Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Went to Turkey ....

We went to Turkey, na, na, na, na, na.
by C.Goodrum

About a month ago Michelle called me and said "guess what?"

"Don't be silly, Michelle! I'm busy." I replied. You have to understand that things were really busy at work and chat time was limited. The excitement in her voice was quite obvious however so I was curious now and wanted to know what I must guess. F3J team trials were around the corner and we were struggling to find helpers so it must be something to do with that.

"I've been invited to the Soarist competition in Turkey by Mustafa."

"Really, you're not serious?"

And so the story began. Sorry for the childish intro but it really is an honor to be invited to this competition. The Soarist competition is an F3J invitational in Turkey where people from around the world are invited to fly, all expenses paid, in near to Istanbul. Mustafa Kok is one of the leading businessmen in Turkey and he and the Istanbul Soaring Club arrange this competition. This was the 4th time the competition was being held and we had therefore heard about it before. Unfortunately we had never cracked a nod until now. Well to tell the truth I still had not cracked a nod to get one of the starting places, Michelle had. It was NOT the kind of invitation you wanted to turn down but Mich didn't want to travel alone so she replied asking if it was possible for me to join her. The reply came back positive.

I was in Paris on business so Michelle arranged to fly to Frankfurt and meet with me there. She didn't realize that this meant a 12 hour wait. At 2:30 am we landed in Istanbul and were greeted by one of the organizers, put on a bus and driven to our hotel, arriving there at 5:30am, by then we were really tired so we set the alarm for 4 hours and went to bed. At 11:00 we had breakfast and then asked reception how we could get to the field, he asked us to relax (not easy for me when I want to go flying) and we would get a bus in about 30 minutes to 1 hour. An hour later there was the bus and off to the field we went. We just had enough time to assemble models before a round zero which meant no time to check models and get a feel for the air, but I guess that's what round zero is for.

Figure 1 The first view of the field

The main themes:
-Most of the models being used were Pike Perfects, Shadows and Experience Pros (pretty much in that order).
-It is obvious that one of the trends is to take a higher risk in launch by opting for a lower, faster launch with less time on the line but the conditions on the first day did not allow for this with the first prep time starting around 8:30 after rain the previous night and a late sunrise. There was pretty much no activity and the group spreads were high. The second round had thermals and the top pilots started to push the limits. This is what makes F3J interesting. In order to get into a fly-off you now have to differentiate yourself but it is no easy to be the first to do it and the conditions were not booming thermals. A good launch time is 3 or 4 seconds with 6 seconds being OK but not great.
- Landings must be 100 points within the last second! (unless you are lucky)

Figure 2 Stefan Eder's model (what's it called?)

Figure 3 Is there any space left for us to stick our models?

Figure 4 Mustafa doing karoke

Figure 5 Jojo trying to get into Michelle's pants

Round 1
I didn't make the time and Michelle could have pushed the time more (she could also improve a little on the landings.

Round 2
Ok but landing timing could be better

Round 3
Timing difficult due to down wind-ish on landing

Figure 6 Isn't child labour illegal in Europe?

At the end of day 1 we had completed 3.5 rounds with Michelle in 29th after 3 rounds and me in 32nd.

Day 2 was unfortunately rained out, much to most of the competitors' disappointment.

Figure 7 What F3J pilot's look like when it rains.

Many thanks to the Soarist Competition organizers for their hospitality, it is an event Michelle and I will never forget.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Update from Turkey

Here is an update I received from Craig and Michelle this morning:

"Good morning from Turkey. It is raining here today so no idea if we will fly more. After 3 rounds Michelle 29 and Craig 32. The field is very good, there are lots of trees on the edge. This event is amazing and the organistation great. Conditions have varied from really easy on the practice day to really difficult yesterday. We are looking forward to next year. Craig & Mich."

Monday, October 08, 2007

F3J @ WHRF, 7 October 2007

Thank you to everyone that attended HTL #6 at WHRF on Sunday, 7 October 2007. I was very impressed with the day, which included elements of a highly competitive group, relatively challenging conditions, but most of all - that wonderful sense of camaraderie we experience at these events.

The pilots briefing started a smidgen after 08h15, with the caution that strict F3J rules would be applied, electronic timing provided by Mark & the MGA's PA system, scoring by F3Jscore. The first slot started after 08h30 and we had no breaks throughout the day allowing for the finishing of the first 5 rounds around 12h30. The preliminary scores were tallied & checked, with 7 pilots (top 30%) identified for the 15 minute, winner takes-all fly-off at 13h00. In between the Martie's diner provided sustenance and the amazing weather conditions provided a suitable challenge to everyone. The heavy rains from the previous week & particularly the storms the night before created crystal clear air, with a very high humidity level. During the second round, a large bank of cloud began building an approaching from the East due to this humidity, but we were fortunate that we could enjoy sunshine for the entire event. Small thermals aplenty flew past the field in a stiff breeze, but the long trips downwind had many people scratching up front & particularly the RES100 and 2m class suffered being unable to penetrate as well as the larger models. The extremely soft ground seemed to encourage the pilots, and we likely recorded the highest number of spots in an event of this nature, ever!

The preliminary rounds & fly-off contained only Open class models as would be expected in conditions. The class leaders after the first 5 rounds were overtaken by Mark in a nail biting finish, flying his Xperience-Pro x-tail, and followed by Paul into 2nd place with an X-pro v-tail. Third place in the finals, and first Junior, Kurt, was a flying his dependable Eish!. Chris was flying his Pike Superior with aplomb, but a quick relaunch at the start saw his hopes of a win dashed.

Alan & his twin personality flew the only RES100 entry & Bas predcited see him moving to the top of the table.

Derek once again stamped his authority on 2M & also moves to the head of this class in the league.

It was nice to see 3 juniors (2 new) flying and wow!, these youngsters can definately mix it with the moldie oldies as they nailed the spot & maxed their flights regularly.

Lionel Brink

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Dateline: September 2007
European F3J medley

August was busy for European F3J enthusiasts. First a return to Deelen air base just outside Arnhem for Hollandglide, the 15th year of this event. Hollandglide is nowadays billed as the largest annual Euroleague competition, but others are coming close. It is almost too big for it takes a long time to walk to Spot 15 or 16. This year Deelen enjoyed its best weather for several years, reserving a soaking vicious storm for 30 minutes after the prize-giving.

But highlight for me was the fond farewell given to Harry “The Knife” Saunders and his wife who have been contest director/supremo since the start. Hollandglide also started a new trophy for the top placing pilot “over-50”. I complained to Jos Kleuskens who awarded the trophy to Colin Paddon (GB), that next year it should be “over-70” to give me a chance!

Harry “The Knife” Saunders and his wife plus grandchild collect their presentation after 15 years of serving as contest director/supremo at Hollandglide, truly a servant of F3J Europe. Red hat is Albert Kort, organiser-in-chief, another hero.

Then many pilots and helpers drove on across Germany, Austria or the Czech Republic into Slovakia, aiming this time for Trnava for the fifth European championships. The Trnava Cup held on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning before the champs and attracted 136 pilots. They enjoyed a wonderful treat with a foretaste of the tricky thermals, peppered with plenty of teasing flat calms and gusty speeding winds which was to come.

It’s hard to choose between the highlights. UK achieved its best FAI F3J success ever, in contrast to the miserable F3B results from Switzerland. Models, gazebos and even caravans were lost or shifted bodily by the swirling storm which hit Trnava halfway through one afternoon slot. Also the emergence of Russia, Lithuania and the continuing rise in fortunes of the Italian pilots is most welcome.

The Feigl family legend grows bigger with Peter Feigl managing the German team to first place in the Eurochamps after taking a flyoff place in the Trnava Cup. His elder son Sebastian triumphed as European champion, dropping 1.50 points in the four round flyoff. Second son, Benedikt Feigl won second place at Hollandglide and has secured a German team place in next year’s world champs in Turkey. Sebastian has not got a team place for next year, such is the scramble for the three team places.

