Friday, August 28, 2009

Semi-Finals Complete!

Well, the end of the semi's marks the end of the World Championships for me, with a final result of 16th. This is the best finish that I have had to date at a World Championships, and although I am disappointed that fell from 13th in the preliminaries to 16th during the semi's its still a good result. As a friend from South Africa said "you still beat a former World Champion", referring to Wolfgang Matt who finished in 17th.

We were out practicing at the secret field yesterday, and it turned into an interesting day. On the third practice flight the T-Canalyzer on my primary model decided it had enough and went for a little trip far far away, never to be seen again. I landed and said no problem, the one on my backup model fits nicely, so on it went with a little shimming to get it just right. I did a flight to check trims and make sure it was the same. The very next flight, that T-Canalyzer got lonely for his buddy and took a vacation as well! At this point I was a little frustrated but ok, it was better to happen now than in the contest. No worries, lots of time to make some changes and get used to the plane without the T on it. Uhhhh no, since my only charger that I had brought with me out to practice decided it had enough as well! So I had two packs left that were charged and made the best of those two flights.

I felt I had two good rounds of F today, and had OK scores but not what I was hoping. I guess the loss of my T-friends was causing me to lose some geometry on the high K rolling/KE loop stuff....I dont know...maybe it was just the heat :) At any rate I flew the best I could under the circumstances and thats all you can do!

A shot of us going out for the first round of the semi's

Just before the second round, notice the T-friends are gone...they really do work and I really missed them today!

Diana Plettenberg and I after my second round having a talk about the motor, and just how things are going in general.

The Plettenbergs have been very helpful to me over the years in F3A, and produce arguably the best electric motor for F3A, and I really appreciate all the help and support they have provided! Top notch people!

The results from the Semi's - congrats to all the finalists.

More comments tomorrow....I am going to have some beer, and wine.... :)


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Contest Day Four

Well, my preliminary rounds are over! I am glad to be done flying P-09!

Yesterday I flew in the afternoon and it was extremely windy and turbulent. A very strong blowing out crosswind made life very difficult for all the pilots, even Quique struggled in the conditions and had a very tough time with the center stall turn/snap and received a number of zeros. Quique is usually very good in windy weather so that gives you an idea of how much fun it was! I put in a good flight considering the conditions, unfortunately CPLR flew on that grouping today and the weather was far more favorable, so his score will end up depressing mine more than I would have liked, but that is the way this event works.

Today I flew in front of panel 2 and received a very good score of 478, my highest raw score of the event. I flew very last in our group and again it was a little windier than those who were lucky to fly in the morning. It will however, normalize quite well I think and should help me stay in position.

Both Dan and Dez flew well I think during the event and should be proud of how they did. The flying conditions, and field layout were far from ideal. We are used to far more open spaces in Canada so fields with a lot of surrounding trees are not always easy to get used to for us :) Also the level of competition is in my opinion the highest I have seen. There are many new faces and names that are flying very well, and receiving good scores for their efforts. The traditional top pilots I think will have to keep on their toes! I was very impressed with Stephan Kaiser, he flew right after I did in the rotation, and for a first worlds was very composed and handled the conditions like a professional. He must be about half my age I would guess, so I don't expect to see him going anywhere but up in the future.

I had a long chat with CPLR about his Axiome design details. A few things I notice about this airplane beyond just the rear sweeping wing, and giant canalizer. Firstly the main wing appears much smaller, Christophe told me that yes this is true, and what he did was subtract the canalizer area from the main wing area. The canalizer is about 10 dm^2 (~155 in^2), so the main wing is that much smaller than what you would expect or consider normal. The rear sweeping wing also requires more dihedral than what is normal for a monoplane, so the dihedral was increased a little from the original point which was to set the top of the wing flat (fairly standard on monoplanes). Also the main wing is placed lower in the fuse than you would normally place a monoplane wing.

Secondly, the stab and fin are very large relative to the wing, and also to other F3A models. Christophe said he was not happy with the directional stability in the Osmose, so he made a similar change to the Osmose Evolution and it was improved. So this is a carry over of that, my next question was obviously does that not make it more difficult in the snap, to which he smiled and said there are always compromises :) Indeed.

The side area of the fuse is also much less than other monoplanes as well, this is a result of the 1/2 bipe wing on top increasing the efficiency of the fuse in knife edge, so there is less requirement for a lot of side area. This helps in the crosswind he said by presenting less airplane to get blown around. The model is still pretty big, so I am not sure how much it helps, but its an interesting direction to take and the Axiome doesn't seem to lack and knife edge performance.

