but there are some largish areas without lift. Seems like 1:30 would be the best start time though there is some concern about it bluing out later. Most folks in 18-meter left a bit earlier.

I started a bit after 1:30 below bases after the thermals died out in the start cylinder. Should have gone earlier with the pack to have more markers ! Saw only a few gliders on a fast first leg, about 85 mph to the back end of the cylinder North of Littlefield. I was warned by one of the locals of wet ground from rainfall North-West of Lamesa, and sure enough the second leg was soft. Also few cu and rapidly cycling lift and no markers. I wasted a lot of time pulling up in junk, average speed falling from 80's into 60's. Beautiful cu beckoned in the distance, so I decided to stay out and see if I could pull up my average speed in the third area down by Jal. First thermal in the cu field was 10+ knots, so I pressed hard only to have the next 3 clouds disappoint. Kept going way South of Jal before turning, turning in 6-7 knotters. The sky was gorgeous, big flat-bottomed cu with bases above 13,000. Of course hit excessive lift on final glide and finished high and late, after 5+ hours on task and 373 miles. Only guy went further but most went a lot faster ! Anyway, a really fantastic soaring day.

Race Day 3, Thursday 20th

Rick Walters brandished the saw again at the briefing this morning, and its certainly true that the higher wing-loadings of 15-meter machines help in the awesome weather out here. I'm looking forward to flying the Antares 20E at 10.5 lbs/ft2 ! That'll put the short-wingers in their place (well, maybe not with me flying it). The top 4 finishers in 18-meter were within .23 mph yesterday (and did not fly as a pack) !

Briefing shows weather that's going to be strong, possibly blue. Charlie gives us a big assigned task up to Kenna, South to Pecos and return for a total of 346 miles. I told Steve I'd start at 1:30 and finish at 5:30. Early launch went smoothly. Only wisps in the area prior the start, but the cu fields are visible not far out on course. Task opened at a bit after 1 but it was still soft near Hobbs. Hung back until 1:25 and headed out. Too early as it was still a bit soft for the first few thermals. As we pressed North it starts really cooking. Plenty of clouds with good lift under many, bases building from 11k up.

Near the first turn the lift strengthens to 8 and 9 knots. And the clouds seem to be fuller and better connected. Push the cruise speed up to 110 knots and try to stay in lift and only circle in 8 knots or more. I start seeing 10 to 11.5 knots on the averager for multiple turns.

Doug Jacobs joins me, after having started around 1:40 and flying quite a bit faster. How does he do that ? He's flying his Ventus 2cx at 600kg whereas I'm at 525kg, which makes a big difference in the run and pull-ups. We bump and run and take a few thermals together until he disappears out in front...

I try to be disciplined and ignore thermals below 7 knots, but its hard with my weak-weather background ! Gliders are drawn together around the second turn, but I don't have much luck using the ones in front as markers. I try to line up the clouds for the return run of 100 miles. At 12k final glide is coming up soon. Some of the faster pilots pass me as I don't pick the best line. Slowed up to to 100 knots to call the Hobbs municipal airport tower, and accidentally gained more than 1k, resulting in a massively high finish and heckles from the ground. Another magnificent day, 86.5 mph. The winner today did 97 mph. Not bad for no motor !

Tomorrow promises to be even stronger, perhaps the winner will break 100 mph...

I'm starting to remember how to fly but I need to pick up the pace. Even this guy is going faster than Dave this week...
Click on image for a bigger picture...

Race Day 4, Friday 21rst

Day 3 winners amused us at briefing by explaining that longer wings are better. Garret showed off a box of MiracleGrow for short wingers needing a bit of help, and Chris Saunders waved a roll of duct tape he'd give to anyone that needed to put tips back on after sawing them off. Weather looks good but not anywhere near as good as yesterday. And much muttering about it bluing out.

Blue and not high near Hobbs with an inversion layer around 10k. The ground is almost 4k so this is quite a bit lower than the last few days. Task sheet says max 10k (AGL) start altitude which is clearly not going to happen ! TAT East to Big Springs, West to Post, South to Crossroads, and return, with 20 mile cylinders for a range of 250 to 435 miles. Big gaggles trying to top out the weak lift above 10k MSL prior the start, finally out around 1:30, to a giant furball on the first leg under the first wisp. The gaggle leaves (I guess they got tired of playing dodge-em with one guy circling the opposite direction), and I center it up for 6.5 knots to almost 11k. P7 circles a few times and disappears. I head off solo towards the cloud fields nearer Big Springs, where there's great lift. Ominous blue on the left towards the second leg, looks better further East so I keep going under the good clouds.

