The Gordon Report – Saturday FSS5 2010
The Kennyworld contests are the one that everyone looks forward to the most in Florida. It’s not just a great location – but it is situated far enough north in Florida to entice avid soarers from as far away as Tennesee and the Carolinas. Every year we get a great turn out of different fliers and this year was certainly no exception with 23 pilots signed up by 10:00am Saturday when CD Mike Naylor held the pilots meeting. This soaring site is just as pretty as you can imagine a flying site could be with a barn provided by Kenny Goodwin on top of the hill and fantastic shade trees to laze about under while you watch the soaring action over rolling hills of green. The out of bounds areas are a good safe distance from the main flying area on top of the hill and shouldn’t come into play without errent flying. Landing out of bounds is a bit of a hazard though with 2 sides of the site populated by plantations of small trees about 15 feet high.
The weather ordered in by the Pompano Hill Flyers who ran the contest was simply majestic. Enough wind was provided to ensure the usual central florida heat wasn’t so stifling as to spoil the day.
8 minute maxes were required by the CD with landings scored as 100, 75, 50 or 25 depending on distance away from a 20 foot long line.
Even though it was pretty warm by the time round 1 was under way the brisk 10 mph wind at that point made thermalling tough. Many good pilots did not get their time in round one as the lift was sparse and broke up quickly.
Honors callup was the method each round was flown after round one so the top four pilots from each previous round would be called up to lead the next round away.
Only 7 pilots made their time in Round one and the top four were Allan Parsons (Shadow) 1st, myself (Xplorer) second, CD Mike Naylor (Shadow) 3rd and Mike Williams (Acacia2) was 4th to lead off the second round.
Round 2 was similar conditions to the first with a strong breeze breaking up the lift that was available and once again many good pilots failed to find the good air and recorded less than max times. I had ranged out upwind in the 1st round with success so I did the same again and found good lift beyond a smoke plume from a fire. At one point in my flight I realized I may have made a grave error as my new Xplorer disappeared behind the smoke and I had to wait what seemed like an eternity for it to come back into view as the wind cleared the smoke away. Nine pilots made the 8 minutes in Round 2 and most found the landing line to add points to their scores.
Round three was led away by Ray Alonzo (Escape) first who posted a great 8:02 – 100, myself with a 7:59 – 75, and Jamie Mercado (Xplorer) and John Kennedy (Supra) both with 7:57 – 75’s.
By this time it was close to noon and the wind had started to calm somewhat leting the sun begin to do it’s work in earnest. The air was much more active and more than half the pilots made their max for Round 3. Small cumulus clouds were popping and shading the earth in places but lift was much more abundant. Top pilot for Round 3 was Al Parsons (7:59 – 100) flying his new Shadow with a lot of confidence. Dan Johns also flying consistently shot a 7:46 – 100, and Jamie Mercado once again scored well with an 8:00 – 75.
Anybody who has been following the FSS series this year would probably be asking by now “where was Rusty Carver?” He pretty much has been unbeatable so far this season carving us all up with his Onyx both in landing skill and thermal hunting. The answer is he was lurking on this day and was soon to come on strong. He was the 4th pilot in the honors for round 4 with a great max and a 75.
Lunch was enjoyed prior to the start of Round 4 and I must say the OWLS (One Wing Low Squadron) guys and Kenny Goodwin do a great job hosting the event and providing a great BBQ lunch for everybody. Kennyworld is sort of like a family picnic day with groups of pilots gathered in different spots in the shade of Kenny’s beautiful Sycamore trees.
