Rounds was the final event of the 2014 season. Again the weather was pretty decent. Although on the way to the Wetlands it was really foggy and I thought we would not be able to fly till after lunch. Thankfully the fog cleared by about 10am and it wasn't an issue. Things didn't start well for Team Haley with both of their winches not working following an overall. Steve and Bob managed to get one of them going and Clive lent his winch, so it was alright in the end
There was certainly and end of season vibe, with a dark, cold morning and obvious feeling of winter in the air. I think it's fair to say the flat field soaring is more of a summer pursuit! Conditions were forecast for virtually no wind at the start of the day followed by a slight pick up in the afternoon. By that time it was even T-shirt weather and I even went for an application of sun tan lotion. Although that may owe more to my pasty complexion than the searing sunshine. The clocks are changing and the nights drawing in so no excuses for me not putting together that second avatar before next season. Those servos don't put themselves in.
Round 1 of duration started with a victory for wily veteren Bob Dickenson who's 9.28/100 was a two minutes better than Simon Haley's time. The second was rather easier and was flown out by 3 of the 4 pilots. Steve Haley pipped me by one second and we both got the hunski (100) on the landing. John Penton was the victor in the third slot. I was calling for John Phillips who was suffering bad glitching on his Pike Precison and had to land. That was a bit of a bummer as it rather spoiled his comp from the start and he had travelled a long way to fly.
The first slot in distance was won by Jon Whittle with 20 laps. I had a distance, stalling off 3 launches and barely getting a 4th launch and only managing 9 laps. What I discovered was that my launch elevator settings were wrong. I split my launch in to two flight modes and the down elevator pre-set for the top part of the launch was being added to the first stage. As such I had a very flat launch and the start followed by too much up elevator at the top. The more down I added just made the start worse and did nothing to stop the stalling at the top.
Simon Haley pushed out Bob and Clive in the 2nd slot to get the thousand. John Phillips broke out his RCRCM Toba for distance and did a solid 18 laps in flat air to get a thousand. Steve Haley put a couple of laps on Dave Worral to claim another thouski. Conditions were fairly flat, without any real thermals or serious sink. As anticipated conditions for launching were tough and heights were not great. Definitely thin line and big drum conditions. I decided to put 1.12 mega line on one of my winches and 1.22 on the other in case the wind picked up, per the forecast.
Conditions remained largely the same for round 2 of distance with scores in the high teens with the odd twenty plus. Dave Worral took 3 laps out of Jon Whittle in slot 1. Steve did the best run of the day with 22 in the next slot against Bob and John Penton. Clive and Bill had an electric battle which Clive won by one lap. In the final slot I got my launch going again and drew with Simon for the 1000.
By the time speed came around I was starting to feel the wind was picking up a bit so I dropped down to the middle drum on my ober winch with the 1.22. I had pretty much lost my elevator trim on the launch, but I was starting to get more height and did a 19 second run. Conditions were still not optimal for launching and the best time was Steve with 17.85 with both Dave and Jon Whittle getting low 19s. A 16 would have been very good I think in that air.
Round 2 of speed had perhaps slights worse conditions as things started to cool down. The best time was 18.85 from Steve flying his fosa, closely followed by 18.89 by myself. Neither run was particularly brilliant, especially mine which was poorly flown if I am honest and the reasonable time was down to a decent launch and the performance of the Avatar. Dave, John Phillips and Jon Whittle were not far behind with 19.07, 20.85 and 20.26 respectively.
Unfortunately Simon Haley crashed his model by pulling it in to the ground on base B. I think it's a case of rest in pieces for his Precious, which has been really good model for him over the last few seasons. I don't know if he is "grounded" now, but it happens to the best of us!
By the time the second duration round started it was definitely colder and launch conditions were slightly worse than they had been in speed. The first slot was very flat with the best flight time being 7.58 by Dave Worral, which was slightly ahead of John Penton and Bill Haley, who was flying, I think, either an Ellipse 3 or 4 (?).
Slot two was similar with Steve and myself flying minimum sink most of the time. There were not any real areas of lift to be found and it was more a case of avoiding sink and trying to stay in neutral air than it was classic thermal soaring. It was a good slot with the high AR Fosa and Avatar showing their soaring capabilities and it being a bit cat and mouse watching what the other guy was doing. I managed to balls up the landing approach as I had rather run out of energy and got no landing bonus, which meant Steve took the 1000 with a well flown 10:00/95. The final slot was won by John Whittle who staying up slightly longer than John Phillips, again in very flat conditions that were definitely more winter than summer.
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