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Sequatchie Skies
by Dan Shell
April 8-13, 1996

The abundance of glider-laden vehicles on the roads is a sure sign that prime flying season has returned to the Sequatchie Valley. The Tennessee Tree Toppers sponsored East Coast Challenge has also brought the return of national and world class competition pilots from around the globe. The meet started Saturday but early arrivals hoped for a good practice day.

Last Tuesday was blown out with fast moving cumulus following Monday's frontal passage. By Wednesday it was still strong and backing to west under clear skies. Curly Dunn flew to the Tennessee River and back and maximum altitudes around 5000 feet over launch were reported. Continued backing resulted in increased left cross at launch in the late afternoon, contributing to Mark Furst's hairy launch and Larry Applebee's arboreal encounter. Thursday was predictably southwest, but several launched at Henson's, crossed the gap, and worked the southwest face above Hwy. 111. Luis Barradas got three and a half hours.

Continued southerly winds through Friday brought rain and thunderstorms for the opening of the ECC Saturday. Sunday cleared with a light westerly breeze and a task was called to Pikeville with one turnpoint. The launch window was opened after Kathy Lee and Kenny Sandifer started climbing out over the southwest face with Curly Dunn already at 3500. 28 out of 37 competitors were able to score points by flying more than 5 miles along course in the light conditions. No one, however, attained goal. Curly, Kathy, and Kenny, all non-competitors, also did quite respectably, flying approximately 18, 16, and 9 miles along course respectively.

With only one valid round as of deadline, these are the competition standings. The asterisk denotes local pilots.

         Pete Lehmann     20.7 (miles on course)  Vince Furrer     10.65

        *Terry Presley    19.95                   Martin Pepper    10.65

         Mark Bolt        18.95                  *Phil Proctor     10.65

         Nelson Howe      18.85                   Jim Zeiset       10.4

         Neil Hammerton   18.45                   James Yocum       9.9

         Rich Laporte     18.3                    Jeffrey Porter    9

         Greg Wojnowski   17.5                    Bubba Goodman     8.8

         Mike Barber      16.55                   Larry Applebee    8.4

        *Jeff Laughrey    16.55                   Steve Uzochukwu   7.9

         Terry Reynolds   14.1                    Pat Hayes         7.65

         Brad Koji        14                      Steve Arndt       6.85

         Claire Pagen     12.93                  *Steve Lee         6

         Ryan Glover      11.35                   Wayne Sayer       5.6

         Dennis Pagen     11.35                  *Greg Glover       5.15

The forecast calls for some clearing with strong NW winds Tuesday following Monday's frontal passage. The day/night temp difference will be almost 40 degrees (36-73). Wednesday expect winds backing through W with diminishing velocity. Southwest winds Thursday will bring a chance of rain Friday associated with the next frontal passage just in time for the weekend. Just like last week. Could be worse.