Committee:
Chairman - Herman Weber : Vice Chairman - Piet Boer : Secretary - Craig Goodrum : Treasurer -Juanita Smith


Representatives:
HTL - Gordon Browne : Bill Voss - Dennis Bird : Postals - Jan Sime : F3B - Jochen Schmidt & Nigel Wilkinson : F3J - Herman Weber : F3K - Juanita Smith & Blake Dormer : F5J - Ivan Williams : 2 Meter/New Commers - Rudi King : Slope - Izak Theron (Gauteng) Kevin Farr (WC) Rus Conradt (KZN) : Cross Country - Paul Carnall


Proficiency Badges: Juanita Smith

Calendar: Evan Shaw & Juanita Smith





29 June 2011

2011 RC Soaring national Championships

The 2011 Combined RC Soaring Nationals was hosted at the Noordsberg Country Club (Polo Fields) just outside Dalton, KZN.  The disciplines involved included the FAI class F3J (hand towed “open” class glider), provisional FAI class F5J (electric powered launch & glide), FAI class F3K (hand launch “HLG” or discuss launch “DLG”) and local class 2M (2m metre wingspan). A total of 36 entries were received across these classes, which is significantly down from previous years & possibly due to the F3K World Championships scheduled the next week, school holidays & various other commitments.
Chief organiser & CD: Dennis Bird
Leading the organisation was Dennis Bird, with“Camo” Rudi heading up scoring, Don as CD across most events, and Simon assisting. A selection of pilots was made to represent the jury, as the event was also slated as one of the F3J 2012 National Team qualifiers.
Day 1: Howling wind and ominous clouds
Arriving the night before, we settled into our very comfortable accommodation in New Hanover.  The warm meal & wonderful “boma” fire were well received & potentially an omen of the weather to come.  A huge farm-style breakfast at 07h00 saw us at the field & ready for pilots briefing around 08h30.  Frequencies were verified, basic rules confirmed, safety areas outlined, jury selected, field laid out, planes setup, runners warmed up – we were ready to go!
Day 2 Early morning was cold. Very, very cold!
Around 09h00 in rather chilly & windy, overcast conditions, the first flight was underway & it was pleasing to see that the smaller turnout had not affected the quality of flying, nor the effort each pilot was making to participate.  As each round of F3K, F5J, 2M and F3J was underway, we settled into the natural rhythm of the competition – flying, calling, assisting, running with scores, timing, laying lines, etc.  The weather continued to get colder, with the wind increasing in speed & decreasing temperatures dramatically.  The 10 minute flights for F3J & F5J left pilots with numb fingers – almost not able to hold onto the transmitters.  By the second round, the cloud layer had descended even further, temperatures had dropped to below zero, wind chill was in double figures & occasional raindrops served to make breathing, let alone flying, a challenge.  Everyone wore at least two jackets & when the clouds opened and small hail stones pelted us, the decision to stop proceedings was swift & unanimous – people quickly dismantling models & seeking warmth within their cars.  At around 15h15, the rain stopped, clouds cleared & the wind even dropped for a very pleasant 5 degrees, but by then everyone was too exhausted to continue due to the extreme cold conditions previously (actually most were soaked to the bone) & we all headed back to our respected shelters.

Frosty (the snowman from hell?) visited New Hanover, KZN, with a vengeance

During the night, battery chargers beeped & blinked as various sets were charged up for the next day – each time I stood up to change a battery pack, I felt the temperatures dropping further & further. The next morning we were greeted by what looked like snow – but was in fact a very heavy layer of frost. Cars parked outside were covered with ice even down their sides – when I tried to open my car’s boot remotely it only “clicked”. Disgusted I spoke sternly to it in my finest “Germanish” but was ignored& eventually I had to pry the boot lid open the old way. Brr! Even another farm-style breakfast did nothing to allay the fears of another ice cold day, but by 08h30 we were back on the field & starting pilots briefing. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Nigel who retired early do to family commitments.
Local colour: Simon "Porn star" Nelson, being ably directed by Michelle "10 minutes" Goodrum
Problems with the sound system the day before had the local flyers bring in a new recording/amp., and during the very first slot of F3J a difference in how the slot was announced saw one team launch a full 15 seconds early.  They immediately protested & the jury agreed that due to “benefit of doubt” the entire slot would refly after the round as per FAI rules regarding F3J.  Condition were “challenging” with the icy wind was pushing miniscule thermals along the ground very quickly & most competitors could barely achieve a turn or two, before loosing any advantage they may have had.  A number of pilots suffered the long walk of shame, after landing out of the field having being blown back so far.  Everyone tried flying over the trees on both side of the fields, across to the factor, towards the club house etc., but only those pilots able to manage energy the best were able to keep their models aloft for the full time.  During discussion we recalled a rather erroneous statement made a few years ago by about RC gliding in that the launch only counts for 1.3% of the flight (assuming 8 second launches), yet those few seconds of launch, powered by the awesome towman, made for 99% difference for the remainder of the flight! 
Chris Adrian waiting to launch Johan Bruwer's Pike Perfect
During the 2nd day, we also witnessed the only incident of the event: when Chris & Paul’s F3J gliders came together during the launch. Some explanation: F3J provides ten (10) minute window or working time in which the competitor must launch their model& land. Every second spent on the line during the launch & every second prior to the signal to end the 10 minutes, is deducted from the score. This requires that all pilots launch simultaneously & if possible land simultaneously. The spectacle of watching up to 15 gliders launching from the ground & a standstill to almost 150 kph upwards of 200 metres in less than 2 seconds is often described as “Phoar!” & various other similar sounding derivatives. During this particular launch a sudden side gust caused the two models to veer within their 15 metre “launching lanes”, the launch lines crossed & within milliseconds both gliders contacted. Paul’s Explorer fin was immediately snapped off, whilst Chris’s Pike Perfect seemed OK, but was entangled in the line. Even with full flaps extended, the line snapped his model vertically into the ground & a broken centre panel was the result. Both pilots were awarded a reflight as per the FAI rules regarding F3J.

