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Old 08-01-2017, 08:29 PM
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Don Szczur
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So there were adjustments that had to be made by both pilot and contest management. The orientation of the flight boxes angled 30 degrees west for morning flying (FAI, Advanced) and 30 degrees east for afternoon flying (Masters, Intermediate and Sportsman). This was a trade-off with both benefits and consequences. The benefits were that pilots basically flew without the sun in their eyes, the trade-off was that the orientation was different for the pilots since there was no horizontal line on the far end of the box to gauge parallel flight. Most pilots adjusted to this layout quickly, but it was definitely a problem for some. In order to help the pilots, Mike had bright wide white lines painted on the flight maneuvering area box lines which definitely helped define the left and right maneuvering box limits. This helped a lot.

The other factor was HEAT. I did not go to the Lake Charles NATS back in the 1970's, but contestants compared the heat early in the week to that NATS and for those who came in the weekend before to practice at the NATS site, it was even worse. The temperature ranged in the upper '90's with extremely high humidity and a heat index which was very difficult. It took me at least 2 full days for my body to begin to adjust to this heat. There was a bit of a breeze, however, and FAI flew in the morning. It was a bit more bearable for the pilots flying in the morning. Things began to change on Thursday afternoon with thunderstorms blowing in with cloudy, cooler air behind them. By Saturday, for the Masters and FAI finals, the weather was cool and breezy. Joseph wore his jacket most of the morning on Saturday for the finals.

As is the case at every NATS, pilots rose to the occasion and flew well. This year a new event was added to the NATS- Sportsman. This was a unique event for a NATS venue but added nicely to the overall flow in the afternoon and the feedback I heard from the Sportsman pilots was very positive.

Last edited by Don Szczur; 08-01-2017 at 08:33 PM.