German team manager Peter Feigl gets the now traditional hair shaving prior to being dunked in the pool as new European team champions.

Sebastian Feigl, new European F3J champion, has his head shaved in celebration, a somewhat dubious tradition going back at least two years.

2007 Eurochamps - Trnava, Slovakia

Allow me to sing the praises of the UK team - not often I get the chance.

Ten years ago at the very first F3J FAI champs in Poprad, Slovakia, the UK team did well, amongst the leaders and rightly so as originators of this new form of RC sailplane competition. Two pilots, Peter Cubitt and Simon Thornton, reached the flyoff, coming sixth and seventh respectively, and the team, which also included John Stevens of Eliminator fame, came fourth.

To set some perspective, let me quote Jack Sile’s 1997 report of the event: Pete Cubitt having scored 1,000 in the first round - “had his worst flight in the second round, but then followed with seven consecutive 900 plus scores.” How standards have changed. Today if you don’t score 55 seconds plus and 100, you are unlikely to be near the flyoff places. Pilots returning from the flightlines don’t talk about the minutes - times are assumed to be 9 minutes - only the seconds to two decimal places.

2007 allows UK heads to be held high, despite the team changes only a fortnight beforehand when Simon Jackson pulled out and was replaced by Colin Paddon. Adrian Lee and Austin Guerrier arrived with caravans in Trnava with two days of practice before the Open, Colin Paddon, team manager Graham Wicks and helper Kevin Beale flying in on Saturday with only one day to spare.

Each of the UK team pilots had one poor flight in the early rounds, but for once their spirits did not dampen and everyone pulled together. By the sixth round, the team was in 8th place, 500 points behind the leaders, but in the gusty winds, not irretrievable. Seventh round the team were up to fifth place and with consistent flying in ever more tricky conditions, so it stayed, Great Britain in fifth team place behind Slovakia, Italy, the Czech Republic and winners Germany.

Fifth-placed Team UK gathered around fifth-placed pilot Austin Guerrier, highest placed British pilot ever in an FAI F3J championships.

Austin Guerrier’s progress to gaining the last flyoff place was more dramatic. After six rounds he was in 23rd place, moving up round by round to 19th, 18th, 14th and then 12th at the end of 10 rounds. I’d shared some of his disappointment in the early rounds - “I am annoyed with myself, I came here to win!” Being proprietor of Acemodel and UK supplier of NAN Models gives him an incentive. Just before launching in high winds of later rounds, he quipped: “There’s only one way to deal with this - fly high and go far!” How true that was to prove in the flyoffs.

Saturday, sixth day of the championships, was flyoff day and dawned calm and sunny, seemingly set for eight 15-minute rounds of split second launches and spot landings. I had urged the contest director to squeeze in the first two rounds of senior and junior flyoffs into the tricky air of late afternoon on Friday, leaving everyone to relish the prospect and excitement of the final two rounds for Saturday. A similar schedule had produced a grandstand finish in Red Deer, Canada, three years earlier.

But contest director Milan Blazek and flight line king Miroslav Minarik, who had presided well over the whole week after a shaky start and a dodgy matrix, chose Saturday.

My fears that the flyoffs would be too easy proved wrong. First round of seniors saw several pilots risking two-second launches, and all bar one got away with it. Four pilots scored 14.55 seconds plus, Primoz Rizner getting 14.56.50 but only 90 landing points, three scored 14.54 plus, and only Juraj Adamek landed 45 seconds early.

Second round also looked easy, Jan Kohout netting 14.57.20 plus 100, Tobi Lammlein 14.56.90 and Philip Kolb and Sebastian Feigl both on 14.56.20. Austin Guerrier had his worst round scoring a good 14.53.50 but dropping 30 landing points.

Round three decided the championships. The wind had become stormy, gusty and far from predictable. Tempted into rash optimism by previous flights, all the pilots were prepared to rush downwind chasing what had become ephemeral patches of kinder air. The fields of corn and sunflowers downwind became littered with models. Gangs of helpers dashed to recover models among the high crops. Everyone bar one relaunched, few with the same model. Only one pilot, Marko Salvigni, triumphed with 10.36.90 and 100 to make his 1,000 points.

But salvation was at hand. Thomas Fischer and Primoz Rizner had touched each other minimally on launch and a reflight was called. Perhaps that explains why the pilots who heard the call flew so recklessly. Ten of the pilots claimed their refly scores in Round three, Sebastian Feigl scoring 14.53.30 and 100 to claim his 1,000 points. He was down to treetop height at around nine minutes, but then did some horizontal DS-ing which sent him 500 metres downwind to pick up 10 metres height, then slowed and flew out the slot - true champion style.

Round four was tame, only three pilots not managing to fly the slot out. New European champion was Sebastian Feigl, boldest and riskiest of all F3J flyers. Second place went to Tobi Lammlein who this year has specialised in coming second in all his contests. Following in third was Marko Salvigni, a worthy triumph which brought a huge smile to his face. Had the third round refly not been granted, I suspect that Marko would be the new champion.

Consistency also counts a lot, and Austin Guerrier proved that in coming fifth, just behind Philip Kolb. Although he dropped 50 landing points and 14.53.50 was his highest time, he became the highest placed British pilot in an FAI championship ever. Congratulations!

Heartiest congratulations of the whole week should go to Lesley van der Laan who is the new European Junior champion. He flew well enough to show that he will soon be a force to be reckoned with at senior level too. This young Dutchman always sports a laughing face and has competed at European and World level for the last four years. His success is most pleasing and well deserved.

Johannes Weber of Germany and Arijan Hucaljuk of Croatia claimed second and third places, narrowly squeezing Giovanni and Filippo Gallizia brothers from Italy into fourth and fifth places. Junior team results saw Czech republic in first place, followed by Italy and then Slovenia.

How about predictions?

Now the reckoning. For flyoff places David Claeys of Belgium let me down and only managed 33rd place. Adrian Lee from UK did slightly better with 20th place and I should have stuck with Austin in my predictions. Damir Kmoch from Croatia managed 21st place and I was surprised that noone from that keen country made the flyoff. Primoz Rizner rather than Primoz Prhavc came fifth in the preliminaries, missed the third round of the flyoff and came last.

My bets got better with the Germans because Sebastian Feigl, Tobias Lammlein and Philip Kolb all made it. What I did not expect was that Thomas Fischer would also win a place to make it four out of four.

Jan Kohout, who I saw as the repeat champion, came close to predictions; he led the preliminaries up to Round seven only to be beaten into second place by Philip Kolb by less than three points. In the flyoff he suffered in the notorious third round dropping 325 points and down to seventh place. Another Czech, Jaroslav Tupec, who pretends to be my father, made the flyoff and repeated his promise to stop competing in championships because he’s too old.

Massimo Verardi missed the flyoff by one place, but Marko Salvigni and Marco Generali did make it. Frank van Melick shot his bolt early, but Cor de Jong made it. Juraj Adamek from Slovakia made it, but team-mate Jan Ivancik didn’t.

Finally Murat Esibatir, the quiet Turk, let me down. Among the leaders up to Round four, he suffered the indignity of sloping the trees as others had done before to spin out the slot. But then the lift stopped leaving him too low to get back and he hit a tent - bang, off go 100 points to add to his zero. Ouch! He promises me it’ll be different next year.

So I named six of the 12 places in 14 guesses, about the same as last year. I wonder how many gossipers try for themselves? I named the team champions but hedged my bet with three options. One matter was a good bet, and that is that every pilot and helper taking part enjoyed a good contest.

