Great day at the old sod farm
Well, the contest day was splendid. It got pretty hot, but there was a breeze and an occasional cloud cover, so there was a bit of relief.
The conditions were appropriately challenging. Not one big booming thermal — every bubble of lift was quickly dispersed by the winds, which were sometimes gusty and turbulent. Even so, there was lift available, so it wasn’t a case of pointing the nose into the wind and hanging there. Pilots had to scramble to stay aloft, which is the way it should be for a contest.
The true highlight of the day came when Jerry, a nearby resident, rolled up and announced that Rich Rennecamp’s lost Ava had come to rest in his yard, mostly undamaged. Bob Gill took Jerry in hand and explained to him how to disassemble the plane, and I believe it’s now on its way to Rich, to the delight of all.
We flew RES and Unlimited. 2M had been on the schedule, but had only two sign-ups, so it was cancelled.
I learned my lesson: I’m sticking to Unlimited. Trying to fly two classes is a bit much for me.
This was only my second contest since 2011. In the August contest, I got off to a good start and was trying to catch Dave, the eventual winner, when I had a switch screw-up and a resulting crash. No damage, but my day was aborted. This time, I once again found myself chasing after Dave, after a first round that was difficult for everyone. There was no actual lift, only turbulence Nobody made much more than half the task time, but Dave outflew the field and took the early lead.
In rounds two and three, there were bubbles of lift, if you could stick with them. The lift was very spotty at launch height and below, but if you could scratch up just a bit above launch height the air was more welcoming. Several flyers scored max flights, both in RES and Unlimited. One highlight was Wayne sticking with a thermal for a tremendous distance downwind, knowing that our easy-going CD Robert had decreed that landing out incurred only a small penalty rather than a zero.
Round three was the last of the day for the flyers, who were a bit baked out and weary at this point. Dave and I launched at nearly the same time with first place on the line, but he went left and I went right. His choice was better, and he climbed to an impressive altitude, but I managed to build altitude over the north field, and I was still hopeful of somehow catching up to him. Then we both hit prodigious sink, and it looked as if one or the other would have to land early. Finally, a bit of scratching took both of us to the ten-minute mark, meaning that Dave had made his early advantage stand up all the way to the end. A well-deserved win for three rounds of good flying.
I was exhausted, hot, burnt through my sunblock, hungry, and dehydrated. Which means, of course, that I had a tremendous amount of fun.
Thanks to CD Robert, Wayne for score-keeping, those who brought winches and tended them, and generally everybody. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.
Dave Quist – 1st Place Unlimited
Bob Gill – 1st Place RES
As Tony has said so very well, this was a great day for flying, even though it was exceptionally challenging. In many ways, this was a lot more fun than a day of easy maxes for everyone. When you did find good air today, it was very sweet indeed.
The one thing that has really stood out this year since we have departed from the MOM format that we flew for years, is that the art of picking your air has become an important requirement. Some have the skill of sandbagging down to a science and seem to always have good air when they fly. Well today, it did them no good. The air was either there or it wasn’t. It could take you for a ride and then slam you to the ground so fast it would make your head spin.
This is what happened to me in round 2 unlimited. I worked a thermal very (very) far downwind. (I think I was all the way down to the corner where Peruque Creek Rd turns to the right towards the satellite field.) I was up to about 850-900 feet and figured I could easily trade altitude for speed and get back home with no problem. As soon as I turned for home though, the wind picked up and I hit strong sink. And try as much as I could, I could only find my way about halfway back. To make things doubly challenging, the farmer to the North was discing the corn fields and all I could think of was not landing in front of him and watching my Euphoria turned into confetti. Lucky for me, I managed to put it down in the grass, in the waterway between the fields, about 300 yards away, a much more challenging task than any landing zone.
The interesting thing was that I wasn’t thinking of the ‘Robert’ rule when I went downwind after the lift, but I was certainly glad for it when I needed it. 🙂
Attached as usual are the final results and the play by play. The web site has been updated with the scores, and I also added Ed’s exciting heart attack video from last week.
Here is a summary of how it all shook out today:
|Oct RES Standings|
|Oct UNL Standings|
There is one contest left this year in UNL/2M and two contests left in HL. I have also attached the year end standing summary so that you all can see where you stand. [ed: see the Contests page for standings] Hopefully that will motivate you all for a big turnout in November.
Had a great day!