Queensland pattern aerobatics championships Bundaberg July 2013
This year the annual Queensland championships for model aircraft aerobatics were hosted by Bundaberg Aero Sport Flyers, some 35k south of Bundaberg CBD. Great credit to Mark Linwood (club secretary) for the venue preparation, the runways being pretty close in condition to your average flat putting green. Also thanks to other club members that helped to make the day a success.
The roll-up of competitors included 3 pilots contesting sportsman class and 7 contesting F3A class. With the omission of competitors from both intermediate classes, Advanced and Expert (our normal source of judges for F3A). Judging became a little problematical. Unselfishly both Simon Atkinson and Peter Pennisi elected not to compete and only judge. Subsequently John Payne, a very experienced competition pilot did a bit of reorganization such that we could all competed in this friendly comp. David Carkeek sadly could not make it this year due health, get well soon Dave (we need your judging skills and contesting Expert class).
Day one the weather greeted us with low mist, later to clear to a fine almost windless day. The lack of wind indicated at ground level left the pilots to only guess what the wind was doing at flight altitude. As wind direction will favor starting the maneuver sequence toward left or right. After pilot briefing, first up was sportsman class with two flights each. In good conditions the three pilots completed their sequences of 10 maneuvers. Soon to follow was the F3A class pilots; their maneuver schedule is different in both complexity and number. 17 maneuvers are flown in F3A consecutively such that the entire flight path from start to finish is judged.
We had a short break for lunch. Club members kindly collected some snacks from nearby Woodgate Beach, closely followed by the appearance of Gloria (pilots wife) brandishing a couple of freebee pizzas for all. With a couple of flights under our belts, lunch over with and the morning nerves having eased a bit, we concentrated on the afternoon session which gave most pilots 4 flights each for the day.
Aaron Garle a youthful pilot with natural talent, recently acquired a pattern aircraft and contested F3A at this event. Although new to F3A competition, Aaron is an accomplished IMAC pilot, this wealth of experience and knowledge is being brought to bear on a campaign to master F3A, not just in Queensland but fields afar. Aaron is Australian team member for the world titles being held in South Africa in a matter of weeks, we all wish him success. The rarified air at the competition site will be a tester for all, as the field is at 7000ft altitude!
I think it’s fair to say that everyone was flying well in good conditions today. As I was doing the scoring I was necessarily privileged in knowing who was doing OK in terms of the scores and could see a star emerging from the group.
Later in the day, after competition was over Gavin Broadbent gave us a show by flying his electric helicopter. The freestyle sequence consisted of every maneuver you could invent, including very low flying. When I say “later in the day”, well it was more like the dark side of twilight. Basically it was dark; stars in the sky now were visible! A single LED on the helicopter was becoming the most prominent feature the spectators could see and then only occasionally as the direction became favorable. Gavin did confess that it was getting a bit too dark, a couple more lumens and he would be in his comfort zone.
The weather on the Sunday started misty but improved and was OK for flying mid morning, next to no wind as yesterday.
Peter and Simon caught up by flying rounds 3 and 4 missed from yesterday. This was closely followed by the final rounds of Sportsman class.
Our sportsman pilots were doing a fine job; Michael Hobson an experienced IMAC competitor was flying a Vanquish. David Garle not only giving support to Aaron was contesting sportsman also flying an EF Vanquish. Mark was doing a super fine job considering he has just started pattern flying with a new and unknown model that had its radio gear installed a couple of weeks ago. We integrated lunch with the remaining F3A flights all flown in good weather conditions.
After a battle with my vintage laptop, scores were eventually extracted.
David Garle took first place in sportsman winning 3 rounds. Michael Hobson not far behind was in second place, also winning 3 rounds.
Mark was placed 3rd flying his new electric Mythos.
The emerging star I spied from yesterday was revealed to all as one Malcolm Balfour. Malcolm won all rounds in F3A class with considerable margin. His Wind S pro was guided with geometrical precision and a style that was very smooth, the essence of pattern flying. Malcolm has flown with the UK team competing at world level, so the bar has been raised quite a bit here in Queensland.
Gavin Broadbent took 2nd place flying Peter’s YS powered Impact. Obviously a gifted helicopter pilot, Gavin can also lead the way in F3A.
Aaron Garle took 3rd place, only a whisker away from taking 2nd place from Gavin (35 points difference)
Simon as always did an excellent job of presenting medallions (thank you Barry – MAAQ) and perpetual shield trophies. Simon observed that John Payne had his name engraved on the F3A shield no less that 4 times and was just outside of the placing this year. John was flying his own design “Tempest”.
I don’t think Simon would mind me mentioning a slight uncharacteristic error on his part, in that our 3 sportsman place getters were anointed with the F3A medallions instead of their sportsman counterparts. After the ensuing mild ‘no holds barred’ wrestling match, Simon was holding the high ground (army training) and thus from a superior commanding position was declared, unanimously as winner by retrieving all but one of the f3A medallions. David, retaining the third, developed a particularly strong attachment to the F3A logo. The final exchange was made with very little bloodshed and proceeding went smooth after that.
Someone said to me at a flying site, “I only fly for fun”, well the secret is out, pattern flying is fun, good fun, have a go yourself in sportsman class.
The Queensland Pattern Fliers welcome you to our Web Site, we are currently re-building the group and welcome you to enquire about our activities. Contact regarding this can be made to: Dave Carkeek 0429234209 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of our Members (free) are located all over the State of Qld and beyond so for help there is bound to be someone near your location.
Flying Pattern does NOT require a dedicated Pattern Plane - at the entry level the Sportsman Schedule can be done by most club sport Airplanes in the .45 to .60 sizes. It is about discipline in flying and is a practiced skill so there are not too many naturals out there. Some Scale fliers join in to improve their ability to place Airplanes where they want rather than chasing them all over the sky others to just improve their flying, so it is not all about Pattern - you can get out of it what you want.