The Gordon Report
Kennyworld contests are always an excuse to “get out of town.” That’s how it works for me at least and we manage to have at least two or three visits to Kenny Goodwins gorgeous field every year. This time it was for the first ALES electric sailplane event at Kennyworld. A nice bunch O Blokes turned up to fly and although the numbers were modest with 10 pilots the quality was high and we were dished up some tough air at times to make it a great challenge.
The early morning rounds are always fairly easy at Kennyworld as things are still warming up and lift is in large columns and plenty of it. As the breeze comes up during the day it can become rather cyclic and bigger areas of sink remain to trap the unwary and bring your sailplane back to terra firma prematurely.
CD Don Grisham split us into two randomly assigned groups of 5 pilots (using Curtis Suter’s software spreadsheet). The time for each round was set at 7 minutes with a 150M launch height and once we flew 4 or more rounds we would employ a drop to “lose” each pilots worst score.
The rounds were flown quickly with Don starting a 5 minute prep time for the next group as soon as the last had landed. He would then truncate the prep time and start a one minute warning if all pilots were on the field and ready early. This is a great system and keeps the contest moving along but gives you a full five minutes between groups if you really need it to do a repair or charge a battery etc.
Kennyworld has a series of swales and valleys and with the unusual southerly blowing the landing direction was across a hill and a valley to the top of another hill. Or you could walk further down to a different LZ and land down the hill. This topography caught out a few pilots and my sailplane for one was left short of the LZ for a zero landing twice. I wasn’t the only one making a walk of shame though as the wind and the slopes took their toll.
Most rounds there was ample lift to be found and getting 7 minutes wasn’t to difficult. At one time or another everyone found a big patch of sink though as the 7 to 10mph wind dictated a ride home from weak lift through heavy sink to leave the pilot short of time or short of ground and sometimes both. It was great to see David Forbes out with a sailplkane and he brought a newcomer Robin Hoon who gallantly flew a Radian. Welcome Robin and David. Great to have you both along. Kenny Goodwin had the assistance of Art Scheurer and they both put up some pretty good times with Kenny flying a really old model called a Phoenix while Arts ship was an unnamed Bitza. Was great to have Enrico come out and fly with us also. Enrico was flying an old Kumarrow 2M V tail and he did very well with it at times.
Raed was busy with his BoT and his Radian and flew both models really well to finish a close 5th. He was also 2nd to land in the fly-off for the case of beer and nearly won it it with the foam.
The stand – out model at the contest was Paul Perret’s big 150″ Supra – E. This model could float with the best and with huge flaps was a landing machine. Paul should have kicked our butts with it but not having local knowledge was a bit of a handicap. He will be a force to be reckoned with at future ALES events and came 4th at Kennyworld. Rich Kiburis was out of sorts and uncertain whether to fly his Electron or his Pulsar on the day, but I must thank him for some sage words of advice to me as I struggled with my big Super Ava in the LZ. He coached me with some nice tips such as to extend my landing approach and they certainly helped. Rich finished up coming 3rd but would easily have finished 2nd if he hadn’t hand caught his model in Rd 5 for a zero landing score.
Tom Galloway was often seen flying his little ship at extremely high altitudes. On more than one occasion I asked “who is that little glider way out there?” to discover later it was Tom again with his old Gemini. His sky high efforts on the day earned him a fine second place. Congrats Tom – nice job.
As it turned out my resonably consistent maxes with the Super Ava earned me a 1st place in spite of missing a couple of the landings badly.
The fly off for the beer is always fun and Don put us up for a 15 minute round.
After 8 minutes there was just 3 of us still flying. Raed and his Radian, Rich and his Pulsar and I was specked out with my Super Ava. Rich had spent the first 6 or 7 minutes scratching at about 2 times tree top height until he eventually worked it out to join me at altitude. Raed also came across to the good air and CD Don Grisham declared it to be a landing contest. Rich put his down first for a 86. Raed set up a great Radian approach and scored a swiveling 82 so I knew what I had to beat. The S Ava co-operated finally in the LZ and I scored a 96 to claim the carton of Heineken (again)
Thanks to Sheralyn for doing the score entries on the day and for Raed’s missus for helping and keeping her company.
Thanks Kenny for having us. We had a great time as always and I will remain anxious to return because it is always a pleasure to fly at Kennyworld.