Our ninth competition of the year was held at our most northerly location of Gunnedah. This competition usually yields some competitors from north of the border and this year was no exception. We even had one competitor from across the ditch who posed as a Queenslander.
While it is not usual to report on the day before the competition, this report deserves to mention the Friday.
A large number of competitors arrive on Friday and head straight for the field for some pre comp practice. Most who flew on Friday completed about four flights. It was decided that Thai would be the cuisine of choice for the evening meal, so arrangements were made to meet at one of the two Thai restaurants in town at 18:30.
18:30 came around and a steady stream of fourteen people made their way into the restaurant. After taking our seats and consulting the menu, it was time to place our orders. This is where things became interesting. The waitress informed us that there was only two persons on duty that night, herself and the cook and it would not be possible to order individual meals. Panic stations, what to do. Fortunately, with years of experience planning alternates, Shane Lysaght did a quick reconnaissance of the Thai restaurant across the road and reported that a suitable alternate had been found. Go round, flaps 20 was the call and we all made our way across the road to our alternate. After a smooth touchdown at our alternate, a decision was made to split into three groups for payment purposes. No problems were encountered with individual orders this time as we had the restaurant to ourselves. The food was great, even I enjoyed it and a great time was had by all. We left at approximately 21:30, some of us to hit the sack, some to watch the first League Final.
The competition got underway on Saturday with the usual pilots briefing at approximately 8:45 with flying commencing at 9:00. The comp was split into two groups with Advanced and Expert in one group and F3A and Sportsman in the other.
As is usual at Gunnedah, two flight lines are marked out with 60̊ of separation between each. This is due to problems with the sun owing to the orientation of the field. The first two rounds of the day were flown on the southerly most line and the remainder on the easterly most line.
Advanced and Expert were first to fly. David (Pa) Tiernan from advanced, looked to set the bar very high with a first round score of 317, head and shoulders above any other advanced competitor. Unfortunately for Pa, he let the bar sip in the remaining rounds. This gave my arch rival, Kahl Eckersley the opening he was looking for, winning the remaining five rounds and finishing with a perfect 5000. After that blinding start, Pa was unable to keep up the effort and slipped into second place with a score of 4844.34. Yours truly finished in third place on 4816.74 with what could only be described as a mediocre effort, only managing one round above 300. What did I say about “My time will come”. WHEN? In only his second comp in advanced, Rob Greenwood showed improvement over his last effort with every round scoring above 240 raw points and two rounds scoring above 270. Rob finished on 4262.26. With an average of exactly 305 from his best three of the first four rounds, Kahl scored his second promotion point. With a little luck, I will be free of him shortly. (Only joking)
Expert saw three pilots competing for glory. Simon Atkinson, from north of the border, Tom Collinge, a local and competing in his first comp as an Expert, from well North, but still this side of the border, Rod Bailey.
Competition was close between Simon and Tom, with Simon finishing just ahead of Tom on 4980.06 points wining four of the six rounds. Tom finished in second place on 4942.6 points winning rounds two and six.
For his first time in Expert, Rod Bailey proved he will be a force to be reckoned with in the not too distant future with what could be described as only one round below par and the other five rounds well up there with the more seasoned competitors. His third round of 287.5 left a little to be desired but his fourth round, 364.5 is almost a promotion score. Rod finished on 4746.28
F3A was the largest group with seven competitors including two from north of the border, John Payne and Peter Pennisi with James Danby making the trip from across the ditch (that’s New Zealand). Unfortunately for James, he was given the title of “Hornery” (honoree) Queenslander for the duration of this competition.
The results in F3A seemed a little further spread than in some previous competitions. With a final score of 4998.98, 184.41 points ahead of his nearest competitor was Shayne Lysaght, finishing in first place and winning four rounds. Second place honours went the honoree Queenslander, James Danby, finishing on 4814.57, winning round four. Peter Pennisi put in a gallant effort to try and steal second place from James but, alas, he fell short by 39.37 normalised points to finish third on 4775.20, winning round two. In fourth place was Jason Arnold, with a second round he would rather forget. His fifth round of 443 however, proves he is still someone to be reckoned with. Jason finished on 4601.99. John Payne from Queensland finished in fifth place Again, for John, a couple of his rounds were a little below his normal with round three scoring only 360. John finished on 4587.4 points. This leaves two competitors to complete F3A, Gavin Dark and Dean Erby. Like myself, Gavin tends to be a little inconsistent with scores varying from 372 to 430. His fifth round of 430 would have to be one of the best I personally seen Gavin fly and proves he can do it. Come on Gav. Gavin finished sixth with a score of 4449.83. With less than a hand full of competitions in F3A, Dean is still finding the going a little tough, with the integrated rolls, knife edge reversals and low level horizontal negative snap rolls to execute, his inexperience does show but we all have to go through an initiation period. Improvement will come with time and practice. Dean finished in seventh place on 3954.91 points.
This brings us to our final category, Sportsman, with only two competitors, local man Paul Hartley and our final Queenslander, Anton Bates. This was Anton’s first competition (I think) and what can you say. Winning the first four rounds and with a final score of 4696.58, Anton finished in first place. Unfortunately for Anton, he had trouble with his model during his last two rounds, with the flight battery parting company with the model during his last round and the model finishing on the other side of the fence. Not too much damage though. Competing in his local competitions only, Paul Hartley puts in a magnificent effort every time. Except for his first round, his remaining five rounds are nothing to be ashamed of. (Nor was his first, it happens to us all) It is truly gratifying to see local club members giving it a go in Sportsman. Paul finished on 4549.32 points.
This brings us to the “SOO”, State Of Origin . Unfortunately, it looks like becoming similar to the Rugby League SOO in so far as the dreaded Queenslanders, with the aid of the “Hornery” Queenslander, James, took the trophy home again, beating the NSW team.
So ends another Gunnedah Competition for another year.
On behalf of the NSW Pattern Flyers, I would like to thank the members or the Gunnedah and Districts Model Aero Club for their superb hospitality in keeping us well feed and of course, the use of their field.
Our next comp is Camden Valley, one day comp 15th Oct 2016.
F3A-FAI: Shayne Lysaght
Expert: Simon Atkinson
Advanced: Kahl Eckersley
Sportsman: Anton Bates
F3A-FAI: Shayne Lysaght, James Danby and Peter Pennisi
Advanced: Kahl Eckersley
Competition results: HERE.
Competition promotions: HERE.