John Simon about his flying in Florida 2016-08-16

I am always excited to be heading to Florida early in the season and even more so this year as I will get to fly back to back comps in the sweet thermals around Quest Air. I enjoy the great flying weather and also the familiar as well as new faces such a great set of competitions pulls in from all over the world. Top competitors and local favorites in both the Open and Sport class are always signed up. The number one ranked male and female pilots in the world were both on hand!

As the comps begin, I am in my ninth year flying my old Combat L 15 from 2007 and Im ready for a new ride. The first week finds great weather and 7 awesome tasks, the first one a nice 100 miler to the south to break in my new Combat C 12.7. It was a great way to start as I made it into goal along with about 15 others. The weather cooperates and after 3 blue days to start with, we finally see some big soft Florida cummies and it gets even sweeter. Each day I fly a bit better (excepting day 4) and am enjoying my new ability to keep pace with some of the best pilots in the comp and indeed the world As Johnny, Oleg, Zippy, Tulio and Robin battle it out, I feel I am quietly having the comp of my life, making goal 5 out of 7 days including coming in second on a gorgeous flight/ task to the south of Wallaby and back on the last day! However, toward the end of the first week, its obvious that many others cant help but notice how well Im flying relative to last year. In 7 days I get more than 25 hours, finish 8th overall and really Im just beginning to truly dial into the new ride! Its great to string together so many great flights.

Prior to last week, I had been quite concerned that such a small glider would lift my 187lbs with any authority, but indeed it climbs as well if not better than my beloved ol 15 and long glides are now money in the bank! Having such authority over this small glider makes it an absolute pleasure to fly and land. This glider is awesome!

The second week of flying sees a down turn in the weather with only 3 valid tasks. One is a sweet 130+ mile run to the north and with just 4 pilots in goal, I am very happy with a 3rd place finish and 5+ hours in the air. I make 2 out of three goals and as the second week ends, I find myself in third and ON THE PODIUM with Oleg and would be hard to ask for more than that!