Wills Wing

Oz Report

topic: Florida (8 articles)

Registration Open for Florida Spring Competitions

Thu, Nov 25 2021, 9:47:52 am MST

Finally Airtribune responds

Airtribune|Paradise Airsports Nationals 2022|Stephan Mentler|Wilotree Park Nationals 2022

You can now register for the Florida competitions being run by Stephan Mentler.

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Local Groveland News

Mon, Nov 22 2021, 6:21:10 pm MST

Florida|news|Wilotree Park

Wilotree Park is on the south edge of Groveland

Four Black Men Wrongly Charged With Rape Are Exonerated 72 Years Later

The men, known as the Groveland Four, were cleared on Monday after a Florida prosecutor said “a complete breakdown of the criminal justice system” led to the charges in 1949.

Four Black men wrongly charged with raping a white woman more than 70 years ago in Florida were exonerated on Monday, bringing an end to a saga that has shadowed their families for decades.

The accused — Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas, known as the Groveland Four — died before Florida officials re-examined the case, which a prosecutor said lacked due process and would not be tried today.

It all began on July 16, 1949, when a 17-year-old white woman and her estranged husband told the police that after their car broke down in Lake County, Fla., the four men had stopped to provide help, then took the woman from the car and raped her.

The accusation left a trail of destruction. Mr. Thomas was killed by a mob after fleeing Lake County. Mr. Irvin and Mr. Shepherd, both of whom were World War II veterans, were shot by Willis McCall, the Lake County Sheriff, while they were being taken to a pretrial hearing before their cases were retried in 1951. The sheriff claimed that the men, who were in handcuffs, had tried to escape.

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2021 Florida Nationals Series Comps

Wed, Nov 17 2021, 11:37:57 pm MST

airspace|Airtribune|Florida|food|sport|Sport Class|Stephan Mentler|tow|weather|Wilotree Park

Trying to get them published on Airtribune

Stephan Mentler ‹›> writes:

While we are working to get things going on the registration side, here are some details for both comps.

The entry fee is $375 (includes Wilotree Park Fee, $475 after March 10th). NOTE that entry fees do not include tow fees. Aerotowing fee is $375 - this includes a tow on check-in day. Some of the things that we will have:

• Daily Prizes
• Event T-shirt
• Food and beverages the night of check-in (I plan to get he same ice-cream truck for us)
• Prizes for the first three places in the Open and Sport Class
• Awards ceremony dinner
• On-line Turn point Coordinates
• On-line airspace files
• Weather Briefing on Pilots’ Phones via WhatsApp
• Task Sent to Pilots’ Phones via WhatsApp
• Wilotree Park (includes free WIFI, access to clubhouse and amenities [swimming pool, kitchen, pool table, etc.

Our cancellation policy is as follows - receive full refund minus $12 (USD) for withdrawal up to March 1st 2022. Receive 50% refund for withdrawal after March 2nd till April 1st. Refunds for withdrawals after April 1st are at the discretion of the Organizer and Wilotree Park, but not likely as we will have secured aircraft, the grounds, and other tangibles.

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What happened in Florida

Tue, Apr 30 2002, 6:00:00 pm GMT

Aeros Combat|Alessandro "Alex" Ploner|Chris Arai|Christian Ciech|Curt Warren|David Glover|Florida|Gerolf Heinrichs|Glen Volk|Hansjoerg Truttmann|Jim Lee|Johann Posch|Kari Castle|Manfred Ruhmer|Mike Barber|Mitchell "Mitch" Shipley|Mitch Shipley|Oleg Bondarchuk|Paris Williams|Robert Reisinger|Robin Hamilton|Rohan Holtkamp|Rohan Taylor|Ron Gleason|Tascha "Tish the Flying Fish" McLellan|US Nationals|Wallaby Ranch|Wills Wing|World Record Encampment

As I reviewed the results of the meets in Florida, I noted quite a few stories within the bigger story.

Many of the world’s top hang glider pilots came to Floridato compete against each other, with twelve of the top twenty flex wing pilots and five of the top ten ranked rigid wing pilots in attendance. This made for a very tough field, and more than enough NTSS points to make for 600 point meets. The Floridameets are truly international events and should continue to be viewed as such.