Turn North-West towards Post and follow a line of wisps and clouds that shortly fade to blue. There's good lift in the blue but its not high and its hard to keep pressing. Some markers would be nice but I only see a few wing-flashes in the distance. I slow it up and take weaker stuff than I should, head down and nick the last cylinder, and turn for home with almost final glide. One last weak climb, and of course I hit massive lift on the final glide and finish at warp speed. 305 miles at 74, winner did 87. Gotta pick up the pace !

In the evening we had another great feed and social at the hangar. The Llano Estacado club has been putting on a fantastic event here, lots of food and social events and a great operation. Lots of folks volunteering to make this all happen with Dennis Wright at the helm, and we really appreciate it !

Race Day 5, Saturday 22nd

We rigged, watered, and gridded YO under a layer of crud from the front that went through last night. The shade's welcome in the morning and hopefully this stuff moves off real soon... Task is a 4 hour MAT, with a bunch of assigned turns not too far out and totalling only 150 miles. After that we get to choose our own turnpoints, like the old PST task. Charlie gives us assigned points circling Hobbs, so we'll have ample opportunity to decide what direction the best weather lies for the remainder of the task. Blipmaps look good, wind is picking up, but still overcast.

The sky clears before launch, temperature picks up, and finally off tow there are cu building - but they're low. Task sheet says max start height 7k (that's AGL, or 10.7k MSL), but we're not getting anywhere near that high. Interestingly, there's a hole in the clouds exactly the same shape as the irrigated areas East of Hobbs. We read about this effect but rarely have low bases with the right moisture to see this so clearly. I resolve to try not fly over these areas, especially low !

The day gets going a bit late, likely on account of the clag blocking the heating earlier. Finally start at close to 5k AGL around 1:45, pretty low and late for Hobbs. Bounced some decent cu and had a few decent brief climbs before getting below 2k AGL approaching the first turn. This is going to be an interesting day... Good strong lift out of the hole without too much time wastage, on to the second leg with lots of other gliders. Promptly get low again. First good high climb on the third leg with Gary in P7 and a few others finally up to a nosebleed 11k. Flew with Gary on for a bit, low at Lovington, lots of great looking clouds not doing much.

Decision time. The last couple of legs were bad, but it looked better South and West. There's no place to land going West and we're not staying high reliably. Blipmaps looked best to the South-East, and there was decent lift by Andrews. I dial up Mabee, where I saw a tornado on task here in 1999 (please no more of that). Next close good-looking cloud is South, so I head South and pick up Eunice. Looks better South, so I head down to Jal, then Wink. Computer says I can turn at Wink, bounce the great clouds I've just worked, and be home at the 4 hour mark. But there's a beautiful storm down near Monahans with the leading edge of clouds close to the line from Wink. Can't help myself, I came here to fly. The lift in front of the storm is strong, and the miles down to Monahans goes by fast with a brief pause for a 10 knot climb. The view of the storm is stunning with the late afternoon sun highlighting the cloud features and rain shafts and gust fronts below. Magnificent stuff. Stop dawdling and turn for home, swinging West of course-line to stay with the best looking clouds.

Another 10 knot climb, home should be a piece of cake. Wrong. One moment the clouds looked great, next moment they were dissipating and the skies bluing out. I guess the late start to the day should have alerted me to an earlier shutdown. Never mind, keep pressing, take a 4 knotter to a slower-than-hoped 4 kt final glide at 40 miles out. Promptly find sink and get below glideslope. The gate calls and wonders if YO is still flying, as sensible pilots are all home by now. At Eunice inbound. Took a 4 knotter in the blue back to glideslope, and then for the 5th day in a row hit lift and fly the last few miles at warp.

383 miles at 71 mph, winner did 82. Only 2 guys went further but nine went faster. While I'm doing a bit better, its still only 87% of the winner's score... A lot of pilots got bit by choosing weaker areas after Lovington. On the ground I'm reminded that there are no extra points for tourism and its not necessary to be the last one home every day, but I'm here to fly !