Trnava Cup

This gossip column is not meant to dwell too much on results, but the Trnava Cup was a testing contest with a super prize, a special edition of his Supra presented by Vladimir Gavrylko. Philip Kolb won the flyoff, and knowing that he only flies his own-design Samba Pike Perfects these days in F3J competitions, I offered to buy his prize. That was refused without hesitation. “Now I have the ideal opportunity to test Mark Drela’s design for myself, and I am looking forward to it.” Philip sees Supra in many respects as the father or mother of his Pike Perfect.

What surprised me was that the Trnava Cup flyoff had two pilots from Ukraine and three from Russia and a Pole, which shows that competition from former Eastern bloc countries is hotting up. Only the year before in Martin, the Russians had found themselves floundering and confused: they were new and had language difficulties. They have caught up fast and deserve full credit. Watch out next year!

Ricardas Siumbrys from Lithuania, lying fourth after eight rounds, sadly scored 443 points and dropped out of sight in 29th place. F3J can be unforgiving!

Overfly panic stations

This year for the first time digital camcorders are being used to record landings and check overflying. Apparently this practice has become commonplace in Germany to prevent disputes about when models land, before or after the start of the long blast. Apparently one or two other countries are considering adopting the same practice.

I think that Philip Kolb’s second flight in the Trnava Cup flyoff was an overflight. It was certainly very close, but it was not penalised by the timekeeper. Afterwards I was shown two movies of the landing and on both you can hear the hooter before the nose hit the ground. Of course, there is a problem because the sound could come from a loudspeaker closer to the camera than the timekeeper. Problems caused by the differing velocities of sound and light not simple to solve. When I tackled Philip, he claimed that his landing was in time and on previous occasions, movie evidence he’d seen was vulnerable to sound errors.

In the Eurochamps, Tomas Bartovsky set up a camera to check landings and in one of the early rounds, a timekeeper - not the pilot - had appealed to the jury to decide because he was unsure. That evening the jury spent several hours viewing the evidence, calculating theoretical delays for sound and sight effects, and generally chewing over the problems. The flight was ruled as an overflight.

But before CIAM and F3J organisers get carried away on the trail of erratic forensic evidence, let’s remember that we fly for fun. F3J is supposed to be simple. The prospect of filming landings, then later launches, and perhaps tow-line releases, is crazy.

My guess is that there are now 20-30 pilots who fly out 10 minutes every time unless the weather is particularly nasty. These same pilots can almost guarantee that they will land within one metre and during the last second of the 10 or 15 minute slot. Next year, CIAM is likely to adopt the rule which divides the last metre into 20 cm lengths and the landing score could be 100, 99, 98 etc down to 95. The temptation to land in the last split second before the signal will become greater.

But please do not go the way of filming.

The problem arises because the penalty for overflying is so severe, and to win in good weather, top pilots become ruthless with themselves. The answer lies in stopping the stopwatches at exactly ten minutes and allowing the landing to count providing the nose is on the ground, not at the start of the hooter but by the time the hooter sound finishes. That allows at least one second margin of error before penalties apply. As at present, the timekeeper’s judgement should count, and his decision should be final.

Future outlook - 2008 and all that

Invitations have gone out for the 4th F3J Soarist Open in the middle of October. The organisers in Istanbul want this contest to be the “championship of champions” and hope that all the world’s top pilots will be there next month. The contest will be held in Adapazari, about 100 km east of Istanbul, and the field is being tested for the first time, and will be home for the World Championships in 2008.

Picture of new field at Adapazari, Turkey

Some of the 2008 team names have emerged in recent weeks.Team GBR will have seniors Simon Jackson (if he can make it this time), Adrian Lee and Brian Johnson. Sadly again there are no juniors in the UK league.

Team USA will be Daryl Perkins, Ben Clerx, Rich Burnoski with Skip Miller as first reserve. Juniors will be A J McGowan, Brendon Beardsley and Jeffrey Walter with Michael Knight and reserve. Cody Remington as last year’s junior world champion will also fly in the 2008 F3J WC.

Gossipers will know that Daryl Perkins has been F3B world champion at least twice - maybe more. He was the one who bought a second-hand Calypso Cobra from Steve Hailey and won the world champs with it. He has been acknowledged by Joe Wurts as the all-time best F3B pilot. As Jose Mourinho, ex-Chelsea manager, would say, he is a “special one,” which left me astonished that he now wants to fly the far simpler sport of F3J.

Ben Clerx enlightened me, for it turns out Daryl enjoys F3J. “Daryl hasn’t been able to make the team until now, although I don’t think he’s participated in all the team selections. He had tried many of them and always a little piece of bad luck has kept him out. His F3B schedule has also prevented some entries. But we are fortunate to gain Daryl as we lose Joe Wurts to the Kiwis.”

Again Ben speaking: “I’ve also competed in all the team selections and haven’t been able to make the team since the first Worlds at Upton 1998. Our team is based on a single three-day competition, so luck does play a part. You have one shot to be well prepared and practiced, which is like going to the world championships.”

For pilots in those countries where to win a team place you have to enter several competitions, travel hundreds of kilometres in all weathers over many months, it is tempting to go for the simple “do-or-die” solution. In UK, I suspect we’d end up with the same pilots either way!

The German league attracted 120 pilots for their five events, and 24 of these flew in all five qualifiers. Two of the comps were in France and Holland to ensure international experience. The three man team is Philip Kolb, Tobias Lammlein and Benedikt Feigl. Junior team will be Johannes Weber with Manuel and Christian Reinecke, after 23 juniors took part in three contests to gain a place. The three will be under intense pressure to regain junior top team place, having missed last two years.

South Africa will send the usual pairing of Craig and Michelle Goodrum (with a two and a half year old budding child pilot) plus Chris Adrian and Mark Stockton in reserve.

As current world champion, David Hobby will be returning again from Australia - can he do it yet again? - and he will have Aussie team of Mike O’Reilly, Theo Arvatakis and Mathew Partlett or Gregg Voak. If any other countries would like to send me details of their teams, they’ll have a mention in the next Gossip Column.


This column should have been posted at least two weeks ago, and there’s more gossip that I should have included. I hope to catch up and report from October’s “championship of champions” at Adapazari, including details which will tempt supporters to attend next summer.

Uncle Sydney - sydney[dot]lenssen[at]ntlworld[dot]com

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

F3J Team Trial Results

The F3J Team trial results where ratified last night by the MGA and are available for download below:

Thus the results from the qualifying legs with the above are as follows:

PilotQualifier #1Qualifier #2TrialsResult% of top
Craig Goodrum5,0004,7244,9864,993 100.00%
Conrad Klintworth (Jnr)4,9534,9904,9804,985 99.84%
Chris Adrian4,9504,9954,9464,97199.55%
Michelle Goodrum4,9344,9494,9674,95899.30%
Mark Stockton4,8344,7914,9114,87397.59%
Paul Carnall4,9744,9814,6214,80196.15%
Dion Liebenberg4,4104,7874,3324,55991.31%
Ian Lessem3,9234,6404,1314,38687.84%

Thus the Senior Team is:

Craig Goodrum
Chris Adrian
Michelle Goodrum

with Mark Stockton as the reserve.

The Junior Team is:

Conrad Klintworth
Simon Tladi
Kurt Stockton

with Ryan Nelson as the reserve.

Look out for a complete report in the next issue of The New Journal of R.C. Glider Gumph.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

2007 Team Trials

The unofficial results from the team trial finals held today are as follow's:


1. Craig Goodrum
2. Chris Adrian
3. Michelle Goodrum

Reserve - Mark Stockton.


1. Conrad Kliuntworth
2. Kurt Stockton
3. Simon Tladi

The official results will be ratified by the MGA Monday night.

Well done Lionel, Evan and co for a well run event.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

US F3J Team Announced


Daryl Perkins
Ben Clerx
Richard Burnoski.


