2008 HTL - WHRF in October

The 8th HTL for the year was hosted at WHRF, a mixed discipline club just west of Centurion/Pretoria. The field was typical for post winter highveld; short grass with a very hard/dry surface. However, the club has ensured that the grass stays cut throughout the year & overall the surface is smooth with only an outlying "rough" section. The wind started early in the morning from an unusual ESE direction, but swung predictably before midday to arrive more from the East. Bubbles were kicked up at regular intervals & those who followed these downwind more-often than not maxed their flight times. The constant breeze made landings relatively predictable, but the challenge at this event was more on the thermal side - as an example, slot 3 of round 4 witnessed a winning time of only 5 mins 58 secs!

Unfortunately only 14 pilots flew - from 16 entries, perhaps a reflection that the 3 throwaway rounds for the 2008 league is simply too lenient when compared with the strong showing form 2006/2007? Rule changes for 2009 are being considered, and the most likely proposed so far is to return to fewer throwaways. Most people have indicated that the "fixed" weekend format is best. The competition started fairly late - pilots briefing was only between 09h00 & 09h30, first slot was finished before 10:00, but we all finished by 15h30, including a full 30 min lunchy (thanks to Martie's traveling diner) in between. CD'ing was a breeze with 12 minute working time & 3'ish minute preparation time - fortunately only one delay occured due to line breaks.
The comments received from some of the pilots was that the somewhat relaxed pace allowed for a fun event in the challenging conditions. Martie's diner provided refreshments from early on & kept the energy levels high throughout the day. Judging by the jokes & comments sent up & down the flight line, most people were enjoying themselves too.

I am not aware of any incidents during the day, except Derek ripping the rudder out of his Sagitta's fin post during a downwind landing. Best flight of the day was Michelle's 10:00 & a 0-1 metre landing. Trevor Austin's 5:58 was a notable achievement during a particularly vicious period of absolute & extensive sink. Many excellent flights were recorded - the shouts of joy from various individuals who recorded exact 10:00 or 9:59.99's attesting to this. Quality stuff indeed.

Ranking, Pilot, Club, Score, Percentage of winner's score
1 Goodrum; Craig MMS 4991.1(100.0 %)
2 Goodrum; Michelle MMS 4984.0 (99.9 %)
3 Liebenberg; Dion ETB 4973.6 (99.7 %)
4 Brink; Lionel MMS 4936.8 (98.9 %)
5 Lessem; Ian MMS 4913.5 (98.4 %)
6 Goodrum; Rodney MMS 4877.3 (97.7 %)
7 Austin; Trevor MMS 4777.9 (95.7 %)
8 Marusich; Derek BER 4724.9 (94.7 %)
9 Weber; Herman ETB 4619..7 (92.6 %)
10 Weber; Jason ETB 4552.8 (91.2 %)
11 Bruwer; Johan SGC 4484.2 (89.8 %)
12 King; Rudi SGC 4469.8 (89.6 %)
13 Steffny; Wolfgang MMS 3806.6 (76.3 %)
14 Prahm; Gordon BER 1300.8 (26.1 %) 2M class

Craig Goodrum takes the line honours again with a consistent & class leading performance. Michelle was only 7 points behind the winner, but achieved the most number of slot wins & best flight of the day! Dion put in a valiant effort from ETB & was placed 3rd overall in the Open class. Notice that more than half of the competitors all recorded scores within 10 % of the winner - close stuff.

Gordon flew a little 2M all day & takes sole line honours - deservedly for his bravery in these windy conditions. Derek also flew his Sagitta, but has elected to fly Open class this year.

Top junior was Jason Weber, who just missed winning his slots by only the narrowest of margins & has shown awesome improvement this year. This youngster is definitely going to be one to keep an eye on in the future.

This time around MMS simply obliterated the competition, with ETB 2nd & BERG 3rd - both due to rather small entries from these clubs.
Fly safely