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Jun 03, 2016, 10:51 PM
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Contest Hanger Talk

Anyone is free to jump in & discuss contesting and competition stuff. The idea for this thread came from talk during the Wed contest practice get-togethers.

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Jun 03, 2016, 11:05 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

Jonathan's 5-10-10-10-10 pre-contest thoughts

The weather is supposed to be partly cloudy which at Davis always tweaks thermal conditions enough to make it interesting. I'll be flying my X2 in this one now that the thing is flying straight.

Ron and Jim I know you guys are ready for landings this week, your steady practicing has been impressing me. And Jim I've been noticing you're coming in on short final faster than I remember in the past (just like Bobby told me in Fresno) but you aren't dorking hard so it's still nice energy control all the way in.

So if either of you hit 93 or better on all landings I'll buy next Wed's lunch. If I hit all 96 (which will probably be pretty hard in the breezes) or better what do I get?
Jun 04, 2016, 09:10 PM
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Hey guys! This contest was an interesting challenge. Overcast all day (unusual for early June), winds calm to 3mph, and fleeting thermals until the last 2 rounds when they started cooking a little better. The main thing I ran into on all but my last round was thermals that did not stay in one place for very long. They were constantly moving, had to recenter turns almost constantly and many times the bubble just seemed to dissolve only to find another one a little further downwind. Almost like they were jumping around rather than drifting. Weird.

Landing conditions were as close to ideal as you can get: very light breezes always giving upwind landings. In spite of that I had two low 90's landings which is not good enough for 1st place in this club (sorry I did not write down my round-by-round scores, next time I will).

The thermal conditions today were tough enough where waiting for the next pair of birds or breeze shifts before your next launch made huge sense. That said in both my early flights the birds I did see and choose to follow were w-a-y far east and took a good launch and long run to reach. Not easy altho' I'm pretty happy with my X2-4mtr--it really does range better than the X1 airfoil which came in handy on 3 flights.

Scott Meader got all his times too--only 3 secs off perfect I think--and flew really well. He got 1st place but it was no easier for him: I saw one of his rounds where he was fighting for air at 1/2 launch altitude at the south end of our field for at least 4 minutes, maybe more. Yikes.

This was not an easy contest but I had a blast. Thanks to Jonathan for being CD.

Chris B.
Jun 05, 2016, 12:50 AM

todays TD contest and recent practice

Yes Jim and I have been working on "pattern work" for several weeks. We each get about 20-25 landings in on our Wednesday outings. I think I am finally getting the approaches that I need. Both Scott and Chris have been helpful over the years and Jim is an exceptional friend and great flying partner.

Funny thing about today's contest where we don't get the great thermals, Jim and I are a small disadvantage for shorter and heavier planes. Today I only missed the 2nd 10 minute round times by 2 minutes where I saw many short flights and fought hard for the 8 minutes that I did get. Jim was pretty good at getting me out of trouble! My worst landing was a 60 and all were on centerline. Feels real good to see all the practice come together where I am closer to getting into the 90's on all my landings.

Chris, as for lunch next Wednesday, Until the past Wed, I never thought I could be anywhere near the 90's for our landings. Now I know I can do it. Just needs more practice. I'm on for buying you lunch this coming week, as I learn so much in working with you. I'm in!
Anyone else that wants to come workout with us, please join in.

Ron V.
Last edited by 269311; Jun 05, 2016 at 01:10 AM. Reason: signature
Jun 05, 2016, 09:59 AM
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Ron, the advantage of bigger lighter planes is not always so clear. For example Aric W. took 2nd place and was flying his heavier Xplorer 3.8 (that plane was my first Xplorer as it turns out ). Your X1-ST-3.8 wing loading is better than his by the way. And Scott Meader took first with his X3.5 that probably has wing loading that is comparable to Aric's.

