2009 players

The Bruce 2009 Poster by Paul Naton

Congratulations to Joe Wurts – Winner of The Bruce 2009

Bob Whitney wins the Sportsman class!
Double congrats to Joe and Mike Seid for winning the Team Contest, which gets their name on the Tin Cock Trophy!


Joe Wurts

First, I’d like to start with a dictionary entry that should make it into Websters soon…



A DLG contest that is now a must attend event for any flier that is keen on DLG flight, or is keen on having a good time with like minded DLG fliers.

Phil Barnes

What an incredible experience this event was! This was certainly one of the best contests I have ever attended, and to think that it was the FIRST annual event is what is truly astounding. I kept thinking as the contest approached and all weekend; how is it that the contest exploded into such a huge success in the very first year? The answer really is obvious though and has already been mentioned; It is Bruce and Christine and their awesome hospitality and friendly personalities. Throw in a couple Donkeys and a great contest site and you have an event that will likely soon be the biggest F3K event in the States.

The thermal farm

The pictures don’t do it justice. You have to be there and fly there before you get a good feel for the place. Put a bunch of F3k pilots there in a contest situation and certain features of the farm begin getting special names. Maybe Bruce will clarify this one, but there was a spot that he called the “honey hole” or something similar. I think this was a spot over a point of trees that tended to throw off thermals now and then. I could have that all wrong though.

The flying area was surrounded on three sides by tree lines that were close or very close. The field itself was not very level and the side of the field that did not have a tree line sloped down quite a bit. The net effect of the trees and the terrain was that thermals had a hard time developing over the field. Tree lines do tend to trigger thermals to lift off the ground, however the low terrain that was frequently downwind of the field left a big hole that needed to be filled in with air before there was enough air left over to build a thermal with. You could get plenty of little teaser thermal reads over the field and even some really nice young thermals, but they would so frequently just die or peater out as they drifted across the field. My name for the low ground near the flying field was “Death valley – a place where thermals go to die”.

The spread in the scores is the best evidence you can have of the difficult soaring conditions. Everybody had some really low round scores. There were times when nothing seamed to work and pilots just walked off the field shaking their heads and mumbling things. Normally in the 5 x 2 task you would see experts making scores like 592s. That didn’t happen on this field. Even if all the maxes were made, the best scores were something like 585 or so. This because there were always flights where it was a struggle to find the max and there wasn’t time to set up a good approach for a relaunch and pilots weren’t willing to sacrifice launch height to save a few seconds of turnaround time. As the contest wore on, it was a game of avoiding the big hits and not much caring about a few seconds here or there. I can’t imagine what must happen when the wind blows hard on that field. There wasn’t much wind all weekend when we were there.

I would say that this field favors the guy with a high launch. It was a huge benefit if you could launch well above the trees and punch out upwind of the tree line. Then when no lift was found there it was nice to have enough height left to cruise along the tree line and maybe turn the tree line corner and cruise that next tree line. You would think Joe Wurts, with his 1/2 or 2/3s launch height would be easy to beat on that field. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Joe still has world class thermal reading and thermal soaring skills and, as it turns out, this field also favors those skills quite a bit too. Joe could read the air and make a good choice as to where to launch and if that didn’t work out he could actually grab one of those little developing teaser thermals that would drift over the field. Joe might have been the only guy that could work those little bubbles as they drfited over to Death Valley and when the thermal would die, Joe would leave at just the right moment to find another. Mere mortals would die and land out when the thermals died but Joe would live off the dying bodies of multiple thermals and make it home.

Bob Whitney

Bruce and Christine..wow you all really know how to host a premier handlaunch contest eh? That was fantastic, thank you! I wont soon forget it, a unique experience indeed. The competition level was clearly kicked up a couple notches this weekend. I think everyone brought their A game.

I think I flew out of my comfort zone the entire contest, pushing out a little farther, making another turn lower etc. I liked the team contest, that was cool and added another level.

Rob Glover

Bubba had much fun at the Bruce.

The level of competition was was over my head, but I knew that going in. I went to see old friends and learn something, and the Bruce was a great place to do both.

The organization and execution were up there with a NATS or Masters. The field and entrants made for a really challenging event, and a great learning experience if you were paying attention.

The food and hospitality in general were as good as it gets.