Rusty, Rick Eckel (Perfect) and Rich Kiburis (Supra) all scored maxes and 100’s with hard charging John Kennedy (Supra) close behind on 7:59 – 75. It was a great round for everybody. Full tummys, smiling faces and thermals everywhere saw lots of circling sailplanes and frantic activity around the winches. The result saw only 5 pilots out of 23 not getting their max! Good air indeed. One of the strangest things occurred this round as Ray Alonzo became dis-oriented briefly to “outland” in the tree plantation. No real damage resulted but it isn’t common for this wily and experienced flyer to score a zero for landing off field. We reckon there were some unseen forces at work because later that evening flying his DLG Ray managed to out-land it in exactly the same spot also with out damage. Strange indeed!
The contest standings at this point had myself in front (by virtue of maxes in every round), Rusty Carver gradually closing in on my lead 99 points behind and Al Parsons close behind Rusty.
Round 5 was more of the same with lift forming in many different parts of the sky and eager pilots getting aloft to enjoy the conditions. Rick Eckel led the way in Rd 5 and although he had been scoring pretty well all day he just wasn’t hitting his straps like we expect Rick to do. This round he showed his old magic with an 8:01 – 100. The other Rick (Rick Horlander) who is a very skilled, up and coming pilot scored extremely well with his Xplorer too, to be 2nd away in the callup for round 6. Rusty Carver was eating into my lead with another great flight to be 3rd. 4th in the honors was Raed Elazzawi with his Thermal Dancer. Raed spends a great deal of time preparing and maintaining the winches and equipment and must be commended for the great effort he puts into this important activity to make our flying that much more fun.
By this time around mid afternoon the breeze had almost died completely and often the strong lift was causing the wind direction to be either directly cross our winch lines and in some cases directly downwind. This certainly made some of the launches fairly low but lift was available and being marked by many sailplanes to once again put smiles on the faces of nearly the entire field. A few pilots didn’t make their times but Round 6 was a great thermal round with tricky landing conditions as the wind swung from one direction to another.
As we totalled the scores for Round six and the final Round 7 call up pilots were announced I checked how the lead I established early in the day was going. I was alarmed to discover that Rusty Carver had closed to within 24 points of me. I knew this meant that I must make a max and a 100 pointer to be sure of a win. Honors was to be Ed White flying hs Xplorer, Rusty, Rick Eckel and Rick Horlander again. This was certainly an advantage in my position as I knew I could watch how the honors pilots faired and I could choose my air. As it happened the all launched into a great lift cycle so I decided to also launch immediately and make use of the same air. It was a great 7th round as we all got our times easily and clearly the result was going to hinge on the final landings. Inexplicably Rusty flew through the landing zone during a wind shift for a zero landing score and left the door wide open for me to simply complete my flight to win the contest.
The last round was certainly exciting for me but it was also the best round of the day for almost every flyer at Kennyworld. It is a rare thing to see a field of 23 pilots attempt an 8 minute max and 20 pilots achieve the time. Only 6 pilots missed landing points this round too in conditions about as perfect as can be imagined.
CD Mike Naylor handed out the awards as folows. Sportsman was won in fine style by a fast finishing Rick Horlander. 2nd Sportsman was won by local pilot Art Scheurer and 3rd Sportsman was our CD Mike Naylor. Rick Horlanders score was actually 4th outright for the day. Well done Rick.
1st place Expert was myself (finally achieving a 2nd LSF 5 win), 2nd was Rusty Carver very hot on my heels and 3rd was Rick Eckel with a hot streak of 100 point landings at the end of the day.
One of the more interesting events on the day was Kris Van Nostran from the IRKS flying his new Skip Miller Espadita 2M against the rest of us in UNL competition. Kris flew this beautiful ship in the last 3 rounds and achieved his max each time as well as landing it beautifully to post some great closing scores. This is definitely one 2M thoroughbred and many a pilot eyed Kris’s ship with more than a little envy.
A fantastic day was enjoyed by all and it’s such a memorable event that it makes us want to return as soon as possible to do it all again. (As it happens we get to do that all over again tomorrow Sunday as it’s a 2 day affair. ) CYall then.
FSS 5 – Sat 5/15/10
The Gordon Report – Saturday FSS5 2010