Dan Smith Memorial Trophy, 2015 results

Two years ago: snow ... scrubbed.
Last year: persistent low cloud .... scrubbed.
This year: Saturday, persistent low cloud ... scrubbed.
Easter Sunday, miracle! The cloud base rose and we got a competition.

I should say "just" because at first launch, about 12.45, it still looked pretty marginal and we were all hoping, rather than expecting. But some nice cloud­ dodging by Chief Tuggie, Robin May, left Steve Hardy, who had drawn number one, only a little short of the target 2,500 feet for the first half of the split known 1.

It turned out that the Sports ­level figures were not too height­ consuming (even with some slightly over­spiced clovers, in a few cases) and there were no lows.

Paul Conran, current UK Champion, flew second and didn't trip up, with a very nice and well­ positioned performance.

With two K21 gliders available we launched each pilot twice ­in ­a ­row to do both halves of the split sequence. Sixteen launches to do, some anxiety as to whether the dodgy cloud base would hold ... but it did. Third up was Rod Herve, who flew well but had a "merde­zero" moment, which upset his usual Gallic humour not at all. Fourth to fly was Alex Harris, confident and accurate until the exit from clover 2 became a snake not a ladder and an agonising three Hzs. We have all been there and just look at our well-­formed characters now (Grrrrr!) Next time, eh?

Fifth was Michael Corcoran, a late entrant pleading lack of practice, completely contradicted by a very satisfactory show and a score well into the seventies. Sixth was our youngest entrant, Callum Lavender, who needs ballast solo (you can have some of mine, Callum!). He quietly excelled himself this time, it all went right and his score of only just shy of 80% was really very good for a genuine sports level pilot. Nationals next?

Howard Whybrow went seventh, in his first BaeA competition and with little chance to practice recently, so suffered some zeros, but never stopped smiling about it.

Appropriately, in a way, last to fly was our Polish guest Maciej Pospiesczynski, who just happens to be current Glider Aerobatic World Champion! Had he gone first I think the rest would have packed up and gone home because he lived completely up to his reputation and flew masterfully. With little previous experience of the K21 he flew it right up to its limit but with great accuracy and smoothness (am I jealous ... yup!). He is a great character with enthusiasm and sense of humour as well as all that talent ... please come back for the Nationals, Maciek.

Dan Smith, in whose memory the London Gliding Club aerobatic competition is held, was a lifelong member of the club, as CFI, President and keen competitor. He was national glider aerobatic champion in 1957. Dan kept flying right up until he died in 1994 at the age of 84. His family worked with Ray Stoward, chief aerobatic instructor at the club until only recently, to set up the memorial competition, with its lovely wooden looping glider trophy, in 1997. So this was our 18th event, and Ray presented the awards.

Gold and Silver went to the favourites, World champ Maciej (87.86%) and National champ Paul (81.17%), Bronze medal was Callum Lavender with a remarkable 79.91% and therefore clear winner, as top Sports pilot, of The Dan Smith Trophy. Well done.

Sincere thanks to all those who gave up a lot of time and effort to make it work. Trevor for the excellent pie ­night in the club restaurant, Adrian for the on ­field launch control, all the glider pilot competitors and judges and especially Nick Buckenham, Lief Culpin and Brian McCartney for crossing to the quiet side to help out so much.

Andy Cunningham

Sports Known Sequence - Final

Rank Level Pilot Aeroplane Registration Known Totals O/all %
1 Unl Maciej Pospieszynski ASK 21 G-GFYF 1369.11 1369.11 87.763
2 Unl Paul Conran ASK 21 G-GFYF 1266.25 1266.25 81.170
3 Spo Callum Lavender ASK 21 G-GFYF 1246.61 1246.61 79.911
4 Spo Michael Corcoran ASK 21 G-GFYF 1146.45 1146.45 73.490
5 Spo Rodolphe Herve ASK 21 G-GFYF 1018.38 1018.38 65.281
6 Spo Steve Hardy ASK 21 G-GFYF 912.18 912.18 58.473
7 Int Alex Harris ASK 21 G-GFYF 838.77 838.77 53.768
8 Spo Howard Whybrow ASK 21 G-GFYF 655.75 655.75 42.035

Contest Director: Andy Cunningham, Contest Chief Judge: Chris Cain, Scoring Director: Brian McCartney

Judges: Chris Cain, Charles Baker, Leif Culpin, Nick Buckenham,

Judges Assistants: Sue Harris, Michael Corcoran, Paul Conran, N. Hampson-Jones

Other key staff: Ray Stoward - Awards Presenter

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