CSS Pumpkin Fly

CSS Pumpkin Fly

Hey all, and sorry for the belated report, but the 25th Annual CSS Pumpkin Fly was last weekend, and there was some heinous winds and 40-degree temperatures the first day, but Gordy managed to scratch out second place, being barely bested by Barry Anderson.

The second day the weather had improved slightly (10-15 mph winds, low 60s temperatures), Ron Allen drove up to meet Gordy. Gordy ended up winning the second day, and Ron finished in the middle of the pack at 11th. Combined with his first day, Gordy snatched “Grand Champion”! Despite the harsh weather, the LASS team fared well! Congrats guys.

The report from Gordy:

Hi Guys,

Sure wish you all could have been there with Ron Allen and I!
Ron won some rounds and we both brought home our planes in flyable condition! :-)

I was defending champion and had a super year of soaring but the last two big contests I attended, I had trouble getting my head into controling my landing speed. So I had set my mind to start sliding my landing instead of poking them. You’ll see I had a lot on my mind!

Here’s how it started for me!

Friday night I hopped in the shower to find that the drywall had gotten wet and fell apart from a leaky fitting. So when I went for the soap dish the tile caved in :-( So off to Home Depot.

3am Saturday I put the last tile up and hit the sack. 6am I was up and headed for Cincy. Really tired, but got about an hours sleep while driving :-()

I got there early, it was 41 degrees and 20mph+ already. Two sweatshirts and a hood, and I was ready.

There were Icons from Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. A few Extremes and I think an Artemis and some bagged planes…. and my ol’ Volz Powered Pike Supreme.

First flight was a 6min to get our thumbs limbered and to get us used to the winds.

I launched and did really well with a chance to put some hurt on the other guys in the flight but when I came around from up wind I accidently hit my launch preset and instead of swinging just behind the landing tape for a quick dive down, I ballooned way back to the tall grass area for a zero landing.

Since I was defending champ from last year, I had hopes of doing well but really wanted to take the Grand Champ award for the two days (a really nice award)….mostly I wanted the LSF3 contest count (need 6 contests with at least 10 guys). Visalia was the first for me.

This was NOT the way to start out with those goals in mind!

It was cold, windy all day with heavy overcast high ceiling. In the morning you could just point into the wind and surf for the time, but in the afternoon you had to pick a thermal and start wrapping hard downwind. I got about 1,200′ for my highest of the day….good for the 8 mins.

Barry Anderson of Cincy was on his game, hitting landing after landing and staying tough in the air. Martin Downey just got his Dr Dan Icon (Dr Dan, send him his BALLAST KIT!) and he has found the sailplane he deserves (easily the best flying I have seen him do).

Steve Siebenaler started with a NYX but got balled up on the landing approach turn and took of its nose. So he switched to his trusty Pike Supreme V tail and really kicked his game in gear. Cliff Bryan of Nitro WV, a realitive newbie to this kind of intense comp soaring, really brought his flying up a notch since attending Visalia, and he flew an Icon too.

Paul Sherman a new young stud from Michigan really showed tremendous improvements since last time I flew with him, he is reading air like JW! He flew a Vtail Extreme (or possibly Artemis).

Marc Gellart chose his Phoenix F3B V tail for the day but he still hasn’t come to terms with it for TD work.

If you guys don’t know about the OVSS series, there are a group of contest spread thru Illinios, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky which are sponsored by JR/Horizon. Top Points winners in Sportsman and Expert for two days win a set of 368 digis and the rest of the guys get some door prizes too. At the end of the series, high point for both groups gets an complete 9303 Radio package for our sailplanes!

OVSS is almost exclusively Man On Man, Seeded format. It is incredibly exciting to participate in and to watch because place finishers of each flight group fly against finiishers of the other flight groups. It is very much a soaring orientated format since everyone flies in the same air and condiitons as his peers.

As the day progressed, it got windier, but a little warmer. I clawed my way up but missed another landing on a scratch back to the field in heavy sink. In the end Barry Anderson held the win from me by 50 points! (if only I would have put in those two landings :-)

Sunday started about the same for me:-(
I got there a little later, it was sunny and windy but not like Saturday, more in the 10 to 15 range. Still 41 degrees but warming up to 63 later in the day. The wind stayed steady.

I had caused a fuse crack just under the leading edge in the gel coat during my frustration pokes at Visalia and the cold weather and windy landings didn’t help it. So to be safe I pulled the radio and did the repair, inside and out, then checked everything to make sure the system was ready for the next day of soaring. Little did I realize that I had put the rudder servo plug in back wards…at least I didn’t realize it until I had it full of ballast, all charged and then called to fly the first round! So I quick thru my back up Pike together, no ballast, not charged and ran to the winch.

No need to say, I was not exactly ready to face that first flight of 6min I not only missed the landing but was down at with 430 points and the rest of the group at about 1,060!

Hey whats 600 points when you’re hoping to win AND get Grand Champ?

But I knew conditions and MOM gives you a chance, so I hung tough, starting in the bottom groups, moving up with wins in each round til the second last. I had climbed to 3rd, with about 400 points between me and the leader. My Pike was really working well fully ballasted and I moved up to 2nd place, 200 points behind Marc Gellart who had switched to his favorite ship, the Zenit V tail. He was flighing brilliantly, leaving nothing on the table for anyone up to that point to make a move on. I went off to the left hoping that since the left had worked really well yesterday afternoon, I just might luck out.

As soon as I got over the tree line at about 700′ from the ping, I felt a huge bump, so I put in about an inch of camber and a bunch of up elevator to make my plane look really ugly and just kept pushing the nose. I could’t afford to show lift to Marc who had decided on the same strategy. I heard his caller say that Gordy just took a wrap, but Marc looked over to see me floundering and flopping downwind and decided that I was in junk. He took the strategy to point the nose into the lift/wind and attempt to surf it out. I knew from yesterday that worked in the morning (a guy rode out 6mins at about 50′ above the winches, never turning just S’ing back and forth) but that it didn’t work in the afternoon.

In the mean time I spent my time pushing the nose and gushing upwards and downwind. By the time Marc made a move the sink came in and crushed him down at about 3min, he barely made it to the cut grass of the landing area.

I rode it out with a couple of the other guys but I felt pretty good about having made the gain where I needed it.

Now came the awards presetations. The CD started by handing out frozen Turkeys to the guys who won their groups last rounds….I didn’t get one….oh oh.

Then he ticked off the scores starting with the bottom pilot’s score. He got to third and it wasn’t me, Marc ended up 5th I think (sorry if I get these wrong), Martin had been tough but he was already mentioned, same for Barry. He handed out 2nd and it wasn’t me, and I knew my wonderful Pike had carried me through another great day of soaring for first and Grand Champion. Trophies for placing are engraved (with the Great Pumpkin Fly logo) 32 glass mugs, and the Grand Champion Trophy is a laser etched 3/4″ lucite plate mounted vertically in a lucite base etched with 25th annual Great Pumpkin Fly 2004 and the logo.

Good thing my truck has 4wheel drive, cuz I’d have never gotten off the field, since I was carrying so much wood from the contest :-)

Good time had by all and I got some contest credits in. Only need 3 now, got all the points needed.

Tennesse or bust!

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