FSS 4 – Sat 05/19/12 – IRKS Cocoa

The Gordon Report – FSS 4 Day 1 Saturday
The IRKS field is always a thermal paradise and this weekend was no different with temps in the low 90’s and only a 7 to 12 NE breeze to deal with. Kris Van Nostran hd mowed a nice landing area and set up two winches with retrievers for a semi- Man on Man event. At the pilot meeting Kris explained that before each round we would randomly be split into two groups of 6 pilots and each group would be launched as quickly as possible with the other seven timing the flights. This format proved to be an excellent way of moving the contest along very quickly but unfortunately we didnt have a scoring program to normalize each flight group separately so all 14 plots were normalized as one group. This is not ideal as one group might potentially launch in tough air while the other didn’t and the scores would not reflect the MoM as intended. Next time we fly this format we will be ready with a suitable scoring program to resolve this issue. In spite of the potential issues the rounds went by quickly and the best pilots on the day rose to the top.
Ray Alonzo has become very proficient thermalling his new Xplorer 4.0 since its debut at the last FSS event and he really set the standard all day in the landing zone too to win the event with a very healthy margin. The LZ was a marked pin approx 8 feet from a safety line. Zero landing score if the model crossed the safety line. (Landing score was measured using a graduated stick with 100 requiring an arrival approx 6″ from the peg, 75 approx 15″, 50 within 24″ and up to 48″ for a 25.)
Jamie Mercado was also in fine form with his 4.0 Xplorer and used the active conditions well to get nearly all his times and score great Landing points as well. Jamie’s consistency rewarded him with a fine second place on the day. It is no accident that Jamie continues to improve. He flys each flight with purpose and his study of the air has definitely improved no end since he began earnestly working on his LSF program.
A couple of late nights during the week saw me finally complete my new X2 Xplorer in time for this event. Prior to the start if the contest I had Dillon hand throw it for a quick trim flight and I was really surprised at the height this 63oz model achieved on the first toss. Nine turns and about a minute later I brought her back to the LZ. My first impressions were that this 3.5m model flew as amazingly light as it actually is. First winch launch was the same with a quite fantastic zoom even for a mild conservative launch. I spent 15 minutes in the air on her maiden, setting flaps/elev comps and flight mode camber settings and I was ready to go for the contest. Unfortunately I let this phenomenal new ship down by making a bad read in an early round and landed short of time. I also failed to complete the 12 minutes assigned by Kris for round 7 which definitely ensured I wouldn’t be challenging Ray on this particular day. I did do well enough in the LZ to salvage third place on the X2’s debut.
Dillon flew his 3.5 Xplorer well all day with some great landings including a couple of 100’s and should have made 2nd place at least if not challenging Ray for the lead. Unfortunately our team work failed to produce a max when he and I were paired up by the random draw and as his coach I felt very disappointed I was unable to help him save the flight. We had made a plan to go to the right where lift was marked by birds a long way out, but we just did not commit to the plan as a team and changed our course upwind to finish up out of good air with no saving bubbles on the way home. Sink can do that to you, but I feel very responsible when I am the timer for Dillon and we fail as a team in any contest round.
Ist placed Sportsman was Don Grisham flying a Supra with Chuck McCann 2nd and Mike Naylor 3rd.
It was really great that Kris tried some new things for this event and calling a 12 minute round was also fabulous as this was not at all easy in conditions where the wind was enough that it required at least 2 thermals and maybe three to make the time.
The contest was completed in near record time which allowed us the opportunity to attempt some LSF distance tasks. Mike Naylor launched a couple of times but was unable to get specked out high enough to begin the course so we decided we would try again in less windy conditions on Sunday during the lunch break or after the event.
Another very successful soaring event completed at the IrKS with the promise of more of the same on Sunday.
Full Scores Saturday FSS 4

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