Here is a report from Clive Needham on the 2013 and thoughts on 2014.
First of all congratulations to Steve Haley (Fosa) on once again being top of the League table with a perfect of 1000 points at all four contests with three out of the four to count. Second was, still a junior, Simon Haley (Precious) 2859 points and a close third Mike Challinor 2807 (Fosa Lift) Simon also awarded the Nigel Mead Trophy as the most improved pilot of the year It is difficult to assess the 2013 season because of all the cancellations and abandonment’s due to the weather, thus resulting in fewer of you as a proportion attending all of the comps which were available The benchmark for a full season is the number who have attended at least 4 out of the usual available 6 or 7 comps, in 2012 (which was a full season) fewer pilots achieved this, therefore we are too reliant on this dedicated group which can cause difficulties if some are unable to attend. 14 Competitors attended in 2013 of those 11 listed on the final results flew in 3 or more contests.
We have been helped a little this year by the return of Dave Worrall, Norman Quirk and Mike Holtby and I hope some of you who have not flown for a year or two will also return in 2014, plus those who dip in and out of the League will make the effort to attend more. I can think of at least 6 who fall into these two categories. Thanks are due to Steve and Simon Haley for setting up the matrix and compiling the results for most of the season, a duty which was latterly taken over by Tom Satinet.
I try to spread out the dates and locations of the contests to be as fair as possible. But I am constrained by trying to avoid bank holidays, mother and fathers day, to help with family relationships, plus the need to avoid comps being too close together, therefore most have to be held on the second or third Sunday of the month. Because there are now so many F3F, F3J and e-Soaring contests it is impossible to avoid some clashes.
Suitable ones are hard to find, but as the co-operation of Fred Walters the land owner of The Wetlands is second to none, I have to admit this is my first go to option, especially as the majority of the competitors are from the midlands northward, however generally most seasons we have held 2 comps at Upton upon Severn (but only on Saturdays) and of course The Nats are held, if possible, near to the power Nats at Barkston Heath. (Cranwell 2013 and several times at Spitalgate). This year to help those from further South I scheduled two comps at Barkston Heath, even though I find the regulations imposed there irksome, but due to very few of those I was trying help entered any of the comps I took the opportunity to change back to The Wetlands. Dave Worrall and I have flown models launched by electric motors, with a converted Crossfire and Dingo respectively, Bob Dickenson also has a Crossfire fitted out and Norman Quirk has a Strega model available.
The setup of a Leopard motor and gearbox powered by 4- cell 1800mah lipos with a 16/17inch x 11/13 pitch propeller has an output of about 1000watts gives plenty of power to launch the models even when ballasted up for the Speed task. The set up provides a least 4 launches but it is best not to push for more, and in any case the batteries may be charged or changed after each launch. The rules for motor launched models have been developed further to ensure, as far as possible, that both launching methods have the same outcome, but it is impossible in all circumstances just as winch launching results in different heights depending on the state of the air, the model set up and pilot’s abilities. However when there are enough pilots using e-launching to fly in separate slots the difference between the two methods becomes irrelevant. It is expected that more models will be e-launched next year.
Although the summer this year is generally accepted to have been better than average, our comps have been affected more this year than in the case of poor summers, more so than I can remember, even during the foot and mouth outbreak fewer problems were encountered. However we must look forward and hope for a better year in 2014 which as you know will include team selection for the 2015 World Championships, which are expected to be confirmed to be held in The Netherlands at the next CIAM meeting. This venue will be the easiest to get to although it might not be as low cost as some East European countries once on site. Comments were made by several of you, plus some of the BMFA hierarchy at meetings I attend, that it is poor show that we are not flying the GB flag at WC’s. In fact we have not done so since 2007.
Therefore if any of you still aspire to compete in a WC, 2014 is the year to put in the effort to be selected. Following the WC in Germany this year there was an upsurge of interest in attending the next one, however, this only resulted in two pilots and a possible TM confirming their interest and these were conditional on who the third pilot and the two helpers minimum might be. Helpers are essential for a good team performance.
If we cannot find a team to travel to The Netherlands it will be sad day.
Apart from the help towards funding of teams attending Championships from the BMFA general budget which all teams receive equally, there is a discretionary fund held by SFTC which is there to make extra payments in the case of expensive travel plus additional entry fees which may be charged by organizers. However due to extra demands from new disciplines now allotted Championship status, who so far, have not contributed to the pot, the fund is now virtually empty.
NOTE,there is a separate training and excellence budget which pays out for basic travel and overnight stays to help with attending team practices but only once teams have been selected. The fund has even been known to help with attending Eurotour contests prior to the Championships. A scheme was devised in December 2012 which required each discipline holding any team selection contests to impose a levy of £5 per day per competitor to boost the fund.
This scheme was not universally accepted and as far as I am aware only F3J at their 3 team selection contests and others (including F3B) at The Nats paid the levy. Over the years F3J have received the most support from the fund but to be fair they have contributed the most to it. As the levy was only to be applied to team selection contests and F3B did not need to hold any in 2013, I also refused to apply it, even though I was instructed to do so.
Whether this scheme or another devised by SFTC will come into being, I do not yet know, but unless more money is put in the SFTC pot the additional funding will not be available. If a new scheme comes into being I believe funds should be paid out in proportion to the amount each of the disciplines put in. Some who are not concerned about the cost of attending are not bothered about this, but team selection should not only be based on those with the deepest pockets. Hopefully more of you will joining us in 2014 to ensure a better all round League, the better the attendance easier the job of running the contests becomes. The challenge of F3B is great but so is the satisfaction as with three different tasks within one contest there are more chances of achieving PB’s.
Weather allowing, there will be four winter practice/training sessions before the Speed contest in mid March.