Points to consider if you are designing your own version of the Axiome :)

At this point of the contest I am very pleased with how I have performed. I am also happy beyond words with all my equipment, it always works and is extremely reliable. I never fear for a failed noise test, or a deadstick, or any other condition that would result in a missed round. I think this is one of the most important aspects to F3A.

The Xigris is performing extremely well, this plane has met all my expectations. Considering that I did not even test fly the model until July 1st and was only able to get about 100 flights on the plane before leaving for the Worlds I think that is a huge testament to how easy it is to fly. It is a large plane and presents very well especially in rolls and snaps. A big thank you to Jean-Pierre at ZN who really helped out to get me the planes as soon as possible so that I could have them ready for the Worlds!

Tonite is a time for resting, the past 4 days have been very intense and I feel under a lot of pressure to maintain my result and improve it. Tomorrow we will spend the day at the secret practice field (its not on the list of practice sites! :) ), getting ready for the two semi-final F rounds that will be flown on Friday.

I have not seen the preliminary results yet, but from some calculations I have seen I think I may be in a position to improve into a finals position if I can put in strong rounds of F in the semi's. I am not sure so I have to wait until the final results to see how many points out of 10th place I am. Remember that after they re-normalize the prelim scores for a carry over the scores compress a lot so what looks like a big margin suddenly becomes very close :)

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Contest Day Three

Well, I am not the best at upkeeping blogs! Two rounds for me are in the books, a third this afternoon in about 4 hours, and the final preliminary round tomorrow.

For the contest the weather has tempered somewhat, either that or we have become acclimatized completely! It does not feel as hot, the wind is more moderate, and the air seems to be just a little smoother than it was during practice.

I feel the Canadian flyers have performed well for the first two rounds, without many significant mistakes in our flights. The style this year to my eye is to fly big, Onda, CPLR etc. are flying quite huge flights. The rolls are stretched out and quite slow to fill the long lines. Flight speed is not fast, and distance is no closer than 160m. Some flyers were flying even bigger and further out, and do not present well, but still scored quite good. A few of the "big guys" who don't normally fly that style seem to be trying to adopt it in an effort to pick up some extra points.

Personally I do not like the looks of this style of flying, as it takes out a lot of definition in rolls etc. which to me is a big part of pattern, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do!

The percentage of electric models is enormous this year. I have not seen all the lines fly, but from those I have seen fly I would guess something around 70-80% of the pilots are using electric power. Mostly split between Hacker and Plettenberg, with some Axi etc. filling out the bunch. If you consider inrunner to outrunner, to my ear it sounds as though there are more outrunners being used. For glow motors, YS is easily the most dominant, with a few OS 200's in use as well. I heard that Onda has a new YS 175.....not CDI, but I have no other information on it.

Another interesting development has taken place with the in flight noise score. In my 5 Worlds that I have attended this is the first one I recall judges actually using the in flight noise penalty against pilots. I think this is because many people are now using electric that even though they are still quiet, some are louder in the air than others and being penalized. Fortunately in F3A three of the five judges must apply the downgrade before it is actually taken into account, so most people avoided an actual downgrade. One pilot from Argentina was not so lucky, his model was extremely loud in flight (Hacker inrunner) and was penalized by 3 judges. He also failed both his initial noise check, and his recheck, so he will likely lose that flight anyway.

There is lots more to talk about, but I am out of time for now, so a couple of pictures from the ready box of the second round yesterday.

Here I am about ready to go

Nedim hanging onto the Xigris during the sound check, I test around 85 dB.

Austrian pilot Helmut Dansagmeuller (sp?) with his own design model. Similar in profile to Mayr's Osiris, but this one is bigger!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Practise Days Two and Three

On the second day of practice we flew out at the Worlds site on what I assume is the B line (northern end) for most of the day. For most of the day it was simply us and Shane Robinson from Ireland on that site. Shane was flying an Axiome which to my eye seems to be flying quite well. I have had a chance to see a few of these planes fly by different people and they are nice flying airplanes.

Gunther Ulsamer arrived and is again flying his own design the Opium. For some reason he has an affection to name his planes after drugs? The curious thing about this plane is that he does all the construction, and its fully composite and painted in the mold (or appears to be). He said it took about 6 months to complete the first model.

