I am sitting in the Orlando airport. I installed my wireless card and found an open access point.
The awards ceremony yesterday was a little awkward. Bruce was the US National champion for the 4th time and was never given a chance to speak. He wanted to thank Wally for driving for him all these years. I would like to thank him as well. This year we made it a little easier on him since we both made goal every time it was back at Quest. He was able to relax and just respond to our position reports. I would also like to give special thanks to Ollie Gregory for letting us use his truck. This saved us a lot of time not having to build one for our rental car.
I did not mention Chris Muller's death in my last couple of reports. I wanted to tell my wife Nancy in person. She witnessed the two fatalities 2 years ago and I wanted to be able to be there in person to tell her. I case you did not hear about it, a flex wing pilot named Chris Muller died while performing a stunt that had nothing to do with the competition. He died trying to pick up a bag with $100 in it while traveling 50 to 60 miles and hour 2' off the ground. His glider struck the ground and he died from his injuries. Oliver Gregory is a medical doctor and was one of the first on the scene. He got Chris' airway open so he could breath (he was unable to breath due to damage to his jaw and neck). Despite Ollie's efforts, Chris died on the way to the hospital. This was a stupid waste of a life. Just before he crashed, one if his good friends said it was not worth risking your life for $100. We are all grieving for is family.
While sitting at the airport I had time to look over my flight from Friday. I was surprised at the equal spacing of the thermals we found. The distance between them was from 4.9 miles to 5.6 miles. Most of them fell between 5.3 and 5.5 miles. I should have been keeping closer track of this. Jim Yocom and Ron Gleason both use the 5030's distance to last climb for this data. Had I realized how equal the spacing was I would have flown a little faster from the time I left the thermal until I had traveled 4.5 miles or so. I will go back on all my flights after I get home and double check all my flights from this comp.
The Atos gliders:
Felix said that he is does not see any more changes to his line of gliders in the next few years. The V is for those who like simplicity, the VR is for those tech heads that don't mine the extra complexity, the VX is for tandems or high hook in weight pilots, the VS is for the lighter pilots.
There is not a lot of performance difference between the V and the VR except at higher speeds. It does have a lower sink rate, but you will probably not notice this in any but the smoothest thermal. Thermaling technique is much more important. The VR does turn easier. I believe it also lands easier. If you flare it a little early it does not balloon (at least it didn't for me). Ron had a down wind landing without any problems. The VX is easier to land than any of the other gliders due to its extra sail area.
I was getting about 200 fpm down at 40 mph. This is a 17.6 to 1 glide. Since I was never in completely smooth air, I would say that 16 to 1 is a minimum figure for this speed. The polar for the glider (I don't have the hard data, just my guess) seems to have a flatter top than most polars I have seen. From 30 to 40 mph there is not a lot of difference in sink rate. The sink rate picks up above 40, even a few mph faster.
You can choose the bar position and bar pressure you want with the VR by adjusting the flap/tail cord. In anything but the smoothest air I found that I liked the tail up just a little. In rough air and the tail fully down, I would get some negative bar pressure if I hit a bump. Felix said that under 50 mph the tail and flaps should be on a little. Under 50 mph there is actually a glide penalty having the flaps fully up, they have a -7 degree angle when fully up. Having them down an inch or two smoothes the ride as well.
The set up/break down of the VR takes about 10 minutes longer do to the tip extension and winglet. I broke down the glider last night in a little less than 1/2 hour. The VR will go through more small changes over the next couple of years. The major changes will be in manufacturing and will not add to the performance. I still have not weighed the VR yet. I will do that when I get home. Felix believes he can reduce the weight another 4 or 5 pounds due to manufacturing changes. The VR has the VS D-cell length, but the VX carbon lay-up. It also had the VX keel and hardware. This was done to speed development. All the parts of the VR will fit in the bag, but you have to be very careful when you tie the glider down to your rack. Make sure you do not crush the tail or winglets.
Like the C and later models the VR can be separated into two halves. The only change is you have replace the cotter pin in the crossover cable to a pin and ring. AIR does not have the double bags available for the VR at this time, but they plan to have them by this summer.
If you donít have a rigid now and money is a factor (it is for all but the most well heeled) then the best bang for your buck is to by a used Atos. Even the early models perform well enough for all but the top competitions. If all you do is fly down wind, then donít worry about the latest model.
Bruce comes off the cart on his only practice day.