BELGIUM F3B EUROTOUR Report from Clive Needham


Two teams of three set out to attend the F3B Eurotour event in Belgium near Liege held over the first weekend in September.

One group (Northern Group) comprising Steve & Bill Haley plus myself Clive Needham travelled by the Hull Rotterdam overnight ferry; which is more expensive than travelling from the South however you get a night’s sleep both ways and arrive reasonably fresh. The food in the dinner and breakfast buffets was excellent and although the cabin was sparse, it was OK for one night.

The Southern group, Mark Passingham, Ken Woodhouse and John Philips travelled via Eurotunnel.

John Philips came along to see what is involved in attending an International F3B event and to dog the lines for the 5 competitors; from the outset it must be said John did an excellent job throughout and got a line burn for his efforts.

Both groups arrived early Friday afternoon and were able to get in plenty of practice flights, unfortunately whilst Mark was practicing distance on the course another pilot decided to practice speed and without warning slammed into his model and virtually destroyed it.

Not a good start, Mark therefore had to compete using his Freestyler for the rest of the weekend.

Knowing the site from last year and the forecast wind direction I was concerned that we might be launching downwind all weekend, however I was relieved to find the organisers had moved the control tent to the other end of the field, thus launching was more or less into wind throughout.

The field is very narrow and there was a small area about 6M by 20M behind Base A used for landing after Speed and for 1 spot in Duration, there were 2 further spots between Base A and Base B also for landing in Duration ( this area could not be used for landing in Distance) The remaining 5 landing spots were in slightly lower ground about 10m wide on the far side of the winch lines next to a field of corn about 2.5m high, this meant at times having to approach landing over the heads of other pilots. Several landed in the corn, as I did last year but managed to avoid it this time.

The safety area behind the winch line extended to a line of trees and a stubble field. On the other side of Base A where speed had to be flown there was another stubble field full of quite large stones. The safety line for speed was in that field. Needless to say I flew Speed from the winch side of Base A about 20m from the safety line therefore accurate flying in speed and all landings in the small area behind Base A needed care, resulting in many 300 point penalties.

All of us except Steve had penalty points some even had two. Fortunately I only incurred one when I landed on the winch lines at the end of a distance task, I should have landed in the corn for which there was no penalty.

The Northern group stayed in the same hotel as last year about 10 minutes from the field, the hotel is excellent, although a little expensive, the owner even got up early to serve continental break for us at 6-30am.

The Southern group stayed in an area set aside for free camping on the flying field.

Friday night we had a barbeque on site which helped to kept costs down and on Saturday evening there was a meal included in the entry fee, this was held in the large permanent club marquee, and lunches could also be bought there on both days for 5 Euros.

We arrived from the hotel bright and early on Saturday morning just after 7-00am ready for the 8-00am start, we had left our winches covered up the night before to be ready to go.

However due to the fine autumn weather the field was surrounded by mist, the start was delayed until 9-00am and flying then took place until 7-00pm with a short break for lunch.

The whole of round 1 was completed plus the speed and distance tasks in round 2,

All of us except Steve had minor mishaps including the dreaded 300 point penalties, Steve won or was very close to winning all his slots in the 5 tasks completed and was in 2nd place at the end of R1 and 3rd at the end of day 1.

The fastest speed run in R1 was 14.48 seconds by Daniele Amici ITA.

Most of the better pilots and many others flew out or were near to the 10 minutes in Duration; unfortunately I could only manage 7.30 and 85 landing.

Most of the distance slots in Round 1 were in the teens the best by Andreas Bohlem with 24 legs.

Mark Passingham did well in Distance (900 points) and Speed clocking 17.51 but was let down in Duration with 7.03 and 100 point landing.

Round 2 Distance followed the pattern of Round 1with only a few in the twenties Daniele Amici was the best with 26 laps and again won the Speed task with a 14.35.

Steve Haley was close behind with 14.85.

So ended day one with beautiful autumn weather up to about 20 C with fairly light winds and very little cloud.

