Tullahoma Report

Tullahoma Report

Ed in the Wood

I’m a full week late with this but I thought I would update you on my trip to Tullahoma to fly in their fall contest. [Photos are in the 2005.09.17 Tullahoma gallery].

The weekend of September 17-18 the annual fall soaring contest was held in Tullahoma. This is the club you will find Chuck Anderson, the Kendal’s, Fly’n Bryan, Herb, and now Don Cleveland all belong to. This is quite a concentration of talent for just one club. For all their talent they are a lot of fun to be with and excellent host to boot. I have been going down to their fall contest for about 6 years now and have never failed to have a good time.

This year Don Cleveland was the CD for the whole weekend. Recently retired and moved to Tullahoma Don brought a Texas twist to the contest. There were two classes RES and Unlimited flown with an open winch within one-hour window per round. The tasks were 6, 9, 9, 12, and 12 to be flown in any order with a Texas twist for round 6. Landing task was a level 1 circle with a level 2 circle inside it. The twist here was the inner circle was offset to the side of the circle closest to the pilot. Landing points were only 15 outer and 30 inner in/out landing making this a flying contest.

The sixth and last round the pilot had to declare a 6 minute or a 12 minute flight before launching. The catch was you had to be within 2 minutes of your declared flight time or you got a zero for the flight. With the scores really tight among the top pilots there was some serious thought as to what to declare for the last flight.

Yeah you know me, full of confidence, I went for the 12. But it was a decision I thought I goofed up on. After finding good lift all day I was struggling at 3:30 and sinking fast. I was a saved a zero by a H/L size thermal at about 30 feet off the ground, way out over the weeds. Bruce, Ben, Ken, and Bryan would have been proud of me. With a lot of rudder work I was able to keep my Evolution in this very tiny lift right up till I had my 12 minutes and a 30 spot landing to boot. This is the kind of flight you take a deep breath after landing and enjoy the adrenaline rush. As a footnote there were several zeros in this round.

For Saturday I finished 2nd in RES with my Southern Kite, and 3rd in Unlimited. Sunday I took first in Unlimited after saving another flight this time along the row of trees adjacent to the field.

A footnote to many who have been flying for quit a few years. Royce Salmon who is 82 years old, and who used to dominate many of the regional contests, still flying his same old orange original design that many people identify him with, took second in RES on Sunday. There is hope for all of us, as we get older. I would say soaring has keep Royce very young.

This is a must make contest to go and have a good time. Good flying, relaxed atmosphere, great friends, fantastic prime rib at the VFW post Saturday evening. What more could anyone want in a sailplane contest?

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