Midwest Slope Challenge 2003 Coverage

Another MWSC is in the books. This was the 10th Annual event and has become one of the biggest slope pilot gatherings in the US. Nearly 60 pilots from 13 states as well as Germany and England made the trip to central Kansas for several different events run over 4 days.

A photo gallery with over 300 pix is available here.

Pilots started arriving on Sunday, almost a full week before the competitive events, to fly the slope overlooking Wilson Lake, KS. Some of the early arrivals included New York Slope Dogs Dave Garwood and Joe Chovan, Fred, Mike and Ed form Colorado, Larry from Tennesse, Duane from North Carolina and Denny from Pennsylvania. With trip distances like these the guys want to make sure that they get in some good flying. Reports from Monday and Tuesday made me wish I had arrived a day or two earlier.

I got to Lucas, KS on Tuesday night about 10:30PM after a 13-hour drive from Wisconsin and found a chair-sleeping Denny Maize of Polecat Aero already at the accomodations for the week, Mayor Dave’s country house. After I rousted the big guy, we sat on the lower deck for a bit and knocked back a couple of cold ones while catching up on the year since we were here last. We hit the sack looking forward to some sloping in the AM.

Wednesday turned out to be a “building day”. This means there was no wind to speak of. Dave Garwood and Joe Chovan met us at the house to work on planes. Dave and Denny had some work to do on their ODR Hammerheads, Joe had a new flying wing and I had some repairs to make to the DAW Mustang I planned to use on Combat and Warbird racing. Joe and I also made a trip to Salina for a stop at Don’s Hobby Shop.

Thursday was the first sanctioned day and was slated as a fun fly day. The wind was light and several DLGs came out as well as electrics. The wind came up a bit later in the day and while most other guys were flying foam wings I had the Pixel out blasting around. It made quite a contrast to the foam wings and showed that an efficient plane can really perform well in light lift. Since the Pixel flew fine I got the Extreme out and it was hauling in the light lift. The new molded version of the Extreme I have is constantly amazing me with its wide flight envelope. I also had the Opus out later in the day and it too was very fast. Randy McCleave and Jim Porter had their Avaias out. 127 inches and 38 ounces! No wonder they could spec out.

Friday AM we awoke to rain. After breakfast at the K-18 Cafe we met at the hill but it was pretty clear that the rain would linger for a bit. We planned to meet again at the hill about noon to see what the weather would do.

A bunch of us were hanging around the K-18 shooting the breeze. About 11AM it was still looking like the rain would stick around so Dave Garwood spearheaded an early, private showing of the movie The Core at the Lucas Cinema.

Friday evening was a new event held at the Lucas airport. George Voss had organized a model airshow for the residents of Lucas. Several pilots gave demonstrations of different types of models and their capabilities including a control line aerobatic plane, electric flying wings, F3B winch launch, slope-on-a-rope bungee launches, electric slow flyers, EPP scale gliders, power combat and even a free flight helicopter. Many of the residents said it was a great event expressed their appreciation for showing some of what the RC community is all about.

Saturday met us with light winds and we did fun fly stuff for a while at the main hill. Some light puffs were coming in and the organizers decided to try to get ODR in.

ODR results (to the best of my memory)

  1. Todd Martin – Fun-1
  2. Greg Smith – Fun-1
  3. Joe Chovan – Fun-1
  4. Denny Maize – Hammerhead

Fortunately the forecast for Sunday was looking good.

Sunday dawned with the wind already blowing and the promise of a super day of competition at the slope.

Combat was flown first with alternating rounds of Wing and Tails classes. The 20-25mph wind made kills in the Wing class hard to come by. There was a lot of contact but most pilots were able to recover and reengage. The Tails class saw a bit more action and more kills.

Combat Results will be coming.

After the Combat event was flown it was time for Unlimited racing to commence. There were some fast ships like the Extreme, NYX F3F, and Brisk but one of the most suprising planes was Mike Bailey’s home built design called Crunch. Mike used a wrecked Fun-1 fuse and his own wing and tail to make a fast sloper. Mike also flew very well which contributed greatly to his 4th place finish. Another fast plane was Randy McCleave’s Nemesis. For a 60-incher this plane rocks!

It was a sad day for Wayne and the dreaded Jouster. After several years of being a major threat, the Jouster met its demise after some malfunctioning gear made the plane hard to land and it went in behind the road. Wayne always flew the plane very well and he and the Jouster were always a tough combo to beat.

Unlimited Results

  1. Jim Porter – NYX F3F
  2. Greg Smith – McLean Extreme
  3. Paul Wright – Brisk II
  4. Mike Bailey – Crunch (His own design)

The final event of the day was Warbird Racing. This has become a popular event and there is a lot of action. The near pylon is about 30 feet high and pilots must go around the pole and below the top. Depth perception being what it is collisions with the pole were inevetible. Thanks to Dave Barry for taking over when Loren called it quits.

Warbird Racing Results

  1. Greg Smith – DAW P-51B Mustang
  2. Joe Chovan – DAW ME-109

Thanks to Loren, Alden, Jim, Steve and the rest of the Lincoln Area Soaring Society for another MWSC.

A photo gallery with over 300 pix is available here.

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