2011 MGA F3J Open

Some fantastic organisation & world class systems, allowed the MGA to host a very succesful F3J "not so international" competition as precursor to the 2012 F3J World Champioships.  Although the objective was to test systems, fun, comaraderie & serious competition also were involved to a large degree.

The weather was perfect for the event; the early morning starting off with challenging winds but good thermal activity until round 4 which saw the wind drop significantly & the single largest number of throwaways too.  Good lift could be found, but was surrounded by African style sink - lethal!

Winches were used for launches alongside the F3J towing, & the 15 metre corridors ensured no cross-over/crashes even with a almost 90 degree wing swift during select slots.  The field was initially laid out to the South, but the wind was predominantly E - SE so was swung around before the event started at 10h00.  Good markings & spots ensured no confusion & the "swop-over" approach proposed would also ensure that landings cannot be confused (as per Turkey).  Thanks to Evan for th einitial & swop over layout!

The sound system, although short of the intended number of speakers, was very clear on the flight line (were it counts), and will lkely be supplemented with an LED countdown display later in the year.  The wireless microphones worked, but did seem to be very sensitive regarding feedback/static & will need some "fine tuning". The fixed standby mike worked perfectly. Speakers would also need to be considered for the spectators/tent area to provide feedback / overhead safety warnings.  I thought that the tall flag poles over the club house & tent area were rather good (Rodney probably differs from my opinion) as this would ensure that anyone wishing to "slope" would have the risk of striking a grounded object in the designated safety areas & the resulting penalty would probably see the end of any WC aspirations.  However based on wind direction, an approach corridor for landing may overfly the safety area & a wider field & blanked landing spots to be considered (after all - we have the space!).

The countdown time (F3J Timing) was flexible, & although the oldish PC's suffered from run down batteries, once the small generator was fired up, these ran without hitch & considerably eased the CD's load. During the 1 slot without power, the standbuy "system" of the CD calling time worked perfectly without loosing anything more than a few minutes in the overall schedule. Scoring was tested with GliderScore programme - a deviation from the F3JScore used in past years, but provides a far more statistically "fair" matrix & better reporting for results.  Scores were captured after rounds & were available in less than 15 minutes after the final slot was flown. Many thanks to the excellent data capturing & card collection services of the two young ladies who very capably performed this role independently.  Score cards & pilot cards also worked - although suggestion was made to print the pilots name on the front cover of their scorecard.  Two issues still arose: the wrong person's card in the team was completed & time/landing were entered in the wrong position.  Through training this is unlikely to occur at the WC.  Some queries were raised regarding the "penalties" etc. but at a WC level, this becomes a responsibility of the pilot/team manager to know & time keeper/official to spot. A short summary will be produced highlighting these for local pilots & the pre-event.

Prize giving was also approached differently: instead of the same top pilots walking away with the loot, a selection was made by the organisers of deserving individuals who did not make the top 5 positions & thankls to Mad Models for making the prizes available:

1. Most capable thermal flying of the day by Evan Shaw - who spent almost 4 minutes circling a bubble at 10 metres or less
2. Most capable Newbie being Garrin Smith for his first ever event & well done
3. Crash landings by Rodney & Piet who selectively identified the only vertical objectives in an almost 300 metre radius :-)

Special thanks to Sanitech for the loo which included handwash facilites & towels - made our day a lot more pleasant than the rather raw "pick a bush" approach.

Thanks to Gordon for CD'ing us so capably again(!), to Martie for the food, Evan & his team for the field layout, Herman & his team for the stakes / turnarounds, Cian & Jessie for scoring, and a HUGE THANK YOU to Michelle for the awesome organisation of everything.

A special mention to our "internationals" all the way from the KZN, who represented the last outpost with honour.

One thing that I did note about the scorecards, was that a large number of pilots entered landings of 1.03, 2.01, or similar.  I am immensely proud to witness this level of honesty amongst our pilots!

Results below (click on the table to "zoom"):

Excellent flying Jason (jnr), Chris & Craig G.!  Thanks to everyone for a superb event!

Fly safely.