Saturday, November 20, 2010 – As usual at this time of the year the wind was again playing havoc. The long grass surrounding the strip meant using the winch would be difficult therefore it was decided to use the Hi-Start (bungee).
A reasonable roll up for the Thermal Glider with six starters – 2 down on last years 8 starters. Due to conditions and to ensure we accommodated the LEG event, our rules were modified to a 5 minute duration but we kept the 100 point landing system. Fortunately it was a northerly wind blowing straight down the strip. Replicating last year, Dave Jacobs brought along 2 models – one for him an one for Terry Pearson. Great gesture Dave! Greg Robertson got things under way and quickly demonstrated that if there were any thermals around they were being blown to Hobart before you had a chance to hook into one! To prove that, Greg’s first flight duration was 3 min 3 sec and Greg can normally sniff out a thermal from a mile away. He made up the time shortfall by landing on “the spot” and an extra 100 points thank you very much. When my turn came, I decided to ask for a bit more stretch in the bungee as the Silent Dream is 2.5m and not a light model. This proved fortuitous as I managed to eke out a miserly 15 seconds more than Greg. We all struggled a bit in the conditions but despite the little extra time I gained, I missed the spot with a landing of 5 metres. This gave Greg the first round with the rest of the field between 2 and 3 minutes duration. Kevin Hay came in third with a time of 2m42s. It was going to be a hard day at the office!
All others managed to get away without any dramas with the exception of Richard Cooper. Richard’s glider, whilst an older model and an old design, always seemed to hang in there and managed to grab a few thermals. Richard lined up for the launch and for the first few seconds everything seemed normal but then the launch trajectory started to look a little ominous – It was being pulled in an arc towards the ground! “More UP!!” we called to Richard but still it kept heading on a course that was not going to be a pretty sight. “Elevator must be reversed…” was the echo around the pits. Then the inevitable happened – BANG into the ground it went 20 metres short of the end of the strip and in the long grass to the West. Balsa could be seen exploding from the ground. Ever stoic Richard calmly walked over, picked up the pieces and returned to the pits saying “I think it can be repaired”. The “EZ-Connector” had let go and there was no elevator control at all!
In the second round it was obvious that chasing thermals was going to be difficult and with the wind gusting up to 25kmh at ground level, I decided to try a little “ridge lift”. This worked well or maybe too well as I achieved the 5 minute time but took too long to get down and ended up with a time of 5m22s and 6 metres from the spot. Greg got a bit of lift way up beyond the northern pine trees and scored a time of 3m26s and 7 metres from the spot. The conditions were a little more difficult for the others with no-one getting to 2 minutes duration.
By the time the third and last round of the day came around, Kevin (last years overall winner) was starting to get things together. Considering Kevin only gets his glider out once a year to make up the numbers, “good on you Kev!”, he takes a little to warm up. He showed this by winning the last round and achieved a very credible time of 4m52s but no landing points, second in this round was Greg with 3m44s and 12 metres from “the spot”. Third was myself when I “popped” off the line early into the launch.
Thermal glider really is a challenging event. You are at the mercy of the elements. No hot motor set-ups to blast you into orbit. In addition, there’s no opportunity to give a little extra motor to get extend the flight time to achieve the 5 minute mark nor that little blip ot the motor to get closer to landing at the spot or for another quick turnaround if it looks like an overshoot. No, in thermal you have to make do with what you have. Get the approach wrong and you will miss out on very valuable landing points. We’re used to hearing the cry of “dead-stick” when a powered plane has a flame out. In thermal glider every landing is “dead-stick” and whilst the glider is obviously designed to “glide” they can still stall if you try to stretch out the landing. LMAC thermal glider is a low key, fun event. Whilst the club has it’s own winch, we don’t have the high powered set-ups nor do we stand on the spot and drive the model nose first into the ground to achieve maximum points, hence the modest landing points achieved. (most of our models wouldn’t survive anyway!)
At the end of the rounds, scores were tallied with each competitors worst round being dropped. What a turn up – I recorded my first win in Thermal Glider – I’ll savour it while I can as it may not happen again. Thanks to all those that turned up and had a go. If you have a thermal glider, do yourself a favour and dust it off and get it ready for the next event in February when, hopefully, the warmer weather will being the thermals we crave.
Final placings were –
Models flown were Richard C “Gentle Lady”, George C “Silent Dream”, Kevin Hay “Spirit 100”, Terry P “Algebra”, Greg R “O/Design” and Dave J “O/D”
Limited Electric Glider (LEG)
After lunch the Limited Electric Glider (LEG) event was held. Seven starters lined up including our regular glider attendee and Associate member, Ian Campbell. The conditions were still blustery although nowhere near as windy as that experienced at the State Championships held earlier this year. Nonetheless, conditions were still challenging. After some midweek set up discussion between Terry P and myself Terry had his new Hyperion GS3025-04 powered glider which was beautifully finished in a metallic red. It was a real picture and a credit to Terry’s finishing skills! Terry launched and had a fast climb to height only to find the timekeepers had missed their starts! Terry reluctantly brought the model back to have another launch. However on approach to the strip the model was not penetrating the wind much and at about 3 metres off the ground it stalled. It landed in the long grass and what seemed an innocuous landing, the model had no signs of external damage, it then became obvious that the rudder servo gear was stripped. Unfortunately this was the end of Terry’s campaign. Terry hadn’t switched from thermal to LEG mode and forgot he could have switched the motor on for a short burst to make the strip. He is not having much luck with electrics but when he gets things sorted, watch out as he’s sure to be competitive! We were now down to six starters. Geoff Hays was being assisted by Jacques Wakae in readying his model only to find the CG was way out and Geoff retired without firing a shot. We’re now down to five starters. Could it get any worse? Of course it could! Dave J had trouble with his Spirit and had to withdraw also. Back to four starters! Fortunately there were no more casualties and the LEG event got under way.
Jacques won the first round, followed by Greg, myself, then Ian (Ian also omitted to use another motor burst to extend his flight time). The second round winner was no different with Jacques winning again but second this time was myself followed by Ian then Greg. Given Jacques had won the first two rounds (although no-one knew this), the third round was a “dead rubber”. However just to make sure, Jacques again won this round! He was followed by myself again then Greg and Ian. If you want to win this event landing points is the key. My best 2 average time score (max 300) was 300. Jacques had 297.5. Shortest motor run time went to Jacques with 8 seconds. Averages over 3 rounds were Jacques 11, myself 12.7, Ian 13 and Greg 15 seconds. Best landing went to Jacques at <1 metre. All in all it was Jacques day. Scores were (worst round dropped) –
Models Flown – Jacques W “Bubble Dancer hybrid”, Greg R “Ginger”, George C “Organic”, Ian C “Ginger”/”Excel 9”, Terry P (?) The first 3 were all Hacker powered, Ian C Plettenberg and Terry P Hyperion GS3025-04. In the end it’s not the power train it’s the landing points that usually decide the winner.
Special thanks to Bill Hellinga and Chris Klimeck for their help in retrieving the tow line, Merv Cameron, Geoff Hays & Kerry C for timing and recording scores and last but not least, the ladies (Kerry, Alice and Faye) for preparing the lunch. I hope I haven’t missed anyone. Only a couple of pictures below as my backup photographer (Kerry) was on scoring duties.