Glen Volk did very well coming up to capture third in the Flytec Championship after twenty eighth at the Wallaby Open. Paris Williams, currently ranked third in the world – the highest ranking US pilot in years, was consistently very good coming in just behind Oleg in both meets. Oleg, of course, is kicking butt (even though Manfred’s was missing from the Flytec meet). It’s great to see such a sweet guy do so well.

Johann Posch was highly ranked before, but had never won a daily task. He finally did on the second to last day of the Flytec Championship. The big difference for him – ballast. He did much better in these meets than before and the difference was he finally became convinced of the need for ballast.

Robert Reisinger came into the Floridameets with a new relationship with Wills Wing, and a high ranking, that had slipped recently from 3rd to 14th in the world. He did very well on some days, but landed out on a number of other days. He finished below expectations at 23rd and 28th.

Curt Warren moved up dramatically from best new competitor designation last year at the Flytec Championship to finish 18th in the Wallaby Open and fifth in the Flytec Championship where he had a good chance for third. Just a little more patience in light conditions would help, but his go for it attitude also helps him win the day. He was with Johann and I when we were low on the second to last day of the Flytec meet.

Curt came in first on day one of the Flytec meet when he aced out Gerolf by a couple of feet. They were so close that Gerolf did run into him when Curt flaired to land. Gerolf was injried on that day.

Robin Hamilton did well on Manfred’s MR700 WRE coming in fourth at Flytec, but he could have moved up to second or perhaps first with a little more thermaling in weak lift.

Gary Wirdham moved up from 55th at Wallaby to 7th at Quest after he destroyed and then rebuilt his Aeros Combat. Maybe he should do that more often. He really appreciates his helmet (EN 966).

Kari Castle came back from a poor showing at 35th at Wallaby to move into 17th and first female pilot at Quest. She often seems to use the first competition to get herself warmed up.

Gerolf Heinrichs who is ranked as the number one pilot in the world (before the Floridameets) came in sixth at Wallaby, after a number of problems. These seemed to continue at Quest, where he was 44th. It was quite a tough two weeks for Gerolf and I hope he gets some time off to rest and recuperate.

Mike Barber did very well in Floridalast year, and maybe that lead to too high expectations on his part. He came in 7th at Wallaby a few places behind Paris, and the second American, with new American citizen and Floridaresident, Carlos “Cloud” Bessa, right behind him. Then he had some trouble early at Quest and slipped way down in the standings. Going all out on day 6 he hit the deck, and then doing it again on day 7 he won the day.

Speaking of Carlos Bessa (pronounce Base –a) he has been on a tear doing all he can to make the US National team, so that he can go back to Brazil next year to fly in the Worlds. He is now in the seventh position (1 shy of the team), so he has a very good chance. If the Wallaby Open had been fully valid, and everyone had been in their same places, he would have moved into the 6th place on the US NTSS ranking.

Jim Lee had to leave the Flytec Championship because of problems with his neck. This would move him down in the running for the 2003 NTSS ranking to 14th.

Mitch Shipley would do well after taking some time off from competition hang gliding. He would be the fifth American in the Flytec meet. Chris Arai did well enough after not flying for six months to come in 10th and 20th. He moved himself back toward being on the US national team.

Tish the Flying Fish was able to beat Kari at Wallaby and was second behind her at Quest. She seemed to have a great time fly and with her water pistols. Apparently she was aggressive in both fields. Francoise Mocellin was the top women competitors at Wallaby, while Kari was the US Nationals Women’s champion.

Dorval, a Brazilian pilot who learned to fly at Wallaby Ranch a few years ago, improved his performance substantially in spite of a recent operation. He certainly moved up in the ranking for the Brazilians.

Rohan Holtkamp who is currently ranked number 2 in the World didn’t do as well as he had hoped to, coming in 16th and 12th.

So, Johann Posch goes up to Dave Glover and says what a great job he did at the Flytec Championship. He says that Dave is just like Janet Reno. “Janet Reno?” Dave asks quizzically. Yes, just like Janet Reno (who is currently running for governor here in Florida), responds Johann. “Hmmm,” thinks David, “do you mean, Jay Leno?” “Of course,” responds Johann, “the late night talk show host.”

Ron Gleason moved himself way up on the NTSS ranking doing well in both competitions. He came to Floridato get some cross country training after selling his business and purchasing a mobile home. He’s on the circuit like Johann and myself.

