The Registration Day also became the fly off day for the Pre contest and with an 8:30am start it was clearly going to be tough air for 15 minutes with a daily early breeze and little sun activity.
As scheduled we started on time with Tom Kiesling and Rich Burnoski in the finals. Tom had Paul Sherman throwing and Rich used Cody to throw the model. I was very flattered to be chosen by Rich to be the second caller and Dominic came out to watch also. we had chosen lane 8 in the lane draw to keep us close to Tom in lane 10 and Joe W in lane 12.
The first round of 15 minutes was launched to the west with a 5 to 7 mph cross from the North. Rich got a fairly mediocre launch compared to the pack and headed into the wind to start. I was assigned to watch the other guys to our immediate right on the flight line who happened to be Arijan beside us and of course Joe who immediately turned crosswind to the South east where the nearest treeline was. Once he reached the treeline he headed east and followed it to the end. He barely lost any altitude from launch and in fact he probably gained a few hundred feet by the. time he reached the front of it. The models were so far away at times that it was really hard to re acquire visual on a model if you left it for more than a few seconds.
Rich kept out in front pretty much and found some decent air headed into the wind, but within 4 minutes after trying a couple of turns he was better off to stay quartered into the wind.
It was clear that where Joe had gone on the treeline was working and as he moved forward to the front of the tree line he had gained altitude. Many of
The other pilots slid to the right also to take advantage of what appeared to be a wave that was providing constant lift in the gentle breeZe.
With our lower launch and spending time out front by the time we moved back and deep to the treeline we were already at half he altitude of most of the other pilots. Rich worked the air taking a couple of pops back downwind but eventually after 6 minutes or so we realized we were not going to maintain and we would need to come back for a landing.
Rich did a great job of bringing the Xplorer back to the spot and posted a 7 minute plus round with a 100. Tom made his time and posted a landing as did Joe and Arijan in the adjacent lane.
The second round saw everybody go straight for the same area and ride the wave for their 15 min max. At times the visibility was so bad that the planes were quite difficult to see let alone determine which model was which. It was very surprising that all the models made it back.
Rich made 14:55 with a 99 landing and Tom also for his time. By the beginning of the 3rd and final round the wind had increased some so we raced to get ballast but eventually decided to launch without it. That was found to be a mistake.landing and Tom also for his time. By the beginning of the 3rd and final round the wind had increased some so we raced to get ballast but eventually decided to launch without it. That was found to be a mistake. Meanwhile the CD in his wisdom turned the course 90 degrees to face the wind better from the north. This put what was originally an advantage for us at the southern end now a disadvantage as we became on the end of the line and further downwind to the west.
As we launched and headed for the honey hole it was clear that the wind was much stronger than the previous round at about 10mph. In spite of that Arijan took a short tow and headed to the trees. He found air at about 150 feet altitude but he had travelled so far he was having difficulty flying the model in the lift. With the clock at barely 2 minutes Arijan was seen walking past us with his caller along the line as he followed his model to keep it in sight.
He never did return though because at about 10 mins into he flight he ended up landing out a long way away from the LZ.
The air was really difficult and Rich took some pops back from the tree line multiple times to finally finish too low where a ride home appeared to be in danger. He started the ride home and at first it looked like we would be OK but alas it was not to be. As often happens when you have a long way to come against an increasing wind it appears you are moving forward but you are not making much headway. We outlanded with 4 mins left – took a relaunch and posted a sub 4 minute score.
Meanwhile Tom had also found our light models wouldn’t return and landed out leaving of the pilots who launched from our end – just Joe still in the air. He prudently came home as the vision deteriorated and got a landing at somewhere around 13 minutes. The guys at the other end of the line where closer to the treeline by about 150 meters. This made it easier to reach and easier to see the models once they were out there. Some of them made their time and got home. Joe finished up second for his efforts and since I was on the line and active I really couldn’t see who was the longest in the air from up the other end. We later learned it was Lionel Fornier from France who got it done all three rounds to take 1st place. Joe 2nd, Philip Kolb 3rd. Eser 4th and Jojo 5th.
The rest of the day was spent processing the models and doing registration etc. During lunch we were entertained by a group playing drums and wooden xylophones which was very nice.
During lunch the unmistakeable sound of an aero engine at low altitude buzzing our site got everyone quickly out of the lunch tent to witness a very amazing display of aerobatics by a pilot in an Extra 300. It wasn’t so much the routine he went through that was amazing but more the low altitude he did knife edges and snap rolls – like about 20 to 30 meters above the ground!
After noon there was a presentation ceremony for the teams where the Team Managers marched with the flag to the podium and stood behind while the dignitaries welcomed us to the World Championships.
A photo session followed with all the teams assembling together for pictures in groups and finally all together. IT was a fun day for all.
Tomorrow promises very tough conditions for the 1st day of the worlds with winds forecast from 15mph to 25mph.