By Jeff Struthers,
The Electroglide this month happened in clear but windy conditions. There were high thin clouds painted on blue skies over Mission Bay. At 10:00 a.m., Lindbergh Field was reporting westerly winds of 12 mph and visibility of 10 miles.
Several pilots flew their gliders before the contest start time, checking on the lift conditions. Some lift could be found high up, just south of the boat launch area. There were seven pilots ready to brave the winds at the 10:00 a.m. start time. Six Radians and one open class glider.
First launch had most of us heading WNW to the expected lift area. Only Scott Vance and Bob Stinson found good lift. Scott came back at 6:01, also getting a 20-point landing. Bob came in at 5:51 and I came in at 4:13, also placing a 20-point landing. Fred Daugherty picked up a 20-point landing and Carlos Mercado picked up a 10-point landing.
Second launch seemed to be in a bit stronger wind. This must have disrupted the thermal patterns because flight times dropped. Scott again had the longest flight at 4:01, also adding a 10-point landing to his flight score. Carlos had the next longest flight at 4:00 but greatly added to that with a 30-point landing. Bob was third in that launch, coming back at 3:46 with a 10-point landing. Bonus landing points were also earned by Fred, Stephen Treger and myself at 20-points; George Sullivan earned a 10-point landing.
On the third launch I succeeded in lousing my airplane, recovering only when Jim Bonnardel alerted us that a Radian was flying near the FPV area and all of us pilots were looking towards Sea World. It was mine I’m sorry to say. I must quit flying someone else’s airplane and pay attention to my own. I had just enough altitude left to make it to the runway and score the Lucky Dog award, a whopping 12-points for me on that round.
Most everyone had a flight of five minutes or less, but Bob Stinson and George Sullivan managed to stay in the air by working the lift over the Palm trees near the boat launch area. Bob had a flight time of 9:30 and George had a time of 9:26. Nice work of flying and reading their aircraft.
Landing in the increasing wind was difficult as all aircraft were coming back without motor power. With the wind from the rear, this made the rudder and elevator response sluggish. The final turn into wind and landing took up a lot of airspace. Bob and George did make the runway but landed east of the target circles. Carlos had the third longest time of 5:06. Scott and Stephen were the only ones to get bonus landing points, 20 and 10-points respectively.
The fourth and final launch found the wind disrupting any thermals. Scott had the longest flight, coming back at 5:49. Next was Fred at 4:41 with a 10-point landing. George was third at 3:26. Fred being the only pilot to score a bonus landing credit for that final round. Two pilots couldn’t get back to the field because of the wind and thus scored no points.
Total point winner for the day was Scott Vance with 177-points. Second place was Fred Daugherty at 133-points and third place was Bob Stinson at 126-points.
Flying a glider in strong winds with only 20 seconds of motor run time is a hard thing to do. Congratulations to all the pilots that picked up bonus landing points, that was hard as well. Challenges like this make us all better pilots.
Next Electroglide is scheduled for August 18th. 10:00 a.m. is first launch.
See you there,