AJ McGowan
Brendon Beardsley
Jeff Walter

More information can be found here.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Typical F3J mass launch

ETB hosted the last F3J competition on Sunday the 19th August 2007. A detailed report from Tigger can be seen here. More photos can be found at the BERG blog. Here follows the official audited results:

Many thanks to the ETB team as well as Martie who catered and ended up capturing all the scores for the event. Well done all involved.

Team BERG in action. Evan flying, Piet timing and Derek in background calling.

CD Tent and Marties wonderful supply post.

Tense moment for Lionel while dodging trees.

Michelle fetching the model for relaunch.

Ian flying, Craig calling and young Ryan Nelson learning.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Holland Glide Results

News emerging from Europe is that Philip Kolb has won the Holland Glide event. 2nd was Benedikt Feigl with Karl Hinsch in third. More information is slowly becoming available on the official web site

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Dateline: August 2007

Euro Prospects

In two weeks time, Hollandglide will be over. Let us hope that the
Dutch at Deelen know how to work the weather miracle and avoid all rain
and high winds. Then many of the competitors will be making their way
to Trnava for the European Championships and the Trnava Cup. Time to do
some forecasting, hopefully with more success than last time.

The sixth European F3J championships in Trnava, Slovakia has attracted
60 senior pilots and 37 juniors to compete for the second most
prestigious prizes, second only to the world champs. The Trnava Cup
which will be held 17, 18 and 19 August before the main event and is
open to all F3J pilots has attracted 156 entrants so far. That will be
a stern challenge too.

The most remarkable feature in advance for the championships is that 40
out of the 60 senior pilots from 20 countries were at the World Champs
last year in Martin, and 24 from the 37 juniors - 16 countries - were
pilots last year. As much as anything, these FAI contests are an
opportunity for the F3J enthusiasts to renew friendships and compare
latest ideas, models and techniques. F3J contests are mostly tight to
the finish with split seconds and five landing points making all the
difference between top places. It is unlikely to be different this

Over recent years this Gossip column has run through most of the team
members and managers, with odd bits of commentary. This year events
have conspired to leave me with little guidance on form. Models seem
unlikely to have moved on much, according to my information, but we
shall soon see.

So instead of having to plough through lots of names, I shall pick out
one or two highlights, with predictions to guide the betting.

The number of fly-off places will be officially announced by contest
director Milan Blazek at the start and could be 12. These are likely to
come from David Claeys, Belgium; Adrian Lee from UK; Damir Kmoch from
Croatia; Primoz Prhavc from Slovenia. (I omit Primoz Rizner from
Croatia this year because for the last two years I have seen him as the
top place winner and he has let me down. I know it makes him even more
nervous to be favourite!)

Sebastian Feigl and Tobias Lammlein from Germany seem set to make the
last rounds and they will likely be joined by Philip Kolb, flying this
time as reigning European champion and not part of the German team. In
the last Gossip, I reckoned he had already won the F3J Eurotour after
five events. He is certain winner having scored 103 again in Sofia last

Jan Kohout, another ex-champion, will join Jaroslav Tupec from the
Czech Republic in the fly-off. Jaroslav told me last year that he was
too old for international championships - I can give him more than ten
years, but I’ll never fly like he can - and I’m pleased to see he
changed his mind.

The Italians were magnificent last year in Martin and enjoyed noisy
support. This time Massimo Verardi will make the fly-off again. Frank
van Melick from Holland, one of the few to fly his own-design models is
a good fly-off bet. Incidentally, if you want the best restaurant in
Trnava, then follow the Dutch team led by manager Jos Kleuskens because
he will have booked the best table there. Host country Slovakia will
win two fly-off places I bet, Juraj Adamek and Jan Ivancik.

To complete the fly-off list I’ve dithered between the three Turkish
team members. Many neutral supporters in Trnava will want this team to
do well since they will be hosts for the 2008 world championships in
Istanbul. My bet is Murat Esibatir.

Fourteen names for twelve places are my best guesses, and I wish
everyone, named or not, the best of luck, no unfortunate mid-airs and
enjoyable protest-free flying.

Who will be the new champion? Favourite for me is Jan Kohout, for he
will be trying seriously hard this year. Team prize? My hope is
Slovakia as hosts, but equally likely are the Czechs or the Germans,
who will have the youngest senior team on the airfield.

Muddy tales

UK’s awful summer continues, and so far we haven’t had an F3J
competition which has not been hampered by showers, storms and winds.
We live in hope that one day this year we shall enjoy a thermal
competition. We came close at Twywell last weekend with most of the
slots flown out, even the flyoff in the early evening. It did manage to
spatter a few drops of rain during two of the slots, just to be

But we flyers cannot moan: in England thousands of houses have been
flooded, 120,000 families have been without running water for more than
a week, 20,000 homes are without electricity. Guesses on the causes
include a southerly shift in the Atlantic jet-stream, global warming of
course, but in fairness most continental Europeans expect the English
summer to be wet.


The UK leg of the Eurotour, Interglide took place June 23/24, and
Tobias Lammlein from Markdorf in Germany flew over to take part. Allow
me to share some of the trials and tips.

For those who don’t know Tobi, he was World Junior F3J champion in
Lappenranta in 2002 and he will fly in the senior German team this
summer in the European championships at Trnava in August. He’s a top
pilot. He is in his second year of a mechanical engineering degree in
Switzerland, and the weekend break to get to Interglide was at the end
of term.

Tobi lives 15 minutes away from Friedrichshafen, from where you can fly
with Ryanair to Stansted in 90 minutes. Big snag was that his model box
did not arrive, and by 9.00 pm all hope of flying his three models was
gone. We phoned my friend Andre Borowski at the hospital in Enfield and
borrowed his Sharon Pro for the weekend. Tobi started programming the
model into his Graupner MC24 at 11.00pm, added an extra 30 grams in the
nose, went to bed for a few hours before leaving at 6.30 am next
morning for Marsh Gibbon.

Prospects were gloomy, plenty of rain forecast for the next few days,
but on reaching the field, the rain had stopped leaving lots of mud.
Walk within a metre of the ground sheet on which models were assembled
and the wings were splattered with mud, which dried like cement within

Tobi did a handlaunch to test his settings, added another lump of
weight in the nose, flew in the second slot and scored a thousand with
his first towed flight, then went on to take second place in the
fly-off. If ever proof was needed that it’s the pilot that counts, not
the model, this was it.


Interglide contest director Graham Wicks (left), organiser Tony Vale
and second place winner Tobi Lammlein collecting his spoils courtesy of
Ace Models and Graupner.

Couple of highlights from his flying: in the second slot Tobi was
circling tight with three other models and came close to a mid-air.
“I’d forgotten it isn’t my model,” as he broke away to look for some
lift in isolation. Then in the flyoff, flying really high, far beyond
my vision as spotter. “I must be careful,” he said, “I’m close to
cloud.” A minute later, “It’s in cloud.” It seemed an age to emerge,
and I would never have found it with my eyes.

The real treat for me was having Tobi as my spotter. I gained tenth
place, far higher than normal, and that was 100% due to his bullying
and guidance. Several times my Supra flew far beyond my normal
boundaries, not only for visibility but also risking safe return. Each
time Tobi was confident that lift would be there - and it was.

How can he know that lift is most probably there? “It’s a hunch,” is
his explanation. How does he know which way to fly after the zoom? He
spends plenty of time following models flying each slot, but in the 30
seconds before his own launch, he claims that he remains unsure of
which way to fly: “Usually that decision is when I’m in the air.”

For many seasons, Tobi’s spotter - Germans call it “coach” - has been
Philip Kolb, especially in FAI championships, and experience of each
flight presumably rubs off. Is that how you learn to read air? As a
young boy his father Stephan Lammlein coached, but for competitions the
father/son relationship became too close for comfort and Stephan
stepped aside.

