Sat Jul 30 – Day 2 Slovakia F3J Cup

Winner winner chicken dinner.
Awesome day for USA today as we completed Round 6 in the morning before the rain came in to get three USA pilots into the Fly Off with Jeff DuVal in 1st, Josh Glaab in 6th and Jody Miller in 8th – the last position. Yours truly – Gordon finished up bubble boy in 9th with 8 pilots through to the Final.
We had to wait 3 hours for rain to dissipate before the 3 x 15 min rounds of the fly-off began in 7 – 10 mph winds with some overcast. With a very wet field sunshine for hours the conditions were very difficult and what weak lift existed drifted fast downwind.
In a fly-off it is always very difficult for a Team with 3 of their pilots qualified to have enough helpers and throwers and both equipment and people need to be borrowed from other teams which is far from optimal.
Josh worked with Chris throwing and Steve on the turnaround. Jody borrowed the German Team Manager as helper and had David Bradley throw for him while Jeff had me throwing and Charles Thomas on winch with Sean Summers at the turnaround.
Jeff and I have been practicing our launching techniques and tension required for various conditions for some years but particularly in the last few months we put a lot of time into Rocket launches and short tows at high tension. This provides us with many options to suit the conditions we are dealt.
1st fly-off I threw Jeff right on time with about 75% tension and a 2 second tow his 3.5 Xplorer launched considerably higher than the field and we headed off crosswind to the neighboring tree line. The field followed and after a minute drifting downwind we hooked up in soft lift with three other pilots. Jeff and I started walking immediately and within 4 minutes we were past the camping and past the hanger to the fence line where we flew behind the pack on weak lift for 10 minutes moving upwind to the new thermals three times.
The trek back required navigating caravans and tents backwards but we made the landing zone with 2 mins to spare and Jeff made a solid approach but landed a good 2 seconds early for a 14:56 and a 99.
The second round was almost identical but Jeff got his landing mojo (even pulling a loop in his downwind run at about 15 seconds) going to hit in the last second and made a 100. With a 14:57. It was quite a spectacular arrival and I managed to film it as well. Check the video attached.
The final flight was a repeat but ended with a lot more excitement as I screwed up the window time and took Jeff to the spot 2 minutes early at 3:45. He was in trouble at twice hangar height with nearly 4 minutes required but as luck would have it Jeff worked above the roof of the hangar for 3 minutes and came straight in for another 100 right on time to finish the fly-off in style for a close win over Marco Galizia with Jany our host 3rd.
Josh had a great first flight with a 14:54.1 and a 100 point landing. 2nd was a 14:56.2 and a 98 landing and 3rd flight he won the launch but was unable to acquire the lift the other pilots had and finally succumbed to an early landing. Jody was using an unfamiliar winch operated faster than his thrower expecting causing a few more shape with his launches but in spite of that Jody did manage to get all three flight maxes but a few seconds.short.of what you need to win with slower launches.
The final presentations also included the Juniors and it was really exciting to see Sean Summers on the top step of the podium with Charleston Thomas in 2nd and a German Junior third. Taking 1st place in Seniors and Juniors in the precontest is cause for a brief celebration before we get down to model processing and registration for the big event starting on Monday.
The USA team is in high spirits and working hard to ensure a great World Championships result.
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