How hot is Hot?? Can’t be any hotter than Florida hot surely??
The weather certainly made us all blush a bit as it felt like about 120 degrees even in the shade of the ample tents setup by Rich, Raed Kris, Costa and Chris for the shoot-out. This is a one class contest for any 2M sailplane so we had a good variety of entrants in the total of 13 fliers from a very nice Allegro Lite flown by Costa Francisco and a Lil Bird of Steve Formanek to some of the latest moldies like the Espadita of Kris Van Nostran and Sprites flown by Rich Kiburis (our photogenic CD) and John Kennedy.
We even had Enrico Parades enter his Gentle Lady (more on him and that bird later) as well as a Spirit flown by Chris Manley. Full house “old school” designs like Tom Galloway’s Brian Agnew designed Banshee and my Lawicki Duck were also in the mix.
Rich got proceedings underway by the appointed time of 10:00am and announced a 1.5M landing zone tape similar to that which was offered at the recent MidSouth event. Essentially 4 landing scores were available of 100 within 6″, 75 within 18″, 50 within 3 feet and between 3 and 5 feet 25 points. With an honors callup of the best 4 pilots from each previous round Rich also randomly drew 4 “first up” entries to get Round 1 underway. As it happens my name was first on the list so I launched my old Wood Duck in the company of one of the most experienced sailplane fliers in the country. That would be Hank McDaniels, who at an age where most people are in Nursing Homes, is out at our flying field almost every weekend. Hank has been flying models for longer than I have been alive and can still fly a competition 2M sailplane like his beautiful Alto in contests.
My day started off badly as my Duck and I struggled to make the 5 minutes set for the 1st round and eventually succumbed to the marginal air I flew in with a 3:32 and a 25 landing. I sort of prefer to come from behind so it was with good spirits I worked on getting my timer Hank in the air to achieve his first max for the day.
Round two max was extended to 7 minutes and the honors pilots from Rd 1 to start the 2nd round off were Rusty Carver, Rich Kiburis, John Kennedy, and Raed Elazzawi. Raed was piloting a very fast little molded 2m called a Ruby and he is flying it very well. Each of the honors group found lift so many of us following launched quickly to join the fun.
The wind had been forecast from the South East but hardly a breath was felt. As on many good thermal days without wind, most of the breeze was caused by thermal activity and helped give a good read the rest of the day as the sun made this part of central Florida hotter and hotter. After 2 rounds were complete the top 5 pilots were Rusty Carver, Rich Kiburis, John Kennedy, Hank McDaniel and Raed Elazzawi.
Round 3 was delayed about 10 minutes while I re-entered the scores as during the previous round my old laptop had decided to take a rest and I hadn’t saved. With the scoring re-entered we were all go with honors pilots led off by the unstoppable Rusty Carver who was flying an Orion very well. John Kennedy and Rich followed with their Sprites and I was 4th away with the old Duck. The air was getting easier and easier as the day went on. With all the lift about, pilots were working lift in three different locations at the same time. A bit unusual with the open winch format, where many sailplanes often congregate in the same patch of good air. Hank was unable to complete his flight with a broken boom on the Alto and that was a real pity as he was really showing us his skill sitting in 4th place going into this round.
Before round 4 got underway lunch was enjoyed with Rusty’s usual tasty burgers and dogs being cooked on the grill. One of the most enjoyable things about the Buzzards soaring contests is this laid back atmosphere with lunch included in the entry price.
Round 4 began with myself leading off, followed by Rusty, Rich and Raed. Once again the air was excellent with numerous Buzzards marking lift and although we had a downwind launch for part of the round it wasn’t too difficult to catch a seven minute ride.
The landing zone was proving to be the difference between the top pilots though as the elusive 100 was very hard to hit and even 50’s were rare.
Round 5 saw Rich lead off , followed by myself and Rusty with Don Grisham in the 4th honors position. Don was flying an old 2M Shadow. With this Shadow, Tom Galloway’s Banshee and my wood Duck the wooden craft of the 80’s and 90’s was well represented.
For some reason this round saw Rusty’s Orion sinking low with 3 minutes still on the clock. Like the true champion he is, with flight max out of the question Rusty made sure of the landing points to hit the only 100 of the day. Enrico scored the best points for the round with a perfect max and a 75 point landing with his GL. Rich was second , I was 3rd and Kris Van Nostran hit the max as well to be in 4th honors for round 6.
With just 2 rounds to fly the contest leader had changed with Rusty slipping back from the 1st position and Rich taking the point.
Round 6 was easily the best thermal round of the day with every flier making their time in air “to die for.” Once again Enrico showed us his Gentle Lady could do the job with a great 6:58 and 50 landing. Rusty bounced back with a 7:00 and a 50 also, while Rich and I both missed our landings entirely.
The last round was flown in heat that was just unbelieveable, but the lift was there to make it once again a landing contest.
Rusty was easily the best land scored lander today with 325 landing points but was denied the victory today by just 9 points as our illustrious CD Rich Kiburis took first place in TMC 2. My regular landing practice has not yet paid off for me as I filled 3rd place by virtue of many very poor landing approaches. 4th place was Raed and John Kennedy in 5th with Don Grisham in 6th and Costa in 7th.
Full score sheet below.
2nd best landing points on the day were scored by Enrico and his GL with a total of 175. Well done Enrico. You made us “full house” pilots look silly.
It was an excellent TD day for 2M but clearly the heat took it’s toll on some. A lot of help was provided by Jerry O’Keefe on the retriever all day. Jerry is one of the best club people you could hope to have. He is always there to help on contest days and although he doesn’t fly in many contests himself, he helps many of us who do fly to enjoy our events a lot more. Thank you Jerry.
After the event was over I suggested to Enrico that conditions were perfect to get his 30 minute LSF 3 Thermal flight which he missed last Saturday.
He agreed to give it a shot and 30 minutes 22 seconds later I was having him pose for his photo with the GL and timer. Great job Enrico and a soaring task well accomplished.