Harbingers of Winds to Come

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Lennies over the mountains

The atmosphere in Reno, Nevada this year gives you two choices – you can have smoke, or you can have wind – which drives out the smoke.

So far this week at the Reno Air Races, we have had a smoky haze which, while not limiting the racing action, has limited the ability to shoot pictures with perfectly blues skies in the background. Visibility has varied between seven and ten miles across the region most of the time. Last night, however, the breeze at sunset signaled a change.

This morning we awoke to clear blue skies with little white wisps over the mountains – those wisps are known as “Standing Lenticulars (or “Lennies” to the sailplane pilots), and significant strong upper winds which will be dropping down to the surface in a few hours. The forecast shows winds gusting into the 30’s (and higher) at Stead starting shortly after noon.

How’s will this affect the racing? But they time you read this, we’ll probably know, but for now, the lighter classes (F1 and Biplanes) are getting their heats out of the way as they usually do – in the morning calm.

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Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen, and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra they completed. Currently, they are building a Xenos motorglider. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 5000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor, as well as a former member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.

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