I just got back from the Midwest 2017
HG competition. This was my first aerotow comp and only my second comp (after Dinosaur in 2015). It ended up being a great week. We flew 5 of 7 tasks - 2 were blown out including yesterday. There were 80 pilots - 58 open and 22 sport (including myself and Charles). There were 8 tugs and most days we managed to get all 80 pilots in the air in about 90 minutes or less. It was impressive seeing so many pilots getting towed up so quickly.
We were based at the Twin Oaks airport in Whitewater, WI. The first task (last Sunday) was moved to the nearby airport in Palmyra due to the wind direction but of course it ended up being cross there and we probably could have stayed at Twin Oaks. Tuesday was a beautiful day of high, flat-bottomed clouds. The sport goal was 76 km, mostly downwind, with one waypoint before goal. I can happily report I made my first ever goal that day marking a personal best for my longest XC flight. That was a lot of fun. Wednesday was a real challenge with a 54 km triangle back to the airport. There were few clouds making it even more of a challenge. I got dropped off in some big sink and had to relaunch after a bit and ended up being the last glider off that day. With few clouds and no other gliders in sight I had a tough flight making it roughly half way around the triangle. I was happy to make it that far. Thursday was a shorter downwind task with half the sport class making goal including myself. Friday was our last task day. After getting off to a great start I got low 15 km from goal and struggled until landing less than 3 km from goal - so close.
Charles had a great week making goal 4 of the 5 days. We hoped to do a little team flying all week but ended up not flying together the whole week.
I learned a lot flying XC all week and talking with lots of other pilots. It's humbling seeing what most of the open class pilots are capable of doing in the air. All the open class pilots were towed up before the sport class pilots. It seemed like many of them were half way to goal by the time I was just getting off of tow. My hopes were to make goal once during the week so it was quite satisfying to make it twice and very nearly a third time. One thing that really helped was the amazing number of LZs out there. There were very, very few stretches where you had to pay any attention to where your next LZ might be before heading on glide, even when low.