Some Soaring Photos from the 2017 Seniors Contest
Ronnie and I spent several weeks at Seminole-Lake Gliderport in central Florida in January, February and March. I was preparing for and then managing an event that has been going on for the last 27 years….the Senior Soaring Championship. The ” Senior” part comes from one of the rules. All the regular contestants have to be at least 55 year old…we allow 5 “Guests” to join us who are under 55.
The weather was really nice for most of the 6 weeks we were there so it was great being in our new motorhome enjoying warm weather in central Florida. While there, Ronnie was able to join up with the Lange Gang for a day in Punta Gorda then spend 9 days with her sisters and Dad in Naples.
Each day during the contest we start with a Pilot’s Meeting in the big hanger….winners from the previous day are recognized, today’s weather forecast is discussed…..and we try to have a little fun….
Then we go out and move all 62 gliders to the runway onto a particular number. We call it this procedure “gridding”
Usually about noon the first glider is launched….each glider is towed to 2000 feet above ground. We had 6 tow planes and about 12 kids in the launch crew. We got all 62 gliders up every day in about 60 minutes….an amazing feat…..the kids in orange tee shirts hook up the ropes and run the wings…
Here is one glider on tow…this glider is a two place glider with a 67 foot wing span….
Two of my friends from Caesar Creek Soaring Club waiting for their tow at the back of the Grid. Rob in front, Greg in back and Rob’s friend Lucy
The pilots all have the day’s task (where they have to go) and once they are all in the air the task opens and they can start on course. They start out of a 5 mile radius circle and each one brings back a GPS trace. A special program calculates how far each glider went and what the speed was. We flew on 4 of the 6 possible days and on the best day several pilots went over 70 mph for up to 150 miles.
The best photos are taken in flight. All of these below were taken by a back seat pilot flying with another pilot in the contest…..these beautiful machines are truly elegant in flight…. here a two place with 20 meter (67 foot) wing span
another one like it over a golf course …..
Here below, are two gliders in a thermal….no, they are not on a collision course. Gliders are always going down so to keep flying, they have to find thermals which are rising air currents….these two are circling together banked very steeply in order to keep the diameter of the circle they are making very small….all the better to stay in the thermal updraft.
Here is another 20 meter wing span glider banked very steeply..
When the contest was over we took our motorhome to Decatur, Indiana to the factory to have warranty work done….they got everything fixed and we came back to Fripp Island happy campers.