Great to be back in Moultrie, Georgia. This is a beautiful huge airfield where we have been on each of the previous Rallies. Unfortunately, it has always been windy there and the forecast originally called for significant wind today. Luckily, it was lighter than what they called for and totally manageable, just not the direction we would have liked. So, the task committee originally called a 180km task all the way to Vidalia to the east. But just before the breifing, 2 of the 3 were second guessing and I was hoping for a very doable task that would have a lot in goal. The previous two days have been hard work with only 2 in each day, so having a bunch in goal was what we wanted. So, they cut the task down by 40km to the little town of Hazlehurst. I was pleased with the call because we had quite a few happy guys in goal (probably 20 or so) and 140 km is plenty anyway. Young Cory Barnwell even made goal and had a PB! We had a quick drive the rest of the way to Vidalia then to dinner to enjoy our favorite Tree House restaurant where we partied last time we came through here 4 years ago.
In other news, Dustin was super fast in, but had a strange problem with his instrument and it deleted his tracklog. He didn’t have a back up :-(. He was not a happy camper.
Tomorrow is looking potentially windy, so it’s hard to say whether we’ll fly. Everyone I’ve heard from seems to be up for a little rest day anyway.
Still moving north and hoping we can keep it up. Today was Live Oak to Moultrie, Georgia and yes, we finally crossed our first state line, flying 117km to the northwest. Unfortunately, it was a difficult headwind task and like yesterday, only two made it in. But this time it was Jonny and Larry Bunner, with yesterday’s leaders falling a bit short. This will move Jonny up into first place.
Jeff Shapiro describe the flight as a “bar fight”….yeah, I guess it was quite a trudge upwind and really impressive that so many made it so far. With Jonny and Larry making it in today, this means that so far the collective “we” (being at least a couple of pilots) have flown the entire Rally course from Quest – just not the same pilots every day. Let’s hope we can do that the entire route with someone (hopefully many) at goal every day.
We were all happy to cross the state line into peach country and found the usual southern hospitality at a local bar & grill. It’s a blast that we all get to hang out together for dinner and downloads every night – it’s half the fun of the Rally.
Here’s our “mountain”…with a Learjet squeaking in behind. Our tug pilots are awesome! After getting all the competitors in the air and on course, they fly the course themselves and are all ready to do it again the next day. If you want to see where the tugs are each day (and many of the competitors), check out the shared SPOT tracker page at http://www.flytrace.com.
We got lucky again with the weather on Day 2. So far, each day the forecast for the next day looks bad, but by the time we get there, it’s not that bad at all. We flew from Dunnellon airport up to one of our favorite Florida stops, Live Oak (although goal was actually about 15km east of the airfield to try to avoid the seabreeze and pushing any more into the wind than we already were). Dunnellon is huge and wide open and like most airfields we’re stopping at, they let us have the run of the place. We tow off the old tarmac runway here, which makes it really fun for the cart runners – they get a real workout chasing those carts a few hundred meters down the runway.
The sky looked perfect as we towed the last competitor in the air and although it was a fairly long one, we expected more than a few in goal 137km up the state. But, the forecast called for a chance of overdevelopment and thunderstorms further north late in the afternoon. With fingers crossed, I drove north spotting many of them overhead zigging and zagging to avoid the cells developing on either side of courseline. By mid-afternoon the clouds filled the majority of the sky and the lift was shutting down. Only Pedro and Oleg made goal, with many other top guys scattered along behind, just short of goal.
And we’re off!! We called a very early briefing (9am) because initially it looked like it would be soarable early and we would need to outrun some afternoon storms. Turns out we probably should have launched around 11am, but it didn’t look overly fantastic at that point so we stalled things until a more normal time. Unfortunately, that meant waiting out a few small cells that dumped rain on us briefly. In the end, launch started at 3pm – super late, but that was the best we could hope for under the circumstances….and, it was pretty decent call. Although the task was small, it was appropriate in the weather we had and about 20 made it to goal in McGin. More importantly everyone was happy to be up there and actually starting on course to the north.
