There was a period in my life where flying model sailplanes was really an addiction; I flew as much as I could, I read as much as I could on the topic, and when I started to get somewhat proficient I went to contests. I never was an expert but no doubt in my mind I was more proficient than I am now. In 2001 I competed in a very large model sailplane contest in Arizona in the 2 meter class. Probably more by luck or bad luck for other contestants I took home a trophy for third place in the two meter class.
|2001 Southwest Classic Sailplane Contest|
|3rd Place Trophy|
For the last few years the amount of time and effort I put into my sailplane flying has been much less because of putting more priority on other activities, much was related to project building sessions with kids. Thanks to the efforts of Wayne Norrie in Rochester MN promoting model sailplane activity I have been able to attend some contests while visiting my mother. The contests have been fun and low pressure but everyone appears to be improving their flying skills because their performance is measured.
Last Saturday we had an event for electric sailplanes with almost everyone flying either the Radian or Radian Pro. The launches are limited to 150 meters in height by the electronic CAM unit so hopefully most flights started at about the same altitude for everyone. So performance is mainly measured by the ability to find and make use of thermal air currents with some additional points added for landing within a spot. Three planes flew at the same time so those planes had the opportunity to fly through the same air conditions.
|Wayne Norrie Launching EverythingHobby Radian|
On the first round I did rather well which maybe gave me some over confidence as I had the high time, still under 6 minutes when we were trying for 7 minutes and some landing points. Throughout the contest some pilots were getting 7 minute thermal flights and I kept going down. To the casual observer flying in thermal lift might appear to be so much luck, but yet the better pilots will always do better because they are reading the subtle signs of how their sailplane is flying through the air or know the better areas of the field to find lift.
|I Landed the Tail on the Spot but it Should be the Nose|
Hopefully I will find time to sharpen my skill in the future but I really felt better seeing that others have improved so much.