Joe Wurts about IHLGF-2002

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IHLGF 2002
HLG seminar

Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 22:08:43 -0700
From: "Joe , Jan Wurts"
To: "RCSE" 
Subject: Musings on the IHLGF

It has been a over week since the annual "must attend" HLG
event for 2002 was flown, the IHLGF. As per the norm, the
TPG did an excellent job organizing and running the event.
I'm quite impressed at how quickly the event has advanced
from a development type event with the advent of tip launch,
into what appears to be a relatively mature event, with
aircraft that should be competitive for more than one season.
Case in point, the Encore that I flew this year used the
fuselage of last year, and a wing that had only very minor
changes from last years wing.

The flying: The skill level of the competitors has seemed to have come up quite a bit from previous years. There was a lot of talent displayed on the field this year, and the east coast was well represented. I'm getting the funny feeling that So Cal is beginning to lose its dominance in soaring. I'm confident that the next F3x team will have some "foreign" interlopers in it. The quiet Craig Greening showed a mastery of HL that goes quite a bit beyond his launch technique. Definitely the most improved (and still improving) pilot. Phil Barnes showed that he knows at least as much about flying as he does in building. Oleg gets the award for the most perfect launch. Every throw was picture perfect technique, with the highest launch of anyone there. I did appreciate that he showed a little bit more respect for his elders compared to his almost dethroning me last year.... ;-) Jerry Krainock continues to show us all that HLG is not just for the young and fit, it is for the folk that can fly and thermal. The airplanes: To me, it seemed that the performance variations between the various flap/aileron equipped aircraft is getting smaller. I did get a Taboo XL put together before the contest, and was impressed at how close it flew to my trusted Encore. The major difference was that it flew like the Encore with about two oz in it, due to the smaller wing and the higher empty weight. This wasn't an issue for Poway conditions, as at least half of the contest rounds made it highly desirable to carry some ballast. The Photon seemed to be the poly ship of choice. It is a very easy to fly plane that allowed the pilot to more easily work thermals, with the trade-off of a lower launch height and more challenging penetration into the traditional Poway winds. I still have the same opinions of the Encore as last year, the small changes that Phil put into my latest wing seemed to give it just a little bit more broadening of the performance envelope. The quality of the workmanship in the high-end DLG aircraft is quite impressive. Mr. Pearson's craftsmanship has become a benchmark, but he is getting some serious competition from the multitude of folks lined up to cash in on the "easy" money to be made in DLG (Denny, Oleg, and the other Phil being the primary US mfg capability represented at the IHLGF). I do think that it is indicative that the flyoff had four poly, and six camber equipped planes, and that variable camber equipped aircraft took 1 thru 5. Using camber change is more demanding of the pilot, but does give the pilot a bit more handling and performance. For many sport pilots, the right choice is a poly, but in my opinion, high end competition is easier with adjustable TE and glide-path. The tasks: The tasks have become a bit more tactical with the advent of penalties for extra throws. A few of the tasks are more challenging, but almost all of the tasks did a good job of applying a rational differentiation between the relative performances. I'm still philosophically opposed to the "ladder" task, but it seems to be a sentimental favorite. The impact of DLG: In short, not the negative that I had feared back in the beginning. Even the highest thrower will get pounded after making a poor choice of air. It does allow the recovery from a poor read of a thermal location, but I was impressed with how a savvy pilot could perform even with a relatively poor throw. There was only one common denominator between the people with strong throws. It was not age, physical fitness, or body type. It was only technique. One of the strongest throwers was competing in the Eagle class. In short, I'm a strong advocate of DLG. Joe Wurts PS. I've not been subscribed to RCSE for a few months, but did hear that someone claimed that I've sold my sole. Not yet, but I'd really like to sell my left sole. On the Thursday before the IHLGF, I stepped into a gopher hole in the middle of a throw and did something bad to my left heel, which has not improved since. Rest assured, I'm uncomfortably aware that I'm still in possession of at least one misbehaving sole.