The Gordon Report Sunday – People who expect the best usually get what they expect.
The contest format for Sunday was experimental by the IRKS club with the addition of a second class (RES) which would not be an FSS event but would be sponsored by the hosting club. I personally was against this idea because it has the potential to reduce the total number of contestants in Unlimited – which could make it more difficult to get enough numbers for the event to qualify as an LSF 5 contest.
Weather forecast for Sunday at Cocoa included an extra wind component from the East of up to 12 mph. I think this may have contributed to a reduction in the participation as only 18 pilots registered for Unlimited and just 6 for RES. Conditions were conducive to good soaring though with an early warming sun and the breeze fairly gentle from the east as Round 1 got underway at 9:10am.
Tasks had been announced by John Vennerholm at the pilots meeting starting with 5 minutes 1st round and then 8 minutes each round thereafter for a goal of 6 or 7 rounds total. Rusty Carver started just as he left off on Saturday with another 100 point landing to lead the way in UNL. I finally found some form with my landings and grabbed an early lead in RES with a 100 pointer flying the old Super Ava.. Andrew Porter also continued his great form from Saturday with a 1st round 100 pointer to lead the Sportsman class in UNL and Jim Blacketer was at the top of the RES Sportsman sheet.
The 2nd round was an 8 minute task and Rich Kiburis hit the lead in the RES class with a 100 pointer pushing me down to 2nd and Al Parsons in 3rd. I hit a 100 pointer with the High End in UNL to get my nose in front of Rusty on the score sheet and Rufus Holton flew very well to sit in 3rd place in UNL. The lift was typical of a breezy day with lifting air in waves available in many areas but not the normal thermal bubbles we like to turn in. Many times a turn in what appeared to be good lift resulted in an alarming loss of altitude. Maxes were not easy at this point but the leading pilots were all getting their times so pretty much the landings were determining the pilots positions. Jamie Buckland (my son) once again showed his talent by flying a very, very old Beat up Bird of Time very well in both UNL and RES to lead the way in both classes for Sportsman at the completion of Round 2.
Round 3 was again punctuated by fickle lift which caught out many pilots but those that landed well stayed at the top. I was once again able to place the High End on the line for another 100 to remain in the lead with Rusty only 48 points back. Rufus succumbed to the sink goddess and dropped down the chart while Rich Kiburis sat his ship on the line to make it up to 3rd place. RES was also working for Rich as he posted consecutive 100 point landings to lead my Ava by a whopping 287 points. Jamie and Andy swapped places in the Sportsman class as the down air also claimed the BoT in what was a tough round for many.
The air improved markedly during Round 4 with many buzzards coming to fly with us and a couple of big thermals kept most of the field in the air for the required 8 minutes. My landing accuracy slumped again to let Rusty back into the lead in UNL and Rich Kiburis finished this round close behind me in 3rd place. Rich was flying both his classes very well though and posted a great 75 point landing in RES to stay on top of myself and Al Parsons.
Round 5 saw a stronger breeze and lift which sometimes seemed to break up as fast as it appeared, dumping some of our aircraft back to earth rapidly. I experienced such an event and was humbled with a lowly 3:13 in UNL but managed to just hang on to 2nd place with Rich in hot pursuit a couple of points behind. My trusty S/Ava always seems to find good air though and my max with her in RES kept a 2nd place position behind Rich in 1st. Jamie was still finding good air with the BoT and had broken out to a lead of 524 points in RES sportsman. Chuck McCann flew a great round to get his nose in front of Andy Porter in UNL Sportsman as Andy had an uncustomary short flight in tough air.
The story of the day was clearly Rusty Carver. He flew consistent maxes every round and hit many landings to lead the UNL class by over 400 points going into the last round.
CD John Vennerholm called the last Round and Rusty once again posted a max and a 50 point landing to easily take the UNL crown. Rich and I were “neck and neck” for 3rd place and I fell short of my time with a 7:08 and a 100 point to let him in to 2nd as he came home with a great max and another 100 pointer. Ben Carroll came 4th and Jim McLean 5th. In Sportsman class Andy Porter grabbed a last round max and a 75 landing to hit the lead on the most important round to win Sportsman UNL over a valiant Chuck McCann with Jamie Buckland in 3rd. Andy Porter is a great talent and we look forward to seeing him at the rest of the FSS series.
Round 6 in RES saw the S/Ava max again for me to take the crown with Rich Kiburis having a flight in the wrong air to let me in. Rich held on to 2nd with his 4:23 and 25 with Al Parsons in 3rd. Jamie Buckland grabbed the RES Sportsman honors with great flying of a ship which is getting very much the worse for wear. Steve Formanek was 2nd RES Sportsman and Jim Blacketer 3rd.
CD John presented the awards at the completion of a great day of soaring where patience was a virtue and the sink unforgiving. IRKS need to be congratulated on a great first effort in the FSS. I personally love their flying field and I know many others who flew here for the 1st time this weekend also enjoyed the great and sometimes very challenging soaring this site offers. It is often said that the landings decide many of these contests and that is sometimes true. On this occasion the winners were those that didn’t fly in the many sink holes on this day and that makes a great soaring contest.