The Gordon Report
What a doozy it was today. A real test of man and machine against the elements.
The forecast blow of average 20 mph gusting to 34 was very accurate and made our DLG efforts during the morning a lot of fun. Prior to the contest we had a 7 to 10 mph breeze and as soon as the pilot meeting was done the wind began to howl. I am still flying my old Vixen from 3 years ago and she is nearly 10oz now so I added 1.5oz in the tube which allowed me to motor a little in the wind. After two shockers in the first round (5 X 2 min) I retrieved my model from over the fence and threw another oz on top of the wing with some electrical tape before I threw her again to obtain some respectable scores in the 8 mins of time still available. And that’s what it was like all morning with gusts over 30 and occasional spates of 15mph quickly returning to blow again at 20 or more.
Jeff Carr and Bob Whitney were just great to watch and every chance I got, I spent time on the paddock watching their air choices and decision making. It is just splendid to have great pilots from interstate come and visit us for the Tangerine and much can be learned from watching them fly.
Ray was at his usual best flirting with the downwind treeline and unfortunately our Florida forest devoured one of his models in an early round. It’s always fun to watch Ray fly because he is fearless and this often results in extra entertainment as the gallery makes bets on whether each of his flights is going to make it back or not.
There were some pretty good patches of lift at times in spite of the windy conditions and the good pilots like Ed White were often seen taking advantage with sorties deep over the treeline to the west as the Easterly really started to blow.
At the end of the day it was Jeff Carr who prevailed flying his Salonit with Bob Whitney pretty close behind and local Eddy holding up the local pride with 3rd place.
RES got underway a little after 1:30pm with Raed our most excellent CD and hard working contest organiser, having a short pilot meeting to explain the field boundaries and no fly zones etc. The wind had not abated one bit so many of the 13 brave souls who entered were seen sawing on pieces of aluminum brass and lead while Ray was mumbling about a lack of tungsten ballast for his Ava Pro. Two winches were set up with a Kawasaki Mule kindly provided by Ed to retrieve the chutes. The format was Open Winch and Raed set the first round a target of 5 mins.
It was a quick flight for some as it became fairly obvious that choosing the right part of the cycle was going to be an important strategy to avoid the abundant down air that flowed across the tiny Buzzard field most of the afternoon. My only claim to fame this afternoon was that first round where I shot a 97 landing on the 100 point tape to go with my 4:59. Peter Schlitzkus of Delaware also started really well with his Ava by flirting with the western treeline for a couple of minutes to get his time and shoot a 73 landing while Rich Kiburis returned from the wilderness with his RES Supra to throw in a 63 and a 4:57 to be in third place.
The second round was announced by Raed as a 7 min task and our own Rusty Carver returning also from a “lay-off” showed us all that he was anything but “rusty” as he carved a 7:01 – 80 score to take the lead in the contest. Rusty worked his Pulsar 3.2 hard demonstrating some great flying skills as he worked some bubbles back to the treeline and came forward to make his landing count. John Kennedy has been away from Florida working for many months and it was great to see him working his magic with his Ava too making 2nd best score for the round with a 7:02 – 51. John has seen continued improvement during the last 18 months and heaven knows how good he could be if he practiced some. Jack Wallner also visiting from interstate showed some great style with a Rd 2 flight where Jerry O’Keefe (our hardest working volunteer club member) called his time. The Jack and Jerry show was the last of only 3 flights which culminated in a 7 min max as the air deteriorated for the rest of the round.
Round 3 saw me recover some honor after a very short Rd 2 flight. I managed to take some soft air down wind right off launch and worked it for 5 mins before finally crawling the big Super Ava forward along the treeline on the North side to make the time and score a landing for a 7:00 – 83. Rusty was unstoppable though as he again scored a max and entered a 6:55 – 87. Third best flight of the round was Paul Perret from New Orleans with a 6:48 – 60.
The 4th round saw the best air of the afternoon with the wind dissipating just long enough to let the setting sun do some work and many pilots took advantage as the line formed at the two winches. Raed worked hard to get them back quickly with the Mule and some pilots were even seen chasing the chutes down to get them back for a faster launch. Rusty took a strangle hold on the contest with a masterful 7:02 – 89 as everybody tried to launch and catch the good air. Lance Ropke put in a sterling effort too with a perfect 7:00 and 86 landing. Ray Alonzo completed another sortie to get his time (and what seems like a rare thing today) actually got to the zone for some great landing points too scoring a 6:57 – 68. The Landing zone was often hard to find as many pilots fell short with the howling easterly keeping them treacherously close to the downwind pond. A couple of pilots were seen retrieving models from the waters edge and the local rule says if you don’t get wet retrieving it then it is “in bounds.”
Raed called the last round as more and more clouds obscured the sun for longer periods and the wind began to get a little chilly. Only two pilots could find sufficient lift to get maxes and one of those was Gerald Baxter doing a great job with his ship in very tough conditions to make a round winning 6:50 – 68 score. Ray Alonzo was the other as he as he got his time with a 7:05 but was short of the LZ again as many were. The best landing of the contest was made by John Kennedy as he stuck his Ava on the 99 to go with his 5:19 score for the 2nd best score of the round.
There was no doubt about who was the best and most consistent pilot on the day. Rusty Carver got it done in commanding style and was awarded the 1st place plaque with a final tally of 2083 points. Rusty not only flew the most minutes in the air he also excelled in the LZ with an average of 84 for landings on a day where 70 would have been good. 2nd place with 1851 points was John Kennedy – (Welcome back John.) And third place was snatched in the last round by great flying from Gerald Baxter with a score of 1830.
It was a challenging day for RES ships but far more fun than our regular Florida boomers where every launch is virtually a given with today’s hardware. It was really nice also to see some pilots flying home-built Bubble Dancers with Jim MacLean maidening his beautiful BD today. Not one RES model got treed today and not one got broken on launch. Great work from a terrific group of brave pilots.
Looking forward to a much milder wind tomorrow and UNL time Man on man. CU all there.