An overcast sky, virtually no wind and a not so low temperature greeted us on the first day of our seventh competition at Wingham.
A total of twelve pilots had entered and all twelve turned up. Rod Bailey and Faye once again drove down from Balina, Pa (David Tiernan) from Gunnedah. It was also fantastic to see the return of Steve and Ben Bird after the terrible event which led to the loss of all their models and equipment.
The competition got underway at 09:00 with Sportsman (one pilot), Expert (one pilot) and F3A (three pilots) up first.
Ray Smith was the only pilot in Sportsman and thus finished in first place on 5000 points. Compared to his last competition, Ray has made an enormous improvement with his lowest score in this competition equalling his highest score (to within 0.5 points) in his previous competition. His highest score this competition was in fact above promotion score. Fantastic effort Ray.
“It’s too high. I have been flying really well, but I’m nowhere near a promotion. I can’t see any one getting a promotion in expert.”
Those were the words of the only pilot competing in expert, Brian McGowan. How those words would come back to bite him. Brian put in the best flying performance of his precision aerobatics career. Needless to say, Brian finished first on a score of 5000. More importantly, he gained his first promotion point and only the second promotion point in expert so far this current schedule. Four of his six flights were on or above promotion score.
The three pilots doing battle in F3A were Jason Arnold, Dean Erby and Steven Bird. Steven and Ben lost almost all their aeromodelling gear in a fire caused by a LiPo Battery catching fire after it had been charged and removed from the charger. The subsequent fire burnt their garage and its contents to the ground. Steven was flying a Dynam Pitts Python Bi-Plane, a $210.00 Plug and Play 4s Foamy and what a mighty effort he gave. Steven finished in third place on a score of 4203.2. His first flight scored 388.5.
Finishing in second place was Dean Erby. Dean was also returning after a rather long break. Dean’s first flight was right up there on 390.5 raw points. He finished on 4350.76 points.
After making a return from a longish break himself in the last competition, Jason Arnold proved he is still quite capable with the sticks guiding his Allure through the F3A schedule into first place, winning every round and finishing on 5000 points. Jason had only one round below 400 raw points.
Advanced was the most represented class at this competition with seven pilots including Ben Bird returning after the mishap mentioned above and Rob Greenwood competing for the first time in advanced.
Although finishing in seventh place, Rob put in two very good rounds of 293.5 and 276 and a good round of 250.5. His first round of 180.5 was due to an apparent flame out with three manoeuver left, apparently through an over exuberant use of the throttle. A lot of apparently’s but, on checking the content of his flight pack after landing, it was found to have over 50% left. Oops. Rob did confess that nerves got the better of him.
Finishing almost last (again) was yours truly in sixth. Mr Inconsistent. Maybe I am being a little hard on myself because my average raw promotion score for the best three from the first four rounds was 300.00 which, I think is the second highest average I have achieved without achieving a promotion point. (If that makes sense). I did win the fourth round however. My time will come.
Becoming ever more comfortable with his contra drive Epic, Kahl Eckersley once again proved that consistency is the name of the game. With four good consistent first rounds, Kahl piloted his way to his first promotion point after only about four months in advanced. Kahl finished in fifth place on 4763.51 points.
2.47 points ahead of Kahl in fourth place, piloting that foamy of a Pitts was Ben Bird. I mean, come on, this is not kosher. Have a look at his fifth round, 321.5. What are you trying to prove? Or is this just a warning of things to come when you get a 2mtr pattern ship again. However, Ben’s first three rounds were his worst (if you can call two scores just below 300 bad) which means, although he finished ahead of Kahl, he missed out on a promotion point.
Now to the business end. Rod Bailey decision to make the trip from Balina was rewarded with a stellar third placing. With his first and third rounds the distance from Balina to Wingham ahead of a promotion score and his second round only just behind, Rod did indeed achieve another promotion meaning his time in advanced is all over red rover and he can now give Brian some much needed competition. Having to travel probably twice as far as any other competitor, Rod and Faye decided to leave for home after the first (fifth competition) round on Sunday. Consequently, Rod scored zero for his last flight so this was the round he dropped. Rod finished on 4802.65.
The fight for the top placing was a hard fought battle between probably the two most fearsome competitors in all of precision aerobatics, Felix Nieuwenhuizen and David (Pa) Tiernan. Unfortunately, there can only be one victor and finishing in second place on 4811.97 points was Pa. Felix and David each had three rounds better than the other but Felix’s best rounds were just that bit better than David’s best. David did achieve his first promotion score.
This only leaves one competitor who can claim top spot and that competitor is of cause Felix, and didn’t he rub it in. Finishing on 4863.65, I had personally have not seen Felix fly as well. All that mentioning Brian and myself have been giving Felix at our local club finally rubbed of.
Sunday greeted us with a few light showers of rain and some low cloud. This did not stop the competition however and flying resumed after a short brake. Some pilots had to make sure that their IFR ratings were up to date with some models skimming through the lower cloud layers.
Our thanks go out to the Manning Model Aero Club once again provided a fantastic venue, relaxed environment and as usual, a scrumptious lunch on Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday.
Our next Competition is Fletchers Lane (second time this year) on 13th and 14th August. Please try to have entries in as early as possible because Felix will be on holidays and yours truly will have to arrange the competition. All for now.
PS. Remember, there is a competition at TCMAC, Albury, 6th and 7th August. All welcome. Contact Henry.
F3A-FAI: Jason Arnold
Expert: Brian McGowan
Advanced: Felix Nieuwenhuizen
Sportsman: Ray Smith
Expert: Brian McGowan
Advanced: Rod Bailey, Kahl Eckersley, Felix Nieuwenhuizen, David Tiernan
Competition results: HERE.
Competition promotions: HERE.