He is flying a new Hacker outrunner prototype motor in this model, I don't know much about it because he doesn't speak english and Dez doesn't speak much German! It looks like a Plettenberg from the back though!

His model had some interesting fences on the wing, apparently to reduce the bumpiness in turbulent conditions. Its very bumpy here, to my eye I am not sure it made much difference, as his plane seemed to be bumped around as much as anyone else.

After practice that day we went to see a bullfight, this was very interesting. Its hard to explain but basically a guy on a horse places a certain number of darts in the bulls back, there is much flair and obviously he is scored based on a bit of showmanship as well as skill in placing the dart. Then at the end a row of guys challenge the bull to charge them, and the first guy jumps on the bull trying to get between the horns. Most of the time they were not successful, as you can see in the picture!

For the third day of practice we flew at the south end of the main site. The Hong Kong team were there flying, and later Gunther and Bernd Bershorner arrived, as well as a few others to simply check out the site but not to fly.

Bernd was flying with the Vector Steering on his Plettenberg, this allows him to deflect the motor up to 7 degrees (or more) to aid in knife edge flight.

Here you can see a shot of the servo that drives the unit to rotate.
Bernd was flying an Addition which by comparison to some of the fat airplanes is a fairly small fuselage. He appeared to have every bit as much knife edge performance as some of the wide fuses. This may help him by having a smaller plane that deals with crosswind better, yet still have sufficient knife edge ability. We will see more in the upcoming days!

Thomas Kwan of the Hong Kong team was flying a Neptuno. I forget his name, but its of his own design I believe and is very similar to the Mid-Rex flown by Suzuki of Japan. This plane flew quite good as well. It has very nice construction, and well built.

Team Hong Kong, Thomas Kwan, Alex Lau, and our good buddy from California Adrian Wong holding Thomas's plane!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Practice Day 1

We flew at the main site in the middle for day 1.  Just us and the US team minus Jason who was at the hotel feeling ill was out there.  The site is situated in a valley, and is basically surrounded by trees.  The wind is near straight crosswind to the runway at ground level, and very turbulent.  At altitude it can change significantly but is a little more stable, so it makes flying very challenging. 

Brett and his helper Bryan were working on some issues with his motor which I think are now resolved.  Quique was flying his new Ventura bipe which looks very nice, and quite similar to the Euphoria but many subtle changes do exist.  Quique was also sporting a very fancy radio case which was a gift from some friends of his, its a work of art.  He commented that people pay more attention to his radio case than to his airplanes, and he was right!

Andrew showed up a bit later with his helper Verne and got in a couple of quick flights then left to get some needed rest.  It was a good day and an opportunity to relax and shoot the breeze with my friends who I missed getting together with at the Nats this year.

Thats it for tonite, I will try and do a little more catch up tomorrow for Day 2 and Day 3 practice.  Tomorrow is actually our 4th day of practice and we plan to head south a little ways and practice at a different site since more competitors are beginning to show up and the main site is getting crowded.



So after a very long trip, everyone made it safe and sound.  I will skip all the gory details about getting held up in customs for many hours trying to explain that our planes were not commercial shipments and simply our personal items, and the small part about paying a bond....oh and the part about having no air conditioning in the car, and the boxes not fitting, and the 39 celcius temperature on the trip to Pombal (with no A/C).  The plus of all that was I slept really, really well the first night haha!

So I will start from the first day of practice, and go from there :-)  Will do one post at a time so its easier to follow.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Off we go!

Boarding has started we are on the plane with all our gear (I hope!)
Here is a shot of everyone trying to get on the plane!

Sent wirelessly from my CrackBerry.

We are through

Well after a nice $400 charge to get the planes on with lufthansa we quickly made it through screening (except me who got felt up by the nice security dude) without further problems.

We carried on a number of battery packs this year and had absolutely no trouble getting them accepted as carryon baggage. This saved a lot of weight in the luggage which allowed my wife to pack our snorkeling gear!

Here is a picture of Dan, Agnes and Nedim hanging out after going through security.

We will be boarding our flight in about 1.5 hours.

More from Portugal!

Sent wirelessly from my CrackBerry.

At the airport

Well the bags are checked in and just waiting to pay our excessivly high fee to get our boxes on the plane!

Sent wirelessly from my CrackBerry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Worlds Time!

Well the time has come, the planes are boxed up, and the bags are packed.

Tomorrow morning we head to the airport for a 1PM departure, a short stop in Frankfurt and a Friday arrival at 11:25AM local in Lisbon. From there a quick 200km drive north to Pombal will have us resting easy with a cerveza in hand!

