The Gordon Report – Unlimited Sunday
Well what a Tangerine this one was. !!! She was a doozy.
This Tangerine had everything from windy and cold weather, to overcast and cold to overcast and warm and then sunny and warm. From bouyant air, to little thermals, to soft lift and then huge areas of sky where everthing in sight was going up and the entire field was running for the “Open” winches to try to join in the fun – and then more cold air with soft lift and then more thermals to finally a Fly off where the 5 best pilots had one shot at the Grand Champion trophy with a 12 minute max and the air was once again so tricky that 3 of the craft were landed inside of 5 minutes.
The Grand Champion Flyoff was full of drama, as I was the only pilot to run downwind and hook up, so three guys landed and after 6 minutes it was just Jody Miller working a patch at tree top height and me finally scraping back from very low downwind with an extra 100 feet in hand. Ed White – my great caller said “Gordon just wait for it, but on the way back you are going to get a bump.” We had a small wind come though a minute earlier and Ed read it perfectly. A bump I did get as I reached the treeline and turned about 50 feet above the trees to work it back downwind again. I took my only glance at Jody at the moment I found Ed’s bump and saw his Xplorer behind the treeline to the right and in trouble. Within 60 seconds he came into my vision to seek the bottom of Ed’s bump and began circling at barely 20 feet. My thoughts immediately were what a fantastic story I can write in the Gordon report as Jody works this thermal from the brink of the abyss and joins me downwind to set up for a landing shootout at the end of 12. I was supposed to be flying my Xplorer in a Grand Champion flight but all I could think about was what a great ending the contest was providing. Then it all came undone as Jody got a little slow, while low and dipped a wing unexpectedly. Being a very safe flier he made the decision to leave the little patch at barely 30 or so feet and came in and landed. Ed said. “Gordon You were first to launch so you have won come in and land it.” For me it was a real anticlimax to a fantastic weekend where I couldn’t get my landing technique figured out all weekend until the last 3 flights but Jody did. We have been partnered up doing landing practice for months and it finally paid off where Jody averaged 93.6 in 7 flights Saturday and 93.1 in 7 flights today. That’s closer than 21 inches to the spot 14 times in a row while standing 25 feet away. Excellent display of landing skills by anyones measure. Well done Jody.
The other 3 pilots in the flyoff were a galant Ray Alonzo who fought hard with an aircraft that simply has seen better days and needs to be put out to pasture. His patched up Escape is a handicap and he would have faired so much better with competitive equipment like an X.:/ Rusty Carver also flew his Onyx to solid finishes all weekend to figure in the calculations for the final. Rusty just didn’t have his contest shoes on today though and we all know how well he can fly when he is wearing them. He whooped our ass over and over at the beginning of the year in the FSS. The 5th pilot was a fast improving Sportsman from last year – Lance Ropke from Pensacola. Lance is a helluva nice guy and has skills to burn. Everytime he flys he gets better and is a pilot to watch in the future. Great job Lance and we look forward to doing battle again soon.
Todays contest was the most fun you can have with an RC sailplane and every round (bar one) was hard fought and far from a gimme. As I mentioned at the start there was one round where the honors pilots all launched into a blender of buzzards and 5 more planes followed suit and then there was lift everywhere with 16 planes in the air at the same time in lift from one side of Oviedo to the other. No pilot completed todays contest with a clean sheet as we each dropped time in one round or another. It was simply a great Florida soaring contest. The winner today (going one better than yesterday) was Jody Miller on 3907 points. I took 2nd place on 3842 and Ray Alonzo was 3rd on 3722.
Top Sportsman was Randall Everley who is a great talent from LA. Good Flying Randall. 2nd Sportsman was Ray Munro from Canada. Thanks again for coming down to visit Ray. and 3rd Sportsman was Mike Naylor from Pompano Beach. Great flying again Mike.
We must make mention once again of the many Sponsors this year. In particular Frank Tiano Adhesives for a great supply of Zap a Gap CA which we rewarded many with for buying the Tangerine T and wearing it in the photo. Thanks also for Hose Monster (Aerofoam) for generously donating a big bungee. Much appreciated. Thankyou also to Horizon Hobby, Soaring USA, Hobbico, Castle Creations, Dymond Modelsport, MM Glidertech, Hobbytown USA Sanford, Tailwind Gliders and Tower Hobbies for providing some great prizes and encouragement for soaring pilots in Florida. Check out the photos in to see some of the great donations made by the very generous vendors. We were also blessed with the loan of a 4 WD all terrain vehicle to use for the weekend through the generosity of Costa Francisco and Sunbelt Rentals.
It’s always hard to write a good report where you mention yourself a lot, but I enjoyed the day immensley we are all indebted to many who made it happen. Thanks to Rick Eckel for doing a great job of running the show this weekend. I know you would have liked to fly and I hope you do next year. Thanks to Gerry O’Keefe. Gerry – we couldn’t have got the raffles and T Shirts and setup etc done without your kind help. You are indeed a great asset to the buzzards and everybody really appreciates your effort. Thanks also to Chris Manley for working so hard to keep the equipment in ready order today. Your dad must be so proud as you were an extra Raed today. Costa Francisco also spent a lot of time with his son Leif helping out. Thanks also to Lewis Gray for taking care of the paper work and our illustrious CD Tom Galloway. Ed White – you also are a guy who deserves much praise as you did put in a great effort running the launches today. And you and RedHill Groves donated a pile of bloody good oranges. It’s all you folks who come out and give your time freely that makes the Buzzards such a great club. Thanks to all for simply a fabulous contest.
Thats it for the Gordon Report this time round.