2003 AKA Convention and Grand Nationals (Day 3)

Wednesday morning brought crystal blue skies and a steady 4-6mph breeze again, but was still quite chilly with most fliers favoring jackets until working up a sweat flying… By mid-afternoon it had picked up to a slightly choppy 15-20mph for the various events.

Before competition began most of the MIB and MIP competitors could be found at the bottom of the field warming up and polishing their routines… In a closely contested event, MIB finished out with Ari Contzious, Lam Hoac and Reid Wolcott in the top three (to be announced at Saturday night’s banquet).

With all of the sport kiting and single line fliers on one side of the AFB, the opposite side was totally dedicated to traction and afforded the luxury of thousands of feet back and forth down the retired runway… All buggy races completed on Tuesday, but I wanted to get at least one shot of them and took the 15 minute walk across base to check it out.

Other competitions completed today included Experienced Multi-line Ballet and Precision, as well as Experienced Pairs and Experienced Team events… Again, we’ll make sure to link results as soon as they’re available.

The comprehensive kitemaking competition began today as well, with spectators and judges already looking to see who the next Grand Champion will be… Celebrating a birthday today was former Kitelife Publisher and my dear friend Mike Gillard who graciously accepted the role of chief judge for the Nationals, making sure events were completed ahead of time.

With no banquet or social function tonight, most everyone can be found wandering the hotel or winding down in the hotel bar, Packy’s… TBA’s are posted in the lobby, with traditional post-competition discussions, congratulations and general chat flowing freely.

While there have been relatively few planes noticeable overhead, we did get one monster going by to give us a preview of what we’ll see inside the museum over the remainder of the week starting tomorrow if I recall correctly… And Kitelife will be there to cover it!

There have been truly a surprisingly small number of spectators at this event, even for an AKA Convention which are notorious for being member-specific and unconcerned about public attendance… However, there is the usual array of kite camps set up. Many competitors have elected to not lay out all their equipment or good shoes due to unconfirmed rumors of trace jet fuel residues on the gorgeous grass lawn which for the record, does provide the perfect field for serious groundwork and does not appear to be flammable… Yet. (you can laugh now)

Until tomorrow,

John Barresi