Alex Ploner, the current rigid wing world champion and Christian Ciech were almost out of reach to the rest of us. Only Johann was able to pass Alex in the Flytec meet. They are good friends. Christian taught Alex how to be a competition hang glider pilot. They compete against (and with) each other often.

It looks like they will be the rigid wing pilots who are coming from Italy to the Worlds. While it will probably take at least three pilots to win the team competition, they might have a chance with two. They, along with Hansjoerg Truttmann from Switzerland, will be very tough to beat. I’m racking my brain for ways to do this.

Manfred apparently from what I hear had a really good time flying the Swift. Is more in store?

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Flytec Championship – tighten up »

Fri, Apr 26 2002, 9:00:00 pm GMT

Aeros Combat|Alessandro "Alex" Ploner|Belinda Boulter|Brett Hazlett|Bruce Barmakian|Bubba Goodman|Campbell Bowen|cart|Christian Ciech|Curt Warren|Davis Straub|Dennis Pagen|Florida|Flytec Championship|Gary Wirdnam|Ghostbuster|Glen Volk|Greg Dinauer|Johann Posch|Krzysztof "Krys/Kris" Grzyb|Manfred Ruhmer|Mark Bolt|Mark Dowsett|Mitchell "Mitch" Shipley|Mitch Shipley|Oleg Bondarchuk|Quest Air|Robin Hamilton|Ron Gleason|Steve Rewolinski|Tascha "Tish the Flying Fish" McLellan|Tyler Borradaile|Wallaby Ranch|Wills Wing|World Record Encampment

Finally we have an “interesting” task here in Florida. We’ve had so many races (at least while I was still in the air), and it’s just been climb and go, climb and go, final glide, finish. Today we had time to stop and smell the roses. Or was it the cow manure? Whatever it was it was really close by.

Not that it started off that way at all. With Garycalling for over development and rain possibly, we were concerned about whether we could get back to Quest without running into unsafe conditions. We have two proposed tasks, an 88-mile out and return, and a 68-mile run down to Avon Park airport to the southeast that should get us away from any over development.

We move all the start times up to 1, 1:15and 1:30to get everyone going before the chances of OD get too high. The windcast shows the convergence zone (where you would expect the OD) right down the middle of the state (north or south). The BLIP forecast shows the highest CAPEindex to our north, so if we run south we’ll have the best chance of avoiding the OD.

The winds are light (as they would be in the convergence area), so it is even difficult to tell which runway to launch from, but then does it really matter? We are expecting good lift and a cloud base at 4,600’.

After blowing the second day, I’m down in the pack so I do have to run my glider out to the staging area. This time at least I have a cart. Bubba Goodman and I have a sprint first across the runway to get a cart (but it is all in fun as we know there are two carts). Great exercise before the actual competition.

The task committee is meeting on the flight line to decide which task to choose. If there is no sign of over development at 12, then we will choose the out and return task. There are only a few small cu’s around at noonso we say, let’s come back.

Fortunately no competitors launch for the next fifteen minutes, and in that time a number of cu-nimbs form out over highway 27 to our east. We quickly reconvene the task committee and change the task to a straight run to AvonPark.

By 12:30the cu’s are thick around us and over us with lots of vertical development. I’m wishing that we didn’t push the start clock back 15 minutes, as it would be great to leave at 1 PMinstead of the 1:15 PMfirst start time. Heck, it would be great to leave at 12:45, as it took but a couple of minutes under a black bottomed cu’s to get right up to cloud base at 4,000’ right over Quest Air.

The tugs are pulling pilots out of the air park at an astounding rate. It seems like everyone is in the air in way less than 30 minutes. Yesterday they were launching folks at a rate of one every 15 seconds. The pilots are being especially helpful by being ready to go when they get in the launch line.

A plane is landing or taking off every 8 seconds (not including the hang gliders) whenever there is a launch line, so this makes the Sheets airport the busiest airport in the world for about half an hour. Same can be said of the Wallaby Ranch during the Wallaby Open.

Many parks have provided multiple tugs for the event and there are more Dragonflies assembled at the Flytec Championship than have ever been in one place at the same time (pictures later). Wallaby has provided two tugs, for which everyone is quite grateful, and two highly skilled (and experienced) pilots. It’s great to have tug pilots who’ve been at this a long time.