Race Day 6, Sunday 23rd

A lot of clag in the sky again this morning, but blipmaps look OK. Charlie gives us a TAT up to Post, over to Big Spring, down to Jal, and return.

At Briefing: Dennis Wright, and Charlie "Lite" Minner with a gift presented to him at Montague.

Off tow a good climb quickly reaches a low inversion layer and greatly reduced climb rate over 8k, which is only 4.3k AGL. The area around Hobbs is again blue but clouds beckon out in the task area. Silly flying prior the start as everyone wants to leave at the max altitude, with very weak climbs up above the inversion. And of course no one wants to go alone in the blue. Except me. The gaggles are very counter-productive when the thermals are small and tight and everybody has an interesting opinion about the location of the core.

I start by myself from a stratospheric 6k AGL and head out following wisps. A big gaggle manages to catch me, but I keep leaving the thermals as they weaken at the inversion and gradually run away from them again. F8 catches me further down the first leg, but I get away from him. Feeling smug as I head into the cu field around Post with F8 a mile behind and lower and the gaggle 5 miles back and low. Unfortunately the odd-looking cu's weren't reliable, and I waste a lot of time driving past Post. I line up a street headed towards the next turn before turning South towards Big Spring. The street looks like the safe route as over-development has the Big Spring area in shade and it seems prudent not to get low here. Winds up with a 8 knot climb just East of the second cylinder. Haven't seen any gliders for a while now.

Follow the clouds, which unfortunately arc into the Midland class C airspace, so I turn right to the next cloud to stay out of jail. The clouds back towards Jal look great and promise more classic Hobbs. Unfortunately I can't seem to connect and settle for only 4.5-5 knots a couple of times. See a couple other gliders including DJ briefly, but I decide to go a bit past Jal deep into the cylinder to line up a cloud street headed back to Hobbs. Worked OK but not as fast as I hoped. Started to blue out on final glide but no problem getting home at speed, good for 339 miles at 76 mph. Only 3 guys went further but sadly 20 went faster. John Cochrane scorched the course with 359 miles at 86.

Rest Day, Monday 24th

After 8 days of flying, 43 hours in the cockpit and more than 2500 miles covered on task, time to rest up. Task for today: Carlsbad Caverns ! I'd never been before, its really staggering in size and beauty. The caverns were littered with glider bums with the same idea.

Race Day 7, Tuesday 25th

Windy on the ground this morning, some upper clouds yesterday eve but clear this AM. Dr. Jack's forecasting 8 kt thermals through the entire task area, we've had a rest day, so we're on a 4:30 TAT South-East to Monohans and North to Muleshoe. Winners should do mid 90's for over 400 miles, with starts around 1:15 and finishes around 6PM.

At Briefing: Charlie Spratt, with the sectional image showing Hobbs on the screen in back of him.

There's a strong inversion starting at around 8k and with the haze layer ending around 10k. That means the strong part of most thermals will end around 4.3k to 5k AGL (above ground). 7 knots isn't too hard to find, but pushing through the haze layer and getting the extra couple thousand to start at the highest available altitude is harder. If I stay on the West side of the first cylinder, the track will take me over several airports so as not to frighten myself too much, and the lift has been better on this side as there's less irrigation.

OK, take notes. This is how not to do it. Task opens at 13:05. Silence. Nobody's starting yet. Guys, we have a 4:30 hour task, its blue, could be easy to get stuck, last leg has a headwind, optimum time to start is Real Soon Now. I'm by myself, climbing at 2 knots above the haze, near the edge of the cylinder. I don't see anybody else high though I have had no trouble finding lift low, but the thermals are tight and not easy... At 13:15, I've topped out the weak lift at 10.5k, almost 7k AGL. Time to go. I head out my myself into the blue and record a 13:16 start. Silence on the radio.

Stopped for a couple of 5 knot climbs back up to the inversion layer and cruised South at good speed. No problem until I get down to 1,200 feet AGL approaching Wink. Just keep going until I get a thermal or land at Wink airport. Waste a lot of time because I really do have to stop and take a weak one, which eventually builds to a whopping 4 knots back to the inversion layer. Horrible speed so far with this time wastage. Meanwhile folks have finally started and I see a gaggle working East of me and higher. Turn back North, and get low again South of Hobbs, low enough to require deviating to stay near landable fields.

