IRKS Contest – 03/21/09

IRKS club soaring contest #1 was held on Saturday, March 21 at the 524 soaring site. It was a big success with nine competitors showing up, ready to brave the forecast winds. The day turned out to be just short of spectacular with winds not blowing much over ten to fifteen, although some gusts were near the twenty knot range. As sailplaners know, the wind is only a ground effect and does not affect the sailplane once it it free of the launch line, but can make for some truly amazing launches. The thermals were surprisingly prevalent and some pilots got their ten-minute maxes. We flew five rounds at 3, 5, 7, 8, and 10 minutes and had a 50/100 point landing tape. We had a new visitor flying with us by the name of Gordon Buckland who will become a regular. The other pilots were Jim Maclean, Don Fourson, Jim Blacketer, Lee Royer, Kieth Baldwin, Kris VanNostran, John Vennerholm and one other who deserves special mention. Jerry O’Keefe showed up at 8:30AM to man the gate until about 10:30 when he had to leave to work at his church. He couldn’t even get to fly, but was there to help anyway. This was a very special thing Jerry did and we thank him. His kind of spirit is what makes our sport so satisfying. This was a special day also because the new club winch, retriever and winch cart ( built by Jim Blacketer) were thoroughly tested and worked flawlessly from the very first launch. IRKS now has a launch rig that is as good as anyone could hope for. The first Saturday of each month will be a regular event called a Soaring Clinic, to start at around 11:00 AM without closing.the power field. There is growing interest on the part of several members to also start working on their LSF tasks and John Vennerholm will coordinate with Rick Eckel of the Buzzards to begin intra-club LSF activities during these clinics. If you are not a regular sailplane pilot (yet), come over and see what we do.

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