Chris's Pike Perfect centre panel snapped after launch line entanglement
Whilst conditions were challenging on day 2, we were still able to complete 3 full rounds of each discipline & before 17h00 we had packed up as the sky darkened & headed over to the club-house for the annual “banquet”.  Interestingly, I believe more hot chocolate & coffee was consumed that beer/wine – a sure sign of the professionalism of the pilots rather than the weather.  Tongue now removed from cheek: we once again were spoilt with huge fire & enough barbeque meat to feed a small nation, salads to satisfy even the most ardent vegan (at a braai?) and the close proximity of the bar ensured that we did not want for beverage that evening.  After the meal, we turn our thoughts inwards, or more accurately headed towards the lovely inside the bar & talked for some time about flying, the days events, models, competition & everything else that makes RC Soaring so wonderful.  The camaraderie and friendship of our common passion often spills over into our social lives, and even though most pilots are strongly competitive, off the field we remain best of friends!

Paul Carnall's Supra II - these did well in the very "light" conditions
Day three saw us dragging ourselves out of bed (probably due to the strenuous activities of the previous two days and nothing to do with the bar tab the night before of course.  Again the farm-style breakfast was awesome, but the chill in the air was rather intimidating.  At 08h30 we huddled together for the pilots briefing.  The reflight awarded to the early launch the day before was discussed, with the jury providing their reasons.  It was recognised that the time lost on the first day due to hail had cut short the advertised 8 rounds, & a call around the pilots determined that 6 rounds could be completed, fulfilling FAI qualification requirements & also permitting the Gautengers to return to the Highveld before the envisaged 15h00 that afternoon.
Lionel "nailed" the spot for a full 100 pint landing - very satisfying
We soon saw the final F3J slots completed & although conditions were very tough yet again, most people managed relatively good flights for the last round.  We quickly packed up after this, dashed for the club house for something warm & soon the AGM was underway.  As is becoming tradition for the MGA, the AGM was dealt with without frivolity or time wastage & in less than half an hour we were ready for the results.
Paul - launching his DLG on Day 2
Dennis announced the results in reverse order & presented the amazing trophies to the top three competitors in each class.
F3J (FAI towed RC glider class)
Rank
Name
Score (%)
1
Chris Adrian
100.0
2
Paul Carnall
99.2
3
Craig Goodrum
97.5
4
Lionel Brink
94.0
5
John Monk
93.4
6
Ryan Nelson (Jnr)
93.2
7
Michelle Goodrum
91.8
8
Simon Nelson
90.8
9
Rodney Goodrum
87.2
10
Johan Bruwer
83.0
11
Craig Baker
82.2
12
Evan Shaw
80.0
13
Ivan Williams
76.5
14
Wolfgang Steffny (EW)
74.7
15
Rudi King
66
16
Nigel Wilkinson
Retired
2 Metre (Winch – 150m)
Position
Name
Score (%)
1
John Monk
100.0
2
Evan Shaw
99.1
3
Chris Adrian
96.3
4
Rudi King
93.5
5
Dennis Bird
87.2
6
Simon Nelson
87.0
6
Lionel Brink
87.0
8
Johan Bruwer
83.6
9
Ryan Nelson (Jnr)
63.5
F3K (Discus Launch)
Position
Name
Score (%)
1
Craig Goodrum
100.0
2
Paul Carnall
92.9
3
Johan Bruwer
73.7
4
John Monk
69.7
5
Chris Adrian
58.0
6
Nigel Wilkinson
25 (retired)
F5J (Electric)
Position
Name
Score (%)
1
Johan Bruwer
100.0
2
Ryan Nelson (Jnr)
95.4
3
Simon Nelson
95.3
4
Ivan Williams
95.1
5
Rudi King
93.7
 The final announcement was for Victor Ludorum: Johan Bruwer with good results in all classes.
We bade all a sad farewell until next year, plans being made to practice more often, build/obtain better models, & avoid those blooming Natal speed traps!
Our sincerest thanks to Dennis & his team for organising & running this event so well.  Thanks also to the Noordsberg Country Club for the use of their facilities.  Special appreciation for our fellow competitors for establishing such a high standard & maintaining the sense of fun that we always seem to achieve in competition.  And finally, a heartfelt thank you (!) to our families for affording us the time to fly in this wonderful sport.
Fly safely

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