10 Fly Thermal Duration Contest on Variable Weather Day

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By Dan G, MVSA Webmaster

A light early morning rain turned into a changing weather day for 10 members to fly for gold (I mean glory) at the field in Foley yesterday.

The day began with a flurry of early morning emails in the club Google Group. Like older teens they text messaging – they e-mailed the group starting around 6:30 AM. It’s light rain and overcast here. What does it look like 30 miles away in Foley, MO? It looks overcast here too. Do you think there will be a contest? At 8am, Contest Director (CD) Dave Q. dropped his message bomb sealing the fate of 10 members – “Contest is a go.”

Dan G. was first to arrive, setting up a hi-start and making last minute tweaks to his Aspire. Bob W. arrived followed by Bill R and Bob G. The CD arrived and soon the field was being set up for the contest.

The wind was strong, 8-10 from the north-north-east, hitting the tree line just north of the winch turn around and hi-start spike rising in a wave over the trees and descending at the landing area where it burbled along the ground to the access road. It was an issue until the sun came out in rounds 4 and 5. The air temperature was around 80. The wind created turbulent at 50 feet above the launch and landing areas. A ceiling of approximately 2,000 feet seemed to change and move as the clouds blew by through the day.

Planes are covered by wing covers, towels chairs and tents during a short rain delay. CD Dave Q. (right) check on members and planes.

By the first round the wind seemed to have affected both flight times and landings. RES had the longest flight in round one with 9:15 (Bob G.). Unlimited flew for 7:09 (Dan G.) and 4:12 (Rich S.) for 2-Meter. In round one – 8 of the 18 flights ended in zero landing points. Around round 2 or 3, a grey line appeared to the north and flyer began covering their planes. The rain was light and lasted about 15 minutes. A bit of wind whipped up for a few minutes followed by growing dots of blue sky gradually growing back to a warm St. Louis summer day.


Wayne W. preps his electric unlimited glider for departure.

Dan G. flew a 7:05 flight for round one, a full minute ahead of the next flyer. This would not normally make the story but it would also be the last lead change in the class unless your name was Wayne W. or Bob G.. At the end of two rounds Wayne lead the familiar dual by 14 points. In round 3 Bob G. turned it around and lead by one. Despite Bob G’s 91 point landing and 8:02 flight, Wayne would win the round and take the lead by 22 points. On to the last round. Bob G. says he went to find lift where another flyer had been and the bet did not pay off. He would land at 3:32 while Wayne went on for a 9:47 flight and blistering 97 point landing. Wayne finished 419 points ahead of the familiar rival to take the day.

It might be unfair to talk about who lead who after round such and such but despite the lack of a scoreboard or instant replay screen on the field – the numbers tell the story of what happened in the air and on the ground. We can also ask questions like, how much of a factor was the weather yesterday? In the Unlimited class, first place made 97% perfect in May, 92% in June and 84% in July. Did the weather effect landings in Unlimited? It is hard to tell. When the wind was higher in round 1, there 3 zero’s. In round 5 when the weather improved – there were 4 zero’s.


Bob G. lands his Ava Pro in the high 90’s as Rich R. watches and John H. brings his plane around for an approach.

Let’s talk about Bill O. And by Let’s talk about Bill O, I mean, let’s talk about Bill O and Rich R. Yesterday, did Bill O. have a great day or did Rich R. have a bad day? – Back in May, Rich R. finished 2nd place after a good day of flying a mere 3 points over Bill O. Last month, Bill O. looked to be ready to take 2nd place from Rich R. except he lost a wingtip on launch and took a zero paving the way for Bell R. to take 2nd place. Enter yesterday.

Round 1 – Bob G. flew for – cut to the chase – he owns RES – he took first place again. Rich R. flew for 5:15 and Bill O. for 6:49. The flight would be good for 3rd place though – Dan G. pulled it out with a 62-point landing. Bill O’s “0” point landing put him 21 points behind Dan for 3rd. – Bill fired back in round 2 with the best time of the round at 7:57 but failed on the landing. Nonetheless, he had carved out a hold on second place. Dan G’s 3:19 flight opened the door for a firm second place and Bill O walked through it with 8:18 – the best flight of the round and his best landing of the day – 97 points. Something else happened in round, Bob G., in first, missed the tape scoring a zero. Bill O and Dan G would be the only two flyers out of seven in RES to land on the tape. The flight and landing also made up most of a 238-point margin between Bill’s 2nd place and Bob G.’s 1st. Bill, again, unknown to anyone on the field, trailed last year’s RES class champ now by a scant 28 points.

(Ding Ding) Enter round four. Twenty-eight points out of first, it was Bill O’s contest to lose. Bill flew his best RES flight of the day – 9:57 and – this time – on the tape with 67 points – 37 points from a perfect flight. Bob G. walks to the plate – makes his flight – OHH!!! – 10:04 with a 93 landing – seven points from perfect. Now the margin has widened to 57 points.

(Ding Ding!) Final round. Bob G. flew for 9:54 and lands at 50 on the tape. Bill O flew for 8:04 and lands at 83 on the tape. The battle to unseat Bob G’s season winning streak in July is over. He extends the streak to 3 with this 134-point win over Bill O while has up until the day finished in 3rd place. What a run for Bill O!  

Meanwhile, what happened to Rich R? Rich would comment at the field, he had a tough time finding the lift and his plane just wanted to come down around 3 minutes. To his credit he did fly a five- and six-minute range flights but to place in the top three – it just was not enough. He averaged 33 points a landing in June and only 10 points per landing yesterday. Rich R. would finish 4th for his efforts behind Dan G. who flew a second place flight in round 1 and tied 2nd place in his landing average.

Of note: John H nailed a 93 point landing in round 2 – the best of round 2 and the 3rd best out of 35 total RES sorties. It would also be his only landing points in RES.


Rich S. launches his 2-Meter glider on the winch. Before the flight, he paused to decide to use the winch or the hi-start. During the pause, suggestions were shouted out by the pit. “I’ll just hand launch it,” he joked before choosing the winch.

A few days ago Bill O posted a picture of his three gliders ready for competition. Three planes – three classes – ready to go. Last month, Bill O won RES over his friend Larry A and competitor Bob G. whose 2-meter plane lost an engine on launch due to a prop issue. Yesterday, Larry A left early leaving Bill O and Bob G to continue their battle for 2-Meter class title. Enter wind and Rich S. – Rich S. walked up to launch his 2-Meter glider and paused short of the winch. There was a question of which launch tool to use – the winch or the hi-start. The wind was causing odd air up to 50 feet making hi-start launches odd but effective after 50 feet. The winch – these days – is designed for hammering 3.5 meter strong planes into the sky. Nearly all of the club’s 2-meter planes have opted for electric motor launch. Enter Rich S wavering between the two. Suggestions come from the pit. Rich even jokes, “I’ll just hand launch it.”

The flat-winged purple glider whips into the air powered by the winch whirl. He would fly for 4:12 and land for zero. Bill O would fly for 1:53 and land for 93. After one round, he trailed Rich S. by 46 points. In round two he made gains matching Rich’s time and outscoring him with an 83-0 landing. In round three, Rich out flew Bill O and Bob G by 3-minutes in the 6-minute task class. Bill’s margin grew to 182 points out of first. Rich S. would win 2-meter by 125 points.

“Rich surprise me,” Bill O. said.

Bill O trails Bob G. by less than 300 points out of 3,000 points for the season and took home 895 points and second place yesterday.

Next Saturday is the monthly fun fly – Food, Folks and Flying.