An Outrunner Story
Last weekend the ASA had an F5J contest, and we decided to play with Outrunners and Limited Class.
Now I knew I was in trouble, having not flown F5J much all year, but winning isn't everything, especially when you have Bruce Twining and the rest of the electric soaring tough guys beating you.
To add insult to my competitive abilities, something kept shutting off my controller after a few seconds, and the brake on the controller wasn't working right. The first flight I couldn't get it launched for three minutes until I managed to reset the controller, and had to settle for a six minute flight and the landing points. The second flight was worse, with the glider coming down with the prop windmilling, and only a four minute flight. At least I nailed the landing again.
Not being able to do anything about the brake, I rearranged the prop rubber band and hoped to do better on the third flight. After 8 seconds the motor quit, the props folded in, and I started the LightHawk E circling, for I'd lucked out with the motor shutting off in the middle of a nice thermal, right overhead.
He and Buzz had won their rounds, and Bruce was in my heat while Buzz was not. I flew the entire round out, landed on the last second with 50 out of 60 on the landing. No matter what Bruce did, he couldn't catch me unless I messed up the landing, which I didn't. So Buzz won Outrunner that day instead of tying for first with Bruce, while I got to play spoiler.
If Mom Nature has any good humor, she'll give us great weather like Philip suggests, and we'll fly a lot of rounds so no one can luck out and play spoiler.
And sure, if you know you are in lift, shut it down. But we learned this year that the percentages favor a nice 20-35 second climb out.
After the event and a nice lunch chatting, Bruce brought me over to his house, where we used his computer-based programming software for the Phoenix controller. Afterwards and on the bench, the controller behaved properly, running as requested at length and braking on shutdown. Such nice treatment for the guy who skewed the last round.
Come join us and play Electric Soaring in New Mexico's (usually) glorious fall weather.
Aradhana Singh Khalsa