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Open Class Nationals - Day 4 - Instruction Flight

It has been a real pleasure to do the Open Class Nationals at Minden.  The excellent infrastructure and capabiliies of Laurie Harden and the Soaring NV operation and staff really makes it easy to conduct the contest on a public airport. Having the enthusiastic support of airport management is a big advantage.
One really great thing that is happening is that one of Soaring NV's Duos is competing.  Russ Holtz, one of the instructors, is flying the tasks with "students" each day.  

Below is the report from yesterdays flight by Kevin Mather, who took time from his triathlon training to fly.

"Flying in the open class nationals has been the opportunity of a lifetime.   While being surrounded by some of the greatest names in soaring was a little bit intimidating, having Soaring NV’s Russell Holtz in the back seat coaching me through things helped ensure that we got the task completed, and not horribly slower than the super-ships (and pilots) out there. 

The day I flew was a great soaring day – thermals everywhere.  So, the challenge was trying to find the strongest ones, center quickly, stay in the strongest part (don’t get spit out) and know when it’s time to head on – as one extra circle that doesn’t gain altitude can really start to hurt your score if you do it enough. 

The best thing about flying the contest was the learning that took place.  A MAT (modified assigned task) was called for my day, so – we had to figure out what turnpoints (after the initial assigned) would be the best strategy.  I also learned a lot about navigation, and managing speed to fly (and actually flying the speed to fly one has selected). Several times Russell had to -remind me- 'if you fly faster the vario will shut up, and so will I.'  
While I’m not ready to step into a national event on my own, it was incredible that Soaring NV gave pilots the opportunity to buy a seat for a day in the event.  This is a great way to get into the contest arena and really learn how to manage things in a contest situation."

Mighty kudos to Russ and Soaring NV for supporting increased participation.

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Posted: 6/15/2012


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