2006 MidSouth Champs Wrap-Up

2006 MidSouth Champs Wrap-Up

The round robin had brought this special contest back to Louisville again for the fourth time. The Mid-South Championship has always brought some of the best from both the north and the south for a head to head meeting of some of the best pilots around. This year there were some challenges for the pilots to work through besides trying to meet the usual flying task. The biggest change was the new site for the ’06 contest. Leaving Tom Sawyer Park behind, where all the previous Louisville MidSouths have been flown, A polo field inside of Hayes Kennedy Park was chosen to use for this years contest. This field was adjacent to the Ohio River. The micro weather effect this great body of water could or would challenge the pilots was a great unknown. This included the local club as no one had ever flown there before.

First, let’s go back to Thursday, June 29th – the day before the contest, and LASS’s usual “evening” flying day. President Ed Wilson shows up to the field, but doesn’t look so hot! Later that evening, he would go to the emergency room with a pretty serious infection! 18 months of careful planning and orchestration, and he gets sick then! A more hang-dog look on a face few have ever seen. The doctor tells him to cool his jets for at least 24 hours and prescribes him some super-serum to get him back in action as soon as possible. The LASS crue quickly fills in the gaps to get the MidSouths off the ground!

Handlaunch – Friday AM

Friday morning comes and the weather is fantastic at Hays Kennedy Park. The field has just been mown and winds are light and variable out of the south. Registration for handlaunch at the MidSouths has never been stellar, and we weren’t really sure how many would show! Luckily, we had 12 intrepid souls show up – including Jeff and Bret Carr from way down in North Carolina, and hot off of Bret’s first-ever contest at the 2006 Polecat Challenge!

Contest director, LASS’s own Bruce Davidson decided to switch things up a bit and try out a bit of a “Pro/Am” arrangement with assigned timers. We’d be flying two seeded groups of 6, and the first place guy would time for the last place. 2nd place would time for 2nd to last, etc.

We managed to fly 8 rounds in some really tough air that we would seem to stick around for the whole of the weekend. The “Pro/Am” timer style seemed to be a hit with all the pilots.

Rounds flown in order were:
6 flights 90 second max
Total time 2-minute max
5 flights 2-minute max
3 flights 3-minute max
3 flights 3-minute max
2 threes and 2 twos
1-2-3-4 in any order
6 flights 90 second max. The last round was chosen from my hat from the first 7.

In the end, LASS’s own Ben Wilson managed to squeak out the win over his mentor (LASS’s Bruce Davidson) by a mere 10 points! Jeff Carr did very well to round out the wood with a solid 3rd place, beating out fellow Polecat Challenger Allan Schwerin (4th) and all-around threat Paul Siegel (5th).

RES – Friday PM

With Ed still at home recuperating, the RES CD task was handed off to contest-directing-newbie Ben Wilson. How hard could it be? Just four flights in a 3 hour window with one winch and retrieval — no problem!

With rain quickly closing in, the pilot’s meeting at 3:30 became the starter’s pistol for anywho who dared to fly into the oncoming cold front. Luckily, it was just a reminder — and not visions of past “MudSouths”. The rain quickly passed, but not before a few intrepid pilots felt the icy sting of little lift and short flight times.

With the treeline so close to the river, many pilots chose to slope the treelines – and woe unto anyone who decided to try their luck on making a circle! “Surfing the wave” seemed to be the way to go.

The sky eventually cleared and the sun came out but the air was still very calm, with only the softest of bubbles to help you maintain. Keen stick-stills were necessary to squeeze every bit of lift off of whatever you could find.

Many AVA’s from Kennedy Composites were flown that evening, but none so well as Don Cleveland’s. Don turned in back-to-back-to-back 10 minute flights, a feat unmatched in such soft air. Second behind him was LASS’s own Ben Wilson who flew his prototype EZ Bubble Dancer from Polecat Aero. Third place went to Paul Siegel also flying an AVA, and just out of the wood was LASS’s own Tony Utley, also piloting an AVA.

Unlimited Saturday and Sunday (Main Event)

Ed still being out, LASS tapped the triumvirate of Gellart, Glover and Siebenaler for CD’ing duties on Saturday. LASS crue members Ken Marks, Brian Kopke, Hank Gullet and Dave Flanigan supported the day by shagging chutes and tending to some fitful winches.

That Saturday morning 41 pilots gathered for the pilots meeting. Thanks to the generosity of other clubs we had 10 winches laid out for seeded man on man contest. No one who flew Friday had found the field’s sweet spot. So there was a lot of guessing and strategy as to where to go and find lift. This seemed to be the tactics all day. A couple of poor souls went too far south one time and found a monster sink hole that put one in the top of a VERY large tree. Others could not make it back to the field and landed in the water along side a dog run. One of the top groups found so much sink that the whole group was down in 4 minutes on a ten minute task. Don’t think the field was a big sink hole instead most people made their time all day, just sometimes they had to work a little harder.

On Saturday, it looked like Don Richmond flying in Grey Cup class was about to put it on everyone for Saturdays overall win but in man on man “it isn’t over until it is over” was bested by Marc Gellart for the win for Saturday.

Sunday, Ed was feeling better, and was determined to get out to the field – and so he did! At the pilot’s meeting that morning, LASS had a special surprised for one of it’s own – the juniorest of junior LASS members, Lee Atchison. Ed spun a good yarn about Lee’s burgeoning talent, and Lee has brought his grades up considerably at school. “Little Lee” has really exceeded expectations, and so Ed and Lee’s mother pitched in to get Lee a brand-new ship, an fully re-kitted Olympic II and a new radio. Lee was terribly embarassed, but we think it made a good impression on Lee and on the assembled pilots.

It had been hot Saturday and Sunday was going to be a repeat. That fact and in an effort to get people back on the road toward home it was announced we would only fly 4 rounds. Flying Sunday was mostly a repeat of Saturday. Several flights were saved by flying out the time at or below tree height. I saw two flights sky out over the river. Meanwhile late in the day several guys went south of the field and skied out for easy times.

Rob Glover won Sunday, but the overall two-day honors went to Karl Miller! Karl received the overall trophy – a Louisville Slugger Bat. Karl is the first two time winner of the Louisville Slugger Grand Championship Bat with his Icon.

Many thanks must be given to everyone who brought winches, shagged a chute, climbed a tree, flew, landed, ate, bought a shirt or otherwise enjoyed themselves!

Full results can be found here: 2006 MidSouth Championships.

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