The Gordon Report Saturday. It takes guts to leave the ruts.
Well guys there is no doubt that the IRKS can run a great contest and make it fun for all. They have the best RC Soaring flying site in Florida I reckon and they are a great bunch of guys pulling together as well.
Saturday was pretty cloudy when we arrived at the field and cool as well. CD LSF 5 John Vennerholm took note of the conditions and made it easy on us with an announcement at the pilots meeting of Rd 1 5min, Rd 2 7min and then 10 min from that point on. Though the sun wasn’t doing much work the air was smooth as silk with very floaty conditions and we found 5 minutes pretty easy both with UNL planes and the 2M class we were flying as well. In fact in Round 1 only 3 flights were short of the max out of 31 flights scored. (23 UNL and 8 2M.) Some of us chose to fly both classes which kept us pretty busy throughout the contest. The easy maxes were not to last as lift cycles become a little more difficult in later rounds with a 10 minute max and occasional downwind launches in the variable conditions.
By the end of Round 2, Rusty Carver had set a high standard with consecutive maxes combined with 100 pointers. He was “dead eye dick” all weekend with his Onyx JW landings and if he was to be beaten it would take a lot of landing skill. Jim MacLean was giving Rusty a run for his money flying a P Perfect with similar precision and Rich Kiburis was keeping them honest with his Onyx as well. The rest of us in the UNL class were following along behind them with less than perfect touchdowns. One stand out competitor flying his first sailplane contest was Andy Porter from South Florida. What a great talent he is and with the excellent coaching of the Pompano flyers (especially that of a selfless Jamie Mercado) he has blossomed from a beginner to being a real threat as an outright winner at any Florida soaring contest. By the end of Round 2 “Andy The Legend” was in 4th place outright and that’s where he stayed for the entire day. Excellent job Andy! Not many pilots can boast that they finished this high up at their first contest.
The 2M class was being flown at the same time as the UNL and it was with great glee that I finally flew my recently acquired heavy Wood Duck in a contest for the first time. She is a great ship in the air but I do need lots more practice at the landing task with her. 8 of us flew the 2M class with Rich Kiburis and John Kennedy flying the new Sprites, Rick Eckel his trusty old Laser and Jim Blacketer a very nice Miles. Enrico Paredes came out for the fun with his well flown Gentle Lady and a hardworking Kris Van Nostran flew a Lil Bird as did Steve Formanek.
Round three was the start of the full 10 minute rounds and the air was more than willing to co-operate as only 10 flights fell short of the required max and 21 pilots found good air. Many of the flights that fell short were the 2M class with only Rich Kiburis, Rick Eckel and myself making our times with these testing but fun little planes.
At the end of Round 3 in Unlimited Rusty Carver showed us the only kink he had in his armor all day with a zero landing to add to his max. Rich Kiburis and John Kennedy both scored landings to be 2nd and 3rd. Kurt Carlsen, Jamie Mercado and Al Parsons followed close behind but with such beautiful conditions clearly the landing scores were going to shake out the winners today.
Round 4 saw Rusty “Perfect” Carver once again hit the 100 point line to go with his 10:00 for the best flight of the day. (Landings were being scored with a line to land along and a measuring stick to determine the score. 100 points required the nose to be within 6 inches from the line and 75 points needed to be inside 12 inches.) I finally hit a landing with a 9:57 and 75 and my standing in the contest improved for the moment to 3rd place. (I was flying my High End for the first time in a contest and was finding her a little more challenging than the old Sharon from last year.) Rich Kiburis was still in 2nd with a 10:01 and 25.
The Sportsman class in UNL was being fought hard between Andy Porter and his Experience Pro and my son Jamie flying the “bitzer” Icon. Rd 4 had Andy scoring 10:08 and a great 100 landing for a leading score of 2137 Jamie flew a 9:59 and 50 for a 4 round total of 1952. Lee Royer was close behind Jamie with a score of 1861.
2M was still led by Rich Kiburis with another perfect score of 10:00 and 100 with Rick 2nd and my Wood Duck in 3rd.
