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Jun 04, 2008, 12:25 PM
jrerickson
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IHLGF time travel...a stroll down memory lane


I see that Lex M. posted a "Top Ten" poll for this year's IHLGF. On a less competitive note, I thought I'd share some personal memories of my favorite soaring event of the year.

This will be the 15th annual contest. Ron Schark and the TPG crew have done an outstanding job over the years, especially in the running of the event. Their proprietary "Clarkson" scoring software, smooth impound and field management has always been first rate. With close to 70 pilots flying they have their hands full, yet it always comes off like it is an easy thing to do. It's not! Ever tried running a 70 person contest? It's just that the leaders in the club have set a clear example of what to do, and the volunteers all know their parts. A great combination.

This will be my 12th contest. I first showed up in 1997. There was this guy in our club who was pretty good. He used to tell me that if you liked hand launch, Poway was the place to be. His name was Joe Wurts. I knew he was good, but what I didn't know at the time was that I was flying with arguably the greatest hand launch pilot we've seen. His track record proves this out. I went down and flew, just trying to figure things out. We all flew overhand and if you could get a 60' launch you would be happy.

My first competitive plane was DJ Aerotech Monarch. This was a nice flying v-tailed poly. It had close to 400 in2 of area. DJ also made the Wizard, a 4 channel aileron plane that worked well in windy conditions. Right around this time I also was friends with Brian Buaas. Brian started experimenting with hand launch, and soon came up with the Feather line. His garage/shop over in Northridge was a thing of beauty. I'd go and watch as he would bag wing after wing. His workmanship was so high.

There were some design experiments going on, one of which was the Logic. This plane had a turbulator strip, a tiny, long boom and small, light weight tail feathers. Contrasted in design style was the Encore. Phil Pearson and Joe kept working on an all around design that handled well and could utilize camber changing for changing conditions. Everyone was looking for the smallest advantage because with launch heights that we were getting you had to hook up into lift right away or you were on the ground.

Around 1999 Dick Barker was throwing his Uplink sidearm. He'd grip the wing between his thumb and fingers and throw. I had an off field landing up the hill, and as I went to get my plane I could see the launch heights that guys were getting. Dick was higher than any of them. He had something special going on. His plane was in the process of evolution, with design features like the mid mounted rudder to eliminate boom twist.

We had some European pilots come over to compete and I recall one time watching a 14 oz. fully molded elliptical wing plane fly very successfully in the afternoon wind. It was a harbinger of things to come out of Europe.

I changed over to discus launch in 2001. I remember getting heckled at first by the overhand "purists" but once again Joe gave me some good advice and told me not to listen. I was getting great launches and there was very little strain on my arm. This is also the time that we found out that pegs were a better way to throw than just gripping the tip.

Brian worked on a new line of planes (Raptor) with some more design refinements and experiments, like a forward swept wing profile and thinned airfoils. Later Dr. Drela jumped in with the SuperGee and that particular design has taken us to where we are now.

We were flying a circuit in So. Cal. where we got in a lot of contest practice. I got my first Poway top ten in 2000 (9th), again in 2001 (9th), in 2002 (6th) and in 2005 (9th). As every year went by, Ron and crew made adjustments to the increased performance of the planes. The out of bounds line on the eastern edge of the field used to be the trees, then the road, then further towards the west till it finally stopped a couple of years ago way inland of where it first started.

I'm bouncing around here a bit, but if anyone wants to add their recollections we could develop a nice history, wikipedia style. I did notice that this year we will be without Joe and Phil. I go way back with them and they will be missed. The contest without Mr. Wurts and Pearson seems wrong, but we will carry on, fly, eat well, see old friends and work on the tradition that has become the IHLGF.

John
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Jun 04, 2008, 01:25 PM
Oleg Golovidov
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I have been hoping all this time that Joe W would submit his registration at the last minute. I am still hoping, actually... Joe, do you read this? We need you in Poway. Phil is also a great pilot and craftsman, always a pleasure to talk to and discuss building techniques.

