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Aug 28, 2017, 10:00 AM
E sailplane thermal hack
Interesting flights Chris,, I can see in early morning rounds that guys like Lenny and John and Ali launching to around 100m or less and still making their times,, pretty impressive
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Aug 28, 2017, 08:54 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

Scores, final


Another action-filled F5J USA Tour event in the books. I'll mention a few things here then more tomorrow (car-lagged at the moment). We flew a total of 12 qualifying rounds (8 Sun, 4 Mon) as agreed by the pilots. We finished the quals today around 11:30 then took our lunch break that was longer than planned. The reason why this is significant is that by the time we started the flyoffs the wind had gone from +-1mph very light breezes to 8-10 in the span of about 2 minutes. Seriously, someone threw the wind switch. Then it built to much more during the fly-off rounds.

The last 4 qual rounds today (Mon) were before lunch in nice calm conditions with increasing thermal activity. When the wind kicked up thermaling went out, wave riding off the rolling hills went in (as in day 1, only harder). Look at the fly-off flight scores and you'll see what I mean.

We ended up with 9 pilots who flew all the qual rounds and 5 flyoff pilots thanks to Tim Dolan who volunteered as our 5th timer.

Congrats to the top Qualifying pilots (see the PDF below). Top 5 were:
Tim Johnson (10,893)
Ali Khani (10,526)
John Armstrong (10,481)
Chris Bajorek (10,415)
Lenny Keer (10,352).

Congrats to overall (Fly-offs) event winner Ali Khani (2431) who did some gutsy downwind wave work to win 2 of the 3 fly-off rounds and get the best fly-off score (2431). The order of finishes was:
#1 Ali Khani (2431)
#2 Tim Johnson (1545)
#3 John Armstrong (1158)
#4 Lenny Keer (1062)
#5 Chris Bajorek (1053)

DRAWING WINNER

After the awards were given out we had a drawing for the SoaringUSA MKS servo bundle. The winner was Steven Willison. Congrats Steve, we know you will put them to good use. Thanks Bob and SUSA for your generous donation.

------------------------
Pictures coming soon from Brian Chan and a few others. Thank you to everyone who participated in our event. Thanks to Rick Johnston and the SloFlyers RC club for securing the field and hosting the event. Well done!

Chris
Last edited by SoaringDude; Aug 29, 2017 at 12:40 AM. Reason: added SUSA drawing info
Aug 29, 2017, 08:16 AM
Where is the lift?
cptsnoopy's Avatar
Congrats Ali!

Charlie
Aug 29, 2017, 10:25 AM
Electric Airplane Junkie
bhchan's Avatar
The Dancing Girls never showed up but this bunch did! Just imagine them in dresses!


Brian, an EAJ
Aug 29, 2017, 11:59 AM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

Notes from Santa Margarita Ranch, part 1


On low-level thermaling - Pretty much everyone during the comp had chances to do low-altitude thermaling. Low, as in 5-10 mtr up. I saw some very good low-alt work from all the top pilots but without a doubt the most stable, rock-steady, really low thermaling I saw was from Rick Johnston. Rick has his e-Maxa extremely well dialed in with his setup and his low thermal flying skills. After the event I asked only half joking when he was giving a master class on low-level work. Very nice Rick, you have given me a new homework assignment.

On F5J contests with small pilot lists
- The initial response I often see from pilots who see a low pilot count during signups is that they are bummed out. And sometime they choose to not come just because the turnout is low. It's easy to get caught up in this line of thinking. Especially after this event, however, I realize a few things that have changed my own perspective.

First, when you are flying 3 or 4 pilots in a group as a spectator or as a timer you have a chance to watch what the other guys are doing much better. This made it easier to pick up strategy points. And because I could keep an eye on others better I picked up a few interesting F5J-specific strategy tips from one pilot in particular by just watching. And no I'm not going to spill it here. You have to come to more events yourself .

Second, the feel of the event is different. With a bigger pilots list you see pilots breaking into smaller groups and hanging together. At events like S.M. everyone felt like they were part of the same group. This makes for a much better learning environment. I'm not saying we want to encourage low turnout, just that flying in a small F5J tour event can be more of an opportunity than a downer.
Aug 29, 2017, 01:42 PM
ak79's Avatar
The turnout was smaller than expected, that was a bit of a bummer for me. However as Chris stated that did not mean the flying was any less challenging. It was a really great contest, the weather was good, very warm! Lot's of wind to deal with in the afternoons, but that just made it all the more exciting. Great group of guys, I think everyone had a great time and I didn't really see any carnage or bad crashes.

