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This thread is privately moderated by Keith Kindrick, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.
May 03, 2012, 02:45 PM
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ALES in Visalia with Al Strahm as CD


This was my first effort flying ALES and did not actually know what to expect. My prior attempt to fly this E-Topaz was filled with problems at the Fresno 2 day. In between then and now I solved my power plant problems so I could fly in this event. On the drive up to this event I was hoping to get at least one test flight. Steve George had filled my head with a few ideas as to what the E-Topaz we were both using would be capable of doing. After two test flights with him the basic set up was complete. My actual strategy session came from Jim McCarthy a year ago on the phone when he told me about the event he flew in. Once you get into the ALES event itís pretty easy to follow. Al Strahm had a very organized and straight forward set of rules. The working window was new to me yet I still made a few mistakes. Each round the working window became easier and easier for me to get into the launch area with plenty of time.

In the heats I flew in using power off at 200 meters (600 ft) it did not appear to be a sure thing making a 10 minute flight using an E-Topaz. The Topaz glider uses a lower camber AG series section. Adding any weight to it impacts the glide and climb out in weak lift. Knowing this I used a 1300 mah 65C 3 cell LiPo to keep the weight down. Even doing this I could feel the weight in thermals low to the ground. If I continue to play in the event I will look for another design or create my own after seeing what happens to E-Topaz performance having to lug around the extra weight. Iím already going to change the battery size after just 4 flights in one event. If the CD in an event lowers the altitude to 100 meters this design will really suffer and the AVA will be king. A full flying trailing edge like Claude Turner had on his E-Topaz would be nice. It would also be very helpful on the landing tape to slow this e-glider to a walk on the last meter for the tie breaker. Power systems were very close for some and not for others. Faster planes can range out and cover more area than a slower plane. That may not be a key thing yet it does allow one more option in searching for a thermal or going out to reach a dust devil in the distance.

This event has legs to it and it will evolve. Al Strahm ran a great event and made a lot of guys smile. I was one of them. Here is a few pictures of the event.
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