| Wow, what a great weekend! Friday at Horsefeathers was the biggest practice/fun fly day I have seen yet for an ESL contest.
I just need to go out of the way and thank everyone in the ESL for your help this contest, if not for you it wouldn't have happened. CASA did not step up and didn't do much of anything. Great appreciation goes out to all the usual suspects!
There were sailplanes in the air all day Friday, at one point I counted 18 pilots on site. Lots of tune-up flights and great air for all. Chuck Pinnell designed and made up 3 "leather feather" awards for an impromptu ALES contest and then couldn't make it. Standing in for him I started a 3 round ALES contest at 4PM. 9 pilots came to battle, not bad for an informal meet. No givens for our 10 minute rounds and to get into the top 3 you needed your time. At the end it was David Beach #1, Kerry Cochrell #2 and Dimitri Katramatos #3. Bill Renick flying a Radian after only 4 or 5 previous flights impressed everyone and received a 1st place novice plaque, well done. Tom gets a pat on the back for encouraging and helping bill.
Friday ended with pizza, beverages (thanks Pete) and camaraderie. If you have a chance Fridays are a lot of fun. If you are to relaxed flying on Friday you can always take a short trip down the road to DC Skydiving.
Saturday started great and remained that way. With 40+ expected pilots we managed to set up 6 launch lanes plus the pop-off. Of course only 33 signed in so we went with 5 man groups and faster than normal launches which worked out great. The early morning air allowed a few to see their chance of winning drop drastically as the top dogs just know how and where to float. The rest of us need to get out in the early mornings and work on the super float mode. Neal is really good at this and a lot of times he can tell by watching a flight what can be done to make your plane better.
We had more than our share of equipment problems, a lot of broke lines and in my opinion it wasn't because we were abusing the winches. I think that we received a batch of not so good line; it seems to me there have been problems most of the year. Other clubs have had problems like this and have switched sources. I think that ESL should consider a new line supply source also.
Josh (BINGO) was on a roll and apparently well rested from the team trials and won by a huge (for ESL) margin 47 points. 2nd and 3rd was a different story 1.3 points difference after 8 rounds and 62 points ahead of 4th. Leszek the landing machine finished ahead of Neal.
The sportsmen fought it out flying combined with the big boys. Josh Jr. won by 418 points and is creeping up on the experts. Martin Rudolph was 2nd and Bob Turner 3rd.
This year only 4 RES pilots signed in, I guess partly because I didn't advertise the contest or classes much. I didn't hear any complaints from any of them. Dan Mackin the one novice RES pilot was flying his first contest after having only a few bungee outings. Dan received help and advice from different people throughout the day and claimed he had a great experience. Having never launched using a winch he asked for assistance and we managed not to break his plane, thanks mostly to Luis. I know that he even got a few landing points, another well done and 1st place novice.
No line breaks for these guys. 1st Bob Waters, 2nd Stewart Swanson and 3rd Dan Mackin
Nothing like having dinner served on the field at the end of flying. Frank Thompson not only provides this great field but puts on a good BBQ; Thank You! CASA provided the drinks, if you went away hungry it was your own fault.
An ESL contest wouldn't be complete without a bit of moisture and in the early dark hours of Sunday we did get a sprinkle, enough put spots in the dust. As you can see above the sun did come out and we had another great day.
We changed the launch direction on Saturday evening to match the forecast from 3 different sources. They mostly all turned out wrong. Lucky for us there wasn't much of a breeze so the downwind launches we did do were not bad. After 2 or 3 inverted landings and some fast approaches I changed the landing tapes to be more in-line with the wind direction. Yep, there was some turbulence coming in over the tall grass and the gully, you guys need a bit of a challenge making the landing anyway.
I'm not good at keeping track of the blow by blow so if you need details you need to be on site when I'm the CD.
With 28 signed in and the problems from Sat. we went with 4 launch lanes and 2 backup winches. We still had problems and ended with only 5 rounds in order to get everyone on the road.
It was a strange air day I watched a couple of groups launch and follow each other only to see the first two climbing and the next two left in nothing air to struggle and search. All day there were a lot of feeder bubbles leaving the ground only to disappear when they lost out to a big boss thermal 1/2 mile away. Leszek who is not big on following anyone if he has a choice got hammered by just that. Going up in good air and then poof a couple of more turns looking for up air that is no longer and then no altitude to do anything but head back. Even the best guys end up in the tall grass on a rare occasion. It looks like all of us below 10th got buried in at least one round. Josh on time and on spot won with Neal 2nd and way to go, Lenny 3rd.
Josh Jr. the coming force to be reckoned with was 5th overall and 1st in his sportsman class, outstanding! 500 points down was Martin Rudolph in 2nd with little brother Luke 3rd.
Only 2 RES or was it REF? guys today Bob Waters won flying a plane that Stewart gave him. I think his crash landing in the LZ did it . How�s that for gratitude? Yep you got it Stewart 2nd.
Just insure you know we flew standard ESL format starting with 2 random rounds and then seeded Man on Man. Experts and Sportsmen flying together. 10 minute tasks all day both days. Saturday landings were a bonus added on after normalization and Sunday I choose the C-Delta method. Winch lines were a tad less than 500ft.
Steve Lucke just hates leaving a contest site without at least once hand launching to a 10 minute plus max and a couple of 90+ landings. He couldn't make it on Friday and he was very busy Sat & most of Sunday but after everything was cleaned up and put away he started throwing his Supra and there he went, out & away making it look easy. If he ever goes to a contest and only worries about flying we better beware. Can I say thanks to many times?