As just about everyone on the soaring planet knows by now, I managed to crash my beloved Ventus 2bx glider on a mountain in Moriarty last June, miraculously walking away with just a scratch (literally!). Almost exactly one month later (on July 6th) I took possession of Sam Zimmerman's 'old' (2004 model) 15/18m Ventus 2cx 'SZ'. A previous post ('Pimp my Ride...' http://wp.me/p2ehPl-5w4) chronicled my efforts to get 'SZ' into racing trim, and I was able to fly it in three contests before the end of the season. At the end of each season, I took 'TA' up to M&H Soaring and placed her into Heinz Weissenbuehler and Andy Brayer's capable hands for some well-earned and much-needed TLC. So, at the end of this season, I did the same thing with 'SZ', for it's first annual TLC session with the M&H wizards. For it's first time in the shop, there were lots of things to get done;
First, 'SZ' gets changed to 'TA', and unfortunately the 'SZ' letters were painted on rather than vinyl decals. I know the purists out there say you absolutely have to have painted letters, as the 3-mil vinyl creates too much drag. I personally have problems believing that, and since Heinz says vinyl is OK -- vinyl it is ;-).
Next, there are some belly scrapes and other minor dings that either came with the glider when I bought it, or I acquired since I got the glider. In any case, I know they wont be there when it comes back to me!
Of course I have the M&H guys do an annual - nothing like knowing there has been an expert eye cast all over your ship to give you confidence when you first pull it out of its trailer in the spring! And speaking of expert eyes, I got an email from Heinz titled 'WTF', with a picture of a a Mickey Mouse umbrella. Heinz found this 'Mickey Mouse' (both figuratively and literally) down in the rear fuselage, IN BETWEEN the control mixer pushrods - not good! I confessed that it belonged to me, and was part of TA's normal on-the-grid equipment package. For hot soaring areas (Uvalde in particular) an umbrella is a must-have on the grid when you are strapped in waiting for the launch, and with no crew I had come up with this mini-umbrella alternative. Collapsed and wrapped up it is small enough to fit in the area behind my head, and in my V2bx there is no way for it to get down into the control area. Unfortunately, that's not the case for the V2cx, so I'll have to figure out another way to do this.
As this post goes to press, I'm anxiously awaiting clearance for the 2-day round-trip to Elmira to pick up my newly rechristened glider, hopefully in time for a planned week in Florida prior to the flying in Andy McQuigg's GP race there 10/11 January. I have a brand-new set of 70,000 mile Michelin LTX tires on the truck (put 70,000 on the previous set, and they still had good tread, but...), the micro-castle is all set to go, and I'm poised at the starting line for the 2014 season ;-).