Monday, September 29, 2008

Team Challenge - Day 1 and 2

Ollie Gregory on launch today.

The Team Challenge has started off great!
10 Teams have converged at the Tree Toppers site at Henson's Gap for a fantastic meet! There are teams from Ohio, Arkansas, Colorado, New York, and pilots from all over: Louisiana, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and many locals helping out. There are awesome volunteers helping even before the event started getting Henson's looking great and tonight for example, the Lee's are cooking an excellent dinner of corn and chicken. Other's help by either being 'wind technicians,' wire crew, drivers, the pro lecturers (Dennis Pagen, Mark Stump, Kevin Carter, Mike Barber), cooks, videographers (Keith Atkins), and much more. This meet has gone off well and everyone is enthusiastic to learn and fly together safely.
Yesterday was a tough day with only a handful of pilots making goal. Dennis Pagen's talk later that night about scratching had a lot of application for earlier that day.
Today was even tougher with even fewer pilots making goal. I can only speak to what I've heard about so far but our team has managed to do well and are in first as the "Thermal Underwear," with the Arkansas "Air Hogs" about 80 points behind us (we have about 240 points from yesterday). Behing the Air Hogs it is a close race with many people not being able to go xc.
Today's and yesterday's task were the same, except today the A pilots were a bit further. The C pilots goal was about 8 miles down the ridge, the B pilots 13 miles, and the A's 17 yesterday and 25 miles today.
It was fantastic to be able to fly with a team and use our radios to aid each other. For example, Eric Donaldson on our team helped our C pilot, Bill from Florida, make it to his goal by flying to him and guiding him there with me and one of our B pilots all in sight of each other. It's time to eat so I need to go get some before it's gone. I am already looking forward to next year!
Tomorrow a front may be coming through so we'll see what happens . . .