Tennessee Tree Toppers

Sequatchie Skies
August 31-September 1, 1996.

Pilots launching at Whitwell Saturday attained cloudbase at around 3200 over. On Sunday Kathy Lee and Tom Pruett were able to "make it home" to the Henson's LZ from Whitwell. Kathy got low at Daus but thermalled out of a field in which Larry Applebee had landed. Steve Lee, Mark Furst, and Ned Stelzel were within sight, landing at Eddie Johnson's, between Eddie's and the LZ, and right across East Valley Road respectively. Larry from Ohio and Dale McCartney stayed on the ridge. Larry made it to the Vocational school and Dale got distance of the day to just past Pikeville. Terry Presley and Chris Smith went the other way to Marion County Airport. Dale reported top of the lift at 3500 over.

September 12-14, 1996

The front brought rain as late as Thursday afternoon with a monstrous thunderboomer that first appeared as an ominous darkness to the north. Katie Dunn and Phil Proctor, soaring in the already veering westerly, dashed for the LZ just in time to beat rain and dramatic lightning.

Friday brought beautiful skies with promising cloud formation and lots of pilots took their cu'. Moving downwind in the northerly right cross, most went as far as Jasper. Mark Furst landed just short of Marion County Airport in the same field with Tom Primavera and some others of the Ohio gang. He said he could have gone farther but recognized the bagged gliders on the ground and figured it'd be more fun to have some company in the XC LZ.

Bill Colvin was approaching the airport from the NE on a diagonal from the ridge when he saw Kathy Lee, who was over the airport with a more perpendicular path from the ridge, thermal out and ultimately disappear. After landing at the airport he watched Phil Proctor and Gary Thompson work their way over Haletown, across Nickajack, and toward the field behind Big Daddy's near I-24. With plenty of altitude and lift they continued circling over the back. Jeff Laughrey followed his best lift over the back from the last knob before the river. They all made it to Lookout. Kathy said it was a "piece of cake." This is apparently the secret passage revealed, as fields are available within reach the entire route, lift is abundant, and minimum crossing altitude is more like two grand than four. It does require crossing a large body of water, but careful choice of line will keep fields accessible.

Friday glassed off nice and the starry sky and cooler temps brought great expectations for Saturday. Many pilots were able to time and work elusive lift lower to more generous and strong thermals just a few hundred feet over on to two or three thousand.

Bill McNeely on The Weather Channel mentioned Sequatchie County by name as he indicated the severe thunderstorms we got Monday afternoon. Postfrontal, clearing and NW Tuesday afternoon. N to NE Wednesday. E to SE Thursday. S to SW Friday in advance of rain associated with next frontal passage by Sunday.