Marginal Forecast Parlayed into Challenging Lift Contest

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By Dan G, MVSA Webmaster

In an enchanted land far far away…. the weather was in question as was the field. Our CD went out early and at 7:30 AM reported back – the field is good – let’s fly. Click here for contest results.

We slowly arrived (I slowly arrived) and we had a quick and easy pilots meeting. Bill R, Bob W, Bill O, Rich S, Dan G, Bob G, Rich R, Dave Q, Larry W and John H all were there (I hope I’m not leaving anyone out). The conditions were different – 5-10 mph out of the north-northwest. The zeitgeist on the field was, “it’s an up and down day and will be won on landings.” Though at times this fatalistic outlook broke with bouts with “lift”.

Rich R waits for traffic before launching his Ava Pro.

The cloudy sky with rolling clouds at times opened with rays of sun – not seen on the ground but on the shines of aircraft. The short flights of round one gave way to slightly longer flights. Something with the winch pedal – Dave Q popped off the line – I think he re-launched. Bill R saw what looked like a stream of smoke from his E-Ava Pro. He committed to an emergency landing but all was well.

Bill O waits for traffic to clear before launching his Volo in the Unlimited class. He finished second behind Dave Q, right, who also timed for him.

Dave Q. made a little rattle on the field at the end of round 3 a few big black birds (this may come across as a broad generalization of the avian to some who study them but – oh well) found lift along the ridge with him. Who is to say which came first but there they were! The fatalism of the field parlayed to general optimism! This was Dave Q – flying with the birds – or vice versa – again – who can say which came first.

And then it began – the boom-30 of round four. Dave flew well as did many others – “eight minutes” – “nine minutes” could be heard from timers. “Ten” and then “ten” was heard from Bill R. as he timed my last two flights – first an unlimited fixed up Explorer 3 and then an Ava Pro in RES. (Sigh)

Members parked their cars at the edge of the field boundaries.

And then like a tired wimper – it was over. The day, while not a typical July summer day in St. Louis – steamy and what not – was instead a slow roll broiler of a day with cloud radiant heat that never really got above 80F. “Are you going to fly more” was common – but also was the response “I would but I’m tired. The brain burns through tremendous energy as well, all schemed to find lift and longer flights. It was not a typical summer contest – smoldering with white hot intensity of a jungle barbecue party at midday – (right) but a slow burn where all fought for every scrap they could find and put on their plate.

It was that kind of day.