Willy Burhen Cup (WBC) 2019

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Sept 29 saw the end of the 2019 OLC year and thus the end of the Willy Burhen Cup (WBC)  2019.  This annular informal competition – for the best west side XC flight by any pilot in the state of Washington in a given OLC year – has been run since 2004, the year Willy Burhen left us. It has done much to demonstrate the soaring potential west side of the state besides offering spectacular scenery from the glacier capped North Cascades to the shores of Puget Sound.  The winner of the WBC 2019 was once again Ron Clark with his LS-3 that does not show any signs of aging.  While the majority of the west side XC flights originate from Arlington it is interesting that there are now also flights form Bergseth and Chehalis to show that XC soaring in western Washington is well established. 


 WBC 2019

Place   Pilot                Sailplane         OLC pts.        Date                Location        




1          Ron Clark        LS-3              560.7               8/4                  AWO


2          Chris Klix         LS-7              446.1               5l10                 AWO


3          Henry Rebeck


               +Rita Edriss   DG-1000       398.8               5/17                 AWO


4          Kenji Ominato   LS-6             396.3               8/17                 Bergseth


5          Noel Wade        ASG-29/18    364.0               4/30                 AWO


6          Gyula Cserfoi    DG-400/17    271.5.              8/25                 Chehalis         


7          Tim Hennegan   ASH-26         259.6               8/1                   Bergseth


8          Marty Gibbins   ASW-19        237.8               6/17                 AWO


9          Henry Rebeck   LS8/18          191.1               4/30                 AWO


10        Lynn Wyman   miniLAK-FES  183.6               8/13                 Chehalis


11        Phil Rose           DG-1000       153.8               5/23                 AWO


12        Rita Edriss        miniLAK-FES   150.4               8/12                 Chehalis



                                                            for flights with over 150 OLC points

This was the 9th time in the row for Ron flying in his venerable LS-3 and will be a hard act to follow.  In the process Ron has doubled his own west side soaring achievements and shown the rest of us the potential of soaring in the Cascades.  The best thermal  conditions and the longest lasting occur in the central  North Cascades during early summer (May to July) . The most successful flights appear to be based on getting into the high mountains as early as possible , get as much mileage as long as possible in the central part of the mountains and to start flying home and out of the mountains when the thermals over the foothills are long gone.  This may result in flights of 7 to 8 hours duration – and calls for proper preparations.


The rules for the WBC are fairly simple – any pilot can try as often as he likes to from the west side of Washington (i. e. to the west of the Cascades) and the evaluation follows the OLC rules with emphasis on the honor system.  The following summary of the winning flights since 2009 shows how the winning flights improved over the years and are now comparable to the best flights on the east side.of the Cascades in Washington                            

Best WBC  flights



Year    OLC points    Pilot                Date                Sailplane




2008      285.6             Ron Clark        8/26                 LS-1


2009      342.1             Ron Clark        5/21                 LS-1


2010      418.0 *          Dan Housler    7/9                   Cirrus 17.7


2011      561.2 **        Ron Clark        5/17                 LS-3


2012      434.9             Ron Clark        5/9                   LS-3


2013      545.7             Ron Clark        5/14                 LS-3               


2014      55.8               Ron Clark        5/12                 LS-3   


2015      549.6             Ron Clark        7/19                 LS-3


2016      661.0 ***      Ron Clark        5/10                 LS-3


2017      453.2             Ron Clark        5/26                 LS-3


2018      628.0             Ron Clark        7/23                 LS-3               


2019      560.7             Ron Clark        8/4                   LS-3



*          first flights with over 400 points

**        first flight with over 500 points

***      first flight with over 600 points