Normally I try to fly/practice as much as possible before a competition, but because of the horrible winds in Phoenix prior to the Fly-In, I didn’t get to practice or even fly much. I did most of my flying a few days before and then the evening before. I had been planning on flying my 22m Nirvana Hadron, but then I thought I might try the new 20m Nirvana Nucleon WRC which I had just gotten in. I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea to switch wings the day before! I was able to fly for about 4 hours the night before the competition, but the wind conditions were not that great, but it was the only time I had so I made the best of it. After all that, I still couldn’t decide which wing I wanted to use for the competition. When I woke up at 4:30am the morning of the competition, I was thinking I would take the Hadron because I know the wing so well, but for some reason the WRC kept jumping at me, so that’s what I ended up flying with.
I flew over to the competition area and landed to get ready for the start, the whole time I was wondering in the back of my mind if I had made the right wing choice! The winds were not in the right direction for the way the course was set up, it was coming over some big trees, causing a bit of turbulence, which caused me a little concern, but the WRC is such a solid wing that I wasn’t bothered by it too much. We started off the competition with the foot drag and I was number 7 in line. This was not a good thing, because if the winds start to pick up, as they usually do as the day goes on, my times would be slower than those who flew first. The only advantage of going further down the line is being able to see how everyone else does and then know if you need to push hard or can take it easy. I watched as Jeff made what looked to be a fast time on the foot drag and then nailed his spot landing as well. Chad did well, but he missed the spot because of turbulence causing a lot of sink near the landing area. On my turn, I had a fast run thru the foot drag, and then on the spot landings I was doing something new that I had been working on. You kill the motor about 200 ft flying down wind and to the side of the target, and as you pass it you start making a turn around back to it so that you carry a lot of energy. It’s very hard to do, but it works awesome once you get it down. It looks really good as well. 🙂 I hit my spot and got full points for that round. The next round was the clover leaf. Jeff did well and hit the spot as well. I did mine in 42 seconds, which was pretty fast with the headwind we had. I think I could have easily gotten in down in the 30’s if there was no wind. I hit the spot and at this point, I think Jeff, Paul and I were pretty close in score, but at that point, none of us knew our times.
We then did the bomb drop and full stop landing, which I also nailed.
I was in 3rd place in the nationals before this competition because I didn’t get a chance to complete my runs at GBE Salton Sea due to the bad weather. After winning the Endless Foot Drag, I am back in first place now. 🙂 I’m very impressed with the new Nucleon WRC. Just when you think you have seen the best, Dudek comes out with another great wing!