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May 10, 2012, 04:42 PM
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2012 CVRC Bent Wing Atomic Success

Under the sunny central valley skies of California (March 30/April 1st) the 2012 CVRC Bent wing contest took place last weekend. Just about every type of the AVA series with a wide mix of other designs were present. WOODY had many varieties in it's class. Friday we started off with the ALES event and had a great time.

One of the nice changes that CD Claude Turner presented to us this year for the Bent Wing was a defined time launch window. This was a carryover from the Fresno Classic held a few weekends earlier in the month. Claude gave us an hour to complete each round. No flight groups were called up. You could launch at anytime during the open round window. It was great to see the guys line up and launch at will. If you missed the lift cycle it was your own fault. No one could complain about the luck of the draw this time. I canít see how he could get closer to a man on man format without just doing it. The long flight times really made this a flying event. I saw a lot of top guys walking to get their machines going for the time on multiple 10 minute flights over the two days.

Saturday was a nice calm day for these beautiful poly machines. It was a bit hazy starting off. Most of the thermals were light and seemed to break up at 1500 feet. Once the day warmed up conditions improved yet the sink areas were wide and severe. These were the conditions that I had in mind when creating the Atomic wing. Traveling across wide areas was an advantage. I was totally captivated seeing Steve George fly his Atomic across the germinating Cotton field reaching a puff of light air at 200 ft for a 10 minute round never getting higher than 600 feet. An AVA was flying with him mirroring each one of his turns just to survive. Eventually they got a bit too close and kissed tips. Neither stopped flying this section of air. It was a battle just to obtain air time in this flight. Very nice to see unfold. A true test of plane and pilot. Though out Saturday the conditions changed randomly. We could launch into air and at 5 minutes be chasing to the other side of the field to track down another thermal.

Sunday was filled with even better conditions. I heard Merrill Brady talking with Al Strahm after his data logger tipped the 1700 ft level on one flight. Jason (flying his Topaz) and I found ourselves zipping off line going in front or behind to reach lift marked by others a long distance away. I hooked up to a tow line a few times looking for a direction to head and saw nothing. Gary Ellington was behind me one time so I asked if he was ready to go. He had this very polite smile saying not yet ole buddy. As I mentioned we were on our own to launch. Chris George however, took his Atomic up early in each round. He never had a worry about his Atomic making time. He claimed he was more nervous when he was not in the air flying it. After his win in WOODY Iíd almost agree with him.

Throughout the weekend Steve, Chris, and I spent time talking about the Atomic setup for the day. We all seemed to be fairly close in performance during each day. Itís now been two years from the start of the design. Last year we had new problems and ideas to work through. My first flight last year ended with broken ribs used to support the mounting blocks. Plywood ribs solved that problem. Chris and Steve chased stab size and settled in that area. Steve also had a radio problem killing his Atomic prior to the Fall fest driving his current Atomicsí panic build. During 2011 we had a lot to talk about. What needed improvement was corrected. This year I am very happy to say we never discussed any improvements accomplishing what we set out to do. Get the Atomic winning in WOODY and RES classes. This year we did it. In all the years of this hobby Iíve never had so much fun on a project with Steve and Chris. The final fly off win for RES with Jason and seeing this design sweep WOODY will be one of the best memories I have of this sport with all my friends. You can watch the RES fly off of my landing here (35MB)

My thanks to CVRC for holding this event, Claude who ran a fantastic contest, Jason who always is a terrific timer and pilot, Steve and Chris for endless feedback on the Atomic, Fred Weaver for his Joiner fabrication/advice, and my wife Sue who always let me spend countless hours pursuing this goal.
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