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