With the task decided at the last minute it is a big scramble on the ground and in the air, but everyone is taking it in stride. We on the task committee are just trying to do our best for the pilots, and apparently they are really appreciative. We hear nothing but praise from everyone.

Johann and I have agreed to take the first start time no matter what. I’m not high at the time, but I don’t care. I leave anyway and head out toward the gaggle of flex wings at the 5 mile point. A few miles beyond that Johann and I hook up with the first gaggle of flex wings on the course. These guys have taken the first start time also, and they found something good over highway 33.

Johann is much higher than I and there are plenty of flex wings over my head as we climb up but only to 3,400’, 800’ below cloud base, when the thermal stops and we all spread out. I keep leaving low as I want to get as far away as possible from the guys who are going to take the next start time. I don’t want them to see our thermals.

Getting out in front is a tough assignment because you’ve got to find the thermals and race without knowing what is in front of you. Much easier to follow. We go early because we think that maybe the over development will shut down the guys behind.

We’re with a dozen flex wings and we are all spread out moving quickly down 33, finding bits of lift, climbing for a minute or two then moving quickly on to keep up with the guys in front. Everyone is helping everyone else as we search in front here. We need all the noses we can get if we want to go fast.

We aren’t finding much when a glider in front of me and to my right runs into good lift just south of 474. This baby is 700 fpm to cloud base and 4,700’. I get on top with Brett Hazlett and a few other of the fast flex wing boys and so I’m now the lead guy.

My leading sucks, and I have to go east and west to finally find an average 150 fpm at 1,600’ just northeast of PolkCity. Oh the shame of it all. Thankfully we do get up enough to be able to join another small gaggle to our southeast over Old Grade Roadjust north of I4. This thermal is quite a bit better averaging 350 fpm to almost 4,000’.

We are entering the go fast part of the race, although other than slow climbs we haven’t exactly been dawdling. I’m kind of surprised at the direction that the guys, including Johann, who are now out in front are taking, more south southwest toward the east side of Winter Haven. The notoriously weak area around the Winter Havenairport is coming up, but the clouds are saying come along.

I get great climb rates of between 450 fpm average to 550 fpm average in a couple of the thermals, climbing to over 5,000’. There are flex wings every where and one rigid catches us for a moment before we leave him behind. Johann and I are running scared thinking that Alex Ploner and Christian Ciech are just behind us.

As we get southeast of Winter Haven taking care to be out of the airspace from the Bartow airport way off to our southwest, we can see the high top of a cu-nimb to our southeast and right on the course line. It’s well shadowed underneath and looks like there may be some virga around it.

I have gone into the lead again as I cut the corner and ignored some lift. It is always good to just bypass the gaggle when you are high and there looks to be lift ahead. I’m thinking that there may be too much lift ahead. I’m happy that there are a couple of flex wings near me way below that are diving toward the cloud also. I hoping that they are not as nervous as me.

I’ve put my hang point on ATOS ¼” more forward. Maybe it is the air, and maybe it is the hang point, but the glider seems to be having a much better time of it. It’s not bucking around quite so much and I’m enjoying the Floridaair.

While I stay on the right sunny side of the cloud, some pilots go right underneath it. Doesn’t seem to be a problem, but I do notice that we get a bit of rain. I want to put this cloud behind me and get to the next ones.

As we get a couple of miles south of Lake Wales, and a mile west of highway 27, Curt Warren, Johann and I head for a cloud a little bit to our right that seems to be working. We’re spread out and make a thorough search of the area, but we can’t find anything like what we’ve had until now. I’ll drop from 2,500’ to 550’ AGL as all three of us go round and round trying to find the lift.

Johann and I are in radio communication so he brings me back one more time to get under Curt and him just next to a small lake. I’m way low and way below them, but we climb up enough and when Curt goes over to the east and finds a better core, they climb to 3,000’, while I’ll get up to 2,500’. We’re alive.

Johann and a bunch of gliders are out in front now on a long glide. I’m going carefully and slowly as possible. There are no clouds nearby, as the rain cloud has wiped when all out. The air is very smooth and I hear this also from Johann ahead of me.

