Flytech Americus Cup 2014

Saturday 24th - Final Task

Lighter winds today so there was talk of a triangle back to the airfield. However, a front was slowly moving south becoming stationary potentially disrupting the task, there were already signs of cirrus at 10am. So the Stig (Dustin) was asked to come up with another task, he set a downwind route to the South East. Total distance 100km with the usual 10km exit and 3 starts from 1420hrs. There was concern about the last 5-10km because it was over a city with limited landing areas. They changed it to a 10km radius then finally put it back to 400m. The city crossing caught 4 people out forcing them to land short! Steve took the first start flying the first half on his own until Johnny and Mike Bilik caught him up. He stayed with them for 10km but they soon pushed on in what was very stable conditions with no clouds. Steve decided to keep climbing in the 1-2 up. Later he saw the pair in a good climb on course so went under them getting back up to 5000'. From there it was one more climb to get to goal. Johnny and Mike glided in from the top of that climb! There were only 5 pilots that made it to goal. Lorenzo was dropped off downwind in sink so was forced to re-light which meant he took the 3rd start on his own. Like yesterday it wasn't really a day to be on your own. Especially later on when the few clouds had disappeared and conditions were very slow. He landed before the big lake 1/4 of the way down the task. Richard and Bruce also took the last start making it half way. Bruce got a bit low at one stage but managed a low save to squeak an extra 15km using his British milking skills.

nail biting stuff watching people landing short!

Johnny and Mike arrived at goal together, they took the 2nd start. Steve arrived 10 minutes later. Then a gaggle of 6 arrived after another 20 minutes with Chritian crossing first shortly followed by Oleg. Two people turned back before crossing the city and two landed on the airfield short of goal with Gregg Dinauer missing goal by meters! Oleg's return has brought to an end Christians 18 month winning streak!

In goal. Oleg landing, Christian watching on

1st Oleg
2nd Christian
3rd Mike
19th Bruce
20th Steve
37th Richard
39th Lorenzo

Friday 23rd - Task 6

Less wind and a couple more clouds around 4-5 grand today but still inverted and hazy. The task was a 144km ESE route to a place called Douglas. It was a very similar route to yesterday without the crosswind dogleg. Richard and Lorenzo took the early bird and grabbed the first start at 1420. Richard had another below par day. Lorenzo held on to the lead gaggle for a few thermals but was forced to put the brakes on and fly on his own around 30km out. He flew north of the course line where there were a couple of clouds and the decision paid off. The inversion dropped again in the same area as yesterday making hard going on your own. He landed around 50km from goal (just shy of 100km). Bruce was forced to take the second start when no one in his gaggle would go with him at the first start 4km from the 10km exit. He opted for safety considering the conditions and pushed forward back towards the airfield taking the second start with the main gaggle. It was Steven's turn to have a difficult day with the towing taking 3 attempts to stay up. The first a sled ride and the second a whack from a thermal forcing him to ping off at 200'. Lucky third by Mr Bailey himself finished at a solid thermal at 2000'. He ended up taking the 3rd and last start at 1500hrs. There were clouds for the first 20km then they all dried up. He almost landed on three occasions the last was in Lorenzo's field but a small climb gave him a few more kilometers. Bruce was the star again for the Brits almost making goal landing a painful 5km short!


Although the thermals were nice smooth 5 ups when cored the distance between climbs and the inversion played havoc again making it another challenging task. Only around 15 in goal. Oleg in first with the first start, Christian not too far behind with the second start. All interesting stuff at the top!

Latest Scores

Thursday 22nd - Task 5

What is left of the glider that went for a ride in a cloud!

It was windier today and no one really wanted to fly except one person on the safety committee! A 125km task was set downwind with a crosswind dogleg. Launch came and went and only 5 pilots had lined their gliders up. Bob Bailey took a test flight and said it was okay (he said yesterday was one of the roughest days he has towed in!) just when there were suggestions of canning it. Instead they put the three starts back 40 minutes the first at 1500. People finally got airborne into the hazy, cloudless sky. Most people took a relight as lift was scarce, hard work and not that strong. Steve climbed out with Davis and Zippy and took a good second start high and still climbing topping out around 4000'. Unfortunately, apart from a club class glider he was on his own. The main gaggle decided to push upwind away from the edge of the 10km exit. Steve took it slow on his own and Bruce caught up with him 20km down track after taking the 3rd start with the main gaggle. Rich also took the 3rd start but missed the gaggle. He also started on his own but his one glide from the inversion ended on the deck. Lorenzo had better tows today but didn't get high enough to take a start with a gaggle. He eventually got to 4 grand in a thermal on his own and found more lift on route but the conditions forced him on the deck around 40km. Bruce and Steve stuck with the main gaggle until a long glide forced them both to slow around 20km from the 2nd turn point. Both made it round the TP but the inversion had come down a thousand feet. That and the strong cross wind and weak lift put them both on the ground in separate places around 25km from goal.


Another challenging day with around 10 in goal. Looks like Mike Bilik made it first with Oleg both took the first start. The third starters may have had a better time. Christian made goal with a third start, Johnny landed short.

Ready for launch, the new Garmin D2 showing the way to goal!

Wensday 21st - Task 4

Winds were stronger from the outset today, on the borderline of setting a task and tomorrow is supposed to be windier. The Stig set a 126km downwind dash to Telfai (same direction as day 1). Steven and Bruce took the first start, Richard took the second and Lorenzo got a bit of a roller coaster off the aerotow followed by a hard landing which kept him on the ground for the task while he gave the glider a once over.


