I started off the year getting my first giant scale model ready to fly. This was a PAU 30% Sukhoi SU-26. Instead of going the traditional DA-50 type powerplant, I decided to give a bigger electric model a try. This has been a fun model to fly at various events. Performance is outstanding, I think able to outperform a similar size gas setup. The only issue is the flight time, which is around 5-6 minutes depending on the style of flight.
I did have one issue with the setup though. I was using the Schulze 40.160-xl controller for the model, and at near full power it would lose synchronization with the motor and shutdown. I was able to work around this by reducing the ATV (as I am running fixed ATV) thereby reducing the top end power a bit. As I had no lack of performance (around 5500W), this was not a concern.
I did however involve Schulze with this problem, as not everyone wants to fiddle around to make things work, this is one of the reasons for using high end equipment. A short video of the problem and the ability to data log the performance with the new controllers helped to explain the issue. A couple of revisions to the firmware were provided by Schulze, and voila, the problem was resolved. I can now run the motor to absolute full power and rapid application of throttle without an issue.
It was not long and F3A airplanes were brought out of winter hibernation. I continued to fly the same Xigris that I flew during the 2009 season. As this is a very good model there was no reason to make any significant changes to it. As I needed some new canalizers to replace the ones I lost in Portugal I spent some time to develop a little different size and shape than in the past. The new size worked perfectly for me all summer long. Maybe this particular size and shape will be available sometime in the future? :-)
Nedim and I drove down to Wenatchee, WA for the first contest of the year in May. Normally we would head out to Vancouver, but as their field had been closed that contest was put off for a year. Wenatchee turned out to be a fantastic field, and we had a great time at that event. I am not certain time will allow me to attend in 2011, but I definitely plan to go back in the future.
I spent the next 6 weeks preparing for what I considered the most important event of the season, the US National Championships. Well Nedim and I made the long trip (2 days!) to Muncie. We met up with many old friends and also made some new ones. No matter how the results turn out meeting the people is one of the best parts. As this was the team selection for the US team, everyone who was there was there to win. In a big surprise (at least to me), Quique chose to not continue (for now) in F3A. I missed seeing him this year, and hopefully at some point in the future he will decide to make a return.
Overall I think I had my strongest performance of any US Nats. In previous years I have been on the bubble and struggling to make the finals. This year I finished the preliminaries in 4th place, and the semi-finals in 5th place making it a fairly strong entry to the finals. However, in the end I finished 7th (for the third time). My first round of F was quite strong, but I was up first (which is never good) and the visibility was poor due to the haze. The first round of unknown I fell victim to my own stupidity and flew half of a 3/4 roll as a 3 of 4 point....DUH! It didn’t cost me a zero, but serious downgrades and threw the rest of the flight off a bit.
After the Nats, we had two local contests one in Edmonton and our Canadian Nats. I won both of those events, even though I really didn’t fly after the US Nats because I was exhausted!
In that same time my wife and I bought a small RV to haul around to contests. With the kids starting to come along, this makes is much more tolerable to spend long hours at the field...as they have a place to sleep and a bathroom!
Shortly after we got the RV, we took a long trip out to Victoria BC for the Canadian team selection. We spent just under a week in Victoria and had a great time camping at the field with the local pilots, Dave, Mark and Hartley. I think the biggest news was that Mark Byrne came out and flew his butt off and beat out Dez Vaghy. I certainly was not expecting that and was happy that Mark was able to secure his first team spot. Dave Reaville who was on the team in 2007 also flew very well for the whole event, I think he missed making the team by only 6 points.
I had not flown much at all since the US Nats even at this point, and I think it showed. While I didn’t fly poor, I certainly was not up to pace with my best performances. At the end of the contest, I had won with Mark in second and Dez in third. This will be the team for the 2011 Worlds. This will be my 6th time to the Worlds, and I am going to be working hard to meet my goal of being in the finals.
My last event for the year was in Medellin Colombia! This was an absolutely fantastic event, and really exceeded all my expectations. It took me a few days to adjusted to flying again. Unfortunately we are not able to practice much in the month of October, so again I had to improve on the fly so to speak :) I think I started a little slow, but was able to put in some very solid rounds against the other pilots.
I was able to spend a lot of time with the local pilots from surrounding countries and hopefully helped them to better setup their airplanes and improve their own flying. There is a lot of talented pilots in South America, and its only a matter of time before they are pushing for the top positions in the Worlds. I really have to extend a huge thanks to all the pilots down there, especially Pablo Kuri and Eduardo for making that trip possible for me. Was one of the best times I have had at a contest. I made some new friends that hopefully I can see again in the future!
That was it for the flying, but things never end. Right now I am currently working on finishing up and test flying a Xigris C2. I have had this plane for a while, and should have flown it a long time ago, however with all the activity in life that did not happen. My goal is to get at least a couple of evaluation flights on this winter.
Also on the go is a Composite ARF Spark EDF jet. This is a plane I got used, but have done major work to in order to ensure that it is ready for serious speed. In a past life I did a bit of pylon racing, so some speed is still in the blood. It is equipped with a Schubeler DS-75 fan, Plettenberg Dinator 70/2, and 12S 5000 45C Thunder Power batteries. This setup is not just any DS-75, but a reinforced DS-75 so that it will be able to handle the 6000W that I plan to send to it :) I am hoping to be able to hit around 350-370 kph with it, which should make it one of, if not the fastest EDF in this part of Canada.
Oh and there is a bunch of indoor F3P stuff as well, but I will save that for the new year!
Behind any successful season are a lot of people that I need to thank, without their help I couldn’t do this
Agnes, Matthew and Thomas (wife and kids) for not killing me
Nedim Bek - for his non-stop dedication to coaching me
Jean-Pierre Zardini @ ZN Line
Frank Noll @ Futaba/Hobbico
Diana and Uwe Plettenberg - Plettenberg
Matthias Schulze and Ulf Herder - Schulze
Jason Merkle @ Thunder Power RC
Bob Obenberger @ Tru-Turn Spinners
Bartek @ Revoc Custom bags
Mark & Robyn Byrne @ CRC Products
Jack Price @ Duralite
Jon Harwood @ HCC Custom Composites
See you all in 2011!