IHLGF - 2002, Poway, CA


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IHLGF 2002
HLG seminar

Joe Wurst
about IHLGF

As many of you probably know, IHLGF is the largest hand-launch contest in the USA and probably one of the largest in the world too. It is THE contest to be at and is definitely the testing ground for all new designs and techniques. This year's contest took place on June 2-3, 2002 and as always was a very well organized event. We had excellent weather for most of the contest, with the exception of a few rounds that had strong winds and strong sink and left quite a few pilots looking for their models in the trees and bushes far from the field. My performance at this contest was less then great. I made two big mistakes on the first day of the contest: landing 3 feet short of the field boundary after a 2min flight, and simply some poor flying in a 3/3min round when I lost over a minute flying against Joe Wurts and Phil Barnes who both got perfect scores in the round. This left me with 2 throw-out rounds after Saturday, when only one is allowed :-(.

My efforts on Sunday (using Tom Kiesling and Joe Wurts as my timers/spotters) improved my standing but still left me on the 3rd place going into the fly-offs, about 130 points behind Joe's perfect score. My less then perfect flying in the fly-offs and a couple of poor decisions moved me even farther down the table and I finished on the 4th place, behind Joe, Craig Greening, and Phil Barnes. I am on the far right on the picture below.

Joe Wurts was unreachable again with nearly perfect scores throughout the contest. His throw-out round was 987 points! If not for a very small (6 points) dent in Joe's score made by Craig Greening in the fly-offs, Joe would have finished with the perfect 12000 points. He gave us another lesson of how a thermal contest should be flown.

I was quite happy with my airplane performance during the contest. Many people at the field mentioned that my Taboo XL is probably the highest launching plane there. That made me quite proud of my efforts (although did not help me to avoid sink in a couple of rounds). The airplane launched great, cruised very well and climbed in the thermals like crazy. All in all, I think Taboo XL is a successful design so far.

Besides me, two other people on the field had Taboo XL in their arsenal. Tom Kiesling had an early prototype model and was in general satisfied with its performance. He used Taboo XL in half of the rounds, alternating it with his own design model based on the same Mark Drela's airfoils and Logic fuselage. The picture below shows Tom's Taboo XL (second from left) among his and Phil Barnes's models.

The other pilot who flew Taboo XL at IHLGF was Joe Wurts. He successfully crashed the model that I sent him prior to the contest - only 2 days before the contest and before I could even see him fly it. I had to twist his arm and force him to take one of my backup models and fly it in the contest, just so that I could claim that Joe had Taboo XL and flew it at IHLGF :-). He kept Taboo XL as a backup model throughout the contest, and successfully flew it in one of the rounds on Sunday to a 1000 point score. Here, Joe is a happy guy who just got the 1-st place trophy for the 8-th time. Taboo XL is in the middle among his Encores.

Joe's opinion of the airplane was that overall it feels and performs very similar to Encore. Click here to read Joe's "Musings on the IHLGF" posted to the Soaring Exchange to hear his opinion on the contest, skill level, models, and Taboo XL in particular.
The picture below shows all three Taboo XL pilots (Tom Kiesling, me, ane Joe Wurts) after the awards ceremony with their planes.

A very strong showing was made by Photon models, manufactured and sold by Jerry Crainock using parts made in Ukraine. Photons seem to be very popular in California and performed very well at IHLGF. Jerry was near the top of the table throughout the contest and finished 11-th overall. The airplanes looked very nice with a bright shrink film covering and did not have any trouble finding thermals and skying out.

Below is another example of artistic efforts of one of the pilots/builders. These models also looked very distinctive in the air and on the ground. The builder of these models, Norm Timbs, sent me the following info about the design:

"Designers/builders: Thomas Akers & Norm Timbs. Name of Plane: Coriolis. Airfoils by John Asplund. We CNCed the mold for the Kevlar pod and used a carbon tailboom form Jerry Krainock. We bagged 1.0 oz Kevlar skins and prepreg spars over spyder foam. Six channels. We finished the models the day before the contest and I learned how to fly (sort of) on Friday. We are looking forward to next year."

If you have never come to IHLGF and are even remotely interested in hand-launch gliders, you owe it to yourself to visit the next IHLGF in Poway. You will not regret it.