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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sungazer Photos/Report another view

The 2008 Sungazer met all the goals set, other than one minor incedent it went off as advertised, .......perfect. The conditions on friday were absolutely calm with smoke nearby rising vertically, and predictions were for the less favourable south slope.
Friday saw Charl and I decide to clear all the bushes on the north and south slopes after the farmer gave us the go ahead(the chainsaw is the way to go). Friday night, no saterday early morning 03.00hrs the windows started banging from a gust of wind... our prayer blew for 5 minutes and stopped, I lay awake waiting its return ,nada.
What to do all day with 25 fanatics, well there was always the beer and food to calm the masses if there was to be no flying.
Saterday the pilots briefing got underway on the south slope ,but the wind just kept comming from the north west, stronger and stronger. Formalities over we all moved and then started what was to be the best scale slope event most had ever been to.
Stunning gliders, excellent flying, new friendships made, we estimated that at least 50 scale gliders were present , some hidden away and others not unpacked, probably the biggest collection ever in South African scale gliding history.
Unfortunately a few casualties ,either through nerves, or equipment failures about 6 aircraft crashed but all were well away from the pilots and spectator area.
These pilots (hmmm myself included) all received the Captain Chaos Awards at the evening braai, these were epoxy resin and glue as well as carbon tows and glass cloth, kindly sponsered by A.M.T. the supplier of the composite materials used in the construction of our models, this was organised by Paul Carnell the now famous Fox pilot.

All the pilots are wearing standard issue Sungazer headgear it would look like a field of daisies from outer space.
Not Barbie but Ken Jnr. readying his nerve for his first flight off the Tamatieberg southside.

Ken Jnr is all safely strapped into his SKYLARK 1.

Ken Kearns readies his superb Minimoa scratch built and nicely detailed.....unfortunately he is quickly surrounded by the modelling "paparazzi".

Chris Adrian built this tiny scale trainer glider used in the early days for short flights or more accurately "hops" Chris was telling us these flights were measured in seconds and recorded in the log books as such .. imagine flight times of 5 seconds then building up to 11seconds.

It is a ZOEGLING SG-35/38 (I think)and it flew...... also short flights.
Sunday saw a southerly wind blowing through but at start time the slope was still in the morning mist. Marginal winds meant only a few with faith ,dared fly as thermal activity was light and recovery from way down the slope was always going to be a risk.

The picture above shows Chris on finals landing in what can only be described as tight and challenging landing zone.

All in all this was a great event bringing a group of R/C glider pilots together in a beautifull
setting at Volksrust . May some of that inspiration that I experienced there 2 years ago , have rubbed off on others ,who will also now want to be a part of this magical pursuit.

The Sungazer team.

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