Alex Ploner gets on the radio and says that he and Christian Ciech have landed 7 miles from goal in Frostproof. They took the start time 15 minutes after us and raced through the gaggles to get past us as we groveled on the deck. Now they are on the ground and we are almost on the ground.

At 12.5 miles out from goal I tell Belinda that I am at 1,000’ and will probably land at 10 miles from goal. I’m checking out just how far I can glide over the trees to get to a landable field.

Then Johann gets on the radio and says that they have lift at 10 miles out. I’m gliding toward him and wondering which fields I can land in. At 450’ I come in over a tractor working in some burnt off area a mile short of Johann’s thermal. There’s a beep on the vario and I start searching it out.

There are plenty of gliders around, all above me, and numerous gliders with Johann, so there is plenty of encouragement to stay up in whatever is available. There are no clouds, and the landing fields are scarce. Time to hang in there and be patient as the day is much different now that the first two place guys are on the ground.

I work this thermal to 2,900’ and actually leave it too early. Numerous gliders above me have gone out in front and are way ahead so that we can’t see them. I go to where the flex wings are working the lift that Johann has left, but just get zero for 3 minutes at 2,500’. Finally I’ve had enough of this head out now in the lead of the fifteen or so pilots in the neighborhood.

At 7 miles out from goal and at 1,700’ I know that I’ve got to find something, anything to make it in. I feel the barest hint of some lift nearby and start turning looking for anything. There are plenty of orange groves below and I prefer them as thermal generators to green pastures.

For four minutes I don’t gain any altitude, but I also don’t lose any. Then things get a bit better as the little gaggle joins me. This thermal will average 175 fpm and take me to 3,100’. Glen Volk will be just above me the whole time.

It stops at 3,100’ and although I wanted to go to 3,500’ before I went on final glide, I’ll take what I can get. There is a large patch of trees and houses before the airport, so I’m worried about the final glide in addition to the distance.

The air is completely smooth, and my sink rate averages only 200 fpm. I try to keep the air speed at about 32 mph, for best L/D but I seem to have averaged 37 mph over the ground. I don’t think that there was any wind. 3,500’ would have given me goal at 10:1. I’m hoping for 15:1 and I’ll get 16:1.

Glen will comment later how much better I’m gliding at these lower speeds than him as he sees me rise up above him as we cross over the unlandable areas. In the last field before the houses and trees I spot three flex wings. Then at the very end of the field, washed up as though by the sea, I will spot a dozen gliders and three rigids. I’m sure that they are cursing me as I fly over their heads at about 1,400’ two and half miles from goal.

I spot the goal and one glider. It seems to be the Swift, but in fact it is Johann. The Swifts have been moved to a spot near the hangars. Johann will be the first hang glider into goal, I’ll be second, quite a few minutes behind him. Glen Volk will be the first flex wing into goal.

All the top five pilots in each class (other than Johann) will not make goal. This means that the scores will be quite tight for the final day. Anyone could win the meet (and probably will).

Class 5 today:

1 Posch, Johann, 112 Air Atos Aut 13:15:00 16:08:06 02:53:06 994
2 Straub, Davis, 50 Air Atos C Usa 13:15:00 16:35:04 03:20:04 803
3 Dinauer, Greg, 32 Air Atos Usa 13:30:00 16:45:17 03:15:17 786
4 Biesel, Heiner, 101 Air Atos Usa 13:45:00 16:58:26 03:13:26 764
5 Ferris, George, 59 Air Atos Usa 13:30:00 16:53:53 03:23:53 744
6 Almond, Neville, 116 Flight Designs Ghostbuster Gbr 13:15:00 17:09:54 03:54:54 645
7 Campanella, Mario, 186 Flight Designs Ghostbuster Bra 13:30:00 17:39:03 04:09:03 591

Class 5 cumulative (going into the last day):

1 Ciech, Christian, 47 Icaro Stratos Ita 4758
2 Posch, Johann, 112 Air Atos Aut 4693
3 Straub, Davis, 50 Air Atos C Usa 4240
4 Gleason, Ron, 300 Air Atos Usa 4200
5 Campanella, Mario, 186 Flight Designs Gb Bra 4170
6 Ploner, Alex, 65 Air Atos C Ita 4141
7 Barmakian, Bruce, 17 Air Atos Usa 3978
8 Biesel, Heiner, 101 Air Atos Usa 3936
9 Hollidge, Andy, 26 La Mouette Top Secret Gbr 3727
10 Bowen, Campbell, 49 Flight Designs Axxess + Usa 3287