As always Chris runs a very well oiled F5J machine, his contests run very well. I would like to thank Rick for all his hard work getting this contest planned and running and for providing California sailplane pilots with an amazing field to fly from!

My report-

Saturday I made a huge blunder and motored out to a thermal that had several birds circling in it fairly low level, it was pretty far away so I had to buzz out there at a low altitude in level flight under power, once there I did not have much time left to climb. The lift was there but the mistake I made was going to a thermal really far away at low level with the backdrop of very dark and green hill side behind my model. My model is dark and green as well. Right away I knew I was in trouble as I lost sight of my model. I tried to make a few turns but only had eyes on it about 30 % of the time and was quickly losing track of what direction it was pointing. I made the decision to light the motor and climb resulting in a Zero flight. It was a good choice as there was no way I could safely navigate my way home from that position. This reduced my margin for error greatly. Later that day I came up short in another flight, so basically I had 2 drops. Low in spirits I got a bit grumpy but John did his best to keep me motivated and at the hotel that night I just told myself do the best you can and see what happens.

Saturday afternoon Rick was stuck in a flight group with no other pilots as the 2 guys in his group had bowed out. 2 spoiler pilots were needed to fly with Rick (although in the end I don't think I spoiled anything as Rick was awarded a 1000 points anyway ). I got lucky and was picked to fly with Rick, knowing that these points would not be applied to my score I decided to test an area I had worked before in F3J at this field. A hillside downwind that is pretty far away. It had worked for me in the past but it really tests the limits of my eyesight and nerves (thanks Bob Mcgowan for teaching me this trick). We lit in this round and Rick and the other guy went up wind and I buzzed out downwind to the hill. I got there and after a few minutes of surfing back and forth I found a sweet spot and started to climb. Quickly specked out and my eyes strained to see the model. Rick was down in 3.33 and I started to head home at around 5 minutes left as I knew that was how much time it would take to get back, strong headwinds meant slow progress. I made it back to the field with about a minute left but still need some more time, so I surfed a few trees near the landing zone to extend. Anyway I got my 10 and a good landing. This so called "spoiler" flight would pay out huge for me the next day.

Sunday I made good choices, fly fairly conservative and just get all my times. After 4 rounds Sunday I clawed my way back up to 2nd in the standings, John and Lenny made a few mistakes and this helped me out. This is the thing about F5J, unlike F3J were if you make a few small mistakes you are out of the contest, in F5J the order can shuffle greatly! Never give up, no surrender!!

I made it to the flyoff and boy did the wind come up!! In the back of my mind I thought I would stick with the pack and just try to cover everyone, take few risks. The first flight we all headed up wind to try and surf ridge lift. Under power my timer kept telling me I was high, so I pushed down and when the motor shut off I was actually the low guy by about 20 meters. This proved critical as I could not hook up well in the ridge lift. I was down in about 5 minutes and everyone else was down in about the same time, except Tim. Tim had is uber light Ultima parked in ridge lift and buried us all, he got over 11 minutes. At this point it was time to go big or go home as I figured I was already hosed. So I made up my mind to go downwind. Second flyoff round I went straight down wind to the hill and hooked up in ridge/slope lift right away. Within a few minutes I was specked out and wayyyyyyy downwind. My eyes strained, my nerves shot, hands shaking. My timer Brian did a good job of keeping me calm and had his eyes on the model. I could only see it's orientation half the time so when I could not see what it was doing Brian would tell me. At this point I was flying the model by "feel" , "I think it should be doing this so I will do that". My brain was screaming "come home!!!" my thumbs were saying "stay there!!". I wanted to come home so badly! I spend so much of my energy just trying to see the model that I had no idea what the other guys were doing. I think Brian was doing the same. It was only when shadows passed over us and we started to hear servos buzzing and ESC's beeping that we knew people were in trouble. Guys started landing around 5 minutes in. At around 6 minutes everyone was down. I was still specked out but decided to come home as it would take at least 5 minutes to get back over head. I tried to stretch the whole 15 minutes as I knew I got hosed the first round and had to make up as much as possible in case I could not get the full flight time the 3rd round. In the end I was down at 14.26. The final flyoff round was the same, I had the same plan, go down wind, this time the wind was up a bit more and it was later in the day, so there was a good chance the ridge lift out front would be gone, or my lift would be gone as well. At the start I went straight downwind to the right side of the hill were I had spent the previous flight. All I found was a giant steamy pike of sink. Now I was really scared as took an even lower launch and was at the point of not having enough height to get back to the field! Do I head straight back?? What to do?? I decided to come back but jog left in front of the hill. I got passed the face of the hill and into blue sky and bang! More ridge lift on the far left side. Camber in, nose up, rudder only, no turns. My Dynamic basically sat still and went straight up. Again a few minutes in I was specked out wayyyy downwind and at the very limit if my vision. Total tunnel vision and concentration. Flying by "feel" with no really visual orientation on the model. Once again we heard servos buzzing as shadows passed over us, the other guys were coming down! It seems the ridge lift upfront was not paying off. Around the 7 minute mark everyone was down, clicked in speed mode and headed home. I kept asking Brian if I was making any progress as it seemed that little dot was not getting any bigger! Minutes passed and I wanted nothing more than to have my model on the ground and rub my eyes. Finally I could see wing tips, then the elevator, soon I could make out the stripes on the bottom of the wings. I made it back to the field with about 3 minutes to go, but I wanted to get as much as I could, so I kept clicking into thermal mode if I got a bump, then back to speed if I hit sink, this back and forth gave me a few good rises and stretched the time out. Then I was lower with about 2 minutes to go I surfed a few tree tops, a thermal blew threw and I was at tree top level, but I went for it. I took 2 wraps in a nice thermal and was able to climb a few meters. That was enough for me, speed mode back to the spot. On the ground at 14.13

