Sat 08/04 – Pre Contest

The second day of the Pre contest greeted us with a beautiful sunrise as we rode the bus to the field at 6:30pm. With the large volume of dust and smoke in the air, the sun appeared as a huge blood red orb just a few degrees above the horizon. It made did a beautiful photo opportunity but with my little pocket camera I’d do not do it justice.
It was quite cold as we exited the bus and putting the models together in the shade if the tents in low temps required a little extra effort to get tape to stick to cold damp wings.
By the time the first group was flown at 9:00 the sun had done enough work to allow gentle turns and nearly everybody found enough up air to make their time in the light conditions.
The conditions improved all day to the point where short tows were yielding 1000 points to the pilots that stuck their landings.
I was throwing for Dillon, Dominic and Rich so it was difficult to take enough notes all day of what was going on generally with the senior pilots. Dominic started throwing for Rich too and I was amazed at how strong an arm he has developed in the last 12 months. Dillon also was throwing for me and he showed great skill and strength to get me launched well every single flight.
Dillon’s flights were really consistent all day as he made his times and got good 97’s, 98’s and 100’s to score well. By the 5th round he had moved up to within 12 points of 12th position which meant a couple of good rounds might see him in the fly offs tomorrow morning. He made a great flight in round 6 to reach 14th place and just 2 points away from a place in the finals. It wasn’t to be though with Dillon flying in the last group of the day in air that was so fickle we could not make a decent read and Dillon hung for 7 mins 51 without making more than 4 turns and finally came up short of the landing to drop to 31st after 7 rounds. Really nice flying though and something to be proud of in this company.
The star pilot of the day for the USA was Tom Kiesling who flew impeccably to move up to be in stay in 2nd place at the business end on 6991 points. Paul Sherman was working with Tom as a thrower and they make a great Team with Pauls very strong arm stopping the Towers sometimes. Bob McGowan had been in equal 1st with Joe Wurts or 2nd place until he landed out for a zero 7th round after chasing a downwind thermal and not hooking up.
Rich Burnoski had finally received the planes left behind in Chicago and was able to fly Xplorers today instead of the borrowed Icon 2 from Bob. He flew solid scores all day with the only blemish a 97 landing but he steadily moved through the field to finish 5th on 6976 points just 22 points behind the leader Joe Wurts on 6998 points. I worked with Rich all day alongside Dominic and it was a real pleasure to watch Rich fly his Xplorers with precision in light lift which in the early round today made him work his butt off. Dominics piloting skills have come along in leaps and bounds and he too made some great scores today and showed he can work light lift successfully with his Xplorer and stick the landings.
I didnt get to watch Tristan fly but all reports said he was very consistent and dependable in the LZ He put up a great 4 rounds today to finish in 35th place.
Cody and Daryl had both had some bad luck on day one with Cody not quite making his time in the early morning round and in spite of throwing down some 1000’s today he was never going to make it inside of the top 12 for a fly off position being so far behind. Cody was able to practice some of his trademark short tows and get his eye in for next week. Daryl had a broken line on tow in the first round of the contest which had him totally scratching at low altitude and that was followed up by being on the flightline with light models (while helping Cody in the previous group) and then having to run to the pits to get ballast when the wind suddenly came up strong and he was unable to get the model ballasted for a 15-20mph wind in time. Not fun. In spite of the apparent setback Daryl sees it as an advantage to be able to eliminate these mistakes from the real contest next week.
So we have two pilots in the flyoffs with Tom K and Rich B. 5 rounds of 15 minutes starting at 8:30am in the morning. Joe will be hard to toss but with Tom and Rich flying the way they are I believe we have both the pilots and the Team to get us on the podium at this pre-worlds event.

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