I remember last year at Martin’s World Championships, Joe Wurts
launched all three US juniors and did the spotting. The pilots were
excellent flyers, and Joe’s guidance was terse: “I don’t like that sky
- better left.” (Or similar) All the time Joe was looking round, 360
degrees. When a move was needed, his direction was ready.

My problems with spotting are first vision, then spending too much time
watching my pilot’s model, then advising too late that someone has got
reachable lift, and then persuading my pilot that he might try for it.
Most spotters I know spend most of the 10 minutes acting as co-pilot,
which is usually a waste

Spotter should rarely be co-pilot!

Biggest laugh I had timekeeping a couple of years ago in the
Hollandglide fly-off, was when an ex-world F3J champion flew with a new
spotter; his usual mate also being in the fly-off. Half way through the
first 15 minutes, I overheard: “Look, I don’t mind if you don’t say
anything. I don’t really mind if you keep on talking. But whatever you
do, don’t talk stupid!”

So drink a toast to all spotters, as vital to success as any pilot. The
same goes for the towmen! Wouldn’t it be a good idea of some of our
best spotters spent a little time trying to coach us mere mortals how
to do the job better!

Interglide was the first time in my UK experience that the contest
director insisted that we flew some rounds in the rain - admittedly
light but continuous - to ensure that the event would be valid. Anyway
Tobi was due to fly in the next slot and asked if I’d got any “XYZ”
which I could not translate, for his wings.

Turning to Adrian Lee, he borrowed some washing-up liquid from his
caravan, and wiped top and bottom of the wing and tailplane surfaces,
just the gentlest of smears but leaving the wings sticky and slightly
slippery. Tobi wanted the liquid to disperse any water bubbles
collecting on the surface as the model flew, to minimise aerofoil
degradation, presumably the green stuff breaking surface tension. When
the model landed at the end of the slot, there were no bubbles, and the
slot was won.

To end the saga, Tobi’s three models in the box returned to
Friedrichshafen one and a half weeks later, apparently via Palma de
Mallorca. He has still to see his 50 Euro “sporting luggage” fare
refunded. Ryanair told him several times that they were a low-cost
airline with no electronic label facilities and they could only find
the box when it turned up. Two days after the box returned home,
Ryanair phoned up asking if he had found the box yet!

At Stansted airport I discovered that if you inquire about lost
luggage, you cannot talk face to face with anyone, you can only speak
on one single phone at the far end of arrivals, and that phone is
usually engaged. But if it weren’t for low cost air travel, many of us
wouldn’t get to many Eurotour contests. So take it or leave it!

Radio revolution is here

Only in the last two weeks have I flown a model with synthesized
transmitter and receiver, with complete success thankfully. I remain
suspicious. With a box of crystals in my transmitter case worth far
more than the transmitter itself, I feel slightly done by. Also after
three decades of relying upon crystals to make my models work and avoid
interfering with others flying at the same time, crystals take on a
spiritual importance, like candles on an altar, and I’m loathe to
abandon them.

But I am told that synthesized transmitters are now accepted by top
pilots as 100% reliable and convenient in use. I have heard some doubts
about synthesized receivers, vulnerable to mobile phones etc., by
nobody I know has blamed them for a crash or interference. Again the
habit of changing and checking crystals dies hard.

The world of serious model radio-controlling is about the change again
with 2.4 GHz transmission, not the sets which have been selling for the
last year or so with limited range and only recommended for indoor and
park-fly models, but Graupner’s new Intelligent-Frequency-Select (iFS)
system, due to become available in August - any day now.

Both the new transmitter modules - you can continue to use your
existing set - and receivers have a host of features too long to list
here. Extra special to my mind is that Graupner says that up to 120
models can fly at the same time. The receiver and transmitter talk to
each other all the time, and your model and trannie will change
frequency as soon as interference is detected. As pilot, you will not
be aware of any change.

Airborne sensors in the model will send real-time information back to
the transmitter on a four line LCD screen, and you will be able to
track battery voltage, height, air speed, temperatures etc., and the
feedback can be converted into audio signals into your headphone. This
part of the system is still under development, say Graupner, and they
reckon up to 256 sensors in the model can be monitored. What can that
number be useful for?

Most importantly, the transmitter’s output power can be adjusted
between 10mW up to 100mW, because different countries have their own
regulations on what is permissible. The 8 and ten channel receivers
which will be on sale will have a range of 800 metres on the ground and
2 kilometres in the air, if you can see that far. The transmitter
aerial is about 12 cm long, and the receiver has a tiny stub aerial

For the technically inclined, all this sounds pretty impressive. But
for me, I wonder what the reactions will be among the powers that be in
FAI, what changes might be triggered eventually in all the F3 class

For the moment it is quite simple. IFS will not be allowed in any F3J
competition because: “Any device for the transmission of information
from the model aircraft to the competitor is prohibited.” But that
can’t last for long.

The whole approach to running competitions to date has been the limit
on the number of pilots who can fly at the same time. Hence we have
man-on-man rules, that is a number of rounds with several groups
(slots) in each round.

The limiting factor in future could be how many gliders can be flown
and landed on targets reasonably safely at the same time? - 20, 30 or
even more. I suspect that we will not see 120 models up at one time,
although that would make the model manufacturers rub their hands in

With slightly modified rules and staggered launches, you could
certainly have two or three times as many flying in each group on most
contest sites. That could be fairer and more exciting. The many and
various options which iFS opens up, if it proves as successful and
reliable as promised, will certainly lead to some healthy debates in
the not so distant future. Tomas Bartovsky and the folks in Lausanne
are going to be busy!

End of gossip for now!

Monday, July 30, 2007

US F3J Nationals Results

News just in, the fly-off results from the US F3J Nationals are as follows:

1. Joe Wurts
2. Cody Remington
3. Craig Greening
4. Larry Jolly
5. Doug Pike
6. Skip Miller
7. Karl Miller
8. Michael Verzuh
9. Jim Monaco
10. Tom Kiesling (landed out in the corn south of campsite)

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Thanks to Craig and Michelle a number of X-pros and Shadows followed them back from the F3B WC recently held in Switzerland. Here is the first photo of Kurts (white and blue V-tail) and mine (green X-tail).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

F3J @ ETB, 19th August 2007, Call for Entries

Paul and the ETB team have agreed to host the next F3J comp that was
scheduled for the 18th August 2007. There only request is that the
event be moved off their regular club flying day and onto the Sunday.

I will be taking the entries and matrixing the event while the ETB
team take care of field layout and running the event on the day.

So can I please have your entries as teams of 4, with both primary and
secondary frequency as well as your SAMAA numbers and expiry dates.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Dateline: Early June 2007

Weather rules: not OK!

Don’t talk about the English weather, far too boring and specifically
designed to frustrate soaring. End of May and we Brits haven’t had one
round yet. Meanwhile Contest Eurotour has had five competitions -
Istanbul in Turkey, Forli in Italy, Holic in Slovakia, Ludwigsfelde in
Germany and Osijek in Croatia. And it is already won for 2007 by -
guess who - Philip Kolb!

Still mathematically possible, just about, that someone could beat
Philip because the European league consists of 13 contests and each
pilot’s three best scores count. But Philip has already notched up
308.75 points after dropping his 102 scored in Istanbul. Sebastian
Feigl is in second place 3.58 points behind, with his brother Benedikt
a further three points behind in third place.

For those unfamiliar, how can any pilot score more than 100% in any
contest? If you win top place in a fly-off, then you score three extra
points to add to your total in the preliminary rounds, second place add
two extra points, etc etc. This system will be used here in the UK F3J
league for the first time this year, if and when we actually fly a
contest and fit in a fly-off! The idea is to reward top flyers who do
well in 15 minute slots, competing directly with the best of the bunch.

Returning to Philip, he left it until the last competition in September
to win last year’s Eurotour in Bled, Slovenia. Quite unreasonably, he
has ruined this year’s league with less than half complete. For the
record, Philip has topped the Eurotour six times so far: 1999, 2001,
2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. “That’s enough,” I hear you say. “Give
somebody else a chance!”