I'm really proud of myself for my last few flyoff rounds, this win means a lot to me, more than a lot of other contests I have been in. I have no complaints really, it was a great event! I want to thank everyone involved for all the hard work, especially Rick and Chris!

Till the next one!
Last edited by ak79; Aug 29, 2017 at 02:35 PM.
Aug 29, 2017, 02:18 PM
Registered User
Yeehaw !!! Nice job !!!
Aug 29, 2017, 03:18 PM
a.k.a VintageFan
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoaringDude

On F5J contests with small pilot lists
- The initial response I often see from pilots who see a low pilot count during signups is that they are bummed out. And sometime they choose to not come just because the turnout is low. It's easy to get caught up in this line of thinking. Especially after this event, however, I realize a few things that have changed my own perspective.

First, when you are flying 3 or 4 pilots in a group as a spectator or as a timer you have a chance to watch what the other guys are doing much better. This made it easier to pick up strategy points. And because I could keep an eye on others better I picked up a few interesting F5J-specific strategy tips from one pilot in particular by just watching. And no I'm not going to spill it here. You have to come to more events yourself .

Second, the feel of the event is different. With a bigger pilots list you see pilots breaking into smaller groups and hanging together. At events like S.M. everyone felt like they were part of the same group. This makes for a much better learning environment. I'm not saying we want to encourage low turnout, just that flying in a small F5J tour event can be more of an opportunity than a downer.
I have to agree with this.

I was enjoying this contest and was getting the hang of the local conditions, scoring a 1000 on my third flight, but then I managed to break my plane. My hastily prepared backup turned out not to be prepared very well so I had to drop out.

Congrats to Ali and thanks everybody for a well run event

Frank
Aug 29, 2017, 11:45 PM
Team Hello Kitty
SoaringDude's Avatar

Winner photos


Congrats again to #1 Ali Khani and the rest of the top 5. Pictures below are courtesy of Brian Chan, the official photographer of the F5J USA Tour and a darned good e-Ava pilot too.
Aug 30, 2017, 08:43 AM
E sailplane thermal hack
Nice write up Ali! Enjoyed reading into the mind of a top F5J pilot. Your experience illustrates what makes F5J such a great format. Anything can and does happen. Glad to hear I'm not the ONLY one who freaks out flying my plane REAL far away!! LOL. You persevered, and came back a WINNER! Way to go!! Congrats!
Jerry

Ps edit : BRIAN is official USA F5J tour photographer ?? ,, what's he getting paid for that?? Proffesionals like him aren't CHEAP you know!! ;-) he's very very good!
Just watching out for you Brian ;-)
Last edited by Airman74; Aug 30, 2017 at 09:10 AM.
Sep 09, 2017, 08:37 PM
Registered User
jrs_123's Avatar
ohhhh nooooooo

Quote:
Originally Posted by bhchan
The Dancing Girls never showed up but this bunch did! Just imagine them in dresses!


Brian, an EAJ


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