22 June 2010
14 June 2010
Although it’s winter in “sunny” South Africa, the morning was not as cold as I expected... I met Piet just after 07h00 at the field and soon the other pilots started to arrive. Nigel was the only one to arrive after 09h00, but I guess it’s not too bad for someone with baby twins... The pilots’ briefing was short and sweet and the games begun!
A coldish North Eastern wind set testing conditions for round 1, but round 1 turned out to be the easiest for the day, for me anyway... The wind direction maintained consistent throughout the day, but the wind speed increased at a steady pace. While staring up at your glider with the wintry wind in your face, one could easily have imagined yourself to be standing on a slope.
Thermals blew through so swiftly that I didn’t even know they were ever there. More than one pilot showed bravery in following a bubble of warm air, downwind and more than one pilot paid the price of “the walk of shame”... It’s always a little funny, until you have to walk 200m or more to pick up your own model... The tricky conditions challenged everyone and the Greenhorns and Juniors were very impressive with the way they performed in the wind.
Martie served delicious boerewors-buns after round 5 and all pilots then decided to call it a day because of the wind.
Thank you very much for everyone that came out to the field today and added to the spirit of the 2M Challenge! Below are the scores after 5 rounds, with no throw-away round.
Congratulations to Alan, Mark and Michael who took first places in the 3 classes!!
07 June 2010
On Sunday, 6 June 2010, the WHRF club, just west of Centurion (Pretoria) hosted the 4th installment of the 2010 Thermal League competition. Initial weather reports suggested mild conditions, with the wind gathering strength from midday. I arrived at the field & found the majority of pilots already there! I also found to my joy that the weather prediction was only partly correct: the mild conditions predicted were an understatement for "superb"!
Fortunately local knowledge of the field combined with the weather report allowed the launch line to be extended to accommodate all 7 teams, but at less than 15 metre spacing, we agreed not to fly 10 minutes working times with mass starts & landings: opting instead for 12 minutes working time. To ensure a quick turnaround, preparation time was reduced to 3 minutes. Also, although pilots briefing was scheduled for 08h30, my late start saw this end at 09h05 & first slot started promptly at 09h20 (and only 20 minutes later than advertised).
The overall event ran like clockwork: all pilots knowing what needed to be done in an extremely good humoured way & the natural HTL process of friends, fun & competition allowed for smooth transition between slots/rounds. I am not aware of any incidents involving competing pilots, although John Monk did seem to loose reception on his OD 2M craft during his first slot, but managed to recover it shortly after the launch & some hair-raising antics. Alan Drew also arrived at the field, but his Shongololo's left flap was not working & he elected not to compete. During a practice flight he performed a down-wind landing & snapped the v-tail.
Overall the conditions were superb, comments of "this is why we stay in SA" were heard! Now, there were thermals all around, these had to be worked fairly well & for some time before being released, and I was aware of at least two or three slots where the sink was evil. I reckon the conditions would have been close to European perfect if only it had been sleeting/raining.
After four rounds, we slacked off for a 30 min lunch (thanks to Martie), but the horrid CD soon had everyone back onto their feet before the afternoon sun & siesta could take firm hold (for some, it was too late after the 30 minutes - I promised not to mention Izak's name regarding this). The scores were captured throughout the day after each round scores; with the result that the rankings were available approx. 15 minutes after the last flight. I allowed some gremlins into the spreadsheet's scoring table, & it was particularly the new F3J 20cm rules of scores awarded up to the mark that resulted in a small change from the provisional results announced at the field compared to the audited values - the existing sheet cutting off on the mark!
Anyway, The 2010 SA Snr F3J National Team were awesome. Chris & Craig were joint first with 1000 point (max) throwaways. Eish! At only 2 points behind (due to that evil sink after lunch), Paul with 4,998 was 2nd. The SA Juniors, Johan Bruwer replacing Ryan (who elected to enjoy the warm KZN weather for the weekend) were second, showing what these youngsters are made from. Our sincerest wishes go out to these for the WC in France. later this year.
- The WHRF club members & its committee for permitting us exclusive use of their field for the day
- Martie for the catering
- Volney for traveling from New Zealand to compete (although I suspect he had other motives)
- Gert, for risking life & limb against unroadworthy taxis / speedcops from Secunda
- All the moms that brought along their new babies to expose them to the sweet joy of HTL
- Everyone who took part, helped, had fun!
- The weather bureau