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Rocky Mountain Invitational


djpacro
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I've just got back (well back as far as Denver) from Lamar, Colorado, USA after competing in this aerobatic contest. About 26 competitors altogether and half of them were flying gliders.

 

I competed in Intermediate using a Pitts S-2C. Lots of fun.

 

 

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Left Melbourne last Thursday and arrived in Denver that night. Drove to Lamar the next morning - quite a culture shock:

 

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I had been delayed the previous night as Denver was closed for a while due to 60 kt winds. By the time my practice slot came around the wind was picking up again, didn't get as bad as the previous day but I didn't want to risk it. So, no flying that day which meant no practice at all. Our Pitts had been U/S recently (the trip was at short notice so little opportunity to practice) so hadn't flown a sequence in it since April. My only practice was the Sportsman sequence in the Decathlon. I was flying Intermediate in a Pitts S-2C at this contest.

 

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Guest Darren Masters

Nice pics Dave 001_smile.gif.2cb759f06c4678ed4757932a99c02fa0.gif I think you may have heard of Paul Andronicou? Mate of mine currently competing in the world aerobatic championships in Italy. I'd love to see more of your pics. Even better, I'd love to get into a Pitts syndicate at some stage here in NZ 001_smile.gif.2cb759f06c4678ed4757932a99c02fa0.gif

 

 

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Yes, Paul finished 35th at the WAC last month.

 

_______________________________________

 

Friday night I heard that there was a tornado watch current for the area. 2" of snow forecast for places just west of us.

 

Saturday morning briefing was at 7 am. I was one of the first competitors to fly - the Intermediate Known. Dave W was in the front seat as my US licence was not current. I had to fly the low line for the judges to get their eye in. Then delays as the judges decided that the wind had changed so needed to change direction of flight resulting in new paperwork etc. By the time I go to start my sequence I had burnt 10 USG of fuel.

 

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I started my run in at 8,000 ft. Airfield elevation was 3,700 ft. I wanted lots of airspeed for the first manoeuvre - a "P" loop with a snap roll on top. 190 mph worked very well but chewed up a lot of height. Spin at #3 lost more height so by the time I had finished the humpty at #4 I decided to stop and climb back up. I was down to 5,500 ft. Bottom of the box for me was 4,900 ft but being at a low situational awareness state (jetlag, strange aeroplane, strange country) I wanted some margin.

 

The rest of the sequence went fairly well until #12 - a simple half loop up, finishing inverted straight and level. I started it at too low an airspeed. Stalled at the top and it dropped a wing. The next manoeuvre was an inverted steep turn so I thought I might try and fool the judges by leaving the wing down, trying to unstall it and easing it around a turn. Bright idea but it didn't work, started an inverted spin - drat.

 

Overall score was 76.28% - quite respectable but about 7% behind the leader.

 

Just as I finished low cloud swept in across the box below me. End of all competition flying until an hour before last light. Cold out on the judging line that afternoon.'

 

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Flying resumed late in the day and I was out on the judging line for Unlimited, Advanced and Sportsman Glider. Transport out to the line in that remarkable yellow limo.

 

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Sunday morning briefing was at 8:00 am. IAC rules aren't the same as the AAC so my Free Sequence was new with no practice. I had made it a fairly easy sequence to fly and therefore to maximise the points. Quite a strong crosswind across the box – another feature of my sequence were the two wind correctors so that was easily handled. Being slightly more familiar with things for the second flight and a better plan the flight started off well. Turned bad when I stopped following the plan. I should have broken to climb for height before the spin, instead having to keep my eye on the altimeter after the spin resulted in a couple of sloppy figures. Broke for height then came in for the final five manoeuvres still mad at myself for not following the plan then made it worse by flying one incorrect figure – it was a good one just not the right one – pulled instead of pushed over the top of the humpty.

 

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Scores were generally better than for the first flight although the zeroed figure resulted in a slightly lower overall score. Only two of us flying Intermediate – Phil flying his Giles G-200 came first.

 

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The contest was all over, trophies awarded and airfield emptied by 4 pm.

 

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