Thu 08/09 – Day 4 WC
Thursday was the last day of the prelims and it started out just like the last few with a heavy frost and quite cold conditions in the morning.
Our van had broken down on the way home yesterday so we were all on the bus today. The bus wasn’t always a good thing either because it had broken down twice this week already but it was an uneventful trip under blue sky’s rather than the overcast we have been experiencing.
The seniors flew first and every pilot made it through the round unscathed in very light lift conditions although Brendon didn’t move up from the 13 place he was in to make the 12 for the flyoffs.
The juniors started with Dillon up first and after yesterday’s efforts to finally break into the top 10 we just needed to consolidate With a solid round. The exact opposite happened as we ended up a little too far separated from our competition and when they started to make their air work we finished up 150 feet lower than the gaggle. Dillon flew the X2 really well for 5 minutes on light lift as he drifted further toward the treeline but he never did gain enough height to buy his ride home. We took him toward the treeline to attempt to catch a new thermal but finally ended up outlanding and having to re launch his spare. The relaunch gave us a 2:39 flight with a 97. Not good!
Tristan was next pilot up and he flew without ballast and made a perfect flight in the light lift conditions considering the wind that came up just before he launched. The trek back upwind was rather traumatic being so light but Tristan did a fabulous job to get the Xplorer 2 home and shoot a 97 landing to solidify his first place position in the juniors.
Dominic flew a great flight in the conditions also – nearly getting all his time and shooting a good landing.
Tristan’s 11th and final round began with the most entertaining launch of the event with a weave to the right and then the left and then it became a series of crazy circle tows to finally pop off at great height considering the wild launch antics! Nevertheless he was able to fly straight into a nice piece of air and check out downwind for his max. Dominic also had fun on the launch as his Supra blew a stab early in the launch and he had to land still hooked up. He launched his alternate model the Xplorer 3.5 and and finished out the clock and got landing points. Dillon was last to fly and the wind being now between 15 and 20 at times with huge thermals we ballasted the X2 up to 84 ozs. and sent him up. I am absolutely amazed at how all the planes held together over the last 2 weeks in crazy wind and the X2 is no exception. Holding big pretension we threw the models with direct tow and the launches absolutely rocked. The wings have an amazing bend in them as they rocket skyward for about 3 seconds and then go almost flat in the zoom. Dillons final flight needed to be a good one and it was a real test of his eyes as we found ourselves so high and deep after 5 minutes that we had to come home because Dillon could no longer see it. For a long time we gave Dillon instructions on where to push the sticks until it was more overhead at a huge altitude in brick lifting air. He took the 1000 in this final round and now we had to wait and see where the scores washed up.We were to learn later that Dillon had missed a place in the flyoffs by just 60 p0ints. Very unfortunate but the good news was Tristan was in first place after the prelims.
The seniors flew two more rounds before CD called a halt and the most noteable thing that happened in Round 10 was that Brendon got himself up the ladder to take 12th place and a shot in the flyoffs if he could stay there through the final round.
In the 11th and final round Tom took monster air downwind in a fairly easy flight to become our first pilot through to the main event – the 12 man fly offs. Daryl made a flight in the last round that was one for the ages. He popped off on launch and slid downwind at about 50 feet till he found a bump about 500 meters from the field with the Icon at 40 feet he took some turns and bubbled around with out seeming to make an altitude gain while the model drifted alarmingly downwind. He would have been a kilometer away at least, (near the slaughterhouse at the gate to the field) before he finally started to climb. He must have been at least 2 miles downwind before he finally reached a height he could actually return from. There are not too many flights you see that go to the brink and return but this was a world class effort to make a mistake into a victory. that flight secured Daryl’s place in the flyoffs.
Brendon followed Daryl but did not have the same success in air that was strong but very fast moving. He didn’t get as high as be needed to be for the trip back and fought it for 5 or 6 minutes before finally succumbing and landing out for a zero. It was a heartbreaker because he had worked all day to make it from 13th place and get into the top 12 for his place in the flyoffs.
Bob was in the next group and he took a super launch flew straight downwind to lift and checked out. Bobs landing was a 97 (which is his lowest score for the contest.) That was more than enough to keep Bob in the top 12 and guarantee the USA team three pilots in the fly- offs. Just Cody yet to fly.
The wind was around 15 to 21 mph so ballast was necessary and the lift was so good that there was really no such thing as too much. Cody doesn’t run much ballast in the Egida do we hoped he had enough. Cody launched well even though he was off the line early. He immediately turned downwind to the left seeking lift from a read he made. The pack stayed to the right and began to circle about level with the launch line as Cody nosed around further downwind. As the gaggle started to spread with a couple getting away high above Cody joined them about 200 meters downwind and started to work it. He found it was really light lift until he was about a kilometer downwind and still only about launch height. Finally the lift kicked in and Cody’s Egida began to climb. The clock read less than 3 minutes to go and Cody was still turning. Finally at 2:55 left on the clock with his model almost out of sight he began the return trek with the whole team and his dad Hal willing him on. Even with 1:15 left on the clock he looked like he was nod going to make it back but the Egida is an amazing airplane and it came whistling in for Cody to do a victory lap and stick his landing with 1 sec on the clock. That moment gave us 4 pilots in the flyoff which is an unprecedented achievement.
It was a jubilant team which shared a few beers and whooped it up during the afternoon as the teams had a fun fly with the Vladimir Elfs.
A lot of effort and a lot of time has been spent by the entire team to get to this point. Tomorrow will be the acid test as we begin 7 x 15 minute rounds of flyoffs for the juniors and the seniors.
At the pilots meeting Surdar the Cd presented a “small” cake to Jim Monaco in jovial recognition of the US achievement of getting 4 pilots into the flyoffs. (He promised us a cake if we could get 5 pilots in the flyoffs)
With a win by a very large margin as a team we had secured the Gold Medal for the senior pilots.
Another amazing record setting day for the US team.
We spent a fair amount of time figuring out who would be throwing, towing and calling for each of our 4 senior pilots during the afternoon and tonight. Clearly with 4 pilots in we need 8 towers and we only have 4. We have recruited the Sth Africans. We also needed more air callers so we have David Hobby of Australia calling for Tom Kiesling, Carl Strautins calling for Bob McGowan, Craig Goodrum calling for Daryl and Rich Burnoski with Cody.
Another day of amazing events at the Worlds.
Tomorrow we will crown a winner. Lets keep fingers crossed. We have a great opportunity to take the medals and in the juniors Tristan’s flying is as consistent as you can imagine so it will take a very good performance by any other kid to beat him.
Cheer for us.