The Gordon Report
The perfect soaring weather was on order for this RES contest and as is always the case in sunny Florida the Gods delivered. Well……… they delivered brilliant soaring weather but not for near as long as we would have liked. We managed to get in five rounds before lunch and stopped for a great spread cooked up by lunch meisters Gerry Okeefe and John Graves. Water melon (my favorite) was served as well. By the time we completed lunch it had started to sprinkle and a line of storms was looming ever closer so CD Steve Formanek wisely closed the contest early around 1:30pm.
The contest began right on time at 10:00am with 15 pilots signed up including a couple of distant travelers. Ingo Donasch came up from the west coast and Ryan Woebke was also there from Santa Claus IN. His wife let him out for a day of fun while he was vacationing at nearby Cocoa Beach. It’s funny how fate works – such a great coincidence to be having a vacation just 5 minutes away from a big TD contest. Well done Ryan.
First round was an easy 5 min in air that was just starting to develop some real energy. Round 2 was also 5 mins with Rd 3 – 6 mins and Rds 4 and 5 were set at 7 mins. The landing zone was an L6 runway with a 5 foot long measuring stick of 25,50, 75 and 100 graduations.
Ryan was flying a fairly well worn little 2M and showed that he really does have the skills with a great on time landing in Rd 1 to go with his 75 landing. John Kennedy flying an Ava also showed his skill set is constantly improving with a max and the first of many scoring landings also.
The format was honors callup so CD Steve Formanek selected the top 4 pilots to start off the following round. For round 2 they were John Kennedy, Ryan, myself and Blaine Miller. It was great to have Blaine out flying as he is just recovering from a real problem with his left eye and can only really use one eye to fly. He was flying an AvA Pro and did a great job all day.
The day moved along rather quickly actually with fairly predictable lift and easy reads from the many buzzards etc. Most everyone was getting their times but as always the landing zone was a tough place to score consistently.
In the end it was a tremendously consistent performance by John Kennedy that forged a fabulous win. He even landed out with a slightly short flight for a zero landing due to a battery/plug failure. Every other landing he made counted for points to clinch the win with myself the bridesmaid once again. I got all the maxes but had a 25 and two zero landings. With the level of pilot skill continuing to rise and pilots like John getting their landings every time you just cannot afford to miss the LZ if you want to win. Ray Alonzo filled 3rd place with his AvA Pro and probably would have pipped me for 2nd if it weren’t for an unfortunate zero landing as he scratched home in the last round.
It was an interesting spread of models today with Rich Kiburis not at his best flying a JYD, Rick Eckel was out there with a very nice GL and Dan Johns drove all the way up from Pompano Beach to campaign an old ship that could have been anything. I call it a Bitza. (Bitza this and Bitza that.)
Raed also had his JYD going nicely but could get the LZ points while Don Grisham put in some great flights as well. Locals like Lee Royer and Kris Van Nostran also flew the contest to make it a very well attended event.
An interesting note is that Dillon Graves was allowed to fly his Pike unofficially during each round to add stick time as we prepare him for his Nats adventure and his quest for a place in the junior F3J team.
Thanks to Kris for setting up and tearing down. Thanks to Steve Formanek also for being a great CD. Great job as always by Gerry on the gate and preparing lunch with the expert cooking of John Graves. Everyone who came out had a great time and if you missed it you missed a bloody good time!
All round a fabulous day out soaring – can’t wait for the next. For me, Jody, Dillon, John and Blaine it is “Glider Camp” at the Nats in 2 weeks time.