By Jeff Struthers
It was a cool and windy start for the Electroglide Contest for 2018. Lindbergh Field was reporting a temperature of 61 degrees, but the WNW wind of 16 mph made it seem colder. Nine pilots braved the conditions and it proved to be a fun time.
First launch had us pushing into a strong headwind that limited gaining a high altitude. If we applied a soft hand on the controls, our aircraft would remain in place, held aloft by wind lift. Flight times were still short. I got lucky with a flight time of 4:52, Scott Vance had a time of 4:18 and Roger Ball had 3:52 aloft. I picked up a 20-point landing and Stephen Treger got a 10-point landing. Because of ground turbulence caused by the wind, extra point landings were hard. Sometimes just making to our runway was difficult.
Second launch found some of us figuring out how to fly in the wind and find a few updrafts. Alex Sutton had a nice flight lasting 6:59 and scoring an extra 10-points on landing. Scott Vance also did well with a 5:56 time and a 20-point landing. Dennis LaBerge came in third with a 4:36 and a 20-point landing. Ken Dresser and myself had 10-point landings.
The third launch proved to be a tough one. Roger Ball’s Radian aircraft lost its rudder due to a mid-air and the rest of us faced a stronger wind with no updrafts. The longest flight was recorded by Dennis at 3:26. I was next at 3:20 and Scott came down at 3:05. I managed to get a 30-point landing, Scott picked up a 20-point and Stephen and Ken each got a 10-point landing.
On the fourth and final launch we had an improvement with the weather. Flight times jumped with Scott coming back down at 6:35. Alex had a 5:22 and I had 5:00 minutes aloft. Ken had a great landing worth 30-points, Stephen and Elias Treger both had 20-point landings. Elias doing that with a wheeled glider, pretty cool. Alex and Dennis both had 10-point landings.
Winner for the day? Scott Vance and I tied for first place with 161 points each. Young Alex Sutton came in second with 135 points. Dennis LaBerge was third at 109 points.
It was impressive to watch how well everyone flew their airplanes in those windy turbulent conditions. Look at the contest pictures taken by Frank Sutton and notice our wind sock in the picture labeled “Up and Away2”.
Some practice time in the air and a light touch on the control sticks are all that is required to have some fun, competitive flying.
Come out and join us for the next Electroglide on February 17th at 10:00 a.m.