Oh wait, that's only as long as I am not following Dez haha! Inside joke.

Not really any pictures yet, but I will be posting them up as they happen and internet access allows. Obviously there will be a bit of a lag until we arrive before real updates will happen.

I have posted a couple of links to some blogs/update pages from other people as well in the top left corner of this page!

Here we go!


Saturday, July 25, 2009


We were blessed with great weather all day. Hot and fairly calm. Tonite we are all around the RV's drinking a few brews and BBQ'ing. Also we are preparing for the unknowns that the FAI guys picked tonite!

Sent wirelessly from my CrackBerry.

One more picture

One last picture of the guys practising the unknown.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

We made it

Well we arrived safe in chilliwack and have unpacked the models and getting ready to put in a couple of practise flights.

The weather is quite nice. Sunny and warm with a medium breeze from the left.

Sent wirelessly from my CrackBerry.

Nap time

Nedim getting his beauty sleep!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last minute practise

Here is team Alberta getting a few last minute flights before heading to BC for the contest this weekend!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Just testing out how well posting to my blog from my blackberry is working.

Sent wirelessly from my CrackBerry.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day Two

Got in a few more flights today for practice, not flying for the past 5 months is starting to show up a bit, but a few more flights should get most of that polished off.

Ivan came down from Ocala (where he is staying at the field in his motorhome) to get in some flights with us. He is flying his trusty Genesis from last season with a 170 CDI motor that is running really well for him.

Jason actually brought his plane out today and as usual is looking a little better than the rest of us (his flying that is, he needs a haircut lol ). We ran through both the P and F patterns and spent the afternoon playing around with the Eagletree datalogger getting a look at some inflight data of various setups.

I decided to go up for another flight, and I guess Jason was getting bored with flying and decided to try his skill at nature for his first subject a bee seemed like a good choice! I think the camera was less than 1" away when he took this shot.

Tomorrow we hope to get out a little earlier and put in a few more flights, so far I am up to 9 flights and hope to get in at least 30 more before I leave :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

First Day

Well, I arrived safe and sound late last night and Jason was still awake to get me at the airport. We got back to his place and unpacked as little as possible and pretty much went straight to sleep as it was nearing 2am local time.

This morning I was pretty lazy, and almost outslept Jason....and didn't get up until 11:30am. The plane came out of the box and everything was assembled and readied to hit the field...after a quick stop at the local McD's...(hey you can't hang out with Jason without going to McD's).

I manged to get in 4 flights today mostly of the F-09 pattern. I figured it was better to start out with F-09 because I have not flown since November.... :) The weather here is nice, perfect shorts weather for a white Canadian boy like me, maybe mid 20's. The wind was straight in our face at about 15-20 mph, so not too bad for the first flights in 5 months. There were a few other locals at the field practicing, Don and John Lowe, Dave Stoddart and Al McCaskill. Jason didn't bring his plane out so he flew Al's Dirty Birdy and found out on landing that its not so great at knife edge :)

Jason got a couple of shots, I was lazy and left my camera in the car tonite so my pics will have to wait until tomorrow.

John Lowe with his new Osmose Evolution, YS 170DZ power. Plane looks really nice and flew well with lots of performance. I would expect to see quite a number of these around this year.

Jason caught this shot of my Integral, not sure if its taking off or landing....must be taking off because all my landings ended up at the other end of the field :)

For all my friends at home enjoying the nice cold weather....see the shorts...ya its nice and warm here, and sunny......and no snow :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 is starting!

It has sure been a long time since the last update, really not much has went on. It has been a normal winter, with some indoor flying but that is it. There are new projects on the way, and when they arrive there will be more content.

March has started to pick up, I just did an aerobatics seminar this past Saturday to kick off the season. Tomorrow I am heading to the airport to catch my flight to Orlando, FL. where I will meet up with Jason Shulman and spend a week practicing for the upcoming season. Coincidentally the Ocala contest will be on the weekend I am there, so we will be attending that. My friend Ivan Kristensen from Ontario has already made the trip down so I hope we can all meet up and get in some flying in the Florida weather. Keep your eyes on the blog for updates of the activities.

As soon as I get back from Orlando on the 26th, I will be busy getting ready for the first ever Canadian E-Fest type event. This will include an F3P contest and F3P-AM contest that I will be participating in. I am not sure there will be time to update the blog again until after that event, but in any case check back for pics and results of it as well.