On the Soaring field....

Soarchamps 2018 Hawkes Bay
A great long weekend had all for this event. The forecast wasn’t flash with a storm for most of NZ over these days, so we blamed every out of towner for bringing the bad weather with them. We had great entries with one coming over from Aussie and two from the deep cold South Island – many from Wellington and two from Auckland and few from other north island locations. Our new Hawkes Bay soaring field was open for practice on the Wednesday with many turning up and getting planes sorted and trimmed with a small amount of all up last down DLG. It was a great day with little wind and good thermal action to be had. Day one was F3b with reasonable entries for this event and also helpers turning up to help with running the course. We managed two rounds of Duration and almost got through a round of distance during the day. Unfortunately, the storm arrived, and we didn’t manage to complete any more flying for the day with high wind. Although a few were keen to continue it was possible a few models may have been damaged due to the fierce conditions. The results for this one had to be scrubbed as we needed to complete at least one round for it to count. It was off out for the night and a relax at JARKs Restaurant in Hastings.
Next morning things looked really good for a day of Premier Duration (PD).  This is a great thermal competition and we had consistent flyable weather all day with one winch change when the sea breeze finally came on.  There was a strong entry list with 15 competitors. There were some very low saves and lots of the new guys had satisfying flights and achieved many 10 minute full times! After 5 full rounds we had a very close result, the top four Hawkes bay pilots rocked! There was also one old Wellington competitor up there too. Everyone worked really well to keep the contest moving along, although a few managed to use a few winch lines.  A big thank you to the many people walking the winch lines to ensure that we didn’t have to wait for chutes to return. In the evening, it was off to our favourite raft beer mecca pub for nice meal and maybe a cold one.
The following day wasn’t a flash forecast. Arriving on the field, the water on the windscreen provided a hint for what was coming for the day. With everyone being relentlessly positive, we setup for F5J and while we did have the odd rain break the 18 competitors finished up 5 rounds by 3 PM  Well done to the two “Plus” pilots Joe and John who came out on top.  It was a very challenging day with most slots only providing very weak thermal action so the successful pilots were launching well above 100m for their flights.  F5J is certainly a technical event, although Rob Morgan demonstrated that one didn’t need a super-fancy composite plane to compete successfully as he campaigned to good effect an open rib construction aircraft. F5J is now a very solid game in NZ, with the highest event entries of all events at SoarChamps, even higher than the Radian events. After F5J was our Radian ALES event.  After a quick briefing it was kicked off with three half hour slots.  Again, awesome numbers for this one. The first round was mega air with most radians looking like they had their motors still on after the 30 second run! Then it got real hard and many didn’t make the 7-minute time for the next two slots. Well done to David James who came out well ahead of the pack and won this one. The final event of the day was a Champagne flyoff (last Pilot in the air) and was cleaned up by Allan Knox with a well deserved win. We had a prize giving for results to date and cracked the champagne into the personal trophies that Kev printed on a 3D printer, before heading off to Texas style BBQ (Bare Knuckle BBQ) in Hastings for the evening where everyone filled up on ribs, steak, pulled pork and the other typical US BBQ fare.
The last day was a write off due to the wind.  When we got out to the field there were fierce gale force winds stripping branches off the nearby trees, not to mention howling across the field. We determined that F3k handlaunch planes do not mix well with extremely strong winds so there was a bit of palaver while hunkered down behind the vehicles before everyone headed home.
Thanks to everyone for helping during the weekend it and special one to Joe who did both the draws and results also Andrew Hiscock with the thunder box. (Add by Joe: extra thanks to Kev for doing the field set-up, taking care of the equipment, and making sure that we were ready to fly at the right time in the mornings). Well done to all who flew during the weekend. I enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm of the newer fliers on the field.  With the turnout numbers that we had (and the enthusiasm of the new fliers) there is quite a bit of promise about the future of soaring.
Soaring Rocks

               F5J           Premier duration           ALES Radian
  Click on  a title to download the PDF results Sheet)
                   F5J mass launch.                                                                                   Joe Wurts landing his Plus
                                                                All pics from the camera of Barrie Russell.