Mike Seid

horrific (fantanstic) conditions for a contest. Joe and I had a decent day. He says hes old and unmotivated…. right. i could barely understand him with the Kiwi accent. I just nodded my head all day. Brad hit a tree, dave landed in a tree( his plane got pissed, and on the way out of the tree sliced his hand up with the trailing edge). Phil landed out, oleg landed out. Craig Allen made me launch his 22 oz beast for him in a round. My arm feels like a noodle. I was throwing as hard as I could. I think I need surgery. But not in kentucky. Bruces crystal fell out midflight… plane went straight in.. a flight or 2 later, the pimp wing folded on launch. It was a sirius yardsale. Jeff Carr hasnt really made a mistakes. Seems to like his new gear. I flew a pretty good day today. Until my rudder disintegrated on launch in the AULD flight 2. Blew the bottom right off. The flield is really hard to land on. Below 20 feet and you are going down… Tip catches require real preparation. I must have dinked the rudder… I flew rudderless with only the top half of the rudder attached, no controls. That landed near the donkey corral. The donkey’s name is nicholas. He saw it all happen, and just “he hawwed”, and shook his head.. Ended up winning the heat with half a rudder, and then ran to my back up which was not trimmed for the very windy conditions, and launched backwards. Managed a 51, and didnt recover for the last flight only (next round)with the same plane which I hadnt flown since polecat, landing out with a 4 min flight. 2:32 took the round. Thats what happens. Tough day for everyone. very tough conditions due to the shape of the field, theres a depression in the middle, and its very assymetric, so the trees and the field really break up the lift. The bubbles are very small, and its very inconsistant. The mental load is very high. really a fantastic field for a contest.  Bruce and Christine did a great job, We even had a 60 foot flyover by a 1960 something cessna. Frank has an amazing picture. Great feel to the contest. Thanks to the Davidsons.

Really a great day at the Davidson Estate. The house is “industrial casual, with an east meets west theme” Its in Kentucky, so it makes sense if you have something to drink. Kudos to Christine, who is an awesome hostess. You guys reading this should’ve come.

Steven Meyer

It was an intense contest. Conditions were continually changing. You had to adapt quickly or miss the train. Areas of sink near the lower areas seemed like a tarpit, that trapped and destroyed many flights.

Best soaring contest I ever attended! What a great weekend to soar with old flying buddies and meeting new ones.

Brad Willoughby

What a great weekend!

First, thanks so much to Bruce and Christine for opening their beautiful home and thermal farm to all of us. Their hospitality is second to none and the entire F3K community is the better for it.

Thanks to the timers and other volunteers who made everything go so smoothly. The timing was never an issue, the scoring was never an issue, the food was never an issue, the drinks were never an issue, everything just worked.

Finally, thanks to all the competitors. It’s great to match faces to names and meet folks from across the county with the same interest. The F3K community in the US is a growing one, and one that I’m very glad to be a part of.

For me (and a good number of others, I believe) the flying was very challenging this weekend. Conditions seemed to change from flight to flight, and they got the better of many of us. On my last flight of Round 1 Heat 1, I decided to see just how close I could get to the “trophy trees,” and one reached out and grabbed my Salonit (OK maybe I just turned directly into it, can’t remember exactly)  That kinda set my tone for the weekend and I never seemed to really get up on step. Those who were more practiced and more experience were able to adjust their flying styles and tactics to climb to the top. The fact that all the usual suspects ended up at the top just shows that, regardless of conditions, pilot skill and decision making will prevail. It also shows that we all need to practice in all types of conditions to learn what works, how to not land off field (or in the trees), just how far downwind we can stretch, just how low and slow we can circle in light lift, etc. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night thinking about all the things I need to practice before the next event.

Thanks again, everyone. Looking forward to The Bruce in 2010 and seeing many of you at the IHLGF and other contests soon.


Brad in San Diego

Final Scores!

Pop these into a bigger, new window.

Download the above as an Excel spreadsheet.

The Bruce F3K 2009 – Final Flyoff Scores (PDF)

The Bruce F3K 2009 – Prelim Scores (PDF)

The Bruce 2009 Poster by Paul Naton

Online registration will be hosted by eventbrite.

Come fly with me in my backyard.  With the help of the Louisville Area Soaring Society we will host our second annual F3K contest at the epicenter of handlaunch in Shelbyville, KY (just east of Louisville).

Bruce Davidson

Special class

I will have a special team class.  Teams will consist of any 2 pilots from the same state or soaring club.  Scores will be totaled form the preliminary rounds only with no throwout rounds.  There will be no team protection unless you register and fly on the same frequency.  On second thought…handlaunch is a two man event and I will do my best to keep team entries from flying aginst each other.

2009 team champions
2009 team champions