Tennessee Tree Toppers

Sequatchie Skies
by Dan Shell
March 16, 1998

The Vernal Equinox is this Saturday. True to the Latin, they will be "green equal nights" given all the warm moist weather we've had lately. However, March still has to go out like a lion. With a tantalizing springish day this weekend, pilots were already whining at the forecast for at least a week of rain before they'd get more of the same. The frequency of good days is increasing, but the well known late March trend has everybody getting what they can before the onset of the monsoons.

When I pulled through the LZ on the way up Sunday afternoon, Jeff Laughrey, Greg Wojnowski, and Ned Stelzel were already in the field. Greg reported a max altitude gain of 2500 over and all the airtime he could stand. Ned and Jeff hitched a ride back up to fly again. We arrived in time to set up and launch behind Matt Wagner and Phil Proctor who, despite light conditions, managed to scratch around on the ridge and find the occasional thermal to stay up. Phil was flying his new topless Wills Wing Fusion, but he looked pretty comfortable with it to me. Curly Dunn and Tom Prouhet assisted with wire crew and eventually launched everybody into the light lift.

I turned right immediately and circled over the ridge in the bowl before exploring the north face. With everyone struggling to maintain in the light ridge lift at the same level a hundred or so over, it was a little crowded, but the sporadic thermal occasionally spread us out and gave us a little breathing room. The most consistent lift seemed to be off the point to the right of launch well away from the ridge, but it never seemed to go much above three hundred over by the time I flew. John Lawton, Steve and Kathy Lee, and Fred Pearson got some of the better air in the earlier afternoon. Chris Smith reported the high max altitude gain at 3100 over in a thermal with Jamie Stinnett. Nick Berry got a sled run just as it shut down about an hour before sundown.

The forecast calls for rain all week except maybe Thursday. Southerly then with temps in the 40s and 50s ahead of the next front. Rain returns or continues Friday with frontal passage. Postfrontal, northerly, and strong, perhaps even blown out Saturday. Lighter Sunday and soarable if we're lucky. See you in the sky!