Columbus Day 2004 – Wilson Lake, Kansas

Greg and Mirko took a trip to Wilson Lake, Kansas for what has become a tradition, the Columbus Day slope get together at one of the Midwest’s best known slope sites.

Mirko and I left Milwaukee dark and early on Thursday at 5 AM for the 12 hour drive to Wilson Lake near Lucas, Kansas. We took a different route that I had been using in the past and it seems like a better way to go. Basically I-80 to York, Nebraska and then south on US-81 which is now 4-lane all the way to Salina, Kansas. Very nice.

We got to the lake about 5:30 PM and met a few guys just packing it up for the day. We were still in for a couple of hours of flying! We didn’t drive all this way for nothing! The highlight for me was the first flight of my Erwin 5. The wind was light but it was “magic air”, the buoyant air at the end of the day, and the Erwin loved it. I spent quite a bit of the remaining daylight sorting and tweaking.

After it got dark we headed over to Jack Cooper’s new home and the new shop for Leading Edge Gliders. Very nice!

Friday started out with a light north breeze and we headed accross the lake from our traditional slope to a site know variously as “Airgasm” or “Soargasm”. When the wind is dead on this slope it is fantastic. Today it was about 20 to 25 degrees off the ideal direction but the lift was good and the thermal kick was a big help.

I flew the Pixel first and found the lift OK but not stellar. Knowing that the Erwin was waiting I landed the Pixel and tossed the Erwin out into the light air. Wow! It flies great in light air. It moves fast, climbs in the lightest lift and what a cool sound when it rolls. Kind of like a Screech Owl! Lots of slope ships make a whistle when they roll but you’ve got to hear this plane. Very unique.

Mirko was making the most of the early light air with his Airtech Dynamic. The just over 2.5-meter Dynamic is a super flying plane and works the combination of light slope lift and thermal kick well. We call this type of lift “slermal” flying. I think you get the idea. Later he had his Wizard Compact out.

I also flew the RaceM F3F. I think this plane works light air very well I had no problem gaining several hundred feet and then reaping the reward of the height with screaming dives and aerobatics.

Only 3 other guys made it over to the hill we were flying on. They had some foam wings, a DAW 2-meter 1-26 and David flew his Tragi.

Mirko and I headed to Meridy’s Restaurant in Russell for lunch about 2. Normally we would do a dinner here and have one of their excellent Kansas steaks but it was pretty early in the day for such a big meal so we ate light, still managed a Boulevard Ale though!

After lunch we headed back to Airgasm and found the guys and the lift still there. I had another flight with the Erwin 5.

After the flying was done for the day we headed over to the LEG shop where Jack had a barbacue going with locally made sausages. Excellent grub, Jack. Mirko got Jack’s Real Flight G2 program going on Jack’s computer and we had fun with the limbo game. Try it with the Ultimate Biplane and then add the 43lb thrust turbine, Whoa!

Launching a Combat Wings XL


Greg and the Erwin 5


Mirko launching his Wizard Compact


Greg throwing out his RaceM


Greg and the RaceM

Saturday was a light day at the main slope and there were several TD style ships in the air. I flew the Erwin 5 again and am still very impressed by the light air capability of the plane. I can’t wait for some bigger air to see how it goes in good lift.

The highlight of Saturday was lighting up my Mini Ellipse electric. I got this plane used and have had it for about a year. I finally got to installing a Hacker B20/15L with a 4.4 to 1 gearbox in it. I am using a 3S 2480mah LiPoly battery, an 11 X 10 folding prop and a Jeti Advance speed control in it. All up weight is 25 ounces and it smokes! I was actually surprised. The performance is stellar. I thought it would take a B40 to rip like it does. I didn’t have a radar gun but it goes an easy 80 to 90 or better, climbs vertical and screams in dives. Plus, it thermals like a dream. I had a couple of flights with it over 30 minutes and only used half the capacity of the pack!

After the flying we had another evening at the LEG shop and plane talk. Jack did a shaping demo for us and I ended up with a nice looking P-51B fuse for my LEG Mustang. Thanks, Jack! That was the part I was looking least forward to. After Jack’s demo of the tools and techniques he uses to shape EPP I think I will have an easier time when I hit the foam next time.

Jack Cooper, new Lucas resident and Leading Edge Glider guru


I forget if it was Friday or Saturday AM, I think it was Saturday, but either way we did some electric plane flying at the airport in Lucas. The wind was light and there were a few park flyers, an electric wing or two and my Majko.

The Majko is a molded electric glider that Espen Torp calls a warmliner. I call it a blast. It thermals really well and does good aerobatics. I’ve even seen video of Jo Grini DSing his on small hills and in light conditions! On this day I had fun alternatly thermalling and diving for speed and aerobatics.

Even though the winds were lighter than would have been ideal, 20 plus guys showed up over the three days we were at Wilson Lake and had some super flying. We may see you there Columbus Day 2005.

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