Report From Clive Needham
2011 F3B NATIONALS RAF COTTESMORE
Due to the loss of Spitalgate as a venue for the Nationals Dave Phipps the BMFA CEO was tasked with finding an alternative and due to his efforts the RAF agreed to the use of Cottesmore. Concerns were expressed about the difficulty of gaining entry due to the airfield still being classed as active although it is in the process of being shut down and handed over to the army.
Fortunately the stringent requirement for all entering to be photographed and the picture attached to the pass were not enforced on the day thus speeding up the entry.
The weather forecast leading up to the contest was not promising with strong winds and heavy showers for the whole weekend.
Although the winds were fairly strong all day the many showers could be seen passing us by with just a brief sprinkling from the edge of one was the only interruption. We have flown in much stronger winds such as at the two day contest last year at RAF Barkston Heath.
However the conditions did slow down the contest due to a number of line breaks.
It was pleasing to have Tom Satinet joining us for the second time this year and Jonathan Sage for the very first time, Jonathan Wells also flew F3B for the first time since last year’s Nats.
Unfortunately due to the need to ensure we had a valid contest with the possibility the weather might prevent this, we were not able to give as much help and attention to the newcomers as we would have wanted which made it more difficult for them, however both appear to be keen to continue flying F3B with us.
The open e-soaring contest was situated downwind of us further along the runway’s grass verge and because of the wind direction and few thermals most of their flying was upwind which resulted in some over flying; this was not a problem except in distance when some of their models entered the course causing confusion.
Because everyone arrived early expecting to be held up at the guardroom we were able to make a prompt start, as usual duration was flown first in three slots of four.
The first slot comprising Bill Haley, Simon Haley, Jonathan Wells and Jonathan Sage who had a baptism of fire for his first ever competitive F3B launch and flight!!
The slot was won by Jonathan Wells by only 2 points from Bill, however both the first two slots were won without flying out the full 10 minutes, the second slot winner was Mike Challinor and only when Steve Haley flew in slot 3 was 10 minutes almost achieved with a 9.55 and 100 landing.
The same pattern occurred in second round duration flown as the last task in a two round contest, only Steve Haley and Ken Woodhouse completing nearly 10 minutes, unfortunately for Ken he was in the same slot so he did not get the true benefit for his efforts. The other two R2 duration slots were won by John Phillips and Jonathan Wells with times of 7.22 and 9.10 respectively.
Rounds one and two distance were flown back to back as usual to make the best use of the manpower and with the help of non flyers Keith Wells and Barry Mason we were able to fly 3 up which is more satisfactory and takes less time than 2 up.
As in duration the laps scored reflected the windy conditions with only Steve Haley, Bill Haley and Ken Woodhouse posting over 20 legs with Ken receiving 1000 points in both rounds but the second one for only scoring 12 legs!!
Speed is also flown back to back and we had the help of Alan Flockhart who flies F5B and was interested in making a comparison between the two disciplines so he with his daughter manned the safety line throughout.
The conditions helped in achieving high launches except in my case as due to flying an electric powered Crossfire it was a battle to achieve the agreed launch height of 300m at a weight of 3.7kgs before the timer cut the motor, in fact the logger indicates cut-off points of about 250m. I hope to be able to increase the power from 500 watts to 700 to overcome this disadvantage in windy conditions.
Most achieved reasonable speed times with the regular speed merchants posting under 20 seconds with Ken near to his PB with 16.81 and Jonathan Wells maybe with a PB of 18.83? Jonathan Sage and Tom Satinet deserve a mention with Jonathan posting 21.34 and 20.39 in his first comp, also Tom with 22.69 in R1 and although he messed up in R2 completed his run to get a score.
As usual Steve Haley showed everyone the way with times of 15.62 and 14.23 flying his Baudis Fosa at about 3.8kgs, this is his fastest so far with the Fosa and only 0.39 seconds outside his British record.
Simon Haley cut the safety line and thus his flight was annulled as stated in the UK variations from the FAI rules where a 300 point penalty is applied. The cut cost him a couple of places on the leader board. This variation may need to be discussed but not here as the explanation is too long, however bear in mind the important word is annulled (which used to be the case in the FAI rules) as against a penalty which cannot be discarded.
Except for Brian Johnson who slightly damaged his model in a landing and Bill Haley who seriously damaged his Shooter, losing it in the sun, all others completed the contest.
Bearing in mind the conditions it was decided to end the contest at the end of round two as it then met the requirements regarding validity.
The prizes were presented by the BMFA chairman Robin Gowler, this is the first time I can recall this has happened.
Many thanks to all who entered and especially to those who helped in anyway including Simon and Steve Haley for computing the scores which you can see on Yahoo Groups.
Models flown as far as I can recall.
Shooter, Target, Fosa, Estrala,Precious, Ellipse,Tangent and E- Crossfire.
The highlight of the weekend was the several low passes by the only remaining flying Vulcan bomber during the F3J contest on Sunday.
The wind was slightly stronger on Sunday, not less as forecast, and five of those who flew F3B entered F3J which made the entry up to 18.
Three of the five made the four-man fly-off the winner was again Steve Haley with son Simon age 12 just a few points behind, Jonathan Wells came fourth