The sky was a classic weather jack 5 so it was a real racing day. Steve left with the main gaggle but soon lost them erring on the side of caution. Richard left with Johnny and Mike Bilik, Rich also played it safe slowing when down to 2500' for a weak thermal rather than pushing on. There was strong sink between glides and quite a wide swamp/river around the 80km mark. Rich and Steve both landed before the river getting drilled before the crossing, reluctant to push too hard over the boonies low. Bruce had a great day getting to goal in the top ten. Maybe even the top 5. Christian was first in goal and Oleg was 5 mins behind maybe scraping the top 10.

Tuesday 20th - Task 3

One member MIA, he seems to be a bit busier at launch these days for some reason!

A similar forecast as yesterday but with lighter winds. However, most people have given up believing the weather model. The Stig set a 125km triangle back to the airport. An extra early start was added due to the distance so there were 4 starts from 1440. Richard and Steve took the early bird. Steve had to launch again after being bullied out of a thermal by an Italian (with still 1 hour to go until the first start and there was only feet of seperation) even the vultures were keeping to the side and taking weaker lift to keep away from the gaggle! Steve's second tow coincided with the first start. Richard, Lorenzo and Bruce took that start with 40+ gliders and Steve ended up taking the 3rd. Cloudbase at the start was 3,800' and rose to a 5,500' in isolated areas as the task progressed. The going was tough with long glides and difficult lift below 2000'. Richard and Lorenzo fell foul to this both landing on the way to the first turn point after an extended glide. Bruce landed 8 km short of TP2. Where he landed those with him who had an extra grand managed to climb out. Steven landed at the second turn point at 6pm flying the course on his own.

Unlike her father she is very cute but she does share his table manners!

Nobody made goal, Johnny and Mike Bilik landed 10km short. An American pilot got "sucked up" into cloud (in the smooth average 3 ups) and got disorientated. He departed from his glider somehow and came down under his chute!

Monday 19th - Task 2


Today's forecast was for a big sink hole over the airfield. So the Stig set a smaller 75km task with a 5km exit start. The task was changed before the start though. The local committee added another turn point to the North to keep people away from unlanable areas near the city of Americus. With the poor forecast the launch was also delayed by 30 minutes with the first of 3 starts at 1500 with 20 minute intervals. As pilots launched into the air the sky seemed to fill with promising clouds. There was no real difficulty getting to cloudbase with the 3-4 ups to 4000'. And a few people went a bit higher into the grey stuff!


Steven took the first start. Richard, Lorenzo and Bruce went back for the second. Although the clouds were great over the airfield it was slow going to the first the point. On the way most people got down to 2000' and welcomed the week 1 ups. At the turn point things changed with good lift over it for the early starters. By the time Lorenzo and Richard arrived the cloud that formed from the thermal shut off the lift. A little later there were even showers. They both landed around 5 km past the first turn point. Bruce was more cautious arriving higher making it past the sinky stuff. The day switched between racing with 4-5 ups and conservative blue gaps full of desperate 1s. In the end Steve made it to goal arriving 3rd from last out of about 20 people. Bruce landed 15km short.

Oleg was first in goal shortly followed by Christian. Some big names were missing from goal today with Zac having another below par day. Scores here

Sunday 18th - Task 1

At the 11 o'clock brief the forecast was favourable, even though there were high clouds in the morning. The Stig set a 166km task due East with a 10km exit start and a single turn point to keep us south of airspace. Pilots and tugs were a little late getting ready so everything was pushed back 30 minutes. Towing started at 1315 and the first amended start (of 3) was 1430 with 20 minute intervals. Quiet a few people sunk out for a relight due to challenging conditions caused by a high band of cirrus. A few gaggles formed in the scarce broken 1 ups which allowed people to slowly get high. A hundred k was looking like hard work.


And no surprises it was! At the moment it looks like no one made it to the first turn point which was around the 120km mark. I think just shy of 100km will be the furthest. Lorenzo landed just inside the start cylinder. Steve nearly landed with him but got a lucky low save from 300' back to cloudbase (3800'). It was only a temporary reprieve providing one further glide to around 16km. Steve was joined by Richard a little while later and the last thing that was heard from Bruce was he was low around 96km from TP1. I guess that is around 25km? A very difficult day almost as difficult as Steve and Richards retrieve which involved navigating a locked gate!


The number of stranded pilots needing rescue from Steve and Richard's field meant some had to travel cattle class by hanging on outside the vehicle.

Saturday 17th - Practise Day


Peachy flying conditions 6000' cloud base, smooth thermals and lots to go round. If things stay the same then we could be in for a good comp. A little unorganised at the launch line but everyone was patient and understanding so no real dramas, I'm sure it will all come together tomorrow. If the tows for the just the practise day are anything to go by the comp ones are going to be interesting, talk about hold on and ride em cowboy when your behind certain tug pilots!


There is a slight change in format to the comp, which should be interesting. The Stig is setting the tasks and nobody knows who the Stig is just they aren't here in Americus!

Friday 16th


The 3 Brits (Lorenzo, Richard and Steve) and one legal alien (Bruce) have arrived at Americus, Georgia ready for the start of the latest Flytech aerotow comp. Richard has his new glider, Lorenzo is all aerotow rated, Bruce has a bag full of nappies and Steve is gliderless! Let the fun begin!!!

Steven's glider is scheduled to arrive tomorrow (Saturday) hopefully in time for the official practise day… fingers are crossed. The 7 day comp officially starts on Sunday and so far the weather forecast is looking positive for the whole week. The official blog is and there will be a brief daily UK themed flight report here.


First impressions of Americus is very good. The beautiful city has a truly American feel to it. In fact it feels like you are driving round a classic movie set, the big wooden houses have porches out front and the shops are just missing those wooden swing doors. The locals are so helpful and friendly too. All this under a cracking sky. Lets hope the forecast stays positive and we get some peachy flying!