Beginning of the 2015 XC Season

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Saturday February 21 started with a lot of low lying clouds but by noon the sun had cleared the skies over Arlington and some cumulus clouds were forming in the mountains to the northeast. Brad Hill in his Tetra took a long and high tow close to Stimson Hill and wasn't heard of for the next three hours.  While other pilots enjoyed their first thermalling in weak lift closer to Arlington, Brad worked his way diligently up to 7,000 ft and then tiptoed towards the northeast.  He eventually got to Sauk Mountain, reaching 8,500 ft before returning as thermal conditions seemed to weaken.  This gave Brad an OLC distance of 136.3 km (84.7 miles); the weak conditions and various detours resulted in a modest average XC speed of 31.1 mph.  This flight - the first XC flight in Washington for 2015 - counted for 144.6 OLC points and gave Brad the lead in the WBC 2015.  This is just the beginning of the season and should get everybody motivated.  Spring XC flying is here!


The Evergreen Soaring XC operations in Arlington have established a record of preceding everybody else's operations in Washington state by at least a month as seen by the first posted XC flights in previous years:





  OLC points


  March 11

  Ron Clark



  March 4

  Chris Young



  February 23

  Brad Hill



  February 18

  Ron Clark



  February 20

  Brad Hill




These listed flights are all thermal flights; however, sometimes in winter Mount Pilchuck creates wave conditions which also allow some XC flying even though we have not found yet any other wave areas to connect with.  Such was the case on January 24, 2013  (brrr!) when Brad got 138.1 points.

For the novices in the point game – the OLC points are based on the 6 leg OLC distance in km plus 30 pct of an included FAI triangle (28 pct minimum leg), all adjusted by the IGC handicap.   For example, the L-33 has a handicap of 86 (increasing the points by 16.3 pct over the km) and the DG-300 has a handicap of 104 (reducing the points by 3.8 pct from the km).


So, let's see some more XC flying!