West Michigan Soaring Society

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Yearly Archives: 2016

Woody Contest a Success!

This past Saturday we held our first sanctioned contest since we lost our Sparta, Mi field about 4 years ago. John Winstanley is our CD. He contributed most of the effort making awards, scoreboards and the lion’s share of  work that goes into pulling off a sanctioned contest. Thanks for all the work John. You did a wonderful job preparing for this woody contest!

The Clarksville area sod farm is an ideal location, far enough inland from Lake Michigan to develop very good thermal activity. This area is glider country. The setting is very rural, quiet, away from any traffic, homes, local/regional airports and most flight paths; it is an ideal place to fly RC gliders. On this day the winds were about 4-6 mph all day and the temperatures in the mid 70’s.  Puffy cumulus clouds drifted over head throughout the day. My first flight was about 10:15 a.m. and lasted 19:37 seconds flying an Oly II wonderfully built by Ed Whyte.

Larry Storie drove down with his wife from Traverse City pulling his winch built on a trailer. Larry flew a stretch wing Sagitta winning first place in the ladder competition. John Winstanley took second place flying his beautiful Windrifter built by Cal Posthuma years ago. Cal is pictured holding his glider on the Skybench Aerotech website. Click on the Windrifter under the Nostalgia Contest kits. I came in 3rd flying the Whyte built Oly II. I also captured the longest flight of the day with it toward the end of the competition, 35:48 seconds, if memory serves.

We started off with 8 contestants. One dropped out early on with glider problems. We had two winches available with retrievers, a third winch without retriever and a powerful bungee cord. For some reason the bungee cord was very popular Saturday. I would say most flights were flown off bungee.

We appealed to flyers on RC Groups but without much response sadly…but their loss. This was a glider pilot’s dream day. The good news is one of the GLASS (Greater Lansing Soaring Society) members, Allen,from Lansing showed up after seeing our contest posted. These people lost their field about 5 years ago. Allen is delighted with our flying field. He spent almost the entire day watching, visiting and running the winch retriever. This sod farm is one of two the WMSS members register with the AMA and have exclusive flying rights. The other is in Hudsonville Mi. Please, any of you glider guys from Lansing, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, MI. contact any of us listed on the “Contact Us” page for more information. Our goal is to increase members and become one of the strongest glider clubs in Michigan. Any glider flying is welcome. Larry Weller

Wide open space in quiet rural area. 3 fields generally available. Check our "Glider Flying Fields" page.

Wide open space in quiet rural area. 3 fields generally available. Check our “Glider Flying Fields” page.


Check out that sky. This was the perfect contest weather.

Check out that sky. This was the perfect contest weather.


Fun Fly Contest – Clarksville 06-25-16

At the end of the day everyone is still smiling and the gliders still in tack. Click to enlarge.

At the end of the day everyone is still smiling and the gliders still intact. Click to enlarge.

The winds Saturday were 5-15 out of the South with cycles of good lift, temperature near 90 degrees when we broke up about 3 p.m. Weather was clear and the sod farm in beautiful condition. Eight contestants competed with power and winch launch. This was the first time several members competed.

John Winstanley is the contest director for WMSS. John made the rules lenient for us less experienced. Three flights were flown with a 6 minute duration.  Landing with in the radius of the 25′ landing tape was considered in bounds worth 25 points. Landing on the mark of 6 minutes worth another 25 points. The total minutes of all 3 flights are converted to seconds with each second counting as 1 point. Any additonal points for landing are added to the total and the pilot’s ranking is in order of points.

It was fun. Everybody seem to survive with the gliders they brought with them.  Our next contest, which is a “woodie” is AMA sanctioned and open to pilots from anywhere. That will be held at the sod farm in Clarksville too, scheduled for July 16 -17* (*will be an alternate if bad weather on Saturday).

Francois introducing us to Kite Chairing. This is why he is our leader.

Francois introducing us to Kite Chairing. This is why he is our leader. Click to enlarge.

It was gusty toward the end of our contest. We’re not quite sure what is going on here but Francois said,”I got to get some prairie wheels on this chair.”

Memorial Day flying at Clarksville

Here are pictures of John’s Explorer. That’s a lot of sailplane. Flies wonderfully. Launch picture captured a “lucky break” just ahead of the chute before tension got too high.

I went out with my DLG for a while.

-Tim Gess


May 21st Fun Fly Contest – Clarksville, MI

Our Club Vice President and Contest CD John Windstanley writes:

   Hey WMSS, I really enjoyed today, great fun.  Today’s contest task was 3 rounds of 5 minutes with a 25 point in-or-out 25 foot landing.  The winners are Francois 4th (449 points), Jim McConnell 3rd (515 points, although his last flight was 10 minutes long.  Still a max in my book.  Jim Martin 2nd (552 points), and Tim 1st with an 805.  I’ll take last place for never finding my own lift and just piggy backing off of everyone else, ha!
Here’s a video of a beautiful day…

Flying Today


Francois and I got out for a bit of flying in Coopersville today. There was lots of sunshine and very little wind, but not much lift to be had. Francois had the long flight of the day with 7 minutes on his Radian. I was close behind with 6 minutes on my Laser 2m. Francois also flew his Olympic II. I was going to fly my Duck but was having electrical connection issues on the left wing that was preventing the flap from working correctly. Flying season is officially open. 🙂

I love it when I stick the landing…

I love it when I stick the landing...

The Radian and the Laser 2m…

The Radian and the Laser 2m