A good day of soaring in Louisville!

A good day of soaring in Louisville!

We had a good day of flying here in Louisville yesterday (Sunday) and we met some new folks, helped out a few more and managed to meet some LSF goals! All together a good day of fall flight. Read on for more!

I showed up the field yesterday (Sunday) on what one might consider our real first “fall” day. I figure it’s officially fall when either I have
to wear long sleeves to the field, you can call it “Fall”.

I noticed some electric stuff flying around the field, and upon further
inspection, I noticed it was one of those foam-core profile “3D” planes.
It was doing loops and rolls, level inverted flight, flat spins,
knife-edge stuff, the whole kit. I figured we must have pulled in one
of the acro guys from the the gas club from the North side of town.
Searching the field, I was surprised to see our own “little” Lee
Atchison tearing up the sky with this plane that I’d never seen him fly
before. 10 years old and putting us all to shame! He’s told me before
that he uses RC flight sims quite a bit, and based on what I saw at the
field, I’d have to believe him. Amazing stuff.

Lee left the wings to his Sagitta 600 at home (Lee is known for being a
little forgetful when it comes to that stuff – then again, I’ve seen
Gordy drive home to get his wing bolts on occassion), so Ed decided that
he’d let Lee try his Soprano RES. Lee was admittedly a bit afraid of
such a big plane, being that his Oly II is the biggest thing he’s flown,
but Ed knew he could handle it. Ed threw it the first time for him, and
Lee guided it up the line – and picked up an 18 minute flight! That
fulfilled his LSF Level II thermal duration requirements, and he even
picked up a handful of landings, the last of which was 18″ from the nail.

Lee also has been doing his part to spread the soaring word, and brought
along a buddy of his (“Jake”) who is just itching to get a plane in the
air. President Ed is putting the finishing touches on a ship for him.
We’ve also had quite a few folks stop by the field with their kiddos,
and President Ed helped a guy and his kid tweak a HobbyZone parkflyer
into shape.

Meanwhile, I was scratching lift here and there, looking to maybe, just
maybe get a goal and return in. Ed predicted a “noon balloon”, and by
the 30-40 degree temperature differential, I concurred. However, things
remained a bit overcast and it never developed into booming skies. It
*did* remain effervescent near the ground – I had a handful of saves
with my DLG and with my EZBD that turned out to be good, workable
thermals. What I wanted to make Dave Register proud and do a
goal-and-return with my XP-3.5 handlaunch glider, it’s batteries were
down and I decided to switch to my other favorite Polecat product, the
EZ Bubble Dancer. Despite the fact that my EZBD #1 has been smashed
into the earth at Mach 1 (estimated) and spent 3 hours in a tree and was
beaten with sticks, I had taped and glued it back together for the World
Soaring Masters as a backup. It’s got “character” now, and still
launches and flies like a champ.

Tony, our club Jeep-driver and I pored over the street map and worked
out a few possible courses based upon wind-vectors. I kept getting into
lift, but it was so wide and soft that I didn’t think I was going to get
high enough – but Tony wouldn’t let it rest! Finally I summed up my
courage and Tony opened the Jeep door and I climbed in.

Kentucky, for those of you who haven’t been here, is a predominantly
hilly state with plenty of stately oak and maple trees. That certainly
makes cross-country a bit of a challenge, especially when rolling along
the tree-lined streets of elder suburbia – which is where the LASS
flying field sits. We drove about a 1/4 of a mile to the entrance of
the park in a clearning and sat there for a bit while I gained a little
more altitude. Did I mention also that our park is in a hole? That
complicates factors a little, too, and I wanted to get all the altitude
I could before pushing my EZBD over a fairly steep treeline and onto the
course.

The course was a fairly straight shot of 1.25 miles through residential
streets, often covered near-completely with trees. Tony let me know
when my view was about to obscured, and I made sure to “trust the plane”
while he gunned the Jeep under the obstructions. We made it to the
goal – a cul-de-sac, and turned around. Feeling elated to be heading
back downhill, we even had time to explain to the lady in her front yard
just what in the hell we were up to. Giving the EZBD just a hair of
down-elevator, I told Tony to “hit it” and we sped back to the field.

We had to cross a fairly busy stretch of two-lane to get back into the
park, so that was a little tense as Tony had to wait for the cars to
pass, but I had to keep the EZBD going for broke to get back to the
field. Much to my surprise, when we entered the park, I had plenty of
altitude! We made a run towards the rear end of the park, just to make
sure we went past our goal distance. Only when we were back in the park
did I start to lose altitude – not that it mattered! I had still made
my goal and return! I landed inside the 656 feet prescribed by the LSF
voucher, and walked her back to the winch.

We re-checked our distances, did the customary LSF voucher language
dissection and determined that everything was kosher. Tony signed on
the X — and I had completed my LSF Level IV requirements! Awesome! I was a happy man, and it was a fitting end to a great season.

Taking a look at my sheet, I remembered the contests, flights and the people that I flew with and helped me achieve this. President Ed pledged to help me “become the second Level V in Kentucky – both of them named Wilson”, so sorry Gordy! Hah! Actually Gordy called me today to tell me that he has been inspired by his RES win at the TNT to get back on the LSF Level V horse, so maybe that *won’t* happen. In any case, it’ll be a good time spent flying and pushing limits that otherwise might not be.

All things considered, it was a good day to fly in Louisville. Thought I’d let y’all know :)

A few photos here:
2006.10.15 – Sunday Flying

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