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Region 9 Championships 2000

Story by Jo Shaw
Photos by Charles Shaw


July 8, 2000


Hobbs, 2000, Region 9 Championships are now history - except for an occasional gripe about the weather. Only Day 5 was NOT devalued.

There were four Schweizer 1-26s in a Sports-class field of 16: 3 from the Air Force Academy, team-flown by cadets, plus yours truly [Jo Shaw]. 1-26s really need strong, low-wind conditions to be competitive. Didnít happen, so we ended up at the bottom of the score sheet, but I have to give a plug for the ability and spirit of the six gentlemen and ladies of the Air Force Cadet team. Cadets John Fowler & Nicholas Russo in #553 almost caught me. They flew an excellent contest, ably coached by Jim Payne. I predict all six will do very well at the up coming 1-26 Championships at TSA.

Jim Payne is the Air Force Cadet coach and is flying the Air Force AS-K 21 with one of the two captains assigned to look after the cadets. Cadets flying the 1-26s are Cathy Adams, Laura Nealon, John Fowler, Steve Pippel, Derek Root, and Nicholas Russo. People in the attached picture shows Jim Payne with Laura Nealon in center; Cathy Adams on right. AF 641 was initially flown by Laura. When she ďlit,Ē her team mate relaunched.

Region 9 15-Meter Champ to the surprise of few is John Seaborn in a Ventus 2B, trailed by Jim Martin then Ian Nadas. 19 competed.

Region 9 Standard Champ is Randy Hollenberg in a Discus CS. 2nd is Robert Epp, then Bob von Hellens. 9 competed.

Sports Champ is Gonzalo Echeverry flying a Jantar SZD. Reserve Champ is Dick Johnson (Ventus A-16), then Dennis Brown in a Mosquito.

The real reason for this epistle is to say some kind words mainly about Charlie Spratt, but also Charlie Minner, JoAnn Dittert, Bill Ruhle and great tow pilots. They put on an excellent contest, despite little help from the weather gods.

Upwards of half of those competing were fairly new to competitive soaring. Charlie Spratt went out of his way to give them needed advice, encouragement and support. My hat is off to this inimitable treasure!

Thanks!!
Jo Shaw, Hobbs


Here's some dailiy comentary


Day 1 (Monday, July 3) is history. I put #196 back in her hangar as a thunderstorm approached from the west. It didnít look like any of the three Air Force 1-26s would get very far. Iíll update tomorrow when Iíve seen a score sheet. There are four of us 1-26s entered: the three really spiffy Air Force Academy ones outfitted with L-navs linked to data recorders, and #196. Charles declined to fly team with me, muttering something to the effect he didnít like to be told when and where to fly, especially in marginal weather. Sports class now has the CDís option to decide a course with an open end. Charlie Spratt has been told to use it, so newbie entrants have to fly the same initial course with more experienced pilots and maybe learn more.

The score sheet isnít out, but we 1-26s havenít set the world on fire at this contest!! Day 1 yesterday, none of us competed (it would have been a certain land-out from a dead glide). Today (day 2) #196 and I managed to limp around a 47 mile triangle (of our choosing) in 2 hours. I definitely felt the need for some additional turnpoints from which to choose! Iím fairly sure none of the cadets made it back, but will confirm when I see the scores.

Today (Day 2) conditions were only slightly better. Ground elevation is 3700: Start gate height is 8,700 - 8,000 was all the higher we could get at start time, so out I limped. There was lift, most of it wasnít very good, none of it went very high, and wind at altitude was 10-12K out of the south.