Class 1 today:

1 Volk, Glen, 5 Moyes Litespeed Usa 13:30:00 16:36:43 03:06:43 970
2 Dowsett, Mark, 29 Moyes Litespeed Can 13:30:00 16:44:06 03:14:06 904
3 Bolt, Mark, 143 Aeros Stealth Usa 13:30:00 16:44:17 03:14:17 899
4 Mclellan, Tish, 11 Moyes Litespeed Aus 13:30:00 16:45:23 03:15:23 886
4 Sauer, Richard, 7 Icaro MR700WRE Usa 13:15:00 16:43:01 03:28:01 886
6 Shipley, Mitchell, 99 Aeros Combat 2 Usa 13:15:00 16:43:40 03:28:40 878
7 Bajewski, Joerg, 34 Aeros Combat Deu 13:15:00 16:45:05 03:30:05 860
8 Borradaile, Tyler , 109 Aeros Combat 2 Can 13:15:00 16:45:13 03:30:13 857
9 Pagen, Dennis, 51 Moyes Litespeed Usa 13:30:00 16:59:20 03:29:20 837
10 Agulhon, Dorival, 94 Icaro Mrx Bra 13:15:00 17:04:19 03:49:19 796
11 Grzyb, Krzysztof, 35 Icaro MR700 Pol 13:15:00 17:08:39 03:53:39 784
12 Rewolinski, Steve, 96 Icaro MRX2001 Usa 13:45:00 17:40:43 03:55:43 759
13 Woodruff, Jon, 28 Airborne Climax Usa 13:15:00 17:22:34 04:07:34 749

Cumulative Class 1:

1 Bondarchuk, Oleg, 107 Aeros Combat 2 13 Ukr 5049
2 Williams, Paris , 1 Icaro MR700WRE Usa 4860
3 Volk, Glen, 5 Moyes Litespeed Usa 4804
4 Hamilton, Robin, 30 Icaro MR700WRE Gbr 4752
5 Hazlett, Brett, 90 Moyes Litespeed Can 4665
6 Wolf, Andre, 117 Moyes Litespeed Bra 4611
7 Warren, Curt, 73 Moyes Litespeed Usa 4602
8 Olsson, Andreas, 27 Moyes Litespeed Swe 4594
9 Rotor, Nene, 77 Wills Wing Talon Bra 4574
10 Wirdnam, Gary , 39 Aeros Combat 2 Gbr 4538

Robin Hamilton is flying Manfred’s glider. He says that he didn’t know that Oleg had landed. If he had, he would have stayed one more minute in the last thermal and made goal.

Preliminary results are up on the web site.

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US Nationals – never give up »

Sun, Aug 12 2001, 10:00:00 pm GMT

Belinda Boulter|Bo Hagewood|Brian Porter|Bruce Barmakian|cart|Curt Warren|David Glover|Davis Straub|Florida|Gary Osoba|Jim Lee|Johann Posch|Mark Poustinchian|Paris Williams|Richard "Rich" Burton|Robin Hamilton|sailplane|Tascha "Tish the Flying Fish" McLellan|USHGA|US Nationals|Wallaby Ranch|weather

Wow, the results from yesterday are really interesting. The results aren't up yet on the Austin Airsports web site (, and I've had to write down the results from the paper print out, so I'm not able to retype in everyone's name. Hopefully they'll get the results up soon.

Until then, Task I (yesterday):

Class I:

Paris Williams, Icaro Laminar, 3:40 (hours:minutes for the 126 mile task.)
Sugarman, Icaro Laminar, 3:42
Sandy Dittmar, WW Talon, 3:46
Carlos Bessa, 3:59, Moyes Litespeed
Bo Hagewood, 4:00, WW Talon
Curt Warren, 4:00, Moyes Litespeed

Say, what? Sugarman, Carlos, Curt, who are these guys? Carlos, Wallaby Ranch tug pilot, just got his US citizenship a month ago. Sugarman has done well in Florida meets, where he lives. Curt, tug and tandem pilot, just flew 260 miles in Zapata.