This gossip column is not only about winners. My favourite competitor
in this year’s Eurotour is Esra Koc, daughter of Turkey’s F3J maestro
Mustafa Koc. Father is currently placed fifth in the Eurotour, while
Esra, competing seriously for the first time this year, she has flown
in four contests. Best score so far was 76.16 at Forli, and she is
currently 58th place in the league. Esra is 10 years old!

I first met Esra and her sister, who is four years younger, in Istanbul
when introduced by her mother four years ago. She wasn’t flying then,
but she was already dad’s keenest supporter. Now she tells me she’s
flying the Eva and a Space Pro - “I don’t build my own models, but when
my models break, if it’s not so bad, then I fix them myself. I want to
learn how to build models.”

Esra has already qualified for the Turkey’s junior team and will fly in
the European championships in Trnava this August. She also hopes to
compete next year in the World Championships - in Turkey, of course! I
shall follow her progress closely and I’m taking bets on how long it is
before she starts beating dad.


Kiwis attract globe trotters

Moving across the F3J world to both the United States of America and
New Zealand, RC Soaring Digest has carried reports of Joe Wurts winning
February’s Kiwi SoarFest in Matamata, two hours drive from Auckland.
Another F3J star, Carl Strautins from Australia, was also there to hot
up the competition, along with old friend Sven Zaalberg, who flew for
UK in Red Deer 2004 and has since returned home as a captain with Air
New Zealand.

It’s been an ill-kept secret for some years that Joe and his wife Jan
were keen to emigrate to New Zealand, a country they’ve learned to love
since their first visit in 1994. That was the year Joe had a
demonstration tour of the country, invited by keen F3B flyers who
wanted first hand experience of how the experts do it. Joe and Jan
returned several times and in 2004 applied for residents’ visas, a
contorted and testing process which was only completed this year. Joe
retired early from Lockheed and has set up his own engineering
consultancy business They’ve sold their house, and as soon as their new
labrador puppy Lonnie has all his permits and jabs, they’ll move in the

What I have yet to discover is how long it will take before Joe is
eligible to fly for New Zealand, rumoured to be three years. My spies
tell me he will be invited to manage the Kiwi team in 2008. Confirmed
is that six senior pilots are competing for next year’s national team,
one of whom is Sven, to be decided in October.

Joe Wurts is the only thermal pilot I know with a record of success
which surpasses that of Philip Kolb. (I’m sure that Philip would be
first to go along with that!) America’s loss with Joe’s departure will
be more than compensated for by New Zealand’s gain.

Picture to go in about here

Joe Wurts with his Supra and Australian Carl Strautins with fingers
twitching returning to the pits at New Zealand’s 2007 SoarFest held
just outside Auckland.


What makes a good F3J model.

Everyone has their favourite model, often the latest “pride and joy”.
We also have our most nostalgic model, that sailplane which would still
win slots if only it still existed. Or the one which you took out late
summers’ evenings and it just refused to come down as the sun set.

The pace of development of F3J models seems to have slowed somewhat,
although none of today’s top frequent winners were around five years
ago. I’m thinking of the Pike Perfect, Xperience Pro or Shadow, Aspire,
Vision, Espada or Supra. The characteristics of top models have changed
too. All of them seem to zoom off the top of the line with more energy
to convert into height. Spans have increased typically by 0.5 metre.

Are they easier to fly? My answer to that is mixed. I’ve had about a
dozen flights with my new Supra in the past week and it really is the
easiest F3J model to fly that I remember. It nestles into thermal turns
and barely needs any correction - as close to flying itself as one
would wish. Whether that translates into better scores, we shall see.

My previous ‘new’ model, now well into its second year, an Espada, is
always full of surprises. I’ve flown it sometimes and been amazed by
its duration abilities. Yet other days, I could have happily given it
away as it came down in kind air twice as fast as anyone else. And I
thought I could trim!

(Picture of me plus Supra about here)

Recent questions from a friend who shall be nameless raised fresh
thoughts in my mind. He’s been flying an Esprit for many years, often
with success, and he’s wondering what to buy and fly next. “Nothing too
slippery,” he says. For instance, he finds a Starlight 3000 he’s tried
tricky. He wants to go back to the SD 7037 aerofoil and is willing to
trade competitiveness for handling comfort.

Time was when you could get a reasonable guide from model magazine
reviews. Nowadays, you get a few pics and words on what’s been fitted
and how long it took to assemble: little more.What really irks me is
when the reviewer has an F3J duration machine and he details his
experiences flying it on a slope. Or you see pics on how he’s linked
his servos and you know you stopped that years ago because they were
too sloppy.

My friend wants help and he’s right that there is little available
guidance. So drop a line to the Soarer or post your comments and
opinions of your latest winner, good and bad, on the new Barcs


In praise of Elapor

With the scarcity of gossip so far this year, let me sing the praises
of Multiplex and what they are doing with Elapor, their fancy name for
EPP. Many pilots will remember the fun they had with Twinstar a few
years ago. This chunky electric airliner with a 400 motor on each wing
could fly almost anywhere, control-line races without lines, combat
with or without streamers, and fitted with lights you could fly it
after midnight around campsites.

Nearly three years ago Multiplex launched the EasyGlider, 1.8 metre
span, pure glider or 400 electric, advertised as a recruiting tool to
persuade power modellers to take up thermal soaring. I bought one early
on, carried everywhere, and flew it whenever the opportunity cropped
up. It was almost uncrashable and I didn’t hesitate to let anyone
around have a go. No model has given more fun per Euro than that. And
another clubmate is flying it today.

Two months ago, Multiplex went one step better and launched Cularis,
again pure glider or electric, this time with a span of 2.61 metres.
Again it is quite chunky due to the nature of the Elapor, but it looks
semi-scale and it has a four servo wing with crow-braking. It flies
well if a little fast and again is easy fun.

But what sold me and fascinates me is how the Multiplex designers have
coped with the structural problems of achieving a high aspect ratio
wing out of what is simply uncovered plastic foam.

The kit costs £110 from West London Models and is full of innovative
and intricate white nylon components, plus foam jig to assemble the
wing panels. The two-piece wing, each with two mini servos for flap and
aileron, plugs straight into the fuselage and a moulded fitting holds
the wing joiners and the servo leads, plus a catch to lock each wing in
place. The all-moving tailplane has a special fitting which also locks
the two halves in place on each side of the fin. Assembly and
dismantling takes seconds.

If Multiplex continue to develop this material and approach to gliding,
it will not be long before they have high performance gliders at low
cost which will surely help to entice tyro pilots to fly competitively.

Elapor leaves a few queries. For example, I wonder whether or not to
spend a couple of hours using wet and dry paper to sand off the little
bobbles on the moulded surfaces, part of the production process. The
trailing edges of the flying surfaces are 3-4 mm thick rather than the
knife-edge which we’re used to with glass-fibre models. Typically I
spend £30-40 each for wing servos, but Cularis has the cheaper £6-8
mini servos. How much difference does that make? Not a lot apparently.

I’ve no way of accurately measuring glide angles and sinking speeds,
but I do know that the previous EasyGlider had a rate of descent about
twice that of my F3J machines. That simply meant that you had to find
stronger thermals to go up, and it was all the more obvious when you
found one in marginal conditions. Cularis has not flown much so far,
but I guess that its still-air sinking speed is about two-thirds that
of a normal F3J model, 0.5-0.6 metres/second.

The EasyGlider fitted with a 2000 mAh two-cell Lipo had a power run of
30 minutes and it was easy enough to fly for 90 minutes if you chose,
more likely several flights over a long afternoon. With a 1500 mAh
three-cell Lipo in the Cularis, you get about six power runs up to 200
metre height. It thermals fast and well, but watch for tip stalls if
you set the CG back.

