02 April 2008

KZN thermal soaring champs - pics and results

Natal Thermal Soaring Championships – 2008 - report by Dennis Bird

This year the Natal Thermal Soaring Championships were held at Summerveld on 29/30 March. Despite the fact that there were very few entries, the overall standard of flying was very good.

On Saturday morning competitors and officials assembled in the parking lot for a pilots briefing. Because of the heavy cloud cover it was feared that the competition might be interrupted by rain. Once the horses departed we set out the winches and assembled our planes.

Rose Wittstock handled the duties of CD and capturing of flight details. Dave Greer kindly provided the laptop and relevant programs to calculate the results which were then entered onto the computer by Des Cooper and Rose. The power supply for the computer was provided by Fred Wittstock.

Despite the heavy cloud cover many competitors reached the target times for the class in question and 44% of all landings in the open class finished within 2m of the spot. During the second round it started to rain gently and a vote was taken to decide whether to continue flying. The majority decided that we should press on, which proved to be the right decision as the weather improved after about an hour and we did not loose any flying time. We did however blow a fuse in the power supply which prevented Des from capturing all the flight times on the computer.

On Sunday there was less cloud than on day 1 and the wind had shifted towards the north-east. The wind was a little stronger than on day 1 and the lift was more difficult to find and follow. As a result some slots were won by times that fell far short of the target times, and re-launches were fairly common.

A feature of the event was the wonderful spirit of camaraderie amongst the competitors. Hardly a cross word was spoken or voice raised in anger. There was of course the normal healthy banter which helped to make things interesting and relieve the stress. After the final flight of the day the scores were calculated and audited in record time thanks to the efficiency of Dave and his helpers. Thereafter the trophies and prizes were distributed and everyone went their respective ways, tired, but happy.

At this point I would like to thank all of the competitors for their participation and all helpers for their patience and dedication in some rather testing conditions at times. A special thanks also to Eddie (of the beard), who came to watch and ended up retrieving many ‘chutes. Thanks to NWJ for sponsoring prizes for first place. Finally, I must congratulate the winners of the various events. In the end their consistency and skill paid dividends.

The results, after seven rounds and one throw away, are after the pics:

Gateway Raceway's Dave Greer in deep concentration with Fred Wittstock timing and calling.

The menacing Troodon designed, built and flown by Simon Nelson.

The evergreen Dennis Bird launching with Don Slatter ready to start timing when the plane detatches from the winch line.

Fred Wittstock's OD gas bag 2 metre and RES planes.

DMAC's cheerful contest organiser, Dennis Bird. The cloud in the background was dark but relatively high and no problems were experienced.

Fred Wittstock calling for Brian Fanning - Brian had a rewarding Natal Champs.

Third place Paul Boswarva in full cry with the Supra, whilst Fred Wittstock calls and Eddie the Biker man (who has won countless longest beard awards at biker rallies) gets involved and was tireless in helping with chute fetching.

The Natal Champion's winning Graphite along with his RES successful Dave Denley Algebra and the Spirit 2M, which was hot on the heels of the hard launching Graphite 2 Metres.

Natal Champion Allan Sneedon after a decade of trying - well done Al!

Fifth place Will Cranmer with the popular Xperience Pro - faultless on landings.

Second place (by a short head) finisher Brad with the Xperience Pro. Was untouchable on the Saturday but found the going tougher on the Sunday.

Kzn's junior team member for the upcoming F3J World Champs in Turkey, Ryan Nelson, assisted by a relaxed Paul Boswara, which reflected in an excellent third place overall for Paul.

Natal 2008 Thermal Soaring Championships
Open Natal Champion results

1 Allan Sneedon 5973.1 Graphite
2 Brad Conlon 5900.4 Xperience Pro
3 Paul Boswarva 5886.8 Supra
4 Brian Fanning 5766.9 Eish
5 Will Cranmer 5595.9 Xperience Pro
6 John Coulson 5386.4 Xperience Pro
7 Dennis Bird 5354.1 Esprit
8 Dave Greer 5322.7 Esprit
9 Don Slatter 4802.8 Pike
10 Simon Nelson 4779.4 Troodon
11 Ryan Nelson 4430.9 Shadow

Natal 2008 Thermal Soaring Championships
2 Metre
1 John Coulson 6000.0 Graphite 2M
2 Brad Conlon 5941.9 Graphite 2M
3 Allan Sneedon 5598.3 Spirit
4 Paul Boswarva 5316.3 Graphite 2M
5 Brian Fanning 4836.4 Spirit Elite
6 Fred Wittstock 4545.3 OD
7 Don Slatter 2694.6 Spirit Elite

Natal 2008 Thermal Soaring Championships
RES (Rudder Elevator Spoiler)
1 Allan Sneedon 5934.2 Algebra
2 Fred Wittstock 5696.1 OD
3 Dennis Bird 4954.0 Eliminator
Natal 2008 Thermal Soaring Championships
Pete Gascoine Memorial Trophy for F5J electric
Dennis Bird Graupner Cumulus

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