Class II:

Here's something different:

Robin Hamilton, Brightstar Swift, 3:09 (same task)
Davis Straub, 3:26, AIR ATOS (same old, same old)
Mark Poustinchian, 3:52, AIR ATOS
Johann Posch, 3:55, AIR ATOS-C
Bruce Barmakian, 4:02, Aeros Stalker (really? – looked like an ATOS to me)
Brian Porter, 4:05, Brightstar Swift

Robin is a long time British national flex wing team member. Got himself a little surgery, and now he comes out as an ultralight sailplane pilot.

Today the task committee called a couple of triangles. With two separate competitions the task committee gets to have prolonged fights about two tasks instead of one. The rigids went around their thin 73 mile triangle clockwise, and the flex wings got a triangle that looked more like at FAI triangle and they did it counter clockwise. Everyone seemed to be happy with this arrangement in the end.

The rigid task was NE (there was a light southwest flow on the ground), 30 miles to the intersection of highway 8 and 979, east, to Marquez, and then back to Hearne, a total of 73 miles. The flex wing task was a similar length. The idea was to get a three-hour task assuming 25 mph.

There were no clouds this morning and it didn't look like they would show up until after one o'clock. The winds were a bit strong, but they were supposed to lighten up. Today we had plenty of time to get out and get ready to go.

I got off early, and pinned off at 650 feet in a bit of lift. I was going up when I noticed that I had screwed my zipper once again (I sure wish I could fix that problem). Other pilots were turning and doing fine over the airport in spite of the blue. I went down to land to fix the zipper.

All the tugs were over at the rigid wing line getting them into the air first as the flex wings had a later start gate. Unfortunately as I landed, I came in a bit down wind, turtled the ATOS and snapped the keel. This 45 minutes before the final start gate for the rigids. The rigid wing pilots were being jerked into the air very quickly at this point.

I had a spare keel in David Glover's glider under my trailer, and it took 1 hour and thirty minutes to replace my keel with the spare with help from Belinda and Gary Osoba, who showed up today to help with the weather forecasting. I got the start gate over an hour after everyone else, and I just had to take it low as I hadn't found any lift to speak of in the first 7 miles.

Meanwhile in the flex wing line, Carlos Bessa who was doing so well yesterday locked out with his VG on. The glider was not too controllable. He crashed in hard into a cart and a golf cart, somewhat hurting himself, and taking on the new Moyes Zoom control frame. Then, Rich Burton did a similar number and took out a down tube. They closed launch for twenty minutes at this point to let wind/thermal conditions calm down.

Otherwise we were just out here recreating and doing a bang up job of it.

The cu's started around 2 PM, so it was good to have a late start if one must. Robin and Brian were out in front racing with each other a bit. I didn't get to see much as I was way behind and all alone.

I started catching folks at the first turn point 30 miles out, and just kept catching more and more of them. They weren't any help with thermal spotting, but it was great to see them disappear in my rear view mirror. Thankfully it was a cloud street all the way from the second turnpoint back to goal.

Johann feels that he is flying too fast on the new ATOS-C. He had a couple of saves from less than 300' AGL. He couldn't slow the thing down while thermaling. I passed him at the second turnpoint and then he was motivated to glide faster and he landed only four minutes behind me.

Task II Class II results:

Robin Hamilton, Brightstar Swift, 2:05:50 (33 mph)
Brian Porter, Brightstar Swift, 2:16:17
Mark Poustinchian, AIR ATOS, 2:46:02
Jim Yoccum, AIR ATOS, 2:52:15
Heiner Beisel AIR ATOS, 2:53:35
Bruce Barmakian, AIR ATOS, 3:02:45

I came in tenth at 3:36:25 with an hour and 4 minute handicap.

Robin and Brian took most of the points today (as they would on any day that they finish much faster than the rigid wing hang gliders). They means that the spread between the rest of us is much reduced and devalued. So it goes.

Task II Class I results:

The score keepers aren't quite ready with Class I prelims just yet. Because Check In can communicate with Race (the scoring program) they can get a pretty good system going and get results out fairly quickly. Should be ready later tonight, while I sleep (didn't get much last night after the long drive).

