Freedom Weekend Aloft
Simpsonville, SC usa
MONDAY MORNING CANCELLED - JOE HEARTSILL WINS!
The final competition flight Monday morning was cancelled and Joe Heartsill was declared the champion. Nick Donner was the Southeast Regional Champ. It was also a sweep by Team USA, as all five competing team members finished in the top five of the event.
New videos from Drew Egerton below.
Sunday Morning Competition Flight 2
Sunday morning pilots were greeted with three tasks and brisk winds above 100 feet. The winds stayed pretty consistent from briefing time all the way through the flight up to the last target where balloons were flying over the X from all different directions and altitudes.
The tasks were a FIN, GBM and HWZ. The Fly-in was the same as the day before and pilots had to go out more than a mile and find a launch site to fly in and throw their baggies at the yellow X at the field. Then they had the choice of four boxes to put their baggie in for the Gordon Bennet Memorial task which is simply a minimum distance to the X so long as the proper color baggie is in the box. The FIN was won by Nick Donner and followed closely by Steve Davis and Rhett Heartsill. The GBM was won by Richard Parr who really had a close call on the ground but was able to get enough heat in the balloon to keep it off the ground. Chase Donner and John Petrehn were next in the order on this task. It was most important again this morning to focus on getting a score on each task.
Immediately after flying through the field pilots had to climb up to about 500 feet and get the right turn to head to the Hesitation Waltz task. This is a task where the director gives pilots the choice of two or more targets to head to and today there were three Xs to choose from. Most if not all flew to the southern most target as it was going to require the least amount of maneuvering. As the balloons approached this field the winds were variably windy and pilots came in to the X from all sides of the field. Roy Smith bested the field on this X and was followed by Robert Gonzales and Mark MacSkimming.
The subtropical storm off the southeast coast of the United States is beginning to influence the weather here in Simpsonville, SC. Forecasts show that the winds should not be a problem but clouds less than 2000 feet are beginning to be predicted for tomorrow morning. The flight tonight should get off without a problem and as long as the clouds stay above 1500 feet there should be a flight on Monday morning.
The field is chasing five time US National Champion and World Champion Joe Heartsill in his first trip to Simpsonville, SC and Freedom Weekend Aloft but what is really telling so far is that the top five positions are taken up but the five competitors on Team USA in August for the World Championship. After Joe is Nick Donner followed by Chase Donner, Rhett Heartsill and John Petrehn.
Saturday's Sponsor Flight
Saturday afternoon the pilots were able to treat the sponsors of the event to a flight under extremely hot conditions. The winds were a little strong at the 6pm briefing time but they calmed down plenty to get a nice flight in from Heritage Park to the West.
After the flight pilots and crew were treated to a great concert by Jake Owen and some good headliners. Beer and good times were had and now everyone is going to try to get some rest before the next flight.
Scores went up from this morning and Nick Donner, Joe Heartsill and Gary Heavin are pacing the field. Tomorrow morning looks like it might be very steerable and a shape task of some sort has already been marked out on the field. Three or more tasks are most likely awaiting the pilots.
Freedom Weekend Aloft