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Mon May 23, 2011 8:00 pm
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So it's been a long time, I have been lurking around from time to time, and it's nice to see most of the old guys are still hanging around and some lurking too.
I still live in Florida, and have been flying contrary to popular belief, although not the 300+ hours I was flying the first years of my love for the sport.
I do want to share a great experience though. This is a learning experience that I recommend to any HG pilot wanting to really step out of the comfort zone and learn to be the best HG Pilot they can be. A few weeks ago I participated in the Rob Kells Memorial Competition @ Florida Ridge Flight Park or as it's called now Florida Ridge Airsports Park.
This was the 3rd annual RKC and My first ever! It was fun, and intimidating but no one made me feel that way only I did myself. All the Open Class Pilots were cool and approachable (as long as you had beer in hand, I had blender and Tequila so was pretty popular specially on 5 de mayo), no but seriously what a great thing to add to my plethora of experience this comp: How to use the instruments properly to how to determine which approach to take to making goal.
Day one: Was a bit rough around the edges, the wind was pretty strong and the clouds where breaking up pretty quickly, I made a choice not to fly that day, but to examine my competition in the SPORT CLASS. I was going to be flying my WW U2 which I adore and was brought to life by Rob Kells himself not to mention he rose it like the fiery Phoenix after my accident a few years ago. No One made goal that day
Day two: Was not much better but a bit more friendly on the thermals so I went up close to last and flew 22KM, 28KM short of goal and after a nice landing in a ditch (dry at the time, looked nice from above), got one wing lifted up on me while attempting to get out of the glider and was to slow to control the nose wires, I jumped on the base tube but the wind was to drastic and turtled the glider me still attached, as I was speaking to myself first praying that I could gain weight instantly to keep it from going and then when it went prayed to be lighter not to damage the wing as I was thrown into it. I put my hand out and as I touched the keel so it went "PLUNK-KRIKIT" and the horrible truth that i just broke my keel was evident. Unhook, pissed off I broke her down and a pickup driver was happening just as I was done, great timing. 2ND PLACE for that day. But two guys made Goal. One didn't have instruments so in reality I was 3rd but shhhhhh...I won't tell.
Day Three: I had to brake out Batman my Black and Yellow Freedom 170 to continue my participation, and the bad news was that I wouldn't be given any handicap because I started in a U2 and the software can make changes in mid competition. So now I was flying in tough conditions in a single surface with no points help, just what i like!!! I was close to last again and this time flew 30+km landed right at the Airport there. And was 3rd Place again for the day. Note everyone that did better simply had a better glide ratio then did I on that Single Surface 170.
Day Four: I had trouble moving downwind, the thermals were really tough to manage, and the transition from cloud to cloud was killing me in that freedom. I could have been more patient though but mind you it took me 1.76hrs to get to the same place I went Day 1 in 32min, I was hellified hard work. I was 3rd again for that day. Landed across the street from the ditch that flipped my U2. An FPL (power crew guy) came over after I landed "I was watching you, you were coming down pretty fast.", I was like yeah thanks.... "Did you plan that?", I was like no I was planing on landing 30KM way from this place... He could tell I was a bit pissed off.
Day Five was not a good day for me... My head wasn't in it and after a Relight, and a broken primary I decided it wasn't for me that day... Fine though cause I was there for when the Open Class guys made a Diamond Task and came back to the LZ a 115KM task which was 3/4 easy and fast and the last 1/4 brutal! Only about 10 made it back! (50 guys in)
Day Six: Was called, it was just ugly and truth be said everyone was exhausted.
Day Seven: The task was to go over the swamp north to a strip about 38km. The air was buoyant and the thermals where mine...BUT... BUUUUUUT... I was on that Freedom and the swap just looked to not friendly! had I been in my U2??? Another story would have been told, with those thermals I would have been patient, and then final glided right to goal. Alas, what could have beens, all but 2 Sport pilots came back to the LZ those last three days dropped me from 3rd place to 7th place. But hey, for my first Comp, for doing it in crappy air, and doing it in a single surface glider??? At least I did better then 3 other guys with much better gear! I brought it and I had a ball.
I had fun with Jonny Durand, Jeff Shapiro, Zak Majors, Dustin Martin, the lovely Davis... and so many more!!! I learned that flying for fun is a whole lot different the flying against others, but mostly I learned that next time I'm launching with the Alpha pilots, cause if I was to follow them I would have made Goal every time!!! LOL...
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