FSS 4 – Punta Gorda – Sat 04/16/11

The Gordon Report Saturday


The very Belated Gordon Report.
The Punta Gorda contest in the FSS series is really a must attend event if you fly sailplanes in Florida. It has just the right amount of oldtimer charm and new skool planes and pilots to be a really neat event. The venue is unusual in that it is right on Burnt Store Road which can be pretty busy at times. With the beach just a few hundred yards away the sea breeze from the gulf always plays it’s part as well. This contest was planned for two days and Saturday started fairly breezy and hot, but great thermal conditions were promised and the CD Bill Grier got us underway around 10:00am for a 7:00 minute task open winch. The LZ consisted of a circular zone about 20″ dia measured with a tape for 50 points and about 40 inches dia for 40 points and so on down to 10 points of that up to about 10 feet away from the center.
10 pilots were entered and the day started off well for most with maxes and landings coming fairly easily. For some obscure reason I managed to bump into a power line 1/4 mile downwind in an impossible attempt to return home from a failed read. My 3.8 X dropped like a stone to the ground with full flap deployed and I retrieved her without a scratch. That was an omen of things to come for me.
Jody lead the round with a great 7:01 – 50 and that was how the day continued. Jody piled on the maxes and the 50 landings while everybody else played catch up. At the conclusion of 6 rounds Jody had given up just 8 seconds and 30 landing points on a day where he was just on fire. On the other hand I started with an Off field for a zero and after 2 good maxes and landings in Rds 2 and 3 – I lost the model due to a bad battery in Rd 4. She did two giant outside loops to plough into a telephone pole and the ground at high speed. It was a sad day for me as this beautiful 3.8 was my pride and joy and now due to stupidity in not replacing a stressed battery I had lost her entirely. I flew the remainder of the contest with my Icon 2 backup flying her maiden as a contest flight in Rd 5.
It was a really good thermal day though, with just the right amount of breeze to force some serious decision making as the sailplanes drifted downwind sometimes further than one would like before gaining enough height for the trip home. As a result a lot of rounds saw pilots drop times. Mike Popescue had his Satori out and was campaigning it beautifully to finish 3rd after 6 rounds just 3 pionts behind Dan Johns who as always was very consistent and brought his Xplorer home in 2nd place to Jody. Don Grisham piloted his Supra into 3rd place Sportsman with Moe Mollen taking out 2nd place Sportsman while Larry Squire won the top Sportsman place.
The Pompano guys were there in force and it’s great to see how they support this contest every year. Mike Naylor was flying his Shadow very well all day and but for one rotten flight in Rd 4 he would have been in the places. Bud Elder (a local pilot) was flying a Pike Superior with lots of skill and bravado and he too could well have finished in the money but for one bad flight in Rd 5. So most everyone had a story to tell – as the lift came and went and if you launched too long after it went, there was no catching it. Bill Grier handed out the awards after the event was called with six rounds flown and we packed up to enjoy the Florida afternoon in readiness for Sunday.
I had some serious sorrows to drown as I packed up my totally trashed 3.8 Xplorer.

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