The Gordon Report – Saturday
This Florida Soaring Society contest number 3 for 2011 promised to be one to remember with our first Seeded Man on Man format in years to be flown Sunday in preparation for this years Tangerine. Saturday was planned as our standard honors callup format with CD Rick Eckel officiating.
At the pilots meeting 9:30 Rick announced we would fly 6 minutes first round and that we would start in honors formation (based on position in the series) to get the first round quickly under way.
The weather was typical spring weather in paradise with a clear sky, virtually no wind at all and a low but warming sun beating on the adjacent forest.
Jody Miller made the best of Round 1 with a perfect 6:00 and 100 with Rick Eckel, Ray Alonzo and Dan Johns also scoring landing 100’s to make up the chosen 4 for starting round 2. The landing zone was a new one with a strip/runway landing zone and new measuring sticks with 5 point graduations from 100 every 3 inches or so.
The lift on this day was probably the easiest flying conditions I have experienced in any contest flown thus far with large areas of up air available all day and little wind to dissipate the forming bubbles as the sun added constant energy to our little piece of the earth.
It is very unusual to see nearly everyone in round one get their max but of 16 starters 14 found enough air to max Rd 1.
Round 2 was started with Rick calling for 8 minutes and it was a repeat of Round one with all 16 pilots this time making within a few seconds of the target air time. This was a serious landing task and precision with the clock would also make a significant difference.
Kris Van Nostran hit the perfect score with his Pike to the 1st starting position in Round 3. Kris’s improvement is remarkeable but also testimony to his application to practice and is the perfect example of how good things happen to those who work hard.
Nathan Miller, Jim MacLean and Chuck McCann also scored 100’s to join Kris at the starters gun for Round 3.
The air remained fairly predictable but areas of sink were now appearing as the lift got stronger and a couple of pilots suffered the wrath of heavy air to miss their times. The breeze also started to affect the early landing scores and only one 100 was recorded once again by Kris Van Nostran to make two perfect scores in a row. (I have never achieved that personally so I salute you Kris.) 2nd on the honors list for round 4 was Jody with myself 3rd and Nathan 4th.
Before Round 4 was underway we had a short break for lunch and Ray Alonzo as always entertained us with one of his many electrics. Check the photos for a couple of his B2 bomber.
The conditions changed a bit as the day wore on but lift was definitely strong and in some cases seemed to cover large areas of sky. Launches were often in neutral, cross or downwind conditions as a result of the lift cycles. This variable wind also played havoc in the LZ with few pilots getting close this round.
Paul Mittendorf from Pompano flew an impeccable flight in Rd 4 for a 7:58- 90 and 1st off in Rd 5. Rick Eckel flying a Sprite in Unl competition was giving up 1.5 metres of span but doing pretty well considering. he made 2nd with 8:03-90 and Jody and Jim MacLean made up the remaining pilots to be the honors 4. Once again the lift settled around the field during this round and only 2 pilots didn’t make the max. Jody got the best of the air with an 8:02- 100 and Kris kept pounding away with good scores making a 8:02-95. Nathan Miller and Ray Alonzo flying his new 3.8 X were 3rd and 4th.
The contest was very close after 5 rounds as a slim lead of 30 points was held by Jody over myself in second place and Nathan was 79 points behind me after suffering a short and zero landing in Rd 4.
With fantastic lift available but variable winds playing with the minds of landing pilots the LZ held the key to this contest and when Jody inexplicably landed short for a 50 he left the gate wide open for me to clinch a win with some conservative landings and maxes. I shot an 8:02 -85 in Round 6 to take the lead and the number one honors position for the last round. Dan Johns, Kris and Nathan joined me at the winches and we began the last round.
Once again the air was great with plentiful lift and I knew all that was required was an honest approach and landing. I made the 100 pointer (my first on the day) to finish the contest and then worked with Jody to ensure he secured 2nd place with a good final score. Nathan put in a great Rd 7 flight but it wasn’t enough to pass Jody and for the first time in TD contests in Florida both Jody and I celebrated finishing ahead of Nathan. Life is a series of goals and this was one we both had set over 12 months ago and finally accomplished on the same day. In the past I would normally “blow’ one round and finish down the pack but on this day that would not be the case as I completed every max and outscored the field in the LZ with consistent flying. I will remember this day as my most significant victory yet as it is the nearest I have been to perfection over 7 rounds.
Top Sportsman was easily won by Kris Van Nostran. Kris is poised for a big win as his skills and confidence continue to grow. It was great to have John Kennedy back too as he easily flew his 3.8 X into 2nd Sportsman. 3rd Sportsman was a consistent Jim MacLean and his X.
It was definitely one of the best thermal days in the last few years at the Buzzards and one that I will always remember. Thank you to Raed for looking after the equipment and also to Rick Eckel for CDing the event. Thank you to Rick from Lakeland for helping out so much with the scoring. Great job.