Finally some time to type! I'd like to start off by saying that yes, history does repeat itself, and that is a double-edged sword. Every year, this is one of my favortie contests to attend, and this year was no different. If their is any "home field" for me, this is it as I fly here and with the DESS pretty regularly, so its somewhat like having all your buddies come over and party for a weekend
Add the great food, people, and how smooth the event runs, and you've got a knock-out combo for a great event.
However, on the sharper edge of that sword, this is usually the contest every year where I have the worst luck and the worst performance, and just like the great food and people, it was no different this year as well. My first ECHLGF in 09, all three of us that came together destroyed every plane we had with us. In 2010, I flew exceptionally well as a Sportsman, even made it into the top 10 overall, only to have my only flyable ship destroyed in a midair in the very last prelim round. I then borrowed a plane for the flyoffs, which then suffered a mechanical failure in the second round of flyoffs. With nothing left to fly, I sat the last two rounds out and took 3rd. Last year, I flew so poorly for the entire weekend that I considered moving back to Sportsman. I have never landed OB more times in a contest or hit more tents/streamer poles than that one, it still currently holds the record. This year, I managed to destroy both airplanes in consecutive mid airs, the first in the 2nd round, the other in the 3rd round, fixed both, and crashed one of them again in the 5th round, which hit another pilot on its way in, another first for me (Sorry Austin!). I called a 9:57 in the poker round on Saturday on good knowledge that the air was there, others were also making the call, and because Frank D. told me I had to because he had told everyone else there thats what I usually do when I fun fly with them. I couldnt let Frank down
I flew 9:40 of it. The lift crapped out 5:30 into the flight and the altitude I had bought me enough height to just barely scrape (literally) back over the trees, but not enough to seal my time. I'll do you all a favor and stop with the misery there
HOWhowever, I still had a great time
If there was anything good to be taken out of all of that, I would say my best success of the weekend was the Pro-Am and task strategy seminar I ran on Friday. Other than some last minute pilot addition/removals, the event went off very smoothly and I had a great time coaching my sportsman Mike for the afternoon. A couple of the participants thanked me afterwards for running the event and giving the task lesson, and that made all the effort worth it. I was really glad I was able to give back to the sport and pass on the knowledge I've learned to the guys who are in the same place I was 4 years ago. Maybe I gave away too much info, as many of those Sportsmen, and even a Novice (!) beat me in the prelims.... I'll let you let that sink in for a minute....
Timing for Oleg is probably the easiest job in the world, even in a fly off. He rarely needs help because he practically creates his own lift, and you can actually have an off topic conversation with him while he's flying
It makes for a fun fly off even if you're not flying it. Sorry I drug down the Ninja's team score so badly guys! I guess I shouldve offered $20 to make up for that
Also this year, I was really glad to give back to club that has given so much to me. I helped as much as I could with organizing and running it between the scoring and the team trophies and it was a great experience. Of course, sharing some beers with old friends, making new ones, and a whole lot of laughs in the afternoons after the flying is done is another experience no amount of bad flying can ruin. See y'all next year!