Despite a forecast that wasn't nearly as nice as we've had for the past week, they called a little dogleg task for the official practice day today. Funny how the weather tends to work - gorgeous conditions for a week straight, then when we need it be good, it may be time for a little rest.
They're trying some cool new ideas this year that I'm excited about. If they go well, we may consider incorporating them into the Rally and/or Santa Cruz Flats. First, they've got an ordered launch, which keeps things really simple. I know not everyone likes it (especially those at the front and the back), but it sure it nice to know when you're going to launch and not have to be suited up in the 40 degree heat any longer than absolutely necessary. In addition to launch being ordered, the staging lanes (2) don't move. Instead, the actual launch lines move as pilots take off and get out of the line. This is also fantastic for pilots not having to carry their gliders through a long line in the heat out here. So, as more pilots take off, the staging lines shrink and the launch corridors move away from each other. I think it's a cool new idea.
Another thing they tried today was a start gate system that gave pilots their actual start time (2:19, for instance), rather than having starts only at 15 or 20 minutes intervals. So, for the first half an hour, your start time is the actual time you leave the cylinder. After the first half hour, starts are at 15 or 20 minute intervals. So, for instance, from 2:00 - 2:30 you can start anytime you like and get your actual leaving time - e.g. 2:06 or 2:23. But, after 2:30, your start time is 2:30, 2:45 or 3:00. The hope is that this will prevent huge gaggles at the start. Because not many people went on course today (not even all that many launched), we didn't get to see how that worked out, but I hope they will try it again on another day.