Sorry for the delay in the preparation of this, the report on the eighth NSW pattern competition of the year, hosted for the second time this year by the Shoalhaven Model Flying Club at their fantastic Fletchers Lane Flying Field.
With Felix enjoying himself on his yearly trip to the good old US of A to visit his son Peter and relax, It was up to yours truly to try and prepare this competition, my first attempt. All in all, it was not too hard but it became evident that trying to use three judges was, well, not possible so, with the help of some more experienced planers, some reorganisation was made and two judges were used. Good experience for me. Now, on to the comp.
Saturday morning greeted the thirteen flyers taking part in this competition with cold, blustery westerly winds. Not exactly the greatest conditions but, who are pattern flyers to complain. The decision was made to fly F3A first to test the skies. Shane Lysaght was the first pilot to take to the skies. Like most Masters, Shane made it appear as though it was calm, the only give away being that on the downwind leg, centre came up awfully quick and the vertical lines required about 10 to 15 deg lay off. The remainder of the F3A pilots completed the first round with most agreeing that it was indeed pretty windy. What, only about 20/25 knots, come on. The one saving grace is that the wind was blowing almost straight down the flight line and with such a clear field, landing was not too difficult. (Very little turbulence) After a consultation, it was decided to wait a while before the next competitors took to the air as the wind was forecast to lower in its intensity.
After approximately one hour, it was decided to continue flying with Advanced and Expert. Yours truly was first to fly after the break and found the conditions challenging but not intimidating for, as mentioned earlier, the wind was blowing almost straight down the flight line. Kahl Eckersley and Phillip Tallack were next to fly with Kahl flying like a demon and Phil finding the conditions a bit tough.
For a pleasant change, Brian McGowan finally had some competition from three fellow competitors Tom Collinge, Richard Knox and making a return, Joe Costa. Like the rest of us, all four Experts found the conditions a little trying with all four flying a little below their average.
Once again, Ray Smith was the only competitor in Sportsman. Ray was scheduled to fly with the F3A pilots but, owing to the conditions, it was decided to fly Ray at the end of Advanced / Expert for his first round then after F3A for his subsequent rounds. In total, F3A and Ray (poetic licence) managed to fly three rounds on Saturday with Advanced and Expert flying two.
Then, there was Saturday night with Di and Richard and what a night it was. Once again, Di and Richard invited us around to their humble abode for a real home cooked dinner. Comfort food, was the words Richard used to describe the forthcoming dinner. After our starters of garlic bread came the main course, my favourite, Lamb Shanks. Comfort food could not begin to describe the dinner. Absolutely magnificent, superb, are the only words I could as a description of the dinner. After the main course came desert, chocolate mud cake with ice cream, followed by coffee and drinks. The hospitality shown by Di and Richard is a credit to them both and all the NSW Pattern Flyers who attended the dinner are greatly appreciative of the effort. Thank you very much Di and Richard from all of us. Now, back to the comp.
Sunday morning saw an appreciably drop in wind velocity with the forecast for an even further drop as the day progressed so, no excuses. Starting from where we finished the day before, Advanced and Expert were first to fly with yours truly up first. The third round for Advanced and Expert went off without a hitch.
After the next round of F3A / Sportsman, it became evident that it would not be possible to fly six rounds for all classes, so a decision was made to fly only five rounds in total.
The competition was progressing well with no casualties until the conclusion of round four when, unfortunately for Tom Collinge, on landing, the left wing tip of his Allure just clipped one of the steel rods supporting the electric fence surrounding the field. At first there appeared to be only minor damage to the wing tip. Upon closer investigation, it was realised that the impact had cracked the fuselage former just behind the wing an had in fact cracked the fuselage so, unfortunately, this meant the end of the competition for Tom.
So, to the results. With only one competitor in sportsman, Ray Smith finished in first place winning every round. Comparing his scores to his last competition, it was evident that Ray found the conditions rather challenging but nevertheless, it was fantastic to see Ray giving it a real go. There is only one way to learn how to fly in challenging conditions, fly in challenging conditions.
I wish I could say that Advanced was a closely forte fight between three fearsome competitors. Unfortunately, for myself and Phillip, it was a one horse race with Kahl Eckersley wining every round by quite some margin. Unfortunately for Kahl, his second promotion in as many comps alluded him by a lousy 2 raw points. Ouch. Welcome to the club Kahl, I know the feeling. As for myself, well, I finished second but, enough said. More practice. No excuses. Phillip also had a weekend which was not on of his best. He seemed to suffer from the same problem whish plagues myself so often in losing his line on the turn around manoeuver, resulting in flying across the line. Phil finished in third place.
Expert, on the other hand, was indeed a close forte battle. Winning three of the five rounds and finishing in first place was Tom Collinge with Brian McGowan close behind in second place. Brian won rounds one and five. Owing to the unfortunate incident mentioned above, Tom was unable to complete round five. In the end, only 20 normalised points separated Tom and Brian. Lately, you may have noticed that there has been a few competitions where two competitors were separated by less than one point at the conclusion of the event and this event was no different. Finishing in third place in Expert was Richard Knox with Joe Costa, wait for it, 0.36 of a normalised point behind Richard after five rounds. Incredible.
This leaves F3A, which once again, had the highest number of participants with 5. Leading the way was David McFarlane wining all five rounds. Shane Lysaght finished in second place, a little further behind David than in previous competitions. A quick glance at the scores and even the uninitiated would realise that the wind during the first round was, well, blowing. A 400 for David and a 383 for Shane. No, they were not hung over. Brian Dooley had a first round he would rather forget with what he confessed to being a brain fade during his Figure S with integrated roll. Needless to say, this was the round he dropped. His remaining four rounds were right up there with only one round below 380 and two rounds well above 400. Brian finished in third place.
Bill Garrod finished in fourth place with only his first round below par, owing to the wind. His remaining four rounds were very consistent with only one flight below 380. This leaves Jason Arnold who, lets be honest, has had a break from competition in the first half of this year, so one might expect him to be a little rusty. As with the other F3A pilots, the first round proved the most challenging. Jason’s next three rounds were not quite up to his usual standard but his last round of over 418 proves that a recovery is just a comp away. Jason finished in fifth place.
Once again the Shoalhaven Model Flying Club provide a magnificent field and plenty of delicious steak and sausage sandwiches for lunch on Saturday and Sunday and plenty of bacon and egg rolls for breakfast on Sunday. Well done.
Let me personally take this opportunity to once again thank Di and Richard on behalf of all the members for their gracious hospitality on Saturday Night.
Our next competition is Gunnedah, 10th & 11th Sep. Although this is a fairly long dive for most, this is usually a fantastic comp not to be missed. Looking forward to seeing as many members as possible.
F3A-FAI: David McFarlane
Expert: Thomas Collinge
Advanced: Kahl Eckersley
Sportsman: Ray Smith
F3A-FAI: David McFarlane and Shayne Lysaght
Competition results: HERE.
Competition promotions: HERE.