I think my first visit to Poway was in 1998. I was flying my early polyhedral planes with free-flight style tail feathers. The wings were bagged fiberglass. The wing tips were taped on, removable for travel. I did a lot better than I expected that year, I was very high on the first page at the end of day one! Of course, day two corrected my standings considerably. But that year gave me confidence that I can actually compete in HL contests...
Jun 04, 2008, 01:57 PM
Bruce Davidson
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Wow has it been that long? My first trip to the International Hand Launch Glider Festival was in 1994. At that time I didnít have any flying buddies that owned a handlaunch sailplane. I had graduated from my Osprey to a DJ Aerotech Monarch. This was the early version with the balsa over foam wing. The registration package mentioned the visiting pilot sponsor program. I contacted Ron and he put me in touch with Mike Ziaskis (sp). Mike opened his house to me for the weekend and put me in his spare bedroom. I had a good idea that HL was gonna be the path for me but that weekend closed the deal. Other than the launch technique not much has changed at the IHLGF. The group of guys that run the show and the competitors are some the best that you will ever find. On that Saturday late in the day I got into a big thermal and took it way down for a long ride. The flight back to the field was considerably shorter than the flight out. I found out that there is a road on the other side of that big hill and in the field on the other side of that road I found my Monarch in a ball on the ground. That was the only plane I had with me and it was going home in a bag. Even back then there was a Pizza party on Saturday. My host was not interested in pizza so I went with my new friends to catch up with Mike later. That evening as I pulled into his driveway his garage door was open and I hear a vacuum pump running. There was my Monarch wing in a bag wrapped up in an electric blanket. Sunday Morning I was at it again with my new Frankenstein Monarch. Mike taught me that pretty much anything is repairable. Not sure where I ended up in the standings that first year but I was hooked on HL.

Bruce
Jun 04, 2008, 03:09 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by olgol
I have been hoping all this time that Joe W would submit his registration at the last minute. I am still hoping, actually... Joe, do you read this? We need you in Poway.
JW is on his way to Australia where he will fly at the Jerilderie event, F3K and F6D (WAG selection contest).
Actually he will compete in F3K and show Australians how to fly F6D (he is presently 2nd in the Australasia ranking and may be invited to WAG 2009 in Turin). But leading in Australasia is Kevin Botherway who will be in Poway, so watch out!

Who want to join JW and Kevin in Turin next year ?

FAI guy
Jun 04, 2008, 07:00 PM
Registered User
Paul Naton's Avatar
I think I've done 8 or so Poway's, mostly in the years when men were men, and men threw overhand.

When I first saw HLG in the late 80's, I thought is was the most ridiculous form of soaring, throw all day and get 1 minute flights, no thanks, see you on the slope!

But then Charlie Richardson (of Climmax fame) was building some prototypes blending slope technology with early HLG designs, and convinced me to try to thermal from a handlaunch. It took me about 4 days of practice, but on that 4th day I hooked up about 5 times in a row, and I suddenly understood what HLG was all about.

I still sell my DVD -International HLG- which was shot way back in 2000. Little did I know that this event was the big turning point in HLG history, the last major event to have javelin type launches. The next year all planes where discus launch.

Check out the preview trailer for this film on YouTube, it shows many of the greats throwing old school, and the inventors of DHLG showing us the new way. Its still the best HLG film ever, though its about 8 years old.

International HLG DVD Trailer (1 min 18 sec)


Paul Naton -flying HLG since 1989.
Jun 04, 2008, 07:30 PM
Challenge is rewarding
djklein21's Avatar
I love history lessons, keep it coming guys, great post
Jun 04, 2008, 07:35 PM
Flying IS the hobby
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Naton

Check out the preview trailer for this film on YouTube, it shows many of the greats throwing old school, and the inventors of DHLG showing us the new way. Its still the best HLG film ever, though its about 8 years old.

Paul Naton -flying HLG since 1989.


One of these days those whippersnappers with their DLGs is going to catch on...
Jun 05, 2008, 07:29 AM
Registered User
Dennis Everett's Avatar
Is there a thread on this contest ? Is it this weekend ?thanks..Dennis
Jun 06, 2008, 01:12 AM
F3J, F3K and F5J eXtreme
markStockton's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FAI_guy
JW is on his way to Australia where he will fly at the Jerilderie event, F3K and F6D (WAG selection contest).
Actually he will compete in F3K and show Australians how to fly F6D (he is presently 2nd in the Australasia ranking and may be invited to WAG 2009 in Turin). But leading in Australasia is Kevin Botherway who will be in Poway, so watch out!

Who want to join JW and Kevin in Turin next year ?

FAI guy
Sitting with hand raised in Africa.

Go Phil and Arend, it's time to fly DLG together again.


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