Speaking of birds – all day the buzzards were marking lift for the pilots, but as we sometimes found they didn’t always tell a true story. As this flying site is at a live dump site there are more birds here than any place I have ever flown. Most are buzzards and they are continually flying lift downwind with each lift cycle and then groups of birds are constantly returning upwind back to the dump site. With so much bird activity at times it is hard to really determine which birds are soaring and which ones a just hopeful of soaring. In any case they certainly gave all the contestants plenty of indication of where the air was potentially best.
By Round 5 lunch had been ordered from the local pit BBQ place and CD John Vennerholm announced that we would keep flying and eat lunch during a longer round.
This 5th time to the winches saw Rich Kiburis remaining behind Rusty, but Al Parsons muscled his way into 3rd place in UNL with a masterful 9:50 and 100, dropping Rick Eckel down to 4th and John Kennedy to 5th. The conditions were becoming a little more challenging with some of us heading the wrong direction into sink holes and getting gobbled up in a few seconds. Rich Kiburis missed his time in 2M and fell back to 3rd place while my struggles with landing the High End proved to be no longer a factor when I fell into a mine shaft of descending air to score a 4:17 and end my contest chances in UNL. Sportsman class in UNL saw Jamie Buckland score a great 5th round 9:58 and 100 pointer to close in on Andy Porters early lead.
The strong lift /sink cycles continued through Round 6 and by the time we were ready to start the last round some other very good pilots had also fallen victim to flying in the wrong piece of sky. John Kennedy had been lurking in 4th place but scored a 4:56 to drop out of contention in UNL and Rick Eckel who had been the model of consistency all day in 2M also grabbed a bad piece of air to finish with a 4:17 and let my Duck into the top spot on the leaderboard.
There was no stopping Rusty Carver though as he posted another 10:04 and 100 pointer to make sure he wasn’t challenged for top honors in UNL. Round 6 also saw Don Grisham move up the leader-board into 5th place and Rufus Holton into 6th. The biggest drama was in Sportsman class where Jamies run with the Icon came to an end with a screaming out of control spiral dive from about 800 feet straight down into the trees upwind. When the plane was recovered from the swampy forest the battery was dead. I clearly haven’t learned my lesson with batteries and chargers and take full responsibility for the crash. The plane is repairable but will keep me busy for a bit.
The final round for the day was announced by CD John Vennerholm and we began Round 7 about 3:00pm Rusty Carver posted a 10:03 and 25 and a final total score of 4154. The final result was up to Rich Kiburis though as he was the only pilot in striking distance. Rich nearly pulled it off with a great 10:00 and 75 to finish just 21 points behind Rusty for a great 2nd place finish. Rick Eckel continued his usual consistent scores with a 10:05 and 50 to be 3rd.
Best Sportsman was Andy Porter and his final score of 3886 was outright 4th highest in UNL. A great effort from Andy indeed. Lee Royer was 2nd Sportsman and Rick Horlander 3rd.
I continued to score well in Round 7 with my Lawicki Wood Duck to take top 2M honors with a final tally of 3889 points. Rick Eckel flew his Laser into 2nd place with 3578 and 3rd place was Rich Kiburis with the Sprite on 3396.
Trophy presentations were taken care of by CD John and the day was completed around 4:00pm. This contest was the first official FSS soaring competition by the RKS and clearly they did a stellar job. They are a great club with a great site and thanks to the efforts of Kris Van Nostran with the winches, Jerry on the fron gate and retrieving and Jim Blacketer and his wife with the scoring, the contest was run very smoothly. Congrats to everyone and especially those who I failed to mention.
As is customary at the first FSS contest of the season the final FSS champion trophies from the 2009 year were also presented to the winners. Rick Eckel conducted the ceremonies and awarded the appropriate plaques. Rick was champion for Sat contests with myself second and Rich Kiburis 3rd. I was awarded champion of the Sunday series with Rick Eckel 2nd and Allan Parsons 3rd. Sportsman class champion for Saturday series was Jim Blacketer with Rick Horlander 2nd and Buddy Bradley 3rd. Champion Sportsman for Sunday series was Rick Lake with Jamie Buckland 2nd and Lance Ropke 3rd. I have enclosed plenty photos below.