The round 1 scores can be viewed at f3be but so far the other round by round scores have not been posted however the final scores are on f3b.de

We were up bright and early again on Sunday morning, this time without the mist so the day started at 8-00am with Rounds 2 & 3 Duration back to back.

Both were flown in virtually no wind requiring minimum sink settings, most pilots did well in both rounds with high scores I even managed 9.32 with 100 points and 9.14 with 85 landing points.

My problem is not getting the launches high enough as with just a few more meters I would have easily done the 10 minutes and although I would not have won my Distance slots would have managed a few more laps and consequently gained some more points.

Round 3 distance was flown in much better air with many more scores in the twenties with highest being 29 by that man Amici again.

Steve Haley was still in third place only a few points behind, the final result, as in so many cases, would depend on Speed which was to be flown in reverse order starting with the pilots at the bottom, needless to say although I was not first to fly it was soon my turn.

The consistently good air found in round 3 Distance disappeared, the unlucky ones got poor air, (that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it)

The fastest time of the round and the whole competition was 14.27 by Jiri Baudis; and in fact in Round 3 he scored the only perfect round with 3000 points. He was flying his new design FOSA model having a more elliptical plan form and a higher aspect ratio, the model seemed better suited to the light winds, especially in Speed.

Although Steve Haley was still in 3rd place he was 4th last to fly due to a re-fly, we knew to win he would have do one of his special runs but should to be able hold onto 3rd place.

His first launch was not into good air but he registered 16.49 only to be told that although he had got a signal at Base A he was given a cut, that time would have kept him in 3rd place.

In the BMFA League if you get a signal you get the score because it is not the pilots fault if those signalling think they have made a mistake.

However it gave Steve another shot at winning if he got the good air which some of the other pilots had.

Unfortunately it was not to be as each of his three launches were nothing like as high as usual and to add insult to injury his last and final attempt resulted in a cut at Base B and a time 22.21, I cannot remember Steve having such a slow time even with a cut.

The result was that it dropped Steve down to 7th place.

The other places were Mark Passingham 39, (very creditable after the mid air,)

Bill Haley 41, Ken Woodhouse 43 (would have been slightly higher but for 2x300 point penalties,) I brought up the rear in 50th out of 55 entries, the order of the places were more or less to be expected based on those in the BMFA League.

There were also team places up for grabs based on three per team, in all there were 15 teams and our team of Haley S, Haley B and Woodhouse K finished in 9th place, an improvement on last year.

The Northern group were concerned about the finishing time of the competition as we were on a tight schedule to reach Rotterdam for the one and only ferry leaving for Hull each day, we estimated that to meet the 7-30pm last check-in time we would have to leave the field by 5-00pm at the latest, that was assuming no hold ups on the roads.

Fortunately the Comp finished at about 4-00pm and after very quickly loading my car we left about 4-30, meaning we were not able to stay for the presentations,

With Steve driving and putting his foot down we were at the ferry port by 7-00

The organisation by Denis Duchene and all the others was superb; there was also a lot of help provided by families and friends.

It is a pity that we do not have the numbers or back up to host another F3B International contest.

The UK soaring community is very fragmented with all the various disciplines doing their own thing.

We should be trying to help each other to improve on the scores we obtain at International competitions and World Championships.

The whole weekend was most enjoyable and I recommend that more of the F3B League pilots make the effort to attend in 2011


Open F3b Competition + Trial Electric F3b Event

Open F3b Competition

Sunday 17th October 2010

Venue:- Wetlands Wildfowl Trust at Retford, Lound Low Road Ash Lagoons


Due to completing all seven league events on schedule this year, we have a spare date on 17th October 2010.

An open F3B event has been organised and all are truly welcome.

Winches will be freely available to all that need them as will any help and or advise you may need.

We will be also trying a low key e-soaring height limited Electric F3b event. So dig out that electric model

( 4M span max)and try your hand at a full F3B course.

Frequencies 56 to 70 only or 2.4

For any further information please email Clive:- l.needham7 at ntlworld.com.

For entry email:- cjubb at ntlworld.com



Hi guys

I really need some help and advice here.

I've suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me, usual signs, phone rings, if I answer they hang up, going out with the girls a lot etc.

