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flyeslhost

157 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2006 :  7:39:21 PM  Show Profile
By John Nilsson and Anker Berg-Sonne, photography: Derick Veliz

08/24/06 - The man-on-man contest format has recently gained a lot of popularity in the ESL. Justifiably so, because it almost eliminates the luck aspect of the conventional thermal duration contest format.

flyeslhost

157 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2006 :  7:40:17 PM  Show Profile
By John Nilsson and Anker Berg-Sonne, photography: Derick Veliz

08/24/06 - The man-on-man contest format has recently gained a lot of popularity in the ESL. Justifiably so, because it almost eliminates the luck aspect of the conventional thermal duration contest format. It does so by flying randomized groups of pilots against one another, launching them in rapid succession into the same air, and then normalizing their scores by giving the best pilot in each group a score of 1000 points and everyone else in the group a proportional number of points. Landing points are added to the normalized score.





To run a man-on-man contest you need to be able to launch pilots very rapidly after one another. This cannot be done with standard retrievers, because of the time it takes to retrieve the parachute, so some other method for retrieving needed to be designed. In the early days of the Soar-In we had used mopeds, and LISF uses ATVs, but the Sudbury Parks and Recreation department takes a dim view of vehicle traffic on the field. There is also a safety issue. John Nilsson, Dave Walter and Fritz Bien put a great deal of time into designing a system. After a lot of experimentation and several non-functional designs they came up with one that worked smoothly and almost flawlessly all weekend. Great job, guys. It consists of a light weight wooden dolly that pulls the winch lines back with a regular winch and uses a retriever to pull the dolly back to the turnarounds.








Another challenge is the fact that we can only launch in a southerly direction unless we schlep everything down to the far end of the field by hand. Especially the batteries, winches and the generator are so heavy that it almost impossible, especially at the end of a long, hot day. The forecast was for NW breezes, of course.





For rewards we chose the crystal beer mugs that have proven extremely popular. This may have helped pre-registration, which was excellent. With the usual, inevitable, attrition we ended up with 14 Sportsmen and 15 Experts both Saturday and Sunday. This allowed us to divide each class into 4 groups of 4 pilots, and also made it easy for Sportsmen to time for Experts and vice versa.





On Saturday the breezes picked up quickly and peaked at 18 MPH, which was well above the forecasted 10 MPH. The temperatures were ideal, in the high 70s with light cloud cover and great visibility. The CD, Anker Berg-Sonne, called for 8 minute rounds all day. He also called for one pop-off for Experts per day and one per round for Sportsmen. The downwind launches were challenging, but the winches and batteries performed well, and the man-on-man format ensured that everyone had the same challenge. A few of the Sportsmen did use almost all the allotted pop-offs. The downwind launches and new winch lines ensured that there were no line breaks both days.





Once off the launch we found exciting conditions with extremely strong areas of lift and returning to the field could be a challenge and we had several pilots land off-field on the other side of the tall pines that line the southern edge of the field. Most planes landed harmlessly in the pumpkin and corn fields, others could be retrieved with poles from trees, but one was lost and not located when this reports was compiled. The challenging conditions ensured that no one ran away with the contest and many pilots were in the running for the beer mugs, right through the final, 6th, round, making for an even more exiting contest.





The results at the end of the day had the following Sportsman standings: Dick Williamson in 3rd, David Beach in 2nd and Miner Crary in 1st. In Expert the final standings were: Peter Schlitzkus in 3rd, Dave Walter in 2nd and Jose Bruzual in 1st. Jose was flying a plane borrowed from Fritz Bien.





Sunday’s weather had the wind from the same direction as Saturday, moderated down to 10 MPH, clear, almost cloudless skies, and the same pleasant temperatures. The CD, John Nilsson, called for the same format and tasks as Saturday. The lift was still very strong, but with very strong sink in between, and some groups ended up with two to three minute flight times. In a few instances one of the four would catch a thermal while the rest got thrown on the ground in a couple of minutes. Returning to the field could be a real challenge, even when high up in thermals down wind.





At the end of the day, after the 6th round, the Sportsman standings were: Stuart Strong in 3rd place, David Beach in 2nd, again, and Miner Crary in 1st, again. David’s performance was especially impressive since he was flying a RES plane, an AVA, all weekend. In Expert class Anker Berg-Sonne took 3rd, Bruce Schneider 2nd and Jeff Steifel 1st. For the weendend champion mug, Miner was only 110 points out of 12,060 behind Jeff Steifel. Jeff’s performance Sunday was very impressive. At the end of the day he was only 113 points off max.





The success of the weekend was to a high degree a result of the impressive work done by the helpers: Kenny Antonellis, Rick Penzick , Huston and Welcome Bender at the turnarounds, Dave Marshall and Les Gerhardt scoring, Chris Schuch, Miner Crary and Warren Hopkins as winch masters, Jake Johnsen enthusiastically helping everywhere, and lots of others who stepped in and helped where they could. We also want to thank the pilots for their help, patience and support in making the contest work so smoothly.





John Nilsson and Anker Berg-Sonne
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