Thursday, May 26, 2022

May 14, 15, 21, & 22 Avenal Contest

Time Aloft:
Max Lift:

Here are all the pictures I took and have been given.  They are in chronological order.

If anybody has some pictures to add, you can do it directly or e-mail me the pictures.



Day 1, May 14, 2022
Tow pilots  Dan Gudgel in "Red Tow" and Andrew Ouellet in "White Tow."






Day 2, Sunday, May 15
Tow pilots  Dan Gudgel in "Red Tow" and Andrew Ouellet in "White Tow."

Sunday's weather was a significant improvement over Saturday. We all woke up to a sky filled with mid level cirrus that slowly burned off as the morning progressed. Skysight showed thermal tops at 10500' in the early afternoon at both Wright and Black, with a hint of cu over San Benito around 4 pm. Also shown was blue convergence running from EL5 to the Temblors.

The task called had a nominal distance of 221 miles (355 km):
Start Tar Peak
EL3 1 sm
Bitterwasser 3 sm min, handicapped
San Benito Mtn 1 sm
Avenal Finish 1sm

We launched at 12:30 as the last of the cirrus was passing over Black. This proved a slight challenge and delayed the opening of the 5 minute start window until 1:50 to allow all but one competitor to climb up to the 6000' start ceiling. As we flew north towards EL3, we were happy to see wispy cu beginning to form over Wright approximately 11,500ft high. By the time the last of the gaggle were turning south, the cu covered about a 5 mile area and marked the tops of 8-10 kt climbs.  Alex Neigher (4B) found the highest climb of the day around this  time to 11,400 ft. The run south rewarded those who were able to sniff out the blue convergence and took us to the north end of the california valley, no clouds in sight. Climbs were available, but more dispersed and weaker south of Black mtn. The run back north was similar to the south leg, I found myself off the line, too far to the east and had to dig out of black from below ridge height while the rest of the group who were able to stay connected blew by me a mile above. Climbs got strong again around Center peak, with quite a few of us finding 8,9,and even 10kts bottom to top. Many got above final glide prior to rounding the final turnpoint and were able to take final glides in excess of 100 kts due to the buoyant air all around San Benito Mountain. 

Congratulations to Wyll Soll for finishing the task in 3:18:48 with an average speed of 67.3 mph (108 kph)! Below are the other preliminary results. 



Andrew Ouellet provides a picture of "Red Tow" pulling up the last contestant of the day

Ground Crew is enjoying the electric air conditioner in the ClubHouse while watching the contestants progress.

Wyll Soll lands CZ after Day 2 winning time of 3:18:48.

Alex Neigher  lands 4B with Day 2 second place time of 3:22:13.

Close behind is David Greenhill in Contest 16 with a Day 2 Fourth Place time of 3:23:03.
Only 50 seconds separated second through fourth places today.

Zach Yamouchi lands after a Day 2 fifth place time of 3:27:27.

Walt Rogers has just landed after a Day 2 Third Place time of 3:23:23 and is watching
Neiman Walker land his Libelle, 4P.

Thomas Greenhill has a Day 2 fourth pace time of 3:27:08.

Ken Talovich land NT.
Tom Coussens on short final in Z9,

Tom Coussens an inch from touchdown in Z9.

Day 3, May 21, 2022
Tow Pilots:  Morgan Hall in "Red Tow" and Jim Rickey in "White Tow."

Today's forecast delivered! Although the mountains were completely blue, strong climbs, and prominent convergence ran the length of the San Benitos. Plenty of 10 kt climbs were found on course, topping out at 10,000 ft.  The task began again at Tar with a 6000' start ceiling at 12:40, up to EL1, down to Blackwell, then rounding Harris Ranch on final glide, 212 mi nominal distance. All competitors made at least 2 of the turnpoints and everyone made it home for our contest banquet. 

Thomas Greenhill turned in an impressive 78 mph task speed, winning the day 14 minutes ahead of the rest of the pack. 

Below are the day's scores as well as preliminary cumulative times for the competitors. 

Tomorrow is our final day, with high cirrus forecast. Tasking will likely keep us closer to Avenal similar to Day 1. 


NameContest IDDay 3 TimeTotal TimeRanking
David Greenhill163:08:378:22:581
Zach YamauchiZY3:10:158:23:092
Thomas GreenhillFH2:48:538:33:043
Walt RogersWX3:26:568:36:044
Wyll SollCZ3:02:248:46:365
Alex Neigher4B3:15:409:05:316
Neiman Walker4P3:23:2910:29:267
Philip LeeUV3:39:4310:45:408
Tom CoussensZ94:48:5210:58:399
Ken TalovichNT4:48:5211:54:4910

Final Day, (Day 4) May 22, 2022
Tow Pilots:  Dan Gudgel in "Red Tow" and Kyle Hyde in "White Tow."

Day 4 Summary:

Saturday night was the BBQ/banquet, we all likely benefited from increased wing loading Sunday seeing how much tri tip was consumed :) We were very fortunate to wake up to a completely different forecast than that of Saturday night. The cirrus outlook dramatically improved, skysight still showed some patched passing through, but the day turned out to be mostly cirrus free. The task we improvised (Avenal, York Rd, EL7, New Coaling, Dudley Ridge, EL5, Avenal) kept us mostly off the mountains in the early afternoon, with the thought that we would allow the high ground more time to start working before a run up north later in the afternoon. 

We launched the grid at 12:30 and opened the start gate at 13:40. A few contestants were able to reach 8000' over black while waiting for the start gate to open so we likely could have done another mountain task; however, keeping us off the high terrain proved to be a doable challenge for the group. Climbs off the high terrain were weaker and more dispersed, as expected. The front gaggle was able to avoid getting stuck for the first 4 turnpoints, and all elected to take an indirect route to the final turnpoint (EL5) by following the ridgeline out to the west. It was a little slow for everyone reconnecting with the convergence around Black the second time. The blue convergence set up far west, I ended up committed to parkfield before finding a climb about 5 miles west of black that got me back on the line northbound. 

Congratulations to David who won the day, and further widened his first place lead.