March Thermal Contest - RC Groups
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Mar 12, 2009, 05:21 PM
Registered User

March Thermal Contest

Well, we're going to try it again. Maybe third times the charm. The South Bay Soaring Society has a Thermal Contest scheduled for March 29 at Curtis Field. Pilots meeting scheduled for 9:00am. Tasks to be announced - they will be thermal duration. See for directions to the field.
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Mar 28, 2009, 09:30 PM
round and round we go!
oscillator's Avatar
Just checked the weather - forecast is Wind tomorrow - NNW 20-30mph. Gosh I hope that isn't the case. What is the max wind for the contest?
Mar 29, 2009, 12:15 AM
E-Scale & Sailplane Guy
Bruce DeVisser's Avatar
Max wind varies depending on direction and whether it is gusty or steady. Last time we called it for wind (January) it was 15-20. Let's hope it does not start blowing until the afternoon.
Mar 29, 2009, 01:08 AM
Registered User
wizzzer's Avatar


11 PM Sat. night - forecast for tomorrow AM is 2 to 8 MPH most of the morning. We will be great. Bring your shades.
Mar 29, 2009, 09:03 AM
E-Scale & Sailplane Guy
Bruce DeVisser's Avatar

Contest is a GO!

Lower level winds are threatening but Surface Winds are okay and looks like mostly clear sky. See you at Curtis Field.
Mar 29, 2009, 10:46 PM
Registered User
Kai@UCSB's Avatar
Any pictures guys?
We got good turn out today. looking for the next one !
Mar 30, 2009, 03:24 PM
round and round we go!
oscillator's Avatar
Thanks Dom. Great pictures and great time. I think the 1st pic is either Brian's or Bob Brown's plane - can't tell. The white Espada RL in your 2nd Post is Sean's - I believe he took 2nd in Sportsman.
Mar 30, 2009, 03:30 PM
Registered User
dbaya's Avatar
Thanks Mark
Mar 30, 2009, 08:12 PM
Electric Airplane Junkie
bhchan's Avatar
The 1st one is Bob Brown's Extended Bubble Dancer(?). The contest was a good one, no freebie thermals. You can't stay with one thermal, or you will end up in Gilroy!!

Bob Brown had to pull a few tricks to get his 15 minutes flight, he was about 150 ft about 6 minutes in, he landed with 14:57 and a 90-ish landing!!

Brian, an EAJ
Mar 30, 2009, 08:20 PM
Registered User
Kai@UCSB's Avatar
The 15min task is a lot of fun but I feel it might be a little bit too long for this small field.
Some of us fly sooooooooooooo far downwind and I am kind of worry what if....
Mar 31, 2009, 12:08 AM
E-Scale & Sailplane Guy
Bruce DeVisser's Avatar
Kai made an excellent observation regarding task length and safety at Curtis.

It has been a long time since we held competitions there - some of the physical properties of the site and surrounds have changed, and we have some folks new to the field; we are trying to provide an appropriate challenge for every skill level, and I am new at this; fortunately I have some great experienced mentors to correct me when I get it wrong!

A couple of words on my task length goals and thoughts: make it a reasonable challenge for each skill level, based on the conditions; don't discourage those with lesser-developed skills by making the goal too high; experts should be less effected by ambitious task times in less-than-perfect conditions, but the task goals should not force them to take unreasonable risks.

Our club needs to provide a contest program that helps pilots develop their skills, advance to higher levels, achieve LSF goals if they so desire, and above all - have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow aeromodelers.

We are not trying to emulate an FAI-level competition environment, but we do need to provide what it takes to develop pilots to at least US Nationals skill levels.

So to close on Kai's point, if at any pilot's meeting there is reason to question task content or duration due to weather conditions or any other safety issue, I am always open to discussion.

Anyone who has something to contribute to this dialog is welcome to do so - we can start a separate thread if necessary.

Bruce DeVisser
Mar 31, 2009, 12:13 AM
round and round we go!
oscillator's Avatar
What if? It happened already and will prob happen again. Unless we make it a requirement to stay over the field I don't see how it won't happen again. I'm just afraid that eventually one of these off field landings could be more serious....

While longer tasks might slightly encourage more off field flying, all but the shortest tasks are likely to send people looking far off field for lift.
Mar 31, 2009, 12:22 AM
Registered User
P-51flyer's Avatar

First off, great contest. I had a ton of fun. On another note... The apartment complex was more than happy to grab my pops Xplorer from the roof and I then went down there and picked it up. Very nice lady! The Xplorer somehow escaped with very very minimal damage! I brought her a starbucks gift card and she was ecstatic! No issues with anyone complaining so that is a good thing!

The Xplorer went into the tree not because of pilot error but because of some funny air around the trees back there. I have felt it before back there. Depending on wind direction it can happen all around the field so That is something to think about as you are flying, but it isn't something we can "ban". Just something that might be mentioned at the pilots meeting.

Next, I thought the tasks were awesome. I think everything was right.... except I have to agree with Kai. With the 15 min you drift quite far for that small of a field to be flying at. I think knock it down to 10 and keep everything else to same. I think you should hear from the sportsman fliers on their tasks but they seemed pretty good to me as well. With the 15 min, TYPICALLY (not always) if you can make 10 min, you can make 15 so I don't think it would be a problem shortening it to 10 min.

If the conditions are challenging, the longer tasks can spread to scores out a bit more. I say keep the tasks and if no one makes the full time even better for scores. If the conditions are really bad but still flyable, shortening them may be a good idea so we are not pushing the limits as far to try and get our time.

All in all I think the contest was a success!

Last edited by P-51flyer; Mar 31, 2009 at 12:28 AM.

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