September TD Contest: Light and Variable Day beats Rain

posted in: Contest Report, Flying Report | 0

Unlimited Class Mid-Air / 70% of class scores 800+ points

By Dan G., MVSA Webmaster

Full Scores

Nine flyers came out to compete in the monthly Thermal Duration Contest yesterday – one would survive a mid-air collision opening the door for a round 5 scramble.

The wind was light and variable as CD Bob G. and crew set the field. At first, they began to move the winch turnaround to the north side of the field. Bob G.’s bellowing voice halted the setup. The wind direction was about the make a bet on the conditions – launching to the south.

The air temperature was around 70 degrees during the 10am pilot’s meeting and would grow to a warm 86F as the blue sky turned cloudy. The predicted afternoon showers would hold off until the evening, well after the contest. – Just two flyers planned to fly in 2-Meter, under the minimum 3 for the class. It was decided there would be no 2-meter class event.


Dave Q. walked away from the landing area the winner of round 1 and a three-way landing battle. Rich R., Robert S and Dave Q. would all fly for nearly the full task time of 10-minutes only to fight it out at the tape. Robert S. would be the 3rd best with 59 points. Rich R would take 2nd place for the round with his 65-point landing and Dave Q would land for 85 points – taking the lead in Unlimited by 20-points over Rich. Out of these three – only one would go on to finish in the top 3.

Dave Q.’s glory would be short lived as the machine known as Robert S. would dominate the day going full task (10-minutes) for the next three rounds.

Brendan M. could be heard knocking at the top-three door with four flights at nearly 9+ minutes. At the end of round 4, he stood withing striking distance of 1st place, 227 points behind Robert S. or three-minutes and a landing. Among the others fighting it out for 1st – Bob G. who began with a 5th place standing in round 1 improving 4th place by the end of round 4.

All of this would change in round 5.

“I heard a crunch but thought it was somebody landing.  Then my plane became difficult to control … then became impossible to control.  I thought I was flying the “wrong” airplane.”
– Robert S.

“Mark Miller and I were in the same thermal believing we were well apart,” Robert later wrote.  “I heard a crunch but thought it was somebody landing.  Then my plane became difficult to control … then became impossible to control.  I thought I was flying the “wrong” airplane.  Brendan was near me and said I had the right plane but the rudder was dangling.  I managed to get the plane down a long way away … as you know … and I found the rudder about 50 ft away.  The main damage is to the portion of the rudder that slips over the end of the boom.  It is a removable friction fit.  And the rudder push rod (1 mm carbon) is broken. Just part of soaring 😊. ”

The flight would be scored as a zero.  

Robert’s mid-air and off field penalty opened the door for last round mayhem. Branden had the most to gain. He would come down early and away from the tape – after just 3 minutes and 48 seconds and take home 6th place for the day. Next, it was round 4’s 3rd place to step up. Dave Q. would go for 9 minutes and 50 seconds with 67 landing points to win the round as well as the class.  Bob G. would finally improve from 5th to 2nd with a 7:30 flight and 83 landing.

Dan G.’s path to 3rd should be noted as well. He would improve from a 7th in round one to 3rd place with two 10-minute flights and an 8-minute flight in round 5.

Let’s talk about point spread. Dan G. would scratch out a 37-point lead over Brendan who in tern beat his dad, Mark, by a single point in the raw score and 1/3 point in the adjusted. The raw score difference between 3rd and 7th place was 101 points or 3 minutes and 21 seconds out of 50-minutes total available or one perfect landing.

This was the most competitive contest of the year, so far.

Two contests to go in a weather shortened season, 377 points separates 1st and 4th place leaving it wide open between Bob G., Robert S., Dave Q and Rich R.


Dad G. launching an Ava Pro on the winch.

Dan G. started strong but faded fast. His first-round flight, 9:49 and 96-landing was nearly perfect followed by Brendan’s 9:08 / 66 for second.

Brendan would take over the lead for the next two rounds, with a 9:50/48 and 9:42/0. Round 4 would change the board. Brendan would fly for just 2:40 and zero landing while Bob G, Rich R and Bill O put in 10-minute flights.  

Rounds 4 and 5 turned into a landing contest between Bill O and Bob G. Just 19-points separated these two after the end of round 3. They both flew for 10-minutes in round 4 and so this dual would come down to landings. Bill landed for 23 and Bob for 91, a 68-point difference. Eighty-seven points separate the two going into the final round. Bill and Bob flew for 9:54 and 9:57 respectively. Bill scored a 20-point landing while Bob scored a 92. Bob would go home with 1st place honors and Bill 2nd place – a difference of 162 points, 140 of which were landings in the final two rounds.

By the end of the day, Bob G.’s right wing had accumulated what looked like an “athletic wrap” of blue painter’s tape. Through the course of the day, the plane made all of the flights for him and his son Dan G. in RES and most of Bob G.’s Unlimited flights. The right joiner box was coming loose. More and more tape was added through out the day until like an injured football player, it was well wrapped.

Next Saturday is the club’s monthly “Food, Folks and Fun” fun fly. Guests are welcome to attend.