Miserable and slow struggle to stay airborne and press North. Its 180 miles from the first turnpoint to the second. This is going to be a long day. I keep pressing, occasionally need to take weak stuff to keep moving, but conditions improve further North. Even got a 6kt to 12.5k. Crank up the speed to see if I can improve the average after the horrible first hour. Other than a gaggle far in the distance, haven't seen another glider all day. Keep pressing. Into the second cylinder, computer says if I keep at MC 4 I should crank in another 30 miles before turning for home to avoid be under time, and hey, the conditions are good up here. If I can get another high climb on the return leg should be no problem to get home (yeah, right).

Gaggles ! Some help sure would be nice. But I'm on top and they're not climbing well. I press deeper into the cylinder, hoping that when I turn I'll have some markers in front, even though it will be tough not to be over the minimum time now. Nice theory, but first gaggle on the return is circling in barely 4 kt. We peel off to leave and they head out in single file, minimizing chances of finding any lift, and also following GPS track home instead of heading slightly upwind (which keeps you on track after drifting while circling). At least they're showing me where there is not any lift. I pick a different line slightly upwind, and find 8kt to over 11k, and press on at 90 knots. A couple more less brilliant climbs, and then a zillion miles of absolutely nothing.

At 30+ miles out, we have a 17kt headwind and I'm down to 2k AGL. Its getting really late, the sun is low on the horizon, and its clear this is turning into survival mode... I find a few burbles and start circling. Some gliders lower than I peel off to land. Chris Saunders, who's been flying brilliantly and in first place, pulls under me in 7T, which makes me feel slightly less stupid. We climb a bit and at MC 1.0 with little reserve he heads towards home. I know I can probably bounce it up but I'd rather get a fatter cushion. Actually I'd rather get any cushion. As I climb I hear Chris do a straight-in landing and finish. Stick with 2-3 knots until I've a solid cushion, and as normal hit lift on the final glide in. Speed finish after 7PM ! Horrible speed of 58 mph over 338 miles nets 22nd for the day. 16 outlandings by my count. Gary Itner had a brilliant flight at 77.5 mph, hardly the 90mph we were expecting from the forecast ! The day was somewhat devalued on account of the land-outs.

Race Day 8, Wednesday 26th

The Llano Estacado club got a standing ovation at this mornings pilots meeting - they are putting on a fantastic event ! A shorter task today with similar conditions as yesterday forecast. If you liked yesterday, you'll love today. Actually it was a bit better, or at least where I flew ! The inversion is still with us capping strong lift around 10k, and we had many relights. Fortunately I had no trouble getting up and started at 9k above and in back of the pack. Nice to have markers that show an area of lift that takes us over 10k. Consistent lift and reasonable speed to the first turn where a big gaggle and some wisps mark a good thermal.

I get below and behind the faster pilots and press down the 2nd leg trying unsuccessfully to read the clouds, which are forming above the useful climb band anyway. Looking a bit blue down towards the next turn, but its still working consistently. Round the turn at 3k AGL and hook a decent climb back up to 9k. A few wisps and a bunch of markers down the 3rd leg. I pick a different line and get ahead of the gaggle. Caprock, the last turn, is completely unlandable, and its downwind. I dial in Lovington (the next landable place) as the end-point, and struggle to get high enough to final glide around Caprock without scaring myself. It takes a while but I get to 11.3k near Tatum and gently coast around Caprock. A big gaggle has formed near Lovington, and I'm privileged to fly a few turns with Steve Leonard in his 33 year old Glasflugel 604, which he's using to seriously embarrass the open class. No big struggle to get home today for a speed finish.

328 miles at 71 mph nets 16th for the day. Chris Saunders wins again at 81, with DJ hot on his heels. 12 folks didn't complete the task, all landing at airports except for a motor-glider that started the engine. One more day to go ! Thursday will be my last flight in the Ventus 2cm, whose new owner has arrived and started studying the manual.

Race Day 9, Thursday 27th

At briefing, Chris Saunders gave a great account of his Wednesday day win duking it out with DJ, pressing and trying different tacts only to have DJ reappear above him, and finally beating him at the end of the task. Weather looks great except there's a line of build-ups and storms expected to the North and West. Satellite loop shows it not far from Hobbs and gradually moving over us. Perhaps a day not to go late, even with a relatively short 3:30 TAT "banquet task". We're headed South to Pecos Texas, East to Crane, and home, with a range of distances from 200 to 340 miles.

