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Aug 11, 2015, 12:19 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

CVRC Fall Soaring Festival Oct 2-4

If you have never gone to the Fall Festival in Visalia you're missing out: it's lots of fun with some great competition that includes the best pilots from all over the US. Many SVSSers make the trek each year. To me this event is really more like an end-of-season celebration of our sport.

It's not just the TD/ALES contests but much more. They have an awesome raffle that always includes something big (like an Xplorer last year). In the evenings there are lots of night fliers loaded with LEDs--be sure to bring yours if you have one. And if you are looking for a used plane, or if you have some to sell, the Fall Fest is a great place for this. BTW you can get new planes from vendors like Soaring USA at this event for real deals too.

Friday ALES Contest, too
There is an ALES contest on Friday, signups at 11am, first flight at noon. $20 entry fee. Set your limiters to 150mtr and be prepared for close-mowed grass that slips a bit more than the SVSS LZ.

If you aren't camping make your hotel reservations now. I would not wait too long since many come to this event. Personally I like either the Hampton Inn if $ is no object or either the Super 8 or Motel 6 if you want to watch your budget (all 3 are on West Noble Ave).

Wanna start practicing?
If you want to start practicing for the Fall Fest contest here are a few suggestions:

1. They cannot turn their launching lanes and landing area around so it's not uncommon to have downwind conditions in the early to mid AM, then the breeze usually turns around. Probably not a bad idea to practice some downwind landings. If you want some hints on this check out this thread.

2. The landing zones for the TD event are always painted areas on the grass, no tapes. So when you practice your landings focus on not straying too far to the left or right of the target spot.

3. Gaggles. There are lots of pilots at this event. When a big thermal develops it will usually be clearly marked by many other planes. You need to _always_ fly in the same direction as the rest of the gaggle.


If you are thinking about going and have any questions go ahead and ask here. I always go down early on Wednesday and try to mark out reserved spaces on the main "shade structures" row for SVSSers. Many more will start showing up on Thurs so you can come as early in the week as your spouse will allow.

For More Info
CVRC Fall Soaring official RCG thread. You can register online now at the links provided.

--Chris B.
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Aug 12, 2015, 08:59 AM
Addicted to F3 anything
lgromachey's Avatar
I will plan on going Wednesday as well Chris, I will be camping.

Aug 13, 2015, 10:24 AM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
I plan to be flying ALES on Friday. Signed up for the open TD class for the weekend. I will probably drive down on Thursday.
Sep 24, 2015, 04:30 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

Fall Fest conditions update

Because so many from SVSS are going this year (15 as of 9-23) I'd like to offer a gentle warning on a couple of things:

1. The landing area is harder than usual. Many of you know that CVRC gets their water from an agricultural well that is shared with crops that surround their field. With the ongoing drought they have unfortunately been cut off from this water source so the grass-covered ground in their landing area is harder than usual. Bill Curry flew at their field last weekend and said that while you can still see some green in the grass the ground is noticeably harder. CVRC president Claude Turner just confirmed this in an RCG post. So high angle dork landings are a _bad_ idea.

2. Downwind conditions are active this week. I mentioned in the first post that it's typical for the Visalia field to have downwind launch and landing conditions early before the winds shift to upwind. I just analyzed the last week of wind conditions (recorded at the Visalia airport 4mi away -link).
Name: CVRC field-overhead view.jpg
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Keeping in mind that the CVRC launch lanes are pointing NW and that their landings are aligned E-W, look at the attached PDF for conditions over the last week. Exec summary is this: (note: first flight both days is 8:30am)
a. Every day saw a downwind landing condition.

b. On some days the landings stayed downwind until after 1pm.

c. On one day (9-22) the downwind conditions were unusually high i.e. 8-10mph (rare)
It should be noted that the previous week (Sept 14-19) only 2 out of 7 days saw downwind conditions so it is possible to "win the lottery" and escape downwind conditions altogether over a 2-day contest. But this is not something I would bet on for Fall Fest.

Anyway, with both hard ground and downwind conditions any pilots who fly unprepared are at risk of plane carnage due to hard landings. From my experience even a 2mph downwind breeze on final is more than enough to surprise a pilot with a very hard landing, or even a plane-pilot collision. If you cannot practice downwind landings then at least land with the following in mind:
a. Timers should be giving wind direction reminders to their pilots in preparation for every landing,

b. Keep your final approach leg much lower to the ground than usual i.e. no steep approaches,

c. Apply your landing flaps much sooner than usual on final approach, and

d. If you don't usually have a skeg on your plane do consider adding one for the Fall Fest. The shins you save may be your own.
Good luck and stay safe!
Oct 09, 2015, 10:59 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

2015 Fall Fest Wrap-up

(Sorry for the delay, I was waiting for the pictures to come in)

SVSS had a good group at the Fall Fest this year--14 total by my count. The overall attendance this year was about the same as last year. It was good to see the numbers holding up. One disappointment for me was that not many took advantage of the lasagne dinner that was served on the field Saturday night. It was a really great meal. I also only saw one LED-illuminated night flyer this year which was a little surprising. Other than that I give the event a big thumbs up (as always). Lots of flying with pilots from all over the West and a great time to catch up with soaring friends that you only see once or twice a year.

