What an incredible soaring day. With everything from soft conditions early to a howling gale which lifted 4 team tents out of the ground and sent them further than 200 meters downwind along with models and And anything else that wasn’t bolted down. The Canadian and Sth African tents Poland and Sweden/Norway tents were included in the mayhem with many models damaged by the thermal induced gust that was probably more than 40 mph.
The soaring was really brutal at times with many difficult rounds experienced in the latter part of the day when the wind got up around the FAI maximum of 12m/sec.
Early on the wind was a gentle 4 to 5 mph and with the first round starting at 8:30 am the pilots found it a little tough while it was fairly cold. Nobody made their time in the first group. We had a bye so our first flight was in group two. Bob Mcgowan was first up in a wind of nearly 10mph and patches of very very light lift. Bob hung for a while and the guys that worked downwind drifted without gaining and Bob decided to stay hanging and take a landing when he was around 6 minutes. He got a 7:20 and a 100. Thomas didn’t max Rd 1, but flying his Xplorer 4.0 he took the 1000 with the longest flight of the round. Brendon flew his Icon and maxed with a 9:54 and pushed the landing in the last second for a 1000 points. Cody maxed also with the Egida for a score of 992. Daryl did what a world champion does and scored 998.7 with a flawless flight in the faurly light conditions.
The juniors flew their first round immediately upon completion of the senior round 1. Tristan was up first and did a great job of flying a thermal downwind and surfing back but didn’t quite make it home to post a landing score. Fortunately someone in Tristans group had a midair on launch and the lottery reflight included Tristan who then then flew his pants off to take the the 1000 in the reflight.
Dominic’s flight with the Xplorer was also a beauty as he cored some great lift and made a great landing to take the 1000 in his group. Dillon was up third and we added 15oz of ballast for the wind. Once again the conditions were awesome as we launched into lift and Dillon flew deep downwind and back to complete the flight with a 97 landing for 995 points.
The second round saw the wind building and pilots starting to add ballast in greater and greater quantities. Bob launched his full carbon Icon 2 with ballast to 110oz. Wind was crazy strong and he landed at around 6 minutes with another fantastic landing of 100. Bob was unsure whether those that landed after him had relaunched but when the scores came in he was within 30 seconds of the longest flight and took a score of 919. Brendon launched into big lift with a fully ballasted Icon and took it downwind to the limit of his visibility (even after he walked nearly 1/4 mile downwind to keep the model in sight.) The ride home was not good as even with 35 oz of ballast on board the wind was relentless and Brendon was really not coming home and he landed out in the cornfield. By the time Bob Mcgowan and Brendon raced full pelt back to the launch area Bob was so winded he could hardly throw Brendon’s plane but they finally got his backup Xplorer airborne with 35 seconds on the clock and he managed a very stressful 98 landing for a pitiful score of 190.7 considering all the effort. A score is a score though so full credit under the trying conditions.
Tom Keisling chose to fly his Fosa F3B model with direct tow and 1.5 line and thoroughly out-launched the field and sat on top of the gaggle until he got his thermal and drifted downwind to easily make his max and landing for the 1000. That was a sweet flight for a model specifically suited to the conditions. Daryl once again stayed on his game and kept the field at bay with another 995 to stay at the top end of the leaderboard. Cody also followed big lift downwind with the Egida and was trying to work his way home taking a few turns in pops on the way home until finally he was in the middle of the worlds biggest sinkhole with a wind that said no you don’t and his model was stranded about 1/2 mile downwind. A relaunch saw him take a score of 263.
The juniors launched the second round at the height of the wind with a measured 16m/sec during Dillons first launch. We were doing a direct tow with 1.5 mono and I was throwing. I can guarantee I have never even considered launching a model in that sort of wind around 30 – 35 mph. The model is the new Xplorer 2 and though it weighs 58oz dry we had ballasted to 102oz and it took an amazing launch. These models are incredibly strong. Unfortunately we launched into ridiculous sink and the result was a relaunch at about 3:00mins in. The relaunch yielded a broken line at 3/4 of launch and the air was still horrible leaving us landing out 300 metres away. Our third launch got us a score on the board but it certainly wasn’t pretty. This is a long contest though and a score is infinitely better than a zero. Dominic was next to launch and once again the wind was crazy strong when we launched and Dominic was unable to get the model into a good piece of air to get out. We decided to relaunch and did so to post a reasonable score. Tristan was last up and he flew a great flight to get up, stay up and get down for the longest time in the slot.
The third round round for the seniors was led of by Tom Keisling and his Fosa. He had it loaded up with 45 oz which in hind sight was probably excessive with a lack of active air but in any case he was in the wrong place after launch and landed short of his time. Daryl was also loaded up to the max with the I2 and he outlasted everybody bar one but landed just few seconds before the last guy. Uncharacteristically he missed his landing in the huge wind. Bob went to the flight line with a fully loaded model at 110oz but the wind had died some, so during prep time he reset the ballast to a weight of 95oz. Then in the last minute he decided to go with his light model at 83oz. The launch was great with a direct tow and he found light lift right way. Working multiple patches of light lift he made his time in difficult conditions and hit another great landing of 99. Bob has flown the Pre-contest and the first day of the Worlds and his lowest landing score is 99. That is something to crow about. Cody took big lift back downwind with Benedict Feigl but was unable to stay long enough in the good air to make the full 10 minutes and he landed a couple of minutes early. The most amazing flight was that of Brendon Beardsley. Brendon was less than half way up when the entire wing of his Xplorer parted company with the fuselage. The fuselage finished up speared in the ground behind the towers and the wing was retrieved later a couple hundred metres downwind. Brendon tried to launch his second model but couldn’t get the flaps to work. Eventually he decided to go without flaps and about 2 1/2 minutes into working time he was finally airborne for a score. His flight was a beauty as the entire rest of his group were landing around 5 minutes except for one pilot who was up for around 6. Meanwhile he was at much higher altitude and managed to fly a plus 6 minute flight and stuck an incredible landing without flap to take the 1000.
We still don’t have scores posted for the 3rd round but you will find the scores in the photo gallery below after 2 rounds.
This was very much the most exciting days soaring I have ever experienced with unimaginable wind and gusts of such great proportions due to thermals, that all the ballast in the world could not save many models from outlandings. When the 4 tents were ripped out and pelted down the farm pilots came from everywhere and lay on models to stop them from blowing away. It was a scene of mayhem for about an hour while we retrieved the debris and continued the contest.
Tomorrow is forecast even stronger winds of 25 to 35 mph and the potential for bone chilling conditions with a high in the 40’s.
Nice soaring weather huh?
Isn’t that just what makes a world Championship a real challenge and maybe a bit of a lottery???
We will find out soon enough.