By Dan G.
Today’s TD Contest: Summer Weather brings a class leader change and Maiden Contest for another Ava
A light turnout for today’s June Thermal Duration contest leaves drops of sweat, a few parts (recovered) and a Maiden Contest in the books for the first St. Louis summer weather contest in Foley.
Bill R. stood on the field looking at his landing. Turns to see if flying club members saw it. He turns back to the tape and smiles. The E-Ava’s black spinner touched 84 on the tape at 10 minutes 4-seconds for the seconds best flight of the round and THE SECOND BEST OF THE DAY.
It was a long flight starting with last year’s electric foamy recovering then to 1980’s vintage planes including a Gentle Lady, numerous days at the field practicing, encouragement from fellow members and a few flights and landings with Bob G.’s own Ava Pro. The hot summer day may have gotten a little warmer for Bill as he walked his E-Ava back to the ramp with a big smile.
In a day seemingly made and dominated by Ava Pro’s Bill’s flights seemed to rise above. In Unlimited his flights soared to within 12 points of veteran Ava Pro flyer Rich R. and a 4th place showing (out of his 2032 points). In RES he placed 3rd by (probably) a landing over Bill O. After walking to the ramp area – he also thanked Dan G. specifically for his encouragement.
A regular at club events, Bill R. can be found at the main field getting a few flights between driving students on his bus route. It is common to see him pack up as others continue to fly followed by the familiar apology – “Gotta go guys,” he says. “I would stay but I got to drive the bus today.” Like any athlete – he can be found in a constant state of practice and open to advice and counsel – although – there is much advice and counsel to be sifted through. All of the counsel, advice and encouragement seemed to melt away with the heat, launches, familiar Ava turns and that 84-point landing – today. His flights, landings and Cheshire cat grin smile topped with a Fedora did not go unnoticed from club members watching from under umbrellas and behind sunglasses and even a little Vanilla – for the bugs.
Robert S. looks to be replacing Wayne W. as Bob G.’s foil in Unlimited. Forget beating Bob G. though, Robert flew 3-seconds away from “Perfect” today – with the exception of going over by 14-seconds in round four. After barely touching the tape in round 1 at 3-points he came back with landings in the 50’s and 60’s. In contrast, Bob G. flew for 7:28 in round 2 – 5th out of 7 but nailed the landing with the round best of 92. Fast forward to round 4. Bob G., normally the best lander in the club lands for 28 points leaving the door open for Robert to walk on by. Early in the season – Robert and Bob stand at a near statistical tie for 1st – Bob only 23.88 points ahead out of nearly 2,000.
The familiar Red-Tailed Ava Pro with one white tip eased over the tape – half spoilers and finished the flight up against the tape’s south pin – a perfect landing at 100 points at a time of 10 minutes 9 seconds. The flight would be just 4-seconds shy of a perfect flight. The next flight would be close to perfect (10:10 and 94 landing) but not the one after that. He could be heard chuckling about it on the way to the ramp – “I was only up for three-twenty on that one,” he said. On the last flight of the day – it shadowed just over the northern trees, threw a few shadowed circles over the field, and slipped 15 feet AGL to rest at 98 on the tape. Who will de-thrown this shirtless flyer – this summer?
And now we go to 2-Meter for what looks to be a repeat of last year. Let’s go to round one. Bill O. stays aloft for a perfect 6:01 and lands for 56. Bob G. counters with another perfect flight at 6:05 and beats Bill’s with a sizzling 91. Round 2: Bob. G. continues his relentless charge with a near perfect flight – 6:12 and 94-point landing. Bill falters with a 3:33. And now Round 3: Bill flies for 5:56 and zero landing. “ZZZZZZZZippp” – was heard from the ramp followed by Bob G.’s Radian fluttering like a leaf to the ground. flight and zero landing. The ramp began to speculate as to what happened on the launch. What does this mean? Would the flight be scored “Zero”? Since the engine cut out – could it be good for the return trip to the ground – 5 seconds maybe? The question of a re-launch came up countered by no relaunches for electric.
Bob G. picked up the plane and walked a few steps to recover what was the engine nose area and again for a prop part. On the launch – it was determined – a prop-half separated causing severe shake and structural nose/engine separation from the fuselage. The plane – then lighter sans-engine – fluttered to the ground. The incident ended his 2-Meter-day with zero-points for the incident flight and round four.
The incident opened the door for Bill O. to walk on through. Larry A. would put up a fight for 1st with a 5:58 in round 3 but it would not be enough. Larry would finish the day 2nd – a 194-points deficit. Bill O. nudges Bob G. out of 1st in the year to date for 2-Meter.