Despite crazy weather earlier in the week, today’s weather gave us a break from the rain…….but it was replaced by some pretty brisk winds, as eleven pilots came out to Cain Field today for our Annual “All-Up-Last-Down” Event.
Pilots meeting at 10:30, then the individual pictures, and the drawing for placement in the launch-line. This year, because of the stiff, fifteen mph winds out of the south-east, we had to line up across the active runway for the launch….then, the pilots had to walk back across the runway to take up their chosen locations from which they began their quest for the “Longest Flight”.
We launched, using the customary ten-second launch window (for safety), a few minutes after eleven………..what a neat sight, as eleven electric-powered airplanes took to the blue sky, fighting the strong head wind !
As the clock ticked away, Pete Darr was the first to settle back to the safety of the grass with a time of 6:45. Should have expected that, as Pete told me before the Event started that he’d be the first to land…..and he was right !
Just a few moments later, we had a “First”…….a mid-air between Dennis Modar and Gene Boyko knocked the tail loose from Dennis’s ‘Viking’, causing him to tumble lightly to the ground (with minimum damage) with a time of 8:46 for Dennis. In the meantime, Gene’s Calypso continued on without incident.
Dave Reynold’s Easy Star began having motor-pulsing issues, and he found himself having to set up his landing early with a time of 9:30.
Following Dave a few minutes later, Paul Ciarelli and his Bixler came to earth as the clock hit 12:15.
The field of fliers became pretty silent, as the next twelve minutes passed with no one giving up his bid on the title……till Bob Reihms ran into trouble, as his Sky Scout got too far down wind, and came in well off the Field at 23:55. Bob went out to do the initial search, but came back empty-handed. Have faith Bob, as we generally have pretty good luck with our neighbors out there, finding, and returning our ‘Lost’ airplanes.
Within a minute or so of Bob’s coming down off the field, Gene Boyko found himself low on power, and settled in with a time of 25:25.
Ten more minutes passed, as the remaining pilots stood their ground in the heavy winds, fighting for every foot of altitude and minute on the clock.
Then, at 35:27, John Sennott and his Bixler were forced out of competition, as he successfully brought his Foamie in, despite strong winds.
With only four airplanes in the air, and all looking like winners at this point, it was anybody’s guess as to who might be the next to be forced out of the race.
That question was answered ten minutes later, when John Boyko’s Mystique ran out of electrons, and made a graceful swoop-in landing at 48:20.
Three guys in the air, and the chatter and verbal abuse began at a fever pitch, as comments continued to fly about the proverbial “Bladder-Break” allowance, now part of the day’s protocol. But, as we neared the one hour mark, no one seemed in need of any “Relief”….and so, On-They-Flew !
As we reached the magical, One-Hour Mark, Bill Jones was satisfied that he, and his Easy Star ( along with it’s 5,000 mah battery ), had made the hour mark, and he settled in for a time of 1:03:05.
Now, with just two ships on high, it was anybody’s game to win, as both Dave Neely and Jim Carter are former winners of past All-Up-Last-Down Events…….was it going to be Dave and his Helium, or Jim and his winner from last year, his Olympic II.
Dave answered that question for us all, as his battery just wouldn’t go any further, and he contacted the grass with a time of 1:12:20.
Now, with the victory in hand, smiling Jimmy Carter breathed a sigh of relief, after staring up into the sun for over an hour…….and he brought his Oly in for a smooth landing ( a little bit far away maybe…….but on the Field ) as the official time for our winner was announced at 1:13:35. Checked with Jim later, and he assured us he still had ‘Plenty In Reserve’ if he would have needed it…….check out Jim’s ship, and you can plainly see there’s no rule that says you can’t strap extra batteries on the outside of your fuselage !
Congratulations to Jim Carter for his winning time of 1:13:35, and for winning the Event for the second year in a row………nice job again, Jim !!
So, if you weren’t there today, you missed a really great day to be at Cain Field, and the fun I think we all had, both flying, and heckling those that fought the wind, as we put another one in the Record Book.
As I left the Field today, I heard more than one pilot talking about his plans for next year…….hope next year’s Event is as much fun as this year’s was.
I’ll include just a few pictures with this email………more to follow.
Event Director / “All-Up-Last-Down”