Take-off for Last Flight in Ventus 2cm

Scenic Hobbs prison in background.

With the strong thermals and clouds it should be possible to do in the 80's, which will require going deep into the turns to stay out over 3:30. Before the start, venture a few miles down the course and have a good look at the clouds, picking my initial line. Back into the cylinder, top out, and turn out the start cylinder as soon as the task opens. Dozens of others start at the same time though I only see one glider on the line I choose. I head a bit West of the course-line, planning to go deep into the first cylinder.

Cruise at 110-115 knots, take reliable 7.5 knot climbs with repeated turns showing over 10 knots on the averager, the clouds gradually thin to wisps as I reach the back corner of the first cylinder. Reliable lift even cruising to well below the clouds, but some markers really would have been nice. A bit slower on the second leg, even though the clouds looked better. Computer says time to turn for home, but its too nice out here and the line of storms doesn't seem to be moving in too fast. And it looks like better clouds further East for the run home. Keep pressing. Got down to 2k AGL over Crane and wasted a bunch of time getting up and going. Finally got connected and turned home, though the clouds aren't working as well as the lift had been in the blue.

Plan is to fly straight, and bounce up to final glide altitude on the last leg. I hear Charlie Minner at Hobbs advising gusty Northerly winds on the ground at Hobbs. Uh Ooh. The storm line has crossed Hobbs, and at some point my nice 16 knot tailwind is going to turn into a headwind. I ease off and climb up to be certain of getting home. As usual, it wasn't necessary, and the final glide permitted a speed finish though only with 120 knots. Uneventful pattern and landing as the major gust front was still away from Hobbs. 300 miles at 78 mph, good enough for 15th for the day despite my staying out 4:38 on a 3:30 task. I still think we should get extra points for tourism. Doug won the day at 87 trying to beat Chris, who was second for the day.

Chris Saunders wins 18-Meter, with a staggering performance. Many nationals have been won by someone who never won an individual day; consistency is at a premium in this sport. Chris won 4 individual days here, beating former world champion Doug Jacobs. Chris was flying with an ILEC SN10B of course ! Doug finished second, Rick Walters 3rd, and former MITSA member John Cochrane 4th. Hobbs has served up a truly classic race, and the Llano Escatado club put on a first-class show under Dennis Wright's able leadership. Charlie Spratt's task calling was impeccable.

Liz Schwenkler wins Open Class, the first woman to win a USA nationals ! She flew an awesome race as well.

I finished 14th, but only 88% of the winner's score. I need to work on low-loss flying, especially reducing detours and not constantly slowing up in junk. Every second spent mucking about, not cruising at speed or climbing effectively, is a second that cannot be made up. I flew 11 days here including 2 practice days, in the most awesome and consistent weather Hobbs has ever served up. My scored distance totalled 3,533 miles on task, for a daily average of 321 miles, and total time of 59:18 in the cockpit. The Ventus 2cm is sold, and off West with its new owner.

Next adventure - my Antares should be completed soon !
Until then, see ya, Dave

Critters at Hobbs

Prairie dog at College of the Southwest, beautiful small hawks that live near SSA office, ground fowl, a small ground-owl, lots of rabbits. Look how long the jack-rabbit's legas are compared to the cotton-tail. Can you spot all 5 rabbits in the last photo ?

Too bad my Antares isn't here yet ! If I had a buck for everyone who's come over, looked at the Ventus, and said Gee Dave, that doesn't look like an Antares, well, I could buy another Antares. I'll fly my Antares at the factory in September, really !
Click on image for a bigger picture...

Hope you enjoy this and please email with questions or comments,
Best Regards, Dave "YO"

Good Links for more information...

Contest Results at SSA Site
Contest Homepage
Google Maps satellite image showing gliders on the runway at Hobbs !
Dave's 2005 Blog from Uvalde USA 15-meter Nationals
Dave's 2004 Blog from Uvalde USA 18-meter Nationals
Antares 20E Electric Motorglider Information

Copyright © 2006 - Dave Nadler - All Rights Reserved