By Jeff Struthers
This was one tough Electroglide last Saturday. Lindbergh field was reporting South West winds of 10 mph with overcast skies at 10:00 a.m. Temperature was around 64 degrees. Perhaps this is the reason some Electroglide pilots decided to stay home. Four eager pilots did come out with their Radians and the contest began shortly after 10:00 a.m.
First launch was against a strong South wind, so we all decided to launch from the Northern edge of our runway. This worked well, but there was little lift to be found on this round. Landings proved to be the real challenge though. Of the four aircraft launched, only Alex Sutton managed to land back on the runway. All others came down in the weeds north of the runway. I don’t know what the flight times were for the off-field landings because no scores are awarded. Alex’s time was 2:47 and being the first (and only) pilot landing on the runway, I’m giving him the Lucky Dog Award. His flight time was worth 17-points but with the Lucky Dog it gets doubled to 34-points. He also managed a bonus landing of 20-points so that round gave him a respectable 54-points. Nice job Alex!
Second launch was again from the North edge of our runway. Flight times improved with pilots now learning how to work the wind lift. Fred Daugherty had the long flight but came up inches short of the runway’s north edge so no score. Alex had the next longest flight coming back to the field at 4:55. Carlos Mercado came in at 4:03 and picked up a 20-point landing.
Third launch, again into the South wind yielded short flight times. Alex had the longest flight at 2:18, Carlos came in next at 2:12.
Forth and final launch was again a quick one. Alex had the longest flight at 2:41 plus a 10-point landing. Fred had a flight of 2:10 and a 10-point landing. Carlos was aloft for 2:00 getting the Lucky Dog award and picking up a 20-point landing.
Winner for the day is Alex Sutton with 125 total points. Second place is Carlos Mercado at 113 points and Fred Daugherty came in third.
Like I mentioned in the start of this report, the weather conditions made flying a glider difficult. Landings are done without power for this contest. This forces the pilots to judge sink rate, altitude and how well their aircraft will penetrate the cross wind in attempting to make a field landing. A tricky thing.
It’s great to see these pilots adjusting to the given conditions and making a field landing, plus hitting the odd target circle for extra points. This is how we become better pilots. By flying in less than ideal conditions, adapting and learning in the process.
Thanks to Frank Sutton for the pictures.
The next Electroglide is set for July 21st, first launch is 10:00 a.m. Maybe we’ll have clear skies, Sea World thermals and a light westerly breeze.
See you there,