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Sequatchie Skies
by Dan Shell
February 7, 2000

Our first good snow is just melted and temps are only creeping out of the forties when we get our first arrival of snowbirds. This is a favorite stopover in their annual migration from the great white north to the aerotowing fields of south central Florida, where they substitute ultralights for mountains and the sky's generally warmer this time of year. However, a sneak preview of Spring in the Sequatchie this week could persuade them to stick around.

Steve Bellerby and Christine Nidd drove down from Toronto Sunday. While their northern acclimation might allow them to fly in weather that would chill the hearts of local pilots, they didn't need it Monday with highs in the 60s. Steve took three sled runs before launching in the afternoon and hooking a sustainable core. He was able to stay up for approximately an hour and a half, working lift over the valley between launch and Centerpoint with a max altitude gain of only around 700 over. A wonder wind late in the afternoon allowed Christine to get over an hour in smooth ridge lift. Chris Fields was able to get about a half hour of it before the sun went down.

The forecast calls for northerly to westerly winds Wednesday under clear skies. Lows in the lower 30s, highs in the lower 60s. If not suppressed by building high pressure, convection should be good with a 30 degree temp spread. Southwest winds Thursday under partly cloudy skies and warming temps with lows in the upper 30s and highs in the mid 60s. The temp spread closes Friday under mostly cloudy skies with lows in the lower 40s and highs in the lower 60s. Chance of rain Friday and Saturday.

This is the first of these reports since the end of September as we've been preoccupied with a launch of a different sort. Our son, Jackson Eugene Shell was born Sunday, September 26 and immediately began to displace flying time in wonderful ways. It'll probably be a couple of seasons before he's big enough to be fitted for a harness, but he's already won the affection of a few prospective sitters. When the weather warms to our usual late February Spring preview, come to The Hang Gliding Capital of the East and we'll... See you in the sky!