A slim, graceful, long-winged craft arcs upward smoothly and steeply into the summer sky, accompanied by the faint whistle of air accelerating past its gleaming surfaces. All eyes on the machine as dwindles with each passing second a surging aerial trout playing out yards of taut singing line. A tine parachute blossoms gently returns the shining nylon filament to earth. Someone hurries to pluck the blossom before it touches the ground and soon other sailplanes are on their way in a quest to find lift. Flying a pure sailplane requires a modicum of learned skill, having it gain altitude in the heat of a thermal is an art.
Along comes technology. Perhaps some of those sailplanes, accompanied by the quiet whirr of an electrically driven propeller, will leave the launchers hand bound for a predetermined altitude at which the motor will stop and the propeller will fold snugly against the fuselage and where the pilots to, will join the hunt for elusive lift.
After the launch, little sound or movement is evident among the small group of pilots who gazes pierce the sky. Yet there is tension and knees tremble in anticipation, all are alert for the subtle lift of a wing that signals a bubble of warm, rising air. Now, a turn begins and thenm at a ttightening sweep into the lift, the pilot curves his obedient ship upward, betraying his or her satisfaction by just a smile or noticeable relaxation. Minutes, or perhaps hours later, the sailplane reappears at a lower altitude and is electronically grooved to a perfect landing on the grass at the feet of its once-remote master. Such a scene is repeated thousands of times during the soaring season all over the world by men and woman of all agents and talents.
A call is given by the pilot, "Lads...mount up...I have crossed the starting line and heading on course!". The team of driver observer and pilot scramble into the back of a pickup or convertible and head out onto the course. The variometer plugged into the car radio or pilot headset is wailing with the telemetry data sent back from the sailplane...telling the pilot to clib, climb until you cant see the tail anymore and only the wings. Higher the sailplane goes, 300, 400, 600, 800 meters until it is a speck. The pilot is telling the driver to pick speed, "Up 5 they say then up 10, then down 5". They are out on the course chasing the glider, trying to get 10 kilometers down the road to the turn point. A command of stop the car is given periodically as the pilot getting low on altitude tries to find another thermal to take him higher, and higher, and hopefully back to the starting point. This is wind your hair, sun in your face, and a challenge for all to take, a challenge they call cross country.
Another call is given in a different part of the earth. Here the wind is fierce and so is the pilot and his skills. The sailplane rises gently out of the hand and accelerates flying away from the mountain. A turn is given and the dance begins. Circles become smaller and the speed is increasing. A helper with a radar gun yells over the wind, "480mph, 490 mph, 497mph". A record is set, and all on the side of the mountain know...yes this is dynamic soaring at its best!
Now ask yourself...who are these people? What are they doing and why?
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!!
2018 will be a record breaker for sure. Here in New England it has been in the single digits for a few weeks and sub zero at night. Ice fishing season is upon us now and while most of us will not catch much we will eat good for sure out on the ice. A little bagel hockey in between checking the traps will keep us warm too.
With that being said welcome to all our LSF brethren, male and female, young, semi-young, and young at heart. NATS preparations are underway and the schedule will be released shortly. We are combining up a few events and adding two more official events to the schedule this year, F3RES and F5J. I am counting on these events to be Level 5 opportunities for those individuals that need those premium level contests.
The "Big Nutz" Trophy makes its guest appearance this year. It may even contain a few trinkets (servos, hardware, trim tool etc.) and some cash within too? Hopefully I can get the prizes up to a few hundred dollars worth of cool stuff. Its a winner takes all kind of thing.
How do you abscond with this beautiful trophy and trinkets you may wonder...well, you have to fly a smidge at the NATS. Do to contest overlap you have to pick your events wisely. Wait a minute, who threw XC in there as a contest? That event may be the deciding contest on who is the top all around well rounded, in a good way, competitor.
Participation in 6 of the 8 contest events is required for you to win/become the Big Nut using total LSF Points in:
- F3H (XC)
- 2 Meter
Â The "About Us/Contact the LSF" page is current whenever you are ready to contact the Officers. I have been in touch with a few folks already around the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain letting them know the organization is alive and well.
2018 may also bring an "Interglide" series between LSF Countries. I am trying to work out the details now. Most likely a weekend event in the fall here in the states and the spring for those on the bottom of this third rock from the sun.
Enough ramblings for January. Stay warm, get your build on, and send pictures to me of what you got going. I will post to the LSF website.