I try to stay awake to look out for her when she comes home but I usually fall asleep.

Anyway last night about 12 midnight, I hid in the shed behind the model racks when she came home, she got out of someone's car fastening her blouse and adjusting her underwear.

It was only when I was crouched behind the model Racks that I noticed I had a hairline crack in the Estrella Tail plane.

Now is there something I can repair or does it need to be replaced?

Ok – back to the Nationals. Held on the Saturday of the August bank Holiday weekend at Spitalgate barracks, some 4 or so miles from the main Nats at Barkston Heath. A fair few old and new friends turned up to watch, Simon and Phil Jackson turned up to fly F3B for the first time this year – Simon showed his considerable talent by finishing 4th - not bad considering such a long lay off with no practice.

Brian Johnson put in his 2nd appearance in the F3B league this year, putting in a very creditable league score of 82.37, despite my assistance in several flights. Jonathan Wells flew in his 1st comp for 2 years with an Estrella and also showed well.

Mark Passingham had a mishap in distance and heavily damaged his Cyril – I understand that he repaired it in time to go to the Belgium Eurotour event the following week – only to have it wiped out by someone else while practising before the comp. I think I can understand how your French speaking skills may have become confused with ancient Anglo – Saxon phrases Mark! You have my sympathies.

Neil Harrison had a great day – finishing 2nd overall and winning round 2. Steve was caught out in the last duration, not being able to make the time and attempting a downwind landing in a fair breeze, which resulted in a broken model.

In fact the constant, chewing strong wind was a factor which wore my own personal enjoyment of the day's flying by a lot – to the point where my results were just getting worse as I lost the will to live. However, we probably had a better day's weather than Sunday, when almost all flying throughout the whole Nats was cancelled; Monday was better, allowing us to fly F3J.

Tuesday's weather was superb – we were all back at work!

The Nationals at Barkston Heath ( Basically the power Nats) was once again Hugely attended, the evenings allowed us to socialise, meet up with old friends and admire the skills of the indoor flyers. It would seem that, although silent flight is losing competition entries, the sport as a whole is thriving.

This can only be good news. If, in the future, we have to move to electric motors for launching, then so be it. Whatever developments come forward to increase the number of participants in our sport – we should embrace these developments rather than stay as purists and watch things decline further. These are my own views of course, but it could be worth thinking about for the future.

Bye for now


PS Marlene- the first paragraph was a joke-OK. I really do trust you-I should, shouldn't I ?

Bobs beery banter from L5

Hello all you other sad sacks out there

League 5 was held at the Wetlands. I did not turn up and find myself on my own – an added bonus is that everyone else decided to join me there. Following on from League 4:- Neil's hangover apparently lasted 3 days. He blamed it on something he ate, but we all know far better than that!

The results for the first 4 were pretty close, with only a couple of hundred points separating them. This would obviously mean that either the other guys are getting better, or Steve had a relaxed day at the office. When you are at the cutting edge of competitiveness like myself, you can sense these matters.

Steve must certainly be aware of the improving flying of Young Simon. In fact, when Simon had a radio problem, there followed 10 minutes of circuit checking, battery checking, crystal checking etc. The problem was eventually resolved when Steve discovered that his own radio had been left turned on. That's got to be the way to settle these young upstarts down:- kick the handicap system in early!

Certainly, Simon's last duration slot was a classis. He worked steadily and precisely in low level lift for a long time before finally achieving enough height to take a well deserved slot win, with 10.01 and 90 landing.

As an aside – We recently had the room under the stairs decorated. Years and years of trophies from model flying and kart racing were in there. The boss bin lined them all and consigned them to the garage. I decided that this was not a fitting resting place for them, so erected a couple of large shelves in the office at work and stood them there. This was around early June.

Now some of my workmates have a warped sense of humour. They decided to start removing trophies 2 or 3 at a time and taking them to the pub next door and seeing when I would notice them moved.

Well, when I go to work in the morning, I am usually thinking about work, walk in the office to the kettle and start preparing the daily diary. I didn't notice them missing.

