RES got underway shortly after midday with 19 pilots registered and hankering to fly. We had two winches with retrievers set up and the format was to be “open winch.” Raed announced we would be trying for 6 rounds during the afternoon and we would try to get through the rounds as quickly as possible.
The conditions had settled down quite nicely to be cool in the low 60’s with a 10 to 12mph wind and the air was actually very bouyant a lot of the time. With the direction of the breeze straight up the slope to the top of the hill where the house and the trees and the barn were located, this was also very conducive to a surfing if you ended up low and in trouble.
The treeline at the back of the field was also generating a nice pocket with regular bubbles of rising air as the wind blew across the field warming to meet the plantation and rise up over it on its way further up the hill. We had been hand throwing during the break between the DLG and RES and I had thrown the SuperAva into one of these bubbles to take her out for a 30 minute LSF3 flight. While I was at it I asked John Graves to go down the road 1 km to sight my plane for the 1km G & R as well. He was kind enough to ride down and locate my distant RES ship and enable me to return to land her in time for the RES pilots meeting with 2 LSF 3 tasks accomplished.
Although only set as a 6 min max the 1st round of RES saw a lot of pilots struggle in the conditions as they tried to float upwind to find lift. The topography is all wrong for this to work but many pilots still tried to fly out forward over the valley and although this worked sometimes many of them finished with 3 and 4 minute flights as they sunk out. The better technique was to remain near the peak of the hill and wait there for a bump and take it back downwind. Lance Ropke took the lead after Rd 1 with a fine 6:01 – 83 to put CD Raed in 2nd.
The 2nd round was 8 minutes and I managed to post a 7:59 – 94 to take the round with Brad Baxter flying an AvaPro making a great 7:58 – 89. The conditions were not easy and did require working downwind a lot. Half the contestants were not making their time which is sort of unusual for Florida contests of this caliber but that was an indication of the wind and low temps requiring good reads and decisive flying.
Round 3 was more of the same with light lift requiring gentle flying in the windy conditions and smart decision making not to leave it too late to make it to the front of the slope if you were getting low. Once again I managed to get my SuperAva into the rhythm with an 8:0 – 99 to win the round with Peter Schlitzkus making a fine 7:56 – 85.
Round 4 saw tougher air with a little more wind and less temp providing less lifty air as the afternoon wore on and the temps got into the low 60’s. Peter S once again made great time with an 8:03 – 96 and close behind him was Chuck McCann with a 7:57 – 94. The conditions were telling on the group though as only 6 pilots made the max.
Raed decided that Round 5 would be our last and strangely Peter’s model launched straight into the ground with radio problem or he would certainly have been a contender. The cooling conditions found just two pilots make the time and that was the very experienced Buddy Bradley as he brought his ship home for an 8:03 – 73 and Joey Melchiorre 8:00 – 45. The rest of us limped in early and took our medicine.
Once the scores were totaled the winner was a steady pilot who scored well every round without starring in any. That pilot was a fast improving Brad Baxter from Pensacola. Brad is on a comeback after many years away from the hobby. He is clearly an excellent pilot and we are going to see a lot more of him in the future. 2nd place was Lance Ropke also from Nth Florida who brought his ship home a few points ahead of myself in 3rd place.
There is nothing better than a TD contest in tough conditions. It makes all the difference when we have to work and work to keep our ships afloat and makes a good result so much more satisfying. This was a terrific bunch of competitors and a terrific contest that we will all remember well.
Thanks again Raed for being the organizer and CD. You are an amazing worker. Thanks also to the ladies Sheralyn scoring, Kim Graves selling raffle tickets and preparing trophies and Tammy (Raed’s better half) taking care of registrations, lunches and t shirt sales.
Looking forward now to the big one tomorrow. UNL