Competition Report Fletcher’s Lane 5th December 2020
NSW State Championships 2020
Once again we seemed to be duelling with the weather gods in trying to stage the 2020 State Champs, as the year from hell continued to live up to its reputation. So far we have cancelled for bushfires, storms, COVID 19, quarantine constraints, and finally floods, (on the original dates in November.) Not content with that, we found ourselves facing forecasts of rain, and extreme winds last week, as we looked forward to the postponed date. When we made the final decision on Thursday evening, we had dwindled from a healthy 17 entrants, down to 10, due to domestic commitments, prior arrangements, and an understanding reluctance to travel, given the pessimistic forecast.
Yours truly arrived at 14h00 on Friday, to be confronted by a perfectly prepared field, a complete dearth of people, and a hot westerly blowing 40 to 70 kmh, (compared to a forecast of easterly and 15kmh.) Oh well, round 1 to the weather. There was some compensation, joining Joe, Danni and Richard Hirst, and Di and Richard Knox at the bowling club on Friday evening for a natter and a feed.
We arrived at the field on Saturday morning, to an easterly, blowing slightly out at a variable 10kmh. The field was indeed the best prepared I’ve seen it in my 4 years of attending. The small but enthusiastic bunch got everything set up, a quick pilot briefing, and, guess what, Advanced first up!! I was shortly followed by Expert, with Brian, Chris, Richard Knox and Gavin, and before we knew it, Round 1 was done and dusted, with Jason, Dave, Bill, Richard Hirst and Joe filling the F3A ranks.
As the day went on, conditions remained flyable, with the wind increasing to maybe 25-30kmh. The outblowing breeze kept pressure on those of us uncertain of our lines, while keeping the better pilots honest. The wind varied with altitude and there was also a fair bit of turbulence on landing approach which kept us on our toes.
Chris announced that failsafes would be checked, and appointed me as executioner. Richard Hirst escaped, having demonstrated his settings in the air on his second flight of the Angelit, (fortunately without any damage). He had to collect his Sensation from home in order to continue. Problem turned out to be a fractured RX antenna. Other than that, all failsafes checked out......... (Imagine my embarrassment when the crew informed me that it was my turn, and guess what? ----- No failsafe.) Fortunately I was able to locate what had gone wrong in my transmitter, and after demonstrating, was allowed to continue. Will take a bit to live that one down, though!
While the wind continued to freshen, and become more turbulent, conditions remained fine for flying, and by 15h30 we had knocked off 4 rounds for all classes. With Bill in the air as last man up, the wind finally picked up, and became very turbulent. Bill’s comment: “very nasty”. With the (frequently changing) forecast showing a lull for Sunday morning, it was decided to pack up before the rain came, and try for 2 rounds on Sunday morning. This to my relief, as I would have been next up!
It was back to the Bowlo on Saturday evening, for another congenial evening, only to find that the forecast had changed again, and Sunday was now showing a Westerly at 45kmh (and increasing!) Oh well, off to bed!
After a whole night of blustering wind and rain, Sunday morning was beautiful and sunny, but with the same Westerly firmly in attendance. After everyone arrived at the field, and the wind strength continued to edge up towards 70kmh, we faced the inevitable, and finalised the results on the 4 rounds flown on Saturday.
I was the only competitor in Advanced, (for the second year running) while Brian was Expert State Champion, followed by Richard Knox and Chris, with Gavin in 4th. David took the flag in F3A, with Jason and Richard Hirst filling the minor placings, and Bill and Joe completing the class.
Finally, the Pointscore Competition was also completed for 2020, and was won by Kahl Eckersley, from Gavin Fitz-Henry and Jamey Bellicanta. Full results have been posted on the website.
While a bit disappointing as a State Champs, it was still an enjoyable weekend and perhaps a fitting one, given all the challenges faced this year. I’ll wish everyone all the best for the Festive Season, success in building, trimming and flying, and look forward to seeing everyone in January 2021, at the one-dayer at Camden. (Tom, we expect to see that Allure!)
F3A: David McFarlane
Expert: Brian McFarlane
Advanced: Alastair Bennets
F3a: David McFarlane
Competition F3a Results: HERE.
Competition Expert Results: HERE.
Competition Advanced Results: HERE.
The Point Score Winner For 2020 Is: Kahl Eckersley. Full Results HERE.