When I call in the pub for a quick one, my eyes rarely stray higher than the barmaid's cleavage, Therefore I didn't notice the influx of trophies into the pub until around 20 July. The whole pub except me knew about this, and all had a laugh at my expense. It then occurred to me that they looked good where they were, in fact Terry (the landlord) had had his bar staff cleaning them because they were too tarnished to be on display.

AaHaa! Since that time, I have been sneaking in 3 or 4 dirty trophies per week and taking back 3 or 4 freshly polished ones. Let's see when they notice!

So – if you want to see a collection of old trophies (from the days when I could fly and win) and have a decent pint, call in at the Black Bull, Hightown, Castleford. Let me know and I will join you.

Cheers for now



UK Team attend 18th Summer soaring Criterium, Anthisnes,Belgium

The UK deputation consisting of :-
Steve Haley,Bill Haley,Mark Passingham
Clive Needham and Ken Woodhouse
have set off to compete at Anthisnes,Belgium
4th and 5th September.

See results here:- http://www.f3b.be/

Steve is in 2nd position after round1
Looking forward to final results and also if they manage to catch
the return ferry on time.

BMFA F3B Nationals L6

Well done again to Steve Haley,


Bob's Beery Banter after L4 2 day? event at Barkston Heath

Oh, where do we begin? A two day league event held on Barkston Heath, which is a huge airfield, held so much promise.

Saturday was rough – wind speed was high (around 20mph) and the air low down was turbulent. Ok – this should not deter us experts, but it certainly slowed the competition down. Base B blew over once and had to be reset.

Rd 1 duration, My time of 4.30 something and a landing bonus won my first slot. Mikey decided to make a name for himself by demonstrating interesting launches. These were definitely the best demonstrations we have seen all year so far. Unfortunately he ran out of flyable models to carry on this demonstration. Early on, he was out of the comp, but gamely carried on helping, manning the course, etc for the weekend.

Neil Harrison had purchased a factory produced model – A Dingo. His investment appeared to be a success, he had not realised that a model could be so easy to fly and still be competitive, which indeed it was.

Steve Haley lost a slot! John Whittle took over a minute and a half out of him in Rd 1 duration. Savour that, Jon

I came 2nd in my first distance with 24 laps: - what a change in the air! I won my 2nd distance with 7 laps – things were proving to be a trifle variable.

Suffice it to say that the day’s competition ran through with its fair share of ups and downs, Paul Carrington landing a model on the runway, young Simon knocking the nose off his first model, me dumping the Estrella a bit hard on one landing and creasing the nose, generally we were struggling through the comp. We managed 2 full rounds on Saturday then adjourned for the evening.

The evening was without doubt the best F3B league social that we have had for many a year. We were able to get round a table, have a decent meal, a few beers and a lot of laughs. Mike Holtby joined us in the style that only he can – he arrived on a classic, beat up 1979 Trump 750 Bonneville, pitched a tent for the night and joined us for a meal. He also bought a round!

I also had a classic with me – In round 2, I flew an 11 year old Cobra which was Nick Wright’s 1999 WC model, so far, it is almost as new. Flying it, for me was like greeting an old friend. I flew a 19.36 speed, which is the best time I have recorded for around 2 years. I suppose the moral of this story is that cutting edge models are superb in the hands of cutting edge pilots.

Old gits like me are probably better off flying something we are comfortable with. The lift also doesn’t seem to realise the model is out-dated!

Day 2 – Sunday – First casualty was Neil Harrison. Having realised that I had forgotten to mention his tree landing in BBBL3, he decided to celebrate on Saturday Night. A surfeit of Stella, intermingled with white wine produced a banging hangover. Shouldn’t try to drink with the Mister’s Neil. Sunday morning he dare not trust himself to drive to the field, and when he was driven there dare not attempt to fly. Big hangover. Welcome to Bob’s World!.

Once again on Sunday, the wind was high. 1 round of duration was flown, after which the competition was called to a halt with only 5 of us left being willing or able to fly. This was something of an anti climax to the weekend, but it was still worth doing & a good weekend.

Take care out there!