Weather was nice on Friday and Saturday (sunny, mid 80's, light breezes) but then took a turn on Sunday as rain that was forecast turned into real rain. In spite of the wet stuff we were able to squeeze in two 5-minutes rounds on Sunday in between storm cells rolling in from the SE corner of the field.

Friday ALES Contest

The Friday ALES contest was well attended with 48 pilots. From what I heard there may only be one or two other ALES contests in the US that have been larger. So it does appear that electric contesting is steadily growing. As to flying conditions 13 out of 48 pilots got all their times while the rest of us came up a little short on one or more rounds. Landings were darned hard for everyone because--well--the ground was darned hard. The CVRC field has not been watered since June so the landing area was hard enough – with a close-cut layer of dead grass-- where you could not even attempt mild dork landings. So virtually everyone had at least a few long skid landings.

On one of Aric's flights he did a beautiful long skid that ended with a tasteful rotation with the plane's nose pointing to a high landing score. Whether by luck or skill it was a kick to watch. Do that one again Aric and I'll be real impressed .

Contest results follow with JT leading the SVSS pack:

Friday ALES Contest - SVSS Members
(48 pilots total)
Jim Thomas - 9th
Scott Woodward - 12th
Lou Fox - 15th
Dudley Dufort - 19th
Chris Bajorek - 20th
Marty Falarski - 21st
Aric Wilmunder - 29th
Mac Powell - 33rd
Lance Gromachey - 37th


The TD contest

The main event started on Sat with a first flight at 8:30. Anyone who has flown early rounds at Visalia knows the formula for your 5-min round: launch as high as you can, camber up, and gently point into the early AM breeze. 5 minutes = no problem. Then the real fun begins with 10 minute tasks. Scott Meader was top SVSS dog placing 13th out of 123 pilots with Neil Nolte at a very respectable 26th place followed by Jim Rolle in 32nd. Many of us didn't get all our times and some of us landed outside the main field boundaries for a zero flight. OUCH! My own zero encounter was doing a low-altitude save at the far NW corner of the field. Thankfully I got the plane down unscathed but at least one SVSS pilot found a water hole on the far western edge of the north basin where they landed out.

I had a chance to witness some very good flights including one where Aric had to follow a thermal way upwind to the west. I mean really far upwind. He did a great job working the lift and getting it back safe.

Bill Curry was the only SVSS entry in the woody class and flew and landed remarkably well to earn his 2nd place finish. Nice job Bill! In ALES class Lance Gromachey came out on top. Lance may be one of our newest members but he's been working hard on his game and it's showing. And finally in RES class Neil Nolte placed 7th out of 46 pilots. Well done! SVSS member results in the TD contest are below.

If you didn't attend the Fall Fest this year please do consider it for next year. It's a blast. --Chris


Open Class Results - SVSS Notables
(123 pilots total)
Scott Meader - 13th (1st page)
Neil Nolte - 26th (first page)
Jim Rolle - 32nd (2nd page)
Bill Curry - 47th (2nd page)
Mike Clancy - 52nd (2nd page)
Jim Ludwigson - 61st (2nd page)
and the rest of us... Names withheld to protect the innocent.

Woody Class Results - SVSS Members
(9 pilots total)
Bill Curry - 2nd place

ALES Class Results - SVSS Members
(17 pilots total)
Lance Gromachey - 3rd place!
Aric Wilmunder - 4th
Mac Powell - 10th
Scott Woodward - 11th
Lou Fox - 14th

RES Class Results - SVSS Members
(46 pilots total)
Neil Nolte - 7th place
Ed Granger - 41st

Grey Class Results - SVSS Members
(81 pilots total)
Neil Nolte 7th - Open
Neil Nolte 9th - RES
Bill Curry 17th - Woody
Bill Curry 21st - Open
Mike Clancy 23rd - Open
Jim Ludwigson 26st - Open
Jim Thomas 30th - Open
Mac Powell 47th - Ales
Dudley Dufort 53rd - Open
Lou Fox 62nd - Open
Lou Fox 64th - ALES
Mac Powell 73rd - Open
Ed Granger 75th - RES
Ron Lenci 77th - Open
Last edited by SoaringDude; Oct 22, 2015 at 10:05 AM. Reason: Added Grey Class results courtesy of Neil Nolte. Thanks much Neil!
Oct 22, 2015, 10:09 AM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

More Fall Fest pics posted

If you want to see more really great Fall Fest pics click here. If anyone wants to volunteer to extract some SVSS member pics and post them here feel free.
Oct 23, 2015, 10:09 AM
Good for what ALES you
awilmunder's Avatar
I'm going through the photos and will try to get a slideshow together for our holiday party.

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