2008 HTL #6 at SGC

We all know the theory - that wind speed does not affect the performance of a flying model (refer to the well known description of flying off the deck of an aircraft carrier moving at the same speed / direction as the wind). However, this assumes a constant wind velocity & does not take sheer layers & 90 degree gusts into account, with you hat being blown away whilst you try to cling onto your Tx! The annual "August" winds had not blown out yet & launched their attack on the Silverton Gliding Club's stunning grass farm field, just East of Pretoria, so the "constant velocity" assumption did not hold, and the wind justifiably created havoc within the RC Pilots' minds.

This however, does not detract from very well run & smooth event. Once again Volney had us starting promptly (after parking all the cars in precise lines). Pilots briefing, rules & slots were run with precision, but considerable allowances were made for preparation times - as the developmental & more relaxed focus of HTL is the RC thermal flying & not the strength of equipment & professional turnaround of teams.

The first few slots were relatively calm, a steady breeze pushing easy lift through with good maxes (everyone flew to 10 minute tasks) and not so good landings. By round 3, the wind had leapt up the Beaufort scale & lines were snapping with frustrating regularity. Of course everyone had the opportunity to launch softer, but "Africa is not for sissies" and beeeg launches were the order of the day. Yeeha!

Grabe did his best impersonation of Rodney, when he literally knife edged his 2M model between the trees. Not to be outdone the members of the Geriatrix team kept up their running comedy commentary the entire day - with teams on either side complaining of strained laugh muscles at the end of the day! The only casualty for the day was newbie Grant (who had only "learnt to launch") the day before! Admittedly under some egging on from myself, Craig floored the winch pedal & the rear wing bolt sheered through triple carbon layers & it fluttered over to the launch line. The resulting lawn dart streaked downwards with an impressive whistle & very tidily embedded itself up to recently departed leading edge. Shortly afterwards, we had triple winch / line failure & decided to revert to "F3J" style. Unfortunately, this Gentle Ladies wings were not designed for the gentle trot of a F3J Tigger & the resulting balsa lawn dart was far less elegant than the composite version.

The most inspirational flight of the day was watching Craig fly back from miles away at low altitude against the headwind, then worked the lift DLG style around the landing area for almost 3 minutes to max!

Everyone enjoyed the day, and we still saw an incredibly close finish from best 5 of 6 rounds flown:

Rank; Pilot; Score; Percentage
1;Conrad Klintworth; 4,997;100.0%
2;Craig Goodrum; 4,994;99.9%
3;Paul Carnall; 4,991;99.9%
4;Ian Lessem; 4,981;99.7%
5;Michelle Goodrum; 4,959;99.2%
6;Piet Rheeders; 4,768;95.4%
7;Chris Adrian; 4,673;93.5%
8;Herman Weber; 4,665;93.4%
9;Lionel Brink; 4,626;92.6%
10;Deon Liebenberg; 4,525;90.5%
11;Rudi King; 4,466;89.4%
12;Jason Weber; 4,266;85.4%
13;Simon Thladi; 4,090;81.8%
14;Trevor Austin; 4,081;81.7%
15;Derek Marusich; 4,068;81.4%
16;Gert Nieuwoudt; 4,051;81.1%
17;Rodney Goodrum; 3,933;78.7%
18;Johan Bruwer; 3,673;73.5%
19;Wolfgang Steffny; 3,264;65.3%
20;Jochen; 3,168;63.4%
21;Volney Klintworth; 3,161;63.3%;2m & RES100
22;Gordon Prahm; 3,012;60.3%;2m & RES100
23;Grant McAlpine; 2,252;45.1%;2m & RES100
24;Grabe de Villiers; 1,145;22.9%;2m & RES100

On a sadder note, we learnt that Evan's daughter was involved in a fatal car accident earlier that morning. Our thoughts are with the Shaw family at this time.

In respect