Multiplex plus Elapor are more than likely to boost the popularity of
thermal flying and deserve high praise.

End of gossip for now!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Supra Owners Club

The first meeting of the Supra owners club occurred at the 2007 F3J Nationals in Noordsberg.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

2007 F3J Team Qualification Ranking

Rank Pilot Berg F3J Nationals Highest Percent
1. Craig Goodrum 5,000 4,724 5,000 100%
2. Chris Adrian 4,950 4,995 4,995 100%
3. Conrad Klintworth (Jnr) 4,953 4,990 4,990 100%
4. Paul (Spoons) Carnell 4,974 4,981 4,981 100%
5. Michelle Goodrum 4,934 4,949 4,949 99%
6. Izak Theron 4,558 4,840 4,840 97%
7. Mark Stockton 4,834 4,791 4,834 97%
8. Hugh Edmonds 4,824 ----- 4,824 96%
9. Rodney Goodrum 4,811 4,258 4,811 96%
10. Dion Liebenberg 4,410 4,787 4,787 96%
11. Ian Lessem 3,923 4,640 4,640 93%
12. Derek Marusich 4,593 ----- 4,593 92%
13. Simon Tladi (Jnr) 4,541 4,271 4,541 91%
14. Joe Coetzer 4,378 ----- 4,378 88%
15. Kurt Stockton (Jnr) 4,375 3,588 4,375 88%
16. Volney Klintworth 4,283 ----- 4,283 86%
17. Brad Conlon ----- 4,267 4,267 85%
18. Paul Boswarva ----- 3,960 3,960 79%
19. Evan Shaw 3,801 ----- 3,801 76%
20. Piet Rheeders 3,526 ----- 3,526 71%
21. Lionel Brink 3,274 3,259 3,274 65%
22. John Coulson ----- 3,206 3,206 64%
23. Ryan Nelson (Jnr) ----- 3,196 3,196 64%
24. Jurgen Hartig 3,118 ----- 3,118 62%
25. Herman Weber ----- 2,756 2,756 55%

The top 10 competing senior pilots are invited to participate in the final round of team selection to be held at Groengoud on Saturday the 15th of September 2007.

Monday, June 25, 2007

2007 South African F3J Nationals Results

Pos Pilot Score Model
1. Chris Adrian 4,995 Pike Superior / OD
2. Conrad Klintworth (J) 4,990 Experience Pro
3. Paul (Spoons) Carnell 4,981 Experience Pro
4. Michelle Goodrum 4,949 F3B Eagle
5. Izak Theron 4,840 Eish!
6. Mark Stockton 4,791 Supra
7. Dion Liebenberg 4,787 Experience Pro
8. Craig Goodrum 4,724 Supra
9. Ian Lessem 4,640 Supra
10. Simon Tladi (J) 4,271 Suprinity
11. Brad Conlon 4,267 Experience Pro
12. Rodney Goodrum 4,258 Eish!
13. Paul Boswarva 3,960 Supra
14. Kurt Stockton (J) 3,588 Escape / Eish!
15. Lionel Brink 3,259 Emonyeni / Eish!
16. John Coulson 3,206 Experience Pro
17. Ryan Nelson 3,196 Mukulu
18. Herman Weber 2,756 Vision

Reports, photos and team qualification standing's to follow soon.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jura's Cup 2007

This past weekend the Jura's Cup F3J Euro League event was held in France. The fly-offs where won by Italian junior Filippo Gallizia. Nice to see that that it isn't just in South Africa that the juniors are cleaning up overall. The top 15 where as follows:

1. GALLIZIA, Filippo (jnr) - ITA
2. LAMMLEIN, Tobias - GER
3. PRESTELE, Dominik - GER
4. FEIGL, Sebastian - GER
6. HINSCH, Karl - GER
7. ADAMEK, Juraj - SVK
8. SALVIGNI, Marco - ITA
9. FISCHER, Thomas - GER
10. CLAEYS, David - BEL
11. KUNZ, Andreas - GER
12. FOURNIER, Lionel - FRA
13. SYSKA, Jorg - GER
14. BRAUNE, Robert - GER
15. KOLB, Philip - GER

The full results as well as photos can be found on the following sites:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Secret Spy Shot

With less than a week to go before the F3J / Thermal glider National Championships our reporter snapped this spy shot of Lionel Brink trimming his newly acquired glider from the Evan Shaw stable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

F3J in the Rockies Results

The results from the US F3J in the Rockies event have just been posted on the Internet. It would seem that current Junior world champion Cody Remington won the event flying a Jarro Muller Espada RL. Second and third spots where taken by Skip Miller and Buzz Averill both flying Pike Perfects.

Round by round details as well as the complete results can be found on the following links:


Fly Offs

A discussion about the event can be found on RC Groups

Monday, May 07, 2007


Rodney, the proud owner of Qusimodo, the new Diablo F3B model from Fischer.

Yes I know this has nothing to do with F3J. However I took the photo and needed to post it somewhere.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The proud father

Ian, with his new Supra.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

F3Jamboree 2007 - RETURN OF GOSSIP

by Uncle Sydney
Dateline: February 2007

Six years ago Uncle Sydney’s gossip column stopped appearing in BMFA’s F3J News. Hopefully not too many yawns will resound when the column resumes in SOARER, the inimitable Barcs newsletter. Some gossip has appeared in the meantime, usually a week or two before any world or european F3J championship with a follow-up afterwards. The aim is to find matters of interest and note to F3J flyers and soaring in general. Please direct complaints or gossip leads to sydney.lenssen (at) ntlworld (dot)com.

Trnava Eurochamps

This year’s European Champs returns to Slovakia, at Trnava, which is about 50 km north of Bratislava on the E75. Known as a region for wine, thermal springs and learning, Trnava boasts an old-established university and was known as “little Rome.” The flying site, a sport airport, will have as a backdrop the Small Carpathian Mountains.

One day, FAI will explain why model glider championships convene so often in Slovakia. In 2001 we competed in Holic, last year in Martin and now Trnava. I suspect that the Slovaks are keen enough to volunteer, they do it extremely well, get sponsorship and help from local firms, and everyone enjoys good food, plenty of beer or wine, and cheap hotels if you choose to sleep in a bed rather than a tent or caravan. So no complaints. But it would be more mind-broadening to be elsewhere in Europe.

Keen spotters will have noted that Bulletin 1 for the 6th Eurochamps has been issued, inviting national teams to register and giving more details. Teams will start assembling on Thursday August 17. For the first time at a Eurochamps, everyone is invited to fly in the Trnava Cup contest, starting at midday on Friday with flyoffs around midday on the Sunday. Champs proper will run from Monday through to Friday with prizegiving on Saturday 25 August.

News from the various teams will emerge nearer the time, but the UK team has altered slightly. Tony Vale has dropped out to let Austin Guerrier in. Last year’s league flyers will recall that Tony pipped Austin in the last round by a fraction of a point, particularly galling for Austin because he’d been almost certain of a place since round one. Now domestic pressures have let Austin in again, and as highest placing UK pilot in Martin’s world champs, he deserves another go.

No official appointment yet for UK team manager, but it looks likely that Graham Wicks who flies in the Fairlop club, same as Austin, will step into Tony Guerrier’s shoes. As organiser of the UK F3J league, Graham deserves this honour.

What will Adrian Lee be flying? He has a squad of Graphite 2’s, two carbon, (2.07 and 2.13 kg) plus a glass version at 1.88 kg for early morning or evening when lift is slim or non-existent. Last year’s squad still survives, so any damaged model can be replaced immediately. What a lucky man! I remember in the 2001 flyoffs at Holic when Adrian when almost quit the final round because several mid-airs had reduced him down to the last High Five and he needed to fly back at home in the F3J league the following weekend.

