South Africa’s first RC Pilot to receive World Champion status!!!!
After months of preparation and the qualifying events the South African National Teams were ready to fly to the 2013 F3K world championship event that was held at Herning in Denmark from the 21st – 28th July 2013. This was the 2nd F3K world championship with the first event being held in Sweden in 2011.
Every month we held one practice day and one competition day and tried to alternate between GEMS (Bapsfontein) and the Delmas field where the 2012 F3J World Championships were held. The one exception was when we were hosted by Umhlanga Model Fliers Club, what an awesome weekend and the members of the club led by Alf Boardman welcomed us and made us feel right at home. We once again thank the club and it’s members for the special treatment that we were given.
All the participating pilots & Club members from Umhlanga Model Fliers Club
Two national teams were selected following the prescribed qualification and team selection events.
The senior team consisted of Craig Goodrum (2011 F3K team member, multiple national champion and most experienced SA international glider pilot), Alan Smith (2011 F3K team member, 2009 World Air Games silver medalist, 2012 F3J team member and multiple national champion and proficient at many other disciplines), Blake Dormer (new to F3K but experienced F3A and fun fly Pilot) and Herman Weber – team Manager.
Junior team consisted of Jason Weber (2011 F3K team member, 2011 F3K Euro tour gold medalist, National 2012 F3B champion, 2010 F3J team member, 2011 F3B team member & junior gold medalist and 2012 F3J team silver medalist), Tshepo Molefe (2010 F3J team member, 2012 junior national open thermal champion and 2012 F3J team silver medalist), Wouter Kruger (new to F3K but experienced power and slope pilot) and Juanita Smith – Team Manager.
With the new airline rules of one ‘check in’ piece of luggage we had no problem with model boxes and carried our clothes and transmitters as hand luggage. The team members flew on different days and eventually everybody, except Craig, arrived at the accommodation on Thursday 18th.
What our Accommodation looked like after unpacking – Roughly 60 planes were with us!!!!
We drove out to the flying site and met up with the organisers and European competitors that were camping on the field. Planes were assembled and trimmed for sea level conditions and practice started in earnest. Craig had arranged for Vladimir’s Models to bring 3 of their latest development models (called the Snipe and designed by Joe Wurts) to the worlds which we collected and built these on Thursday evening. Sunset is around 11pm so there is lots of time to practice and little time to sleep.
Craig arrived on Friday afternoon and met up with the team which had set up base in a large marquee supplied by the organisers. The team practiced while the team managers completed the registration formalities and entries for the Swinging Denmark Euro Tour event. (This is held before the WC and gives all the helpers and other local pilots an opportunity to fly against the best pilots in the world).
Saturday morning saw the start of the pre-contest with groups of 12 pilots flying per slot. There were 116 competitors and 10 slots per round. Conditions were sunny and windy. This made ballast selection critical with many pilots landing out, getting caught downwind and not being able to penetrate back to the field. The Europeans showed that local knowledge of the conditions was a big advantage with the Scandinavian pilots taking the early lead.
By lunch on Sunday 6 rounds had been flown and the results were as follows:
1 – Jonas Ekman – Sweden
2 - Marc Werth – Germany
3 – Mattias Hammarskiold – Sweden
18 – Alan Smith
25 – Craig Goodrum
55 – Jason Weber
64 – Blake Dormer
70 – Wouter Kruger
71 – Graham Kirkland
93 – Tshepo Molefe
All in all we had a much better pre-comp than two years ago.
After the Swinging Denmark prize giving the WC opening ceremony was held, and with models processed we went back to our accommodation to prepare for the main event.
Our Team Mascot - Kristi
Monday morning saw the start of the WC. Seniors flew first and it was quite a tough day for them, but as we know in F3K anything could happen. Our Juniors flew like stars and we were really proud of the way they flew and conducted themselves. By the third day we had, Snr’s Blake 10th, Craig 23rd and Alan 54th (this was after Alan had to do a 2km walk to retrieve a model). The Juniors are really doing well, Wouter is 2nd, Jason 4th and Tshepo 9th.... Snr’s were sitting 10th as a team overall and Jnrs had just dropped to 2nd team overall by only 109 points. At this point we were nearly halfway through the competition.
By Thursday we were busy with round 13 Craig had moved up to 17, Blake was at 21 and Alan was moving slowly up the to 44, the team had now moved up to 8th place overall. After 13 rounds the Junior positions were Wouter 1st, Jason 4th and Tshepo 10th and we stayed at second team position right to the end of the competition.
The final placing after the preliminaries were Blake 5th, Craig was 17th and Alan 37th. As a team the seniors finished 6th out of 29 countries
New Zealand 2nd
The placing for the juniors were Wouter 2nd, Jason 5th and Tshepo 9th
So Team standings were
Junior Team at Medal Ceremony – Tshepo Molefe, Jason Weber, Juanita Smith and Wouter Kruger
This meant that we had three pilots that made it through to the fly-offs, Blake (Snr), Wouter (Jnr) and Jason (Jnr).
Senior Fly-Off Group
Our fly-off day had rain predicted, fortunately the weather never arrived. The guys all flew like the stars that they are. The seniors had quite an exciting end to the Fly-offs as there was a joint placing for 1st. After a sudden death fly off between the two top pilots the final positions were:
Henrik Vogler 1st - Germany
Igor Butseroga 2nd – Ukraine
Jonas Ekman 3rd – Sweden
Blake 8th – RSA
The final positions for the juniors at the end of the fly-offs were:
Jason Weber 1st – RSA
Mykola Horban 2nd – Ukraine
Max Finke 3rd – Germany
Wouter 8th – RSA
Overall we had a really successful world championship, and the Model Gliding Association now collectively have 11 FAI medals to our credit. A special word of thanks goes out to our helpers, Kristi Van Der Mast, Graham Kirkland and Bruce Tompkins, for all their assistance, we would not have managed without you.