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September 25 2010

Page history last edited by mattmckrell@bellsouth.net 10 years, 8 months ago

Eric Lambert was down to visit our club earlier in the month and regaled us with his story of

moving the trophy to Merlin.  I've been interested in claiming the trophy for some time, but

this provided a bit more of a kick for me to do it.


Therefore, I kept an eye on the soaring outlook more closely through the month.  A dry period

had set in to the SouthEast and soaring conditions gradually improved as the stacked high

pressure system of summer gradually decayed.  Late in the week of September 20th looked

particularly good, especially since the wind would be more along my course line.


Checks on xcskies showed better and better soaring forecasts for the area as the week wore on.

The sounding taken at Greensboro Saturday morning showed great conditions starting early

in the day.  The fly in the ointment was a band of high clouds associated with an approaching

weather system.  Still, satellite loops showed the clouds clearing out, so I assembled and

readied my crew for the trip.


At launch time (1:00) the sky had lots of great looking cus, except that the course line was all blue!

I readily climbed up to nearly 5000' off tow and headed out to see if there was anything out there.

There was lift, but it was somewhat weak and short lived.  Nevertheless, I pressed on since I

could see clouds forming in the distance.  The first section to Raleigh East (about 35 miles)

went slowly as I felt out the thermals, and I was only able to climb to around 3500' in them.

At Raleigh East I reached the clouds and immediately climbed to 5000' in a stronger thermal.

Conditions got progressively better after this, with some streeting and increasingly higher

climb heights.  At Ball field, where I would jump off over Serious Tiger Country (all forest!),

I was well over 6000' and could reach Warren County Airport.  As I neared Kerr Lake,

I was concerned that there would be a sink shadow downwind of the lake, so I wanted as

much altitude as possible.  The weather cooperated and I topped out at nearly 7000' here.


The shadow downwind of the lake turned out to be overdevelopment, but I was able to skirt around

it and find a good climb near Fort Pickett to give me final glide to Merlin.  The glider guys were not

there, it turned out, since their towplane was flying at the contest at Blue Ridge.  However, there

was one person working on a hangar outside his house, and this turned out to be Bob

Bergstrom, who had the trophy in his safekeeping!

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