During the night the wind did increase as per the forecast but when Sunday dawned on the Kennyworld hill in Ocala FL the sky looked just the same as it had all weekend with more overcast a real chill in the air and a 10mph breeze from the North. We started proceedings an hour earlier on Sunday with Rick Eckel rounding up the pilots for a meeting at 8:45. Rick announced we would be doing 8 minutes right from the start and the format would remain seeded man on man with ther 100 point tapes in the zone. One of the great things that the CD’s allowed for this Tangerine was the ability of the pilot to stand where they want to in the LZ (FAI style). No safety line restricting the location of the pilot. Penalty for hitting oneself zero landing. Penalty for hitting someone else zero flight. A great move forward (literally) and happily embraced by all the pilots.
Dan Johns from Pompano started the day with the top score of round 1 with a masterful 7:59 – 96. Peter Schlitzkus also put in a great flight to set the scene for the day with a 7:51 – 94. Peter had been flying well all weekend and now his landings were really coming together. The remaining pilots in his group were buried with 5 minute times or less so Peter also made great use of his thermal experience. Just like Fri and Sat the air early on was tricky and some very good pilots like Ray Alonzo and Dillon Graves didn’t make their times Rd 1 either.
Round 2 was a much easier round as the air improved dramatically and we could all relax and enjoy the thermals. I managed to hit the hundred in conjunction with exactly 8:00 to take a perfect 1100 points while Dillon had 2nd highest score with an 8:00 – 97.
Round 3 saw even more improvement in conditions with the rare occurrence of every pilot in every group making their time as the lift areas increased in size and frequency and the temps finally started to rise. All weekend we had been wearing jackets to stay warm but by the time Round 3 began there were many pilots in short sleeves. The highest score set in rd 3 was Don Richmond’s 8:01 – 97 followed by Jeff Duval’s 8:01 – 95. I had a landing shocker which took me out of immediate contention.
CD Rick Eckel announced that we would continue with Round 4 before breaking for lunch. It was about this time that the sun finally broke through and the overcast melted away to reveal a glorious blue sky. The 4th Round saw much more distinct cycles of lift begin with sink in between just like we usually have in Florida. This caught out many pilots as they failed to avoid the sink and missed their time. Those of us who consistently followed the lift behind and flew deep sorties to the south came home with enough minutes on the board. At the end of Rd 4 Peter Schlitzkus had hit the front with consistent times and landings. Jeff Duval had moved into second place and I was sitting a few points back in 3rd. Dillon and I both scored 1094 for the highest points for the round but that didn’t move either of us up as the others also posted similar high scores in the easier conditions.
Lunch was a fantastic spread of various sandwiches and salads. Great job by Tammy Elazzawi and Raed and Tiffany.
Round 5 was flown in cycling conditions and as in rd 4 some pilots didn’t recognize the sink adjacent to the lift and sunk out for some surprising low scores. We had two long streamers atop poles throughout the contest and they certainly allowed for easier reading of the downwind air. Much could be learned by many if they used this information more diligently. Jamie Mercados group two all achieved maxes with Jamie posting the perfect score of 1100. Lenny Strickland and Peter Schlitzkus both made scores of 1092.
With just one round to fly – Pete was in 1st on 5449 points. Jeff Duval was 2nd on 5435 and I was 3rd on 5430. Round 6 was fairly uneventful except for Jeff Duval making an uncustomary 67 landing letting me into 2nd place while Peter shot another 92 to hold the lead.
The Tangerine has a tradition of having a 5 pilot fly-off where the 5 best pilots for the weekend have a one flight shoot out for a nice trophy. The method of determining the eligible pilots is a combination of three scores. One normalized score from either DLG or RES on Fri plus the scores from Sat and Sun. We also have a Grand Champion trophy for the pilot who tops the combined scores. After a short recess while we determined the five pilots CD Rick Eckel announced that we would be flying one 15 minute flight. The top 5 pilots were Gordon Buckland, Jeff Duval, Lance Ropke, Don Richmond and John Kennedy.
The 15 minutes became a real easy task as two separate thermals 7 minutes apart were marked by Buzzards so it came down to a 5 way landing task.
I was first to land and really screwed it up with an 87. I watched then as the others landed and it was clear that Jeffs was very close to the hunskie. Lance landed short as did john and Don. Jeff let out a cheer as he had a 97 to take the Shoot out in style.
Before the presentations we did the big raffle draw and thanked the terrific sponsors for providing the goodies to make the raffle possible.
3rd place Sportsman was awarded to Mike Williams on 4833 points, 2nd place was picked up by Buddy Bradley on 5095 points, while 1st was won by Paul Sullivan on 5448 points.
3rd placed Expert was Jeff Duval with 6502 points, 2nd place was Gordon Buckland on 6518 points and 1st place award went to Peter Schlitzkus on 6539 points. Jeff Duval was awarded the nice Shoot-out trophy and I was presented with the Grand Champion Trophy.
The trophies were a fine effort by Jody Miller who created the wooden plaques and finished them for the club.
The Tangerine was finally over for another year and I will always remember it as a 3 day lesson in patience with light lift that was enough but required careful concentration to make the most of it. I was very proud of the Buzzards club led by president Raed Elazzawi his wife Tammy who organized a great event out of town and pulled it off as one of the best Tangerines ever. My wife Sheralyn also made it possible for me to fly well by taking on the responsibility of the scoring, For this I am forever thankful.
CYA all next year.