Inter-club 2-Meter Contest Scores 1st St.Louis Soaring Contest of 2023

Dan G., MVSA Webmaster

Members of MVSA and the St.Louis Phantoms participated in the first joint event of 2023 at the Phantoms home field – near Orchard Farm, MO today.

Ten miles away at Lambert International Airport the weather recorded in the ATIS for arriving and departing flights – was 160 @ 13 kts with 10 SM visibility. An endless parade of Southwest and American planes circled around the farmland river peninsula as eight pilots stared into the sun and fought the wind. Three planes were retired due to “hard landings” – one might have been against the rules – a “lawn dart”. All in all, participants walked away with undamaged planes and a sunny wind swept feeling of camaraderie.

““A very windy day which made finding lift and making the landing area difficult,”
– Jan via the MVSA Google Group after the event.

“A very windy day which made finding lift and making the landing area difficult,” Jan wrote in the MVSA Google Group after the event. Jan is a member of both clubs.

Jan (right) prepares to launch his Sagita as Bill O. holds the timer.

It is difficult to see who was from which club. Many of the members from MVSA can be seen at Phantom events and vice versa. Kevin C., a Phantom member, is a hand launch regular at MVSA. Larry A., an MVSA regular, seems to talk about the Phantom club as much as he shouts at Bill O. during MVSA Thermal Duration Contests. Today’s event seemed to be more proof of this open boarded between the two AMA Clubs who fly in the Mississippi River Valley.

Kevin C. preps for launch.

The first flights were aloft only 2-minutes of the 6-minute task. The real dramatic moments were not in thermals but on the approach. The 2-meter gliders, by the rules with no spoilers, ailerons, or flaps, fought the 13 kt wind on final approach. The gliders zig-zagged and bobbled over the field in attempts to gain landing points inside the box and others just fought for survival.

Larry A. is caught by the wind on approach – making hard contact with the ground. The early round crash took him out of the contest.
Bill O and a member of the Phantoms carries his glider back to the ramp after the early round – contest ending crash. More than just the wing was damaged in the incident. The wind fueled several other crashes today.

Bill R. ended his day early with a nose-first-T-Tail breaking rapid descent into a plowed field feet outside of the field boarder. No points for the flight because the plane landed “off the field”. Larry A., after slipping the nose of his glider under the box’s western boarder “near ground looped” in the wind causing damage to his glider. Jan’s Sagitta “spiked” it’s nose into the soft ground feet outside of “The Box”.

Bill O. came in with the day’s first 4+ minute flight followed minutes later by Jan’s 5+ minute flight, helping him bring home 2nd place. MVSA and Phantom member Brian M. took 1st place for the day with consistent flights.

“The difference between first and second was less than a good 60-point landing,” Jan wrote in the MVSA club’s Google Group. “It was also very close for third place with only 33 points between third and fifth place. Most flights were in the 2 to 3 minutes range. Four flights exceeded five minutes. Goal was 6 min. A few airplanes were damaged in landing mishaps. But, I believe all are repairable including my Sagitta. Great contest everybody. Hope to see you all back next month.”

Jan’s Sagita flies over the field as a commercial jet’s contrails can be seen in the clear blue sky.

Four hours before today’s contest, eyes were already fixed on the first (possible) MVSA home contest of 2023.  

“April TD is Next Saturday. Keeping an eye on the weather forecast,” Bob G., MVSA April TD Contest Director wrote the club’s Google Group at 6 AM.  

“Sunny along with a few clouds. High 69F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph,” is the current forecast for next Saturday according to Weather.Com.

And another week of watching the sky begins.