Simon Jackson has had a clear-out over Christmas leaving him with one model - his lightweight Shadow which he and Phil assembled overnight at the World champs - from last year. He hopes to be restocked soon with both F3J and F3B models.

Most FAI F3J championships are held in July, and Trnava’s late August dates have upset the Eurotour applecart. Hollandglide has been brought forward to second weekend, 11/12 in August, and UK pilots driving to Slovakia might take the opportunity to go straight from Holland, across Germany and Austria or Czechia to Trnava. UK team pilots will miss the British Nationals which is why an extra two-day rounds has been scheduled for the 2007 BMFA/Barcs league.


Wing taping

Most of today’s ready moulded F3J models have three piece wings - a centre section and two outer wing panels - connected by carbon fibre joiners. This helps packing for travel, it means that if you suffer the occasional mid-air or a tree leaps out at your model, you can replace a section cheaper than the half wing if you fly two piece wings like Crossfire and Europhia, or one of Jaro Muller’s more recent models such as Espada or Escape. Today’s question is: do you tape the panels together?

Some use insulation tape, sellotape or diamond tape, even masking tape to seal the gap and keep the parts together. Some ensure that the whole joint is sealed top and bottom, some cover the top surface and tuck just a few centimetres onto the underside. Whatever you do, it’s a pain when you’re late and the pilots’ briefing has been called.

I was doing David Hobby a favour last year in Martin when I found him marching out to the flight line with his Pike Perfect, ready to fly, and his wings were not taped. “Thanks, but no thanks,” was his response. “I never tape the panels together. What’s the point, they’re a good fit, couldn’t be better, and they won’t move in flight.”

He’s right, of course. Wing panels and joiners require some force to fit them together, and when the wing is flying, the lift and drag create even more friction between joiners and their boxes. But last time I launched my Pike without tape, I noticed the omission after landing and thanked my lucky stars that nothing had come apart.

Those with a good memory will remember that in the last round of last year’s World Champs fly-off, David had a mid-air with the Italian Massimo Verardi, some 300 metres away from the spot at a height of about 100 metres. His model went into a spin, gained a 20cm gash in the leading edge of the left hand outer panel, and the panel was skewed back from the centre panel where the joiner box had split leaving a 10 gap between panels.

With aplomb, David coaxed the model down safely, slowly enough to gain another 50 seconds or so of flight time even knowing he was entitled to a reflight, and speared the spot for 100 landing points. Nobody was quite certain for a minute or two, but he had done enough to ensure that for the second time in succession, Hobby was World Champion!

What would have resulted if the panels had been taped? My guess is that the damage would have been worse. But I still tape my wing panels!

NB FOR MIKE - It would be nice if possible to fit in the pic I sent you with David Hobby smiling and on one knee looking at his Pike Perfect after landing.

F3J rule changes

We all talk from time to time about the need to modify F3J’s rules. Although it’s lovely to have two days flying with most people flying out the 10 minute slots, as at last year’s Interglide at Marsh Gibbon, flyers then moan about launch and landing competitions. More sensibly, some flyers yearn for greater emphasis on thermal flying as opposed to mega launching and speared landings.

There’s no harm in talking rules. But changes in the rules cannot come easily these days because the FAI, and in particular CIAM which rules the roost, has procedures and only allows rule revisions at four year intervals unless safety is involved. In all fairness to the “Gods on high” in Lausanne, they actively seek pilots’ views on FAI class rules. At all championships, an evening is devoted to a team managers’ forum where opinions on rules can be exchanged, and surveys are often carried out.

What has surprised me over the last three years is that most pilots and countries are by and large in favour of sticking with today’s rules. One or two individuals have been vociferous in their demands for alterations, but they have not been able to formulate proposals which command support.

One possible exception is on launching. Only Germany today adamantly insists on retaining hand towing and excluding electric winches. Their arguments are simple and compelling: two-man towing requires exertion and teamwork and is attractive to juniors and younger pilots, and proof of the pudding for them is that German F3J comps often attract 20-30 junior entries.

The US team wants winch launching and very few thermal competitions over there have human tows. Even if contests attract more athletic types, the weather is often too hot. I believe that many countries would go along with electric winches, especially if pilots have the choice of hand tows or winches.

A majority of countries now allow winches in their team trials, and as in Britain, F3J hand towing has almost disappeared even for 100S. Interglide, which is part of Contest Eurotour, has to stick with hand towing. What prevents winches? Nobody wants to see the hassle of winch regulations and on-the-spot compliance testing, and nobody has identified an acceptable proposal.

Landing targets

The most horrendous landing of 2006 I recall was Jaroslav Tupec in the last round of the WC qualifying flights, which was critical in that several pilots lost or won their flyoff places in it. With two or three seconds to go, a rival pilot flew at high speed across Jaroslav’s flight path forcing him to rear up sharply and gain height to six metres or so. He then had to dive vertically to nail the landing, which he did. What a clatter! If I had tried, the model would have smashed into pieces - and missed. It says something for the construction of the Pike Perfect that it survived with no discernable damage. Both Jaroslav and his spotter “Samba father” Vostrel grinned from ear to ear. He had his flyoff place.

2002’s horrific lamding was in Lappeenranta, Finland: Arend Borst became world champion when his model survived a high speed landing by skidding some 20 metres across gravelly ground with the nose stopping on the spot. He had been caught half a mile away from his spot with just 25 seconds left in the 15 minute slot due to some misunderstanding. He came back along the flight line ballistically leaving no time for crow braking, hoping that the ground would arrest the model.

Very exciting and obviously - for me - memorable, and maybe when you’re on the edge of winning a world champs, any risk is worthwhile. In reality, would it not be better if F3J rules actively discouraged rather than invited such potentially dangerous behaviour?

Most successful pilots now spear their landings to cut out the risk of skidding across the spot. Even the landing spots are made of thin vinyl rather than hardboard so that the noise will pierce rather than bounce. The stress on models is considerable, but amazingly today most models seem to take it. For spectators, such landing techniques must seem stupid, graceless and unrealistic.

Gossip tells me that some senior pilots with influence have had enough. They are trying to formulate something closer to the American thermal landing target where you are required to land along a line, not too long, and you must not plough the nose or fit a skeg to arrest your speed. What wording for the rules? Send me your draft.

NB. Since this gossip was written, FAI documentation for the March CIAM meeting has been published, and it contains advance notice of the German proposal to divide the last metre of the landing tape into 20 cm intervals. This means that to score 100 you need to land within 20 cm of the landing point rather than within 1 metre. If you land with the nose between 20 and 40 cm away, then you score a mere 99 points, and so on.

This method of scoring is tried and tested: I have flown at Hollandglide a couple of times and at other Eurtours where it’s been used. It does help separate the really successful flyers who regularly hit 14 minutes 55 seconds plus in flyoffs and 100 points every time.

Note that rule changes for each FAI class are only allowed every four years these days unless the change is made for safety reasons. So the new tapes will not be official prior to 2008, assuming the new proposals are adopted. Of course any contest director can make “local rules.”

Also to make an FAI rule change, the proposer is required to give the reasoning, and the Germans are saying that pilots will need to fly more slowly if they are to land with greater precision within 20 cm of the spot. I have checked with my contacts in Holland and Germany and they do confirm that most pilots do come in more slowly. But I have my doubts. Flying faster gives greater control of height and direction, especially if the plane is ballasted.

I understand that UK discussion on the topic agrees with the objective of trying to cut down on speared landings. Pilots are all in favour of the 20cm divisions in the last metre. But they also want to see a landing which leaves the nose speared to be rewarded with a zero. They say the model must come to a rest with the nose clean rather than caked in mud and earth, and the back of the fuselage resting on the ground. Oh for more perfect flying sites!

I am waiting to see the rules written for that. What a can of worms!

End of gossip for now!

Sydney Lenssen.
sydney.lenssen (@) (attention: new email for Sydney)