The Gordon Report Saturday UNL.
Saturday brought slightly lighter winds for the 31 contestants to cope with but the gusts at times still managed to top 25mph and because it was not a constant thing pilots had to debate whether ballast was necessary or not. The day was forecast to be cloudy and a cool 80 degrees as the cold front left us to the south and the onshore flow continued with a strong easterly component.
We set up 7 winches for this MoM contest with 6 for each group and one spare. Raed Elazzawi our CD got the contest under way after a short pilot meeting where we described the modified landing zone of 100 point tapes but truncated circles allowing the safety line to be positioned 10 feet from the 100 point hunski. Any model with it’s nose past the safety line would be scored a zero landing. We used Pat Crosby’s WinSoar application for scoring and normalized the score prior to adding the landing points.
The first round was set as a 5 minute task and this was pretty well a gimme as all but two pilots of the entire 31 in the field got the max. Raed set subsequent rounds at 8 minutes as the air was clearly quite active. The 1st round leaders were Jody Miller, Lance Ropke and Ingo Donasch. It was great to have Ingo fly with us one last time as he returns to Germany to live early December.
Round 2 saw some interesting events including an Xplorer center section relieving itself of a left tip on launch under the control of Ray Alonzo. Ray did a masterful job of flying the aircraft back to the field safely for a score of 1:30. A variety of air was available during this round and some pilots really struggled with the changing conditions. Some groups were a landing contest with all up air out in front while other groups flew in 5 minute air and struggled to make the time. In Group 5, I was able to return to the downwind treeline and sample the tree lift with 3 1/2 minutes still to go and managed to surf just above, behind and between the trees for long enough to bury my group by a couple of minutes. Group 6 saw Dillon Graves put in a solid performance to make his time and score in the LZ in very blustery conditions. The top 3 after 2 rounds were Kris Van Nostran (who is by far the most improved Florida soaring pilot this year), Gordon Buckland and Len Strickland and his Maxa all the way from Virginia.
By round 3 the air was amazing with some groups just floating on upwind getting higher and higher with no turns or effort required. The wind was still better than 10mph with gusts at times up to 25 so venturing too far downwind to the west was not preferable. A few pilots missed the boat in their groups and that’s what makes MoM so interesting and so much fun. It is really essential to cover the other pilots in your group. Sometimes pilots didn’t do that and after venturing away from the pack on their own found themselves out of the game and landing early. The leaders after 3 rounds were Kris Van Nostran with another great flight of 7:56 – 96, Rusty Carver who was quietly working away with consistent flights every round and Rich (windy) Kiburis flying his Onyx. Rich is usually a master of the wind and this weekend seemed to be no exception.
Round 4 saw the cycles of lift really pronounced where the first two groups away struggled to even get 5 minutes in difficult air. Lance Ropke with some excellent piloting was an exception as the only pilot in those first two groups to find his max. Dillon Graves our F3J Junior US rep showed us what he can do with an excellent 8:01 – 89 in Group 3 while the top group found mixed air again to really mix up the standings going into what would be the last round of the day. Kris, Rich and Ingo couldn’t find enough up air and landed early leaving Rusty, Gordon and Bob Whitney from Atlanta to fight it out for the 1000. The leaders with just one round to fly were the same three with Rusty launching 1st in the final group of Round 5 followed by Bob and then Gordon. The scores were amazingly tight too with Rusty on 4338. Bob had accumulated 4328 points to be 10 behind the lead while my score of 4313 was just 25 off the lead.
The air was decent for the last round and the first 5 groups mostly got their times by hanging and working air back for a few turns occasionally. A lot of time the lift simply broke up and a lot of pilots got much better results from “surfing” into the wind than making too many thermal turns. Occasionally some amazing air would come through and most everybody would speck out at will. The LZ was proving to be a great test with the wind really trying the patience of many pilots as they tried to spear the hunski.
In the end Rusty prevailed with a masterful 8:01 – 88 to finish on 5426 and Bob landed 12 seconds early leaving me an opportunity to gain one place to finish second with 5401 points putting Bob into third with 5385 points
There is no doubt that the excitement of seeded Man on Man soaring really beats the Open Winch TD type of contest as each pilot gets to compete directly against the others of the same skill level and anything can happen in air that isn’t kind.. Congratulations to Rusty for an amazing display of skills working air from low levels to make his time and landing like a machine. Great job.
The 1st place sportsman was none other than the hugely improved Kris Van Nostran. Kris has been working very hard all year and it shows in his scores. 2nd Sportsman was Buddy Bradley and Randy Decos from Tampa was third. Great to have you flying with us Randy. Come over and see us more often.
Thankyou Raed for working so hard as CD and ensuring that this event was such a huge success. You are a workaholic and I do not know how the Buzzards could ever do with out you.
Tomorrow is a new day and another LSF5 win opportunity.
- February 25, 2021, 11:08 pmClear
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