The Eastern Thermal Busters (ETB) glider club hosted a very successful F3J event on 19 August 2007, at their “north” field just outside of Benoni, South Africa. The event was flown with a mix of towed & also winch launched (150m turnaround) to otherwise F3J rules. The time keeping was managed electronically by means of a digitally recorded “preparation” & “working” times played over a field PA system. This worked extremely well, and was easily interrupted for lunch & a sudden mass of line breaks. The F3J score program was used again, producing the original flight matrix & also the provisional scores. Of course, we had to have a re-flight, but Mark was able to figure out the reverse polish notation employed by the program for this matter & we had the provisional results very soon after the final round was flown. Once audited, the final scores will be published on the F3J Blog.
The conditions started off as wonderful soaring on the post winter (very) dry & dusty field – with huge thermals encamped over the field, but after the glorious first round, the wind sprang up & the thermals became slightly more elusive. Catching a sniff upwind & chasing this downwind to spec distance was the order of the day for most. The provisional ranking attests to these challenging conditions with even some of the top flyers battling to achieve their usual form. The 2008 F3J senior team qualifiers are starting to look as if they are going to be a real humdinger, with probably the most competitive field in many years all with relatively similar opportunities for team positions. Also important was that Ryan Nelson managed to achieve 89% of the top score, which permits him to qualify for the reserve position of the 2008 F3J Junior team – but this is pending the outcome of any other juniors participating in the remaining scheduled F3J events as per the extended dealing published recently. Simon Nelson (Ryan’s dad) commented that they had probably learnt more in one day than in a lifetime of flying – many thanks to Craig Goodrum & Ian Lessem for assisting. Well flown to all!
Catering was most welcome from Martie & her travelling diner – cold drinks were cold, hot beverages hot, and the food was great! Paul “spoons” Carnall did well – with the most gentlemanly call I have ever heard from a CD during a competition just after round 3; “would it be possible to break for lunch, everyone?”.
Finally, what would F3J be without the towmen? It was simply amazing to watch towmen (some of whom were only flying from winches) running across the field to assist other the teams this strenuous activity. Well done for this amazing sense of team spirit & camaraderie.