IRKS Gentle Lady + 09/19/09

Gentle Lady Plus Contest – The Gordon Report
IRKS Indian River Kontrol Society (Now known as Space Coast Aeromodeling Park) held their third soaring contest for the year today Sat 19th Sept. Kudos to the club members and soaring team at this fantastic flying site. (It’s an active landfill but they have a great soaring facility on reclaimed land.)
The contest was for all 2 channel sailplanes up to 2M wingspan and of course the Gentle Lady being the star entrant.
14 flyers met for a 9:30 pilots meeting and flying was underway just before 10:00am. CD Kris Van Nostran set the 1st round task at 4 minutes with a fairly brisk breeze blowing in from the North east. The were more Gentle Lady’s flying than any other type but many other 2M sailplanes were also represented. They included, Chrysalis, Lil Birds, Allegro Light, a home design flown by the famous Dave Platt called a “Lady Killer”. and I had my rare old Ralph Learmont 2M TBird from Australia. This plane I built in the early 80’s from a kit by Southern Sailplanes and my wife retrieved it from Down Under for me in March. It still flys OK, is rather heavy – but perfectly suited to windy conditions where the CD specifies a short task and excellent points for landing. The landing points were 25 anywhere on the field, 50 anywhere in the mowed landing area and two circles about 6 feet and 3 feet worth 75 points an 100 points respectively.
It was clear that after Round 1 Kris Van Nostrans choice of only a 4 minute max was perfectly justified, as most of the field failed to make their time in breezy conditions where the weak lift that was available sometimes broke up quickly and the light GL’s found themselves way down wind in just a couple of minutes turning.
By the third round the heat of the day was stirring up plenty of bubbles and we were given a 5 minute task. The whole purpose of a Gentle Lady contest is to encourage beginners and those who don’t fly sailplanes very often to to enjoy a contest with a basic sailplane. It was fantastic to see some flyers who generally fly much larger power models doing really well in the choppy conditions we were flying.
For me it was a great surprise to find out that my timer was someone I have read about since I was a kid. Dave Platt a famous free flight and RC flyer from the 70’s and earlier came out to fly with us. He is a great guy and has a wealth of knowledge about the hobby and it’s history. His “Lady Killer” design flew very well but was too light for the windier conditions we endured after lunch.
Lunch was provided by the IRKS folks in the form of burgers and hotdogs at a very reasonable price. It was a pleasure to spend the day with this club as they thoroughly organized the contest in all aspects. By Round four Lee Royer flying his Allegro Light very consistently was in 3rd position with me just ahead of him piloting the TBird and Kris Van Nostran our CD was showing us all how to Git Er Dun leading the show by 121 points with a Lil Bird.
I had been having issues with my old TBird and had missed the 5 minute max by 2:30 in Round 4 but kept my scores up there with sizzling hot, “slide in” scoring landings.
During Round 5 the wind and lift was even trickier with these old 2 channel birds and only 4 flyers made the 5 minute time. Raed Elazzawi flying a GL got his max as did Jim Maclean flying a Chrysalis. This is the same Chrysalis that was perched high in a tree at the Buzzards field a few weeks ago, Jim did an expert job of rebuilding it and it looks like new. Lee and I also got our Maxes and landing points but Kris and the rest of the field struggled with the changing conditions. Round 6 and Round 7 dealt us similar fare with some of us finding sufficient small bubbles to just maintain launch height but many not catching the ride and landing early. Raed once again got his time as did Wayne Savold and Lewis Gray flying a Gentle Lady.
The last round also saw Steve Formanek get his max and Buzzards Pres Rick Eckel score max point as well. The story of the day was the tough blowy conditions where careful flight planning was required to first get a max and landing points were a must to score well. All pilots had a lot of fun in a very laid back atmosphere.
I managed to max the last three rounds and also score good landing points with my TBird and this consistency translated into a winning score. Though the TBird is rather heavy and flys fast, it was the perfect ship for these breezy conditions. The field finished as below.

Gordon Buckland ——– 2151
Lee Royer ————— 2003
Jim MacLean ————- 1976
Kris VanNostran ——— 1884
Lewis Gray —————-1750
Raed Elazzawi ———— 1696
Wayne Savold ———— 1689
Steve Formanek ———- 1672
Don Grisham ————–1664
Rick Eckel —————–1635
Jim Blacketer ————–1490
Tom DeJarnette ———–1453
Gerry Armstrong ———-1160
Dave Platt ——————633

A big thankyou to all the members at the Space Coast Aeromodeling Park. You did a fine job and we look forward to seeing you run some sanctioned AMA soaring events next year.

Click here to go to the RCGroups Gordon Report with lots of photos.

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