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Thursday, August 07, 2008

HTL #5 Henley

Group photo at Henley - click on image for higher resolution pictureDue to the F3J World Championships the Highveld Thermal League #5 was postponed a few weeks to Sunday 3rd of August. And a new field way south of Johannesburg was chosen for event.

BERG Team for the day Derek Marusich, Piet Rheeders and Gert NieuwoudtHenley Aero Modellers was keen to expose their members to gliding and we needed a field for HTL #5 - so everyone gained and we were able to pass on some of our enthusiasm for gliding to some of their interested members.

The field was in great condition and there was ample space for our winch lines, although we did have to venture into a section of their "badlands" for the last 50 meters or so from the turnabouts.

Club facilities were great with running water for the toilets (they are close enough to the Free State to qualify for their own windmill borehole - check it out on the left of our team picture above). Also lots of shade and braai area if you needed it and a special shelter for Martie's Diner.

A twister that I'm sure started just upwind of the field, caused some havoc on the flight line and then developed into thisSigns of very strong activity in the distance over a veld fireThe weather was absolutely perfect for gliding. There was hardly any wind early in the morning with good thermal development. In fact it got so good we experienced some rather close encounters with a few really rough whirlwinds.

Thermals were reasonably plentiful and passed through regularly. They were however sometimes small and challenging. What was great was that in most slots, all models didn't have to all hog the same thermal - sometimes three or four thermals were within reach of the field and allowed the group to spread out a bit.

Seven teams were entered but had to be reduced considerably. Of the original entrants published, Anton, Ian, Mike, Robert and Evan couldn't make it - you guys missed another great round of HTL. ETB managed to enter two teams and there was a rather interesting "Moldy Oldies" team with Wolfgang, Rodney and Trevor. Our BERG team ended up being represented by Piet and myself, with Gert becoming a regular fill-in for us.

Moldie Oldies team in actionPiet flying, Gert timing, me fetch chute and take photographs

Due to excellent time management by Lionel we were able to get in a full six rounds and proper lunch break despite starting off a little late. Having that throwaway really helps the not so consistent pilots (like me) who arrive with transmitters set to incorrect models and generally battle to keep up with the consistency of the youngsters nowadays. I did manage a respectable 3rd place, Piet flew his Tsotsi well to end up in 7th and Gert and his Supra ended up 10th.
Craig coming into land with Lionel timing
Deon leaning into itPaul timing and calling for JasonLionel calling the start of a round

Deon ready to launch Herman's TrinitySGC Team: Rudi, Johan and Conrad

Not a great position for landing approach for the spot

Peter Moore's unusual and spectacular
landing approach sequence.
Never thought he'd get near
the spot from the approach
but he made it in safely
albeit upside down!

Left wing touching ...... flipping over (and he looks as if he's almost in control!)...... and stop near the spot.

Trevor in the distance fetching Rodney's model after midiarThere were a few casualties on the day: Trevor had some mishaps close to the ground and Rodney's model lost it's fin and rudder in a midair with Deon's while thermalling. Rodney's model looked like it would be ok when it was higher up but when it got nearer the ground the lack of stability and control became evident and the attempts to manoeuvre to the spot resulting in a outlanding. Trevor retrieved it from across the road.

Piet very happy with that oneLandings were not the usual grass farm spear it on the spot type for this contest. Due to the much tougher rock hard and dry southern Gauteng terrain, models had to be gently slid into the spot the old fashioned way.

Final results were Paul in 1st place, Craig 2nd, me 3rd, Johan 4th and Conrad 5th.

Of special note was Jason in 6th place. Some really good flying and a little coaching from Paul through the day got him 6 places ahead of his dad Herman (dig dig).

Jason landing, Paul timingCongratulations to Lionel for the highest scoring flight of the day. Also big thanks to Lionel and those early birds who helped him set up the field and to the Henley Aero Modellers members for letting us use their field for the day.

Lionel's full report can be found on the MGASA blog in between great episodes of the F3J World Championship reports.

Wolfie landing, Rodney timingThat's all for now, guys.

See you at the next HTL #6 to be hosted by Silverton Gliding Club on the 7th September. And hope to see a few more BERG members there - these events really are great fun and give you invaluable contest experience.

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