For the first time ever, the NSWPF fraternity were set to compete at Gloucester Aero Clubs field at Gloucester. Gloucester is located approximately 3.5 hrs north west of Sydney and is an easy drive up the M1 freeway.

The weather report for the weekend looked somewhat grim but Francis assured us that the weather man didn't have a clue and we should be ok. Most of us made the trip up to Gloucester on the Friday night and either stayed in town or at the Aero Club. The drive up from Sydney turned out to be somewhat of a challenge after a B-Double rolled at the end of the M1 making traffic much heavier than normal. Tom Collinge and I thought we'd be smart and bypass the area by going through St Ives and the back of Hornsby. This turned out to be a sensible move although traffic was still heavy in some areas. Anyway, we got to the Buckets Way turn off and it started to rain. Francis, are you sure the weather man has no idea? We managed to get into Gloucester a little after 7pm and decided to head to the pub to grab a bite to eat. We met up with Brian Dooley and David Tiernan in the pub. A number of us took up the offer of staying at the Aero Club so after dinner and a couple of beers, we headed out to our bed for the night. The Aero Club is located on a working dairy farm so negotiating a good dirt track, dodging electric fences and the odd cow or two was in order. Upon arrival at the club house we discovered that Mark Rickard of WRCS was staying with us. We had never met Mark before and he had entered in Sportsman for the weekend. Apparently, Mark has stayed at the field in the past for other events. Now we started to get worried when Mark retrieved his "Mankini" from his back. Let me tell you, there were a few stunned faces in the room! ;-) If you don't know what a Mankini is Google it... After a few beers and some port we all decided to retire for the night.

The next morning were were greeted with dry weather although it was threatening to rain on us. We soon got the flight line setup and commenced the first flight at about 9am. We ran F3A and Sportsman first and then switched over to Advanced and Expert. With only fourteen entries we decided to run a round of each class and then switchover to the other group for the whole weekend. This method worked very well. We had a few shower interruptions on the Saturday but still managed to get through four rounds of F3A and Sportsman and three rounds of Advanced and Expert. 

Sportsman had three pilots participating with Rod Bailey taking out the honours in first place. Rod came down from up the north Coast near Queensland. In second place and participating in his first pattern event was Mark Rickard. Mark throroughly enjoyed the event and learnt a hell of a lot. This is exactly what precision aerobatics is about. We hope to see Mark again at future NSWPF events. Taking out the last podium position was Francis Bennett from the local club. Unfortunately, Francis had a flight battery fail during his first fligh which resulted in a damaged model. There was one promotion point awarded and that went to Rod Bailey. Congratulations Rod!

The Advanced class proved to be the biggest class in the whole event with five pilots contesting the placings. It turned out to be a close tussle between David Tiernan and Felix Nieuwenhuizen. When it all came out in the wash, David had the wood over Felix and young Ben Bird (BB) followed in third place. This young fella is going to give the old blokes a run for their money very soon! In forth place was Peter Besant who seemed to be struggling with a bit of consistency holding his line in the crosswind. To be fair, many struggled on the Saturday with quite a strong southerly blowing straight in so punching or exceeding the box limits was common. Rounding out the class in fifth place was Gavin Fitz-Henry. Again, Gavin struggled to hold a consistent line and also pushed the box. A little more practice guys and things should start coming together.

Three Experts attended the event with the eventual winner being Steven Bird of Wingham. Steven took out all but one round wind with Brian McGowan keeping him honest in second place. Taking out third place was Thomas Collinge with his belt driven Cyclone. Steven Bird was the only pilot in this class to obtain a promotion point which now makes it two. One more to go and then he'll be fighting it out with the big boys in F3A.

Speaking of F3A, we had only three participants in this class. Normally F3A is one of the more hotly contested classes but people must have had other things on. Placing in third postion was Dean Erby. Dean was only able to fly the first four rounds due to commitments on Sunday. Still, it was great to have him participate and he is taking to F3A like a duck to water. It's only going to be a matter of time before he becomes a force to be reckoned with. Grasping second place was Brian Dooley with his trusty Nuance. The gap between Brian and the eventual winner Jason Arnold was only 50 points! That's close flying over six rounds of competition. Jason was flying his new Contra Drive Allure which is going very nicely indeed. 

Overall, the event was a huge success. Special thanks must go to the Gloucester Aero Club and its members for allowing us to utilise their facilities and also to Francis Bennett for making the event a reality. We look forward to coming back again next year to do it all over again. 

Competition Results:

  • F3A-FAI: Jason Arnold

  • Expert: Steven Bird

  • Advanced: David Tiernan

  • Sportsman: Rod Bailey

Competition Promotions:

  • F3A-FAI:  Nil

  • Expert: Steven Bird

  • Advanced: Nil

  • Sportsman: Rod Bailey

Competition results: HERE

Competition promotions: HERE

Judging Analysis: HERE

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