Tuesday, August 18, 2015

MRCSS / Rochester Team Sailplane Contest

For the last several years there has been a group of people in Rochester Minnesota that meet one Saturday a month to have a thermal duration contest of model radio control sailplanes. It seemed the first couple of years our skill was such that if it was windy at all we would not attempt to fly.  I think partly because of the competition everyone in the group has improved their flying ability greatly and we now do not let a little wind stop us from flying.  Several pilots from the MRCSS sailplane club based out of the Twin Cities area have come to our events also and some of us have gone to their events as well.

Last Saturday August 15, 2015 we had a joint contest between the two groups with a pairing of a Rochester pilot with a pilot of the MRCSS club at their field. The skill level of many of the pilots from the MRCSS club is equal to some of the best around the country. In my opinion this was an excellent opportunity to learn from an expert and just get to know a person from the other group a little bit better.

The flyer I was paired with Brad; is an amazingly talented sailplane pilot. I had met him for the first time this year at a discus launch glider contest and then again at another thermal duration contest. One of the techniques I had watched him use at the DLG contest I had used at one of our local contests to come very close to winning.  At the thermal duration contest I had marveled at how he had managed to fly over some trees far downwind and made it back for a good landing.

In the joint contest he flew his Xplorer sailplane with amazing skill and most flights he would land it within the landing circle at exactly 10 minutes.  I was flying the Allegro Lite 2-meter sailplane in a contest for the first time with not much total stick time on this glider. After spending so much time building the Allegro I have always been nervous flying it.  In the contest it launched and flew pretty well but just wasn’t staying up long enough in the thermals. Landing in the wind was really giving me trouble, it would appear to not want to turn going downwind but when it finally turned I couldn’t get it to straighten out again. 

When I started flying RC gliders in the late 90’s I would fly as much as I possibly could but the last few years I have not put the time into it to remain very proficient. I was really shocked when Brad told me he had only been flying radio control since 2012, while I have been flying for 40 years but not just RC sailplanes. Brad has put a great deal of time into flying including almost everyday during the winter and had the chance to fly against the best pilots in the country.  I would have to believe experience that is more intense might be more beneficial than when spread out over many years and greater exposure to flying with more high level pilots is a huge help also.

What is so impressive to me about both groups as how they try to be flexible and let as many types of sailplanes fly as possible. In this contest there were electric gliders, basic training gliders, and super high performance gliders all flying.  

Bill Kuhl 

Related Articles

Flying F3K Contest – RC Discus Launch

Watching the Super RC Sailplanes 

Allegro Lite Sailplane Finished and Flying



  1. Howdy Bill,

    Good write up as always.

  2. Thank you Marty, I feel like if you can't make to an event it is fun to see pictures and video of it, I hope you are getting some flying in.

  3. Excellent roundup with some really great information here

  4. I was looking for something like this…I found it quiet interesting, hopefully you will keep posting such blogs….