Gerolf was first and right behind him was Paris. Gerolf led most of the way, but got stuck near the end. Paris almost overtook him. Jim Lee and Conrad Lotten came in at about the same time (4:48) but they took an earlier start gate.

Gerolf was in a foul mood after yesterday and this apparently just motivated him to win the day (not that he necessarily needed all that much motivation).

Tish had to land ten miles short of goal as her old arm injury was acting up and making it too hard to control the glider. This was quite heartbreaking for her. Tish is mentally very very tough, but the body has a few weaknesses (true for all of us).

New Graphics Comp 99

Tue, Jan 26 1999, 6:00:03 pm EST


Ball Varios has updated their Graphic Comp vario for 1999. They've added a new screen - the thermal profiler. Height on the vertical scale and instantaneous lift on the horizontal. Little bars at each altitude for the maximum lift at that altitude. You can reset (clear) it at any time (which is good to do after you get off tow).

I've used it a couple of times, and it works fine. Ball is just checking it out to see if pilots like it. The height scale is too high -- 17,960', so all my Florida flying takes place in the lower third of the screen. I'm thinking that a dynamic maximum altitude would be cool, or at least let the pilot set the value for the day.

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Winter Flying in Florida

Tue, Jan 26 1999, 6:00:01 pm EST


Last year it rained all winter in central Florida - El Nino.

This year it is pretty dry, and warm - La Nina.

As far as I'm concerned, Florida and Australia offer the "best" cross country hang gliding in the world. Best, because the thermals are soft, full, and available often enough. They get you to cloud base and the ride up is enjoyable.

Having flown long and hard at many mountain sites including Telluride, Dinosaur, Golden, Sun Peaks, King Mountain, and numerous sites in the Alps, there is nothing that compares with smooth flatland flying. This is not to say that I haven't had lots of great times, especially in the Alps, and at Golden and Sun Peaks, but the pure comfort factor often isn't there. The mountains offer great scenery, big air, and high altitude gains. But, still…

I was shocked to find that great flying could be had in Florida in January. I thought that I had to wait till February for southern Florida, and March in central Florida. It is not the case at all.

I've been here for a little over a week and I've had three XC flights. Two days ago I flew 50 miles to just south of Inverness. Another pilot from Canada set their personal best that day flying to Dade City.

On the day I went 23 miles, the maximum average lift was less then 200 fpm, and the average lift was about 40 fpm. On the day I went 73 miles, the maximum 20 second average left was 540 fpm, and the average lift in thermals was 80-120 fpm. On the day I flew 50 miles, the maximum average lift was 200 fpm, and the average lift was about 60 fpm.

I know that these values are low, but so what? The thermals were there and easy to find. It just took longer to go anywhere. Climbing the in the thermals was pure fun, and I could just look to the next cloud for the lift.

Every day that I've been here has been soarable. It has been good for cross country for five days including today. My glider is on the truck some where else at the moment, or I would be going XC right now instead of writing this.

On my 50 miler I flew over the sail plane port to the north of Wallaby. There were 6 gliders in the air and 4 waiting to be towed up. The cues were popping, but it blued out at around 2 PM. Obviously there were a lot of sail plane pilots ready to have fun in the air. The Senior Nationals for sail planes happens at this port in March.

I'm hoping that more pilots get an opportunity to leave the mountains and come out for some great flatland flying wherever it may be. The fact that there are more and more towing operations, makes that possible. I continue to believe that towing is the future of hang gliding, and flight parks are the way to bring new people into the sport.

If you like flying the mountains, please don't feel that this is a slam on flying there. Of my 2,000 or so hang gliding flights, I've had many more from mountain launches then from tows. Just think about the fact that you don't need a big four wheel drive truck to get you up a mountain. That you don't need to negotiate with the DNR, or the USFS, or whoever.

Of course, we can't all get exactly what we want when we want it, but think about how you could get a towing operation going near you soon.

Ooops! This report just in. Belinda got back with the truck and my glider and I took off at 2:15 PM, about the time it blued out two days ago. Great cloud streets to the north west. Maximum averaged lift - 750 fpm. Average lift about 300 fpm. 70 miles. Man, this Florida winter flying is great!

Ok, OK. Yes this is unusual for Floridain January. It's ten degrees warmer then normal. Now, go out and scrape thesnow off the sidewalk.

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