Sawatch Range (South) Results plus Briefing for Flight 5: San Juan (South East)

Sawatch Range Results

Here are the Results for Flight 4 (Sawatch Range South).

I hope everyone had fun flying this task.  It gave me a deep appreciation of the challenges flying the Collegiate Peaks and the Sawatch Range in general.   The conditions were quite good and I can only hope that they won’t be harder if I attempt to fly above these mountains in real life.

The vast majority were able to complete the task without miracles.  Well done!

If you want to improve your soaring, take a close look at your stats in comparison to everyone else.  The reasons for the varying results differ greatly from person to person.  Some did a pretty nice job following the energy lines along the slopes but had poor climb rates in the thermals.  Others thermalled better but picked energy lines that were going through the sink in the lee of the mountains.

When flying in the mountains nothing is more critical than staying keenly aware of the wind relative to the terrain so you can fly in lift and and avoid the sink when possible.  And efficient thermalling is one of the most critical skills for good cross-country speeds.  Usually is is the really weak climbs that will slow you down.  If you take every climb that is average or better and you are good at centering you will generally achieve very high speeds.

Personally, I struggled with the transition from the Sangre de Cristos to the Sawatch Range.  I should have maxed out on the last thermal in the Sangre de Cristos for there was no thermal when I arrived in the Sawatch Range and I had to slowly climb up in ridge lift.  Ridge lift is usually best near the tops of the ridges and climbing up from down low can be hard work and cost some time.  Once up, my flight was quite fast as the thermals were very strong.  After finishing I climbed back up and flew back to Boulder, testing to see from where in South Park I would be able to commence a final glide and make it past Mount Evans.  Fun!  But I’m not ready to cut it anywhere near that close in real life!

Overall Results

Some pilots used the opportunity to refly some of the tasks and there have been some minor changes to the overall score sheet.

The overall standings are now as follows:

Current Standings as of July 8 2020, 9:30pm
Overall Flight 1 Flight 2 Flight 3 Flight 4
Armand Charbonneau 35 10 8 10 7
Stephen Kapner 30 7 7 6 10
Scott Snyder 26 8 10 8
Gregg Davis 22 6 5 5 6
William Kaewert 13 5 8
Dylan Buli 7 7
Elliot Dickerson 6 6
Albert Tuertscher 4 4

You can go to this page to see how the make-up flights have affected the overall results.

Briefing for Flight 5

Our 5th task of the Virtual 14er Cup will take us westwards.  We will start airborne in Salida and head across Monarch Pass in south-westerly direction towards the San Juan Mountains.

The San Juan’s are possibly the most challenging mountain range in Colorado, simply because the range is very wide and comprises a lot of unlandable terrain.

We will only have four 14ers to turn on this task before we land east of the San Juan Range at Mineral County Memorial Airport near Creede, Colorado (C24).

The 14ers are in order: San Luis Peak, Eolus Mountain, Windhorn Peak, and Sunlight Peak.

The length of the task is 228 km. I expect the fastest finish time to be about 1:15 to 1:20 hours.  Thermals will be strong and wide but there is high variation in thermal strength.  Turbulence is light. There will be some cumulus clouds but there isn’t a lot of moisture and some of the thermals may be blue – especially over the flatter parts of the course.  This could be a task where the concept of gear shifting comes into play: if you fly across a longer blue stretch you may want to dial down your speed a bit only to pick up when you are confident that you can reach the next good lift with enough altitude.

The wind will be out of the northwest at about 16 knots.  I admit that the wind direction is a bit unusual for this area but it will help us finish the task sooner since we will have a tailwind for much of the flight.

The start will be northwest of Salida.  Max start altitude is 4000m.  As always, you can fly any glider. Miracles are enabled but incur the now familiar penalties. Scoring is handicapped as always.

Read the details of the briefing in the Flight Planner once you connect to the server.

Good luck and have fun!