[Courtesy of Doug Cronkhite, August 1999]
I just got back an hour ago or so.. 1425 miles and over 20 hours of driving.. Long trip..
Anyway.. You've heard the results already.. So I'll give some of my impressions..
Oh.. one thing.. The Advanced results don't even begin to tell how close it was.. Brian Fisher and Mark Maldowan ended the contest DEAD TIED at 76.03% of possible points. Mark's highest dropped score of 75.3% beat Brian's 73.8% to give him the win. Says something about the consistency of their flying. Oh.. and before the catcalls come in.. Brian is moving up to Unlimited this weekend.
HOT HOT HOT.. HUMID.. WINDY..
Friday was pretty calm.. but very warm.. Most people hoped for a breeze to help cool things off.. bad idea.. Be careful what you wish for.. Did I mention it was hot?? 100 degrees every day..
The flying was pretty good overall.. Mike and Billy were flying better than the rest. There were some questionable scores.. but at least I thought I was being scored fairly. I was more happy just to have made it there with my airplane at this point.. Again.. Mike and Billy were pretty much out in front of everyone else.. We were all bunched up pretty tight.. Freestyle was fun.. I even flew it myself. I figured it was an easy way to get more time on my airplane to hopefully do better in the contest.
Saturday arrived with WIND.. Directly in our face, 15 - 20 mph.. 90 degree crosswind. The Unlimited unknown turned out to be VERY busy, starting out with a cross box, wheels up tailslide, 1 1/4 roll up, negative snap down (K=47) and having a lot of cross box maneuvers. This actually helped us out quite a bit, as we could go out on all of them to help with wind correction. I was up 3rd in the round and actually flew my best flight of the contest in the unknown. Mike McConville was up right after me and put in an equally good flight, edging me out by less than 1%. Billy's unknown didn't go as well, but he scored well enough to hang onto the lead. Freestyle was pretty tough in the wind. Mike used the wind to his advantage, making the 40% Cap 232 seem to roll in place sometimes.. I flew a high speed freestyle to minimize the wind effects.. Seemed to work well.. Crowd liked it I guess.. I can never tell.
Sunday came with the wind now shifted 180 degrees.. blowing out at about the same 15 - 20 mph. There was some pretty extreme wind correction going on to keep the airplanes close in.. and it was obvious who knew how to handle it and who didn't. Mike put in what I thought was easily the best flight of the contest in unlimited.. His 2nd sequence would have nothing less than a 8.5 on my scorecard.. if I were judging. It really was one of those "burned" sequences (IAC thing). It wasn't enough to catch Billy though.. I had a pretty good flight and hoped it was enough to catch Fabio Trento for 3rd.. but it wasn't to be..
I guess the biggest suprise to me was that I moved up from 6th to finish 3rd in the freestyle. I really liked how my flight went on Sat.. seems I finally wasn't the only one who like it ;-)
Lastly.. some observations..
ALL of Team JR was flying Carden Aircraft kits of some sort.. Not a big deal.. just an amusing observation. Oh.. Doug Gearman is the lone exception.. but then again.. he JUST got added to the team at Enid.. He flew an Aeroworks 40% Edge 540. The engine was is kind of a moot point now.. Having flown the DA-150 myself.. and watched other airplanes using the 3W-140 & 3W-150.. ALL have SERIOUS power for the 40% airplanes out there.. My DA had a bit more power than the others.. but it's kind of like saying the 3W powered airplanes have completely unlimited vertical.. and the DA powered has about 4% more power.. once you have unlimited vertical.. any excess just doesn't matter. Pick your poison.. you won't go wrong with any of them.
Carden and Aeroworks kits dominated the flightline. Same deal as engines.. pick the airplane you like.. you can't make a bad choice there. Everyone knows I'm a devout Carden pilot.. but the Aeroworks 40% Edge 540 is damned impressive. I didn't get a chance to fly it unfortunately.. (they closed the field right after the last flight on Sunday), but it really looks good. Weight seemed to be fairly close to the 40% Carden Cap too.
I'm going to bed..