A 4m wing will thermal better (theoretically, if you fly it right) but the biggest no-brainer advantage to me is visibility. I was really surprised how much further away I could fly and still see the plane compared to my old 3.8 (i.e. your current plane). But a 4M wing is also a small disadvantage on final approach in gusty wind conditions: the wing gets kicked around more so to compensate you have to either ballast up and/or fly it faster.

One more thing on flying uber-light planes: it's different. It took me 6 months to get used to my first light X1-4.0. I ended up almost always flying with 6oz of ballast in it. Bill Curry found the same thing with his X2-4 (Aric's plane now).
Jun 05, 2016, 12:20 PM
very interesting Chris,
learn something new each day!
BTW, what does the "ST" stand for on my plane?
Last edited by 269311; Jun 05, 2016 at 12:20 PM. Reason: spelling
Jun 05, 2016, 01:05 PM
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"Spread tow" i.e a lighter carbon fiber weave than the "full carbon" layup used in the first gen Xplorer wings. And the current (3rd) generation of Xplorers use carboline carbon fiber sheeting. Spread tow has a distinctive cross banding appearance whereas carboline is a sheet with a uniform cross pattern but no obvious banding...and it's lighter.

And word on the street is that the new X4's coming will be even lighter and just as strong. Really, if you glued a peg into one of the wingtips you would have a big DLG (discus launch glider). Almost.
Jun 05, 2016, 03:08 PM
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After lots of practice with Ron , this contest was my worst ever , I hope... With 3 badly missed times , and only 1 landing in the high 90's . Ron learned and remembered lot's more of out practice than I did , for sure. Congrats to all who did well . BTW , that's nearly everyone .

Chris's explanation about the lift type he encountered , was very accurate in my experience too , but I failed to score.
Congrats to Scott for one of the best results I have ever heard of ... 3 seconds off with a high 90's landing average.
The high scores are proof of the skills our MASTER class pilots demonstrate , and a good goal to join in . I am going to keep practicing .
Jun 05, 2016, 05:30 PM
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So Jim, with the thermals being so tough especially early, on average how long did you wait while looking for lift signs before launching? Just curious.
Jun 05, 2016, 05:59 PM
Registered User
not very long . I look around and will wait a minute or so for a strong wind to lessen , and look for marked lift , i.e. birds or other gliders , but generally 'winch it up' , especially if others are waiting. I would also let any 'master' in line to go first if asked , and observe his/her plan .
Jun 05, 2016, 06:08 PM
Registered User

1 other thing

... I previously said this was my worst contest ever . NOT TRUE. Perhaps others will agree . Being last on the field , when returning with a busted model , from far away and full of star thistle ... that's way worse , or not having a model to take home . Either way is Way "WORSE"!! Yup , and I still had fun yesterday .
Jun 05, 2016, 06:41 PM
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If everybody delayed launches for extended periods we would never finish a contest but sometimes even a few extra minutes can make a difference. There is no SVSS rule against it.
Jun 06, 2016, 08:35 AM

waiting to launch

As for waiting to launch, I didn't wait as well.
Look around and see what lift if any others were getting, which was for the most part and you mentioned not a lot so just camber up the 3mm and let it go.

I think this was the second contest where I was one of first to launch.
This sport has to be fun and I like the idea of trying to making it happen, that challenge is more important to me than winning cause I waited 30 minutes for better conditions.

I hope we do implement some timing of the event to keep it moving. Good air or bad, Visalia keeps you moving and is the fairest way for all contestants. Also in this contest, the air cycles and Jim's flights weren't kind as were mine.
Last edited by 269311; Jun 06, 2016 at 08:37 AM. Reason: spelling
Jun 06, 2016, 10:05 AM
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I get your point but nobody waits 30mins, thankfully. At our field, though, thermals cycles often are short as in a couple of minutes.

Re: contest formats that keep the line moving, how about this: Jim is the CD for the Oct contest. Now that Jonathan has a 3rd winch+HFR setup we could have a modified Man-on-Man contest using 3 lanes. Would have to work out scoring and launch group details.

Just a thought...

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