The “What-If” Game
Jo Shaw (1-26 Claybourn flight 8-27-2003)
Flight in IGC format.
Since the middle of August, there have been three significant straight distance
flights from Hobbs: two by my husband, Charles, Aug. 24 & 26th on less than
great soaring days (165 & 155 miles) and mine (Jo) of Aug. 27th (301 miles).
We trailered in from Charles’s Hereford, TX, flight the 26th to find we had no
phone service - hence no Dr. Jack’s weather. It was my day to fly on the 27th,
weather info or no. Being an eternal optimist, I boldly declared a goal just
north of Elkhart, KS, 313 miles off, and was ready to launch well before
eleven. Cu north along my course line were very slow developing, and although
Charles towed me aloft at 11:30; I wasn’t comfortable leaving until 12. And the
“What-if” game began. “What if” I started earlier?? The probability of soon
hitting the ground was extremely high; and struggling low tends to demoralize
as well as waste time.
Initially I had a quartering tailwind pushing me west of course, but it was
more help than hindrance, and mid-flight turned from SE to south about 15 kts -
a real boon. But I would have really liked higher bases. I once got 8,000 agl,
but my thermal tops averaged just over 6,000 - pretty low by normal Hobbs
standards. However there was good lift and the clouds were well-spaced and
85 miles from Goal I watched a cu-nim blow up and OD northwest of me. The cell
itself didn’t pose a problem, but its blow-off shadow progressed right across
my course, shading the ground for about twenty miles and suppressing
convection. “What if” I had arrived twenty minutes sooner?? It might not have
impacted my flight.
#196 and I came gently to earth twelve miles shy of my declared goal. Was I
disappointed?? Heck, no: I had had a great flight - the most fun this year.
“What if” I had flown more aggressively?? My instincts cautioned no, and
they’re pretty reliable. Anyway, it is a great excuse to try again - Charles
willing. Maybe one of these years it will all come together, like it did for me
in 1976 and again in 2000.
Wow!! Thank you, Kevin, for announcing one of the highest honors of my life.
There are any number of highly capable pilots making really fine flights in
1-26s, so it boils down to who gets "the best day."
I would like to salute Kathleen Winters, the first lady to have her name on the
Claybourn Trophy. With humility I bow to Doug Levy, who posted several flights
last year significantly longer than mine - but they were not in a straight
This honor means enough to me that I am planning to attend the 1-26 Luncheon at
the Atlanta SSA Soaring Convention on Feb. 6: to renew old acquaintances and
meet the new faces who will carry the torch.
Jo AND #196
Jo & Charles:
CONGRATULATIONS X 10 to Jo and STAR Charles. See you in Atlanta.
Best regards, Del Blomquist 144
Congratulations Jo for a great flight and a great award. As you said a few weeks
ago, 1-26 pilots and the 1-26 Association are finally gaining recognition in
the soaring world. It is flights like the flight that gained you this award, as
well as numerous other flights that you have made, that provides that
recognition. Great show, by a great pilot. Keep it up.
Congratulations, you are one fine pilot and that was one fine flight.
Glad to see your team won Joann. We all know that the long straight outs are a
team effort. I always wondered how the conversations go between you and Charles
on these great x-c’s.
You did a great job on your flight and I wish good health and more long flights.
That was one heckofa flight !
Keep the pressure on those old MCPs.
As we say in the Navy,"Bravo Zulu" which means:
WELL DONE !
George Powell (#029)
Great job. It is good to see that there was some soaring in another part of the
country this year.
Wonderful flight, and also congratulation to Charles for being great crew.
Hope to see you both again soon.
Kevin R. Anderson