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Old 04-24-2012, 09:01 PM
Bob Axsom Bob Axsom is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,685
Default You write a good story Brian supported with good photos

When I saw your name up as the latest post in this thread I jumped on it to read the return trip story - anxious huh?

Your speeds were teriffic. As you know I study the wind forecasts the night before and plan my vertical strategy. When we were in the briefing you remember I asked if there was any restriction on attitude at the start and they said no. Well, the first leg and the 5th leg were the only ones that favored the higher altitude. We were doing the takeoff on 35 then doing a turn back for a time start when we passed the 35 on the runway south east bound. So some pilots were doing a wingover kind of run in to the start to come by at max speed then turn on leg one. They got a high speed pass the start alright but then they had to be satisfied with a 10 kt tailwind for 22 miles or slow down in the climb to get the 20 kt tailwind at 3,000 ft. I climbed as hard as I could after the takeoff and when I crossed the start line I was already in the 20 kt tailwind with no climb penalty. After turn 1 we were going into the 20 kt headwind and there is a tendancy to dive for the lower 10 kt headwind at 500 ft AGL (1600 ft) but that burns all the potential energy for one quick burst and you a back to just doing the best you can for most of the leg. I planned to descend at 500 fpm and trade potential for kinetic over the longest effective part of the leg. On leg 3 at 326 degrees still into the wind with no usable potential energy left, all you could do was fly straight and low in the minimium headwind and pop up for the minimum turn requirement of 2100 ft for turn 3. You do have to "pop up" 5 miles from the airport turn but you are making a 68 degree left turn so the thing I did was just do it as tight as possible and drop back down to 500 ft AGL after leaving the airport traffic area and fly straight and level for the longest leg of the race in more of a cross wind than anything. But cross winds are bad too because the stronger they are the farther effectively you have to fly to get from point A to Point B so the fly low strategy. Coming up to turn 4 we had a minimum turn altitude of 2900 ft but I wanted to be at 3000ft on the next leg anyway to get that 20 kt tailwind again. I stayed at 3000 ft all the way to turn 5 then made the gradual descent to the 2100 ft minimum turn altitude for turn 6 and the nearby finish. Everything worked perfectly for me this time and I got second place even though your airplane I suspect is faster. I heard you say you have no autopilot so I had an advantage there with precise ground track and altitude hold capability. You may beat me with hand flying but it is tougher. I suspect your altitude selection was similar to mine because it was kind of obvious but something you said made me think you may have dive burned some potential energy and you won't let that happen again. I only flew one race last year before more pressing matters ended that season but I felt like I got most of the rust off after the two previous races.

Sorry you will not be at the race in Abilene next week, I will have my new outlet configuration on and tested by then. I see you in Ephrata, Washington on June 16.

Bob Axsom

Last edited by Bob Axsom : 04-24-2012 at 09:12 PM. Reason: typos
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