Wednesday, October 20, 2010

HTL#6 – Relaxed Competitive Flying

The title of this post may sound like a bit of a contradiction in itself but last weekend 23 pilots competing in the 6th Highveld Thermal League proved that not only is it possible but it is a welcome change to the usual frenetic pace of the man-on-man events. This event was, for the first time, run on postals style rules with no matrixing, man-on-man slots or normalising of scores.

With a working window of 7 hours from 8:30am to 3:30pm and six flights to do in the session, you could arrive when you liked and finish when you chose. For those that didn’t want to or couldn’t spend the whole of the day at the field, this was ideal. It made for some very relaxed flying as you could arrive at the field when you liked, quickly fly your six flights and leave or spend the whole day and complete your flights at your own pace. Although quite leisurely it also doesn’t allow you any mistakes, apart from the one throw-away allowed, as there is no normalizing of scores.

The final scores showed just how good the conditions were and/or how well the pilots picked their launch windows. Out of a possible 3500 points Alan nabbed first place with Paul just 1 point behind. The top five spots were separated by a mere 7 points!!!

The weather looked dubious at first. With low clouds, it looked like it could start pouring any minute, but by mid morning it was clearing up, making the thermals easier to find. Post event feedback indicates that the format of the competition was well received and enjoyed. We’ll definitely be doing this again next year.

If I may be permitted to blow the GEMS bugle a little…SmileIt is now just short of a year since our club’s inception and although we fared pretty well under the old ETB banner, I think we can all be proud of the performance and achievements of our club and it’s pilots. With the entire competitive core of pilots from the old ETB club, it is no wonder that our newly founded club has wrapped up first place in the club results of this year’s Highveld Thermal League after the 5th round at SGC already. THREE CHEERS TO GEMS!!!

IMG_7640Wolfgang: “ You gotta go that way Peter!”

IMG_7643Volney studiously tinkering with his AVA

Johan looking on as Gordon is about to launch his 2m

Ole Piet looking either tired or dejected… you decide

Nigel in the javelin position with his XPro

Xplorer at the ready, Paul contemplates the conditions




Ever present and dependable Martie preparing to feed the hungry pilots

Getting to grips with his own design home built Tulani (or is that the Emoyeni?), Piet confided in me it was only his lack of regular practise that prevented him from kicking everyone’s butt on the day….. Smile

Baby Nicole: “I’m so sorry for you uncle Evan…. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ll do better on the next flight”

“Hey uncle Evan! I’m cheering for you!”

Nigel doing his best impersonation of a winch chute while Wolfie looks on perplexed

Not everyone comes for the flying. Martie taking a welcome break after having fed the masses.





And to cap the the day, Gavin Lundie treated us to a flypast with his Tailor Craft. Lots of waving and shouting from those wishing for a flip, couldn’t persuade Gavin to land on the field……Sad smile

Maybe next time…

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