James Stinnett won the day with Oleg a close second and Pedro in third. The scores don’t reflect that because Oleg had an instrument problem and hasn’t given his backup yet. Young Cory Barnwell – multiple-time ladies choice award winner and recent graduate from the sport class – was in goal with the big boys. Ollie Chitty, our other young gun here for the first time from the UK was also in nice and fast. All scores are up at http://www.soaringspot.com.
We found a great little pizzaria with craft beers and a huge terrace under a clear warm night sky to top it all off.
Tomorrow we fly from Dunnellon airfield, hopefully north toward the ultimate goal at Lookout Mountain!
….more than sticks ;-). So, a quick update on uploading your tracklog during the Rally. Of course if you’re a techy and want to email us your track log the moment you land, that’s fantastic, we’ll take it! It’s pretty simple, but we’ll put up very detailed instructions on how to do it here on the blog soon.
Meanwhile, if you prefer to just let someone else do it for you, hey, that’s what we’re here for and that’s what you’re paying for, so we will gladly do it for you. Various crew members will be driving along courseline toward the next stop and if we see you beside the road in a nice grassy field, we’ll stop and trade your instrument for a icy beverage and download it on the way to goal….that way, you don’t have to rush to get it to us. You can pick it up at goal so you can get the batteries recharged for the next day.
If you make goal, just come on over to the scoring table (we’ll have one all ready – hopefully before you even get there) where you can trade your instrument for an ice cold goal bear (or Coke, or water).
Organizer Terry Reynolds has also generously donated one entry fee into the Dinosaur competition. So, that makes 5 competitions. If you’re planning on going to any of these competitions make sure and put a bid in – you could save yourself a few bucks and support the national team in the process.
There was a bit of confusion about how the auction works. Feel free to email me if you have questions, but here is the deal: We accept “bids” by email (to email@example.com) from now until the end of February. The minimum bid is $250. The average cost of an entry into the competitions is about $300, so if your bid is the lowest, you could save $50 and help the boys out in Mexico. I don’t have many bids yet and your chances are good to win of the entries, so hurry up and send in your bid. Make sure you specify which competition entry you’re bidding on. The highest bid for each of the competitions wins one entry into that comp. If your bid is the winner, you donate your winning bid price to the team via the USHPA website at http://ushpa.aero/donation_usteam_form.asp and The Foundation for Freeflight will match your donation. So, if your winning bid is $289, the team gets $578 – everyone wins!!
Flytec USA, along with myself, Davis Straub and the folks at Quest Air are looking to raise a bit of money for our US national team headed to the world championships in Valle de Bravo next month. We will be conducting a silent auction for one entry fee into each of the Flytec Race & Rally, Quest Air Open, Big Spring Nationals and Santa Cruz Flats Race competitions.
Registration is open for the Flytec Race & Rally and the Quest Air Open, so if you’re planning on going to either of these comps, or any of the Cat 2 sanctioned US comps this coming season, why not put in a bid and support our US national team. Opening bids for each of the entry fees is $250, so you could potentially save yourself a few bucks….or better yet, thrown in a bit more and help out our team pilots.
Donations for the winning bids will be made through the USHPA at http://ushpa.aero/donation_usteam_form.asp
If you don’t compete or you don’t plan to attend any of these competitions, you can still donate to the team and we’ll put your name into a bonus drawing for a variety of cool schwag from Flytec, Wills Wing and Moyes. And the real bonus is that the Foundation for Freeflight will match your contribution! So, if you want to donate $500, the Foundation will match your $500 donation and the team will get $1000!
We will take silent bids by email to firstname.lastname@example.org from today through February 15th. So dig deep and help out the boys heading to the worlds in Mexico. We have a solid team this time around and high hopes to top their silver medal winning performance at the last worlds in Forbes.