Dan Smith Memorial Trophy, 2021 results

At last! We have had a glider Aerobatic Competition, the first for two years, and what a good one it was. Nine pilots each completed two Sports-level sequences, one known, one unknown, using only the one available K21 glider at the London Gliding Club, Dunstable. The feat was accomplished thanks to an exceptionally fine day, with clear sky from start to finish, and dedicated hard work from the Judges, tug pilots and ground crew who carried on without a break.

The judges were able to see the action from a pleasant elevated viewpoint just to the right of box centre, facing NE with the glider flying the A axis from their right to left... a good view without too much squinting into the sun! It is tempting to think that the clear view may have made it easier for them to give good scores, but the truth is that the standard of flying was consistently very high. There was a significant south-east wind at height but the pilots generally compensated for it well and there were only a few minor "excursions".

The mood was happy, some real teamwork made for rapid retrieves and changeovers... and a lot of laughs were had. However, as the scores show, the competition was taken seriously and it was a pleasure to watch some polished performances.

Talking of Polish... we were given the absolute treat of being asked to join the LGC Polish Pilots' barbecue in the evening. It stayed warm right through a lovely sunset, fine food and beer... and (inevitably!) vodka later. Dziękuję bardzo, Guys!

Top four scores were over 80% and the next three over 70, which is pretty remarkable in a field of nine "rusty" pilots. (Personally, I think some surreptitious practice has been going on).
We presented the medals in the dusk. Bronze to the Evergreen Graham Saw, and by only the very slimmest of points difference, silver to Hardened Campaigner Will Jones, and the Gold medal to Young Contender Carl Cox. Well done, All.

The Dan Smith Trophy, a lovely carved wooden looping glider, goes to the top-placed Sports level competitor. Rarely have we seen a score of 80 percent, and even more unusually at the age of fifteen, but Leo Sentinella flew beautifully to become a genuinely deserving winner. Well done indeed.

Thanks to all who helped to make the competition a great success, but particularly to Rod for being so well in control as CJ, Chris for doubling as judge and scorer, and to Paul for coming over from Ireland to judge too.

Thanks to Alan Kefford for invaluable assistance in preparation and his excellent box and airspace presentation, Tug pilots John Reed (60,000 feet climbed in the day, he reckons!) and Andy Roch. Also Rupert, duty pilot who ran the launch Point for most of the day, and special thanks, too, to Sue H Morgan who fuelled the judging line with tea, coffee sandwiches and delicious homemade fruit cake to enable them to keep going.

The Dan Smith is usually held around Easter. Popular agreement has it that we schedule the 2022 for about six months' time... I am looking forward to it!

Andy C
Contest Director

The Dan Smith Memorial Trophy - Overall Results

Rank Team Pilot Aeroplane Registration Known Unknown Totals O/all %
1 UNL Carl Cox ASK 21 1165.26 1140.89 2306.14 84.785
2 UNL Will Jones ASK 21 1170.58 1131.50 2302.08 84.635
3 INT Graham Saw ASK 21 1073.53 1155.81 2229.34 81.961
4 SPO Leo Sentinella ASK 21 1088.77 1100.88 2189.65 80.502
5 ADV David Gethin ASK 21 1116.12 1055.29 2171.41 79.831
6 ADV Dan Weston ASK 21 969.36 1083.48 2052.84 75.472
7 ADV Szymon Bartus ASK 21 1062.53 855.09 1917.62 70.501
8 SPO Sally Walker ASK 21 849.70 930.55 1780.25 65.450
9 INT Steve Hardy ASK 21 808.75 746.83 1555.58 57.190

Contest Director: Andy Cunningham, Contest Chief Judge: Rod Herve

Judges: Chris Cain, Paul Conran, Rod Herve,

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