This year's nats was back at Albury again after South Australia and Queensland had to pass on their turns. Unfortunately this is a bit of a sign of the times. It's getting harder to find venues that can host all aspects of flying.
Entries in F2B were down on the usual number. I know some were absent for work, medical and financial reasons. We did miss them. The numbers were 13 for expert and 10 for advanced. The competition was very keen though as a number of people were looking for a 2004 world champs team slot.
1. A picture of Bruce Hoffman's attractive model which would not look out of place at a scale contest. Placed 11th.
2. Reg Towell's plane also had semi scale lines and colour scheme this year, and flew well too. Placed 6th.
3. This photo is from the previous Nats, but venue, plane, pilot, and result all look the same. Mark Batty, winner of Expert Aerobatics for the third time in four years.
4. Herb Hanna flew the same model with which he represented Australia at the 2000 World Champs. An attractive colour scheme on a conventional aerobatic model. Placed 9th.
5. Contest Director and reporter Brian Gardner, together with his Renegade.
The grass C/L venue was a cricket oval called Alexander park. There are some surrounding buildings and trees to make it interesting depending upon wind direction. The grass was not as plush as last year due to drought but still gave some trouble to those who had not learned last year of its difficulty. The council had imposed an 8am to 5pm curfew and given that I was entrusted with the keys I felt a little uneasy about having to kick fellow aeromodellers out while practicing. I was put at ease though as the stunt, combat and racing guys were more than co-operative and I must thank them for being so understanding of my position.
The event was increased to 4 rounds instead of the usual 3 and only one round to be dropped. A challenge to the pilots to hold more consistency.
Day 1, Sunday 29th. Advanced went first in the morning and got the first taste for the wind. Unfortunately one model was the first and only casualty and lost the wing-mounted undercarriage at the bottom of the clover. The wind continued to blow for Expert challenging us all. Those hungry for positions showed signs of stress with one former nats winner flying 4 outside loops under the pressure. Surprisingly the 4 stroke models were a little further down the placings than expected. There didn't seem to be as reliable as we have seen back home in Sydney.
Day 2, Monday 30th. Expert went first and had fairly nice air. The breeze was undecided in direction early on making things a little tricky, but mid morning settled to ideal conditions for a couple of hours. Some managed to capitalise on the good conditions while others had trouble with changing humidity and needle settings. Advanced began around lunch time and the wind had begun to blow again. Some fliers had pretty nasty air to deal with.
Day 3, Wednesday 1st. After a day of patchy rain and unsettled conditions we were blessed with pretty good conditions. There was good humidity and power in the air early on, but it dropped from 95% down to 23% in the matter of hours. The 4 strokes seemed to show more power variation under these conditions than the 2 strokes, which also suffered a bit. In Expert Mark gave himself a reasonable lead that would be uncatchable, but positions 2 to 5 were fairly close. Advanced leader Tony Bonello had a commanding lead, followed by Mark Ellins and Geoff Ingram.
Day 4, Thursday 2nd. The conditions were pretty much a duplicate of Wednesday. Plenty of humidity and power early on which dropped away as the hours passed. These conditions made things more challenging for us all with tuning changes. The length of 4 rounds coupled with these conditions brought the minor placing down to the wire.
Observation. The conventional muffled two strokes seemed to rule again this year. They seemed to show the best flexibility to cope with the changing conditions. They made up 17 of the 23 entries. There was only one pipe setup, 4 four strokes and one diesel. The 4 strokes ran well but showed no advantage over the conventional stuff.
Thankyou's. Again for me the highlight was the fellowship and catching up with the many people that I only see at such events, so thanks to all the competitors for being such a great bunch of blokes. I must also thank the numerous people who put in so much effort to make my job as CD much easier. Thanks to Joan McIntyre, Russell Bond and Peter Roberts for their efforts judging Expert. Special thanks also to Frank Battam, Dallas Hanna and Doug Harlow for judging Advanced while also flying in Expert. This is a big ask of anyone. Terry Mathews also did a fantastic job of tabulating and Frank McPherson assisted greatly in running the score sheets. Doug Grinham gave me a hand with line pull testing to give me a chance at a couple of warm up flights and this was greatly appreciated. We all must thanks these people for without their help we just couldn't have contests.
|F2B Aerobatics - Expert|
|1||Mark Batty||OS FP 40||2630.5||3033||2835.5||2902.5||8771|
|2||Paul Turner||ST 46||2626||2917.5||2836.5||2878||8632|
|3||Brian Gardner||Jett/GMA 60||2605||2871.5||2786||2833.5||8491|
|4||Peter J Rowland||Moki 51||2515.5||2889.5||2728||2816.5||8434|
|5||Brian Eather||Saito 56||2656||2834||2819.5||2730||8383.5|
|6||Reg Towell||Saito 56||68||2717||2724||2710||8151|
|7||James Batty||OS FP 35||2373.5||2712||2672||2718.5||8102.5|
|8||Doug Grinham||Jett/GMA 60||2240.5||2631.5||2569.5||2542||7743|
|9||Dallas Hanna||MVVS 49 RI||2444.5||2524||2626||2580||7730|
|10||Tim Gee||ST 60||2210||2494||2546.5||2586||7626.5|
|11||Bruce Hoffman||Saito 56||2093||2599||2514.5||2408.5||7522|
|12||Doug Harlow||Moki 51||2286.5||2487||2404||2429||7320|
|13||Frank Battam||Saito 56||1940.5||1775||2267.5||2351||6559|
|F2B Aerobatics - Advanced|
|1||Tony Bonello||ST 60||2504||2460.5||2436.5||2603||7567.5|
|2||Mark Ellins||ST 46||2137.5||2390.5||2515.5||2554||7460|
|3||Geoff Ingram||PAW 40||2171||2366||2399.5||2622.5||7388|
|4||John McIntyre||ST 60||2343||2401.5||2396.5||2457||7255|
|5||Derek Pickard||Stalker 61 2/2||2072||1827.5||2021.5||2282.5||6376|
|6||Denver Harvison||ST 46||1808||1930.5||2076.5||0||5815|
|7||Michael Hawkey||Fox 35||1862.5||1857.5||0||2042||5762|
|8||Peter L Rowland||Moki 51||931||1534||1316||1311||4161|
|9||Ken Taylor||MVVS 49 FI RE||1411.5||244||1621.5||756||3789|
|10||David Simons||Retro 61||2119.5||0||0||0||2119.5|