Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day #8 Goodbyes

Sure! I gave Chad admin rights in London and told him to throw his thoughts in.... now we get Safari updates :-) I was thinking RC plane stuff :-)... like herding cats I tell ya!!

Our last day together as a team.

We had a very quiet relaxed breakfast and sorted out our bills with our host Joan. We made some gift presentations to her and some of the staff and also left a nice tip for the great service from the entire Village Guest House staff.

Michi, Colin and Ethan were all heading into the airport to catch their flight out tonight. Chad and Agnes are off towards Kruger Park to chase a rhino... or be chased? I can't remember :-) and Kelly and I are heading to the airport for a 13:00 departure to Cape Town and the continuation of our big trip.

It was a great experience and is always an honor and privilege to represent one's country. I think we did a good job as ambassadors and placing 9th overall was very rewarding for me personally. Congratulations to my pilots who never gave up trying to better themselves as we tried to decipher the scores and make improvements during the event. Agnes did a great job calling for Chad and Kelly helped me out immensely. Will Gross joined us and gave freely of his time to help get Michi sorted. No doubt he is curled up in a hot bath tub crying as I type this. :-)

Michi left his new daughter and wife to come over and fly and I am sure he missed them immensely.  Ethan was our first junior to ever compete at a World Championships and did it without a bit of help from his dad Colin..... ya right. He asked questions (hypothetical Q's are his favorite) all the time and was a pattern history statistician extraordinaire. He knew the prop size of every plane that has won the worlds since  Hanno Pretner first stepped into the flight box.. just kidding :-)  Colin not only flew but made sure Ethan was ready every time as well. This is an incredible feat!

Chad came in 16th for the 3rd Worlds in a row and showed why he is Canada's top precision aerobatics pilot. He will continue to climb that ladder and crack the 16 mark.... and I am sure he will do it one day.

Congratulations to the South African organizers and the staff that worked so diligently over the week to make things work. Was it perfect? No.. and it never will be but they never gave up and worked hard to fix problems and issues as they cropped up. Well done. 

I will add some additional photos to the team's gallery when time permits.

Van loading in progress.

Wonder if Chad will notice? :-)
This wraps up the team blog as I swing back over to the big trip journal that I started this blog from.  Hope everyone enjoyed the daily dish and, if your interested, it is at



South African Safari Day 1

Now that the Worlds are over Agnes is getting her dream vacation.  She has always wanted to go on a safari so we arranged for a 5 day safari to the Sabi Sands reserve at the Idube Game Lodge.

Dave granted me permission to contribute to his blog so since I will use it as this is still part of my worlds trip :) 

We managed to get away from our awesome accomodations at Henley on Kilp around 11am on Sunday.  Really going to miss staying there! 

Since our booking for the game lodge is not until Monday, we decided to cover most of the 500km drive today and landed in Nelspruit.  This only leaves us with about 100 km to drive tomorrow.

The trip was uneventful as we travelled down the N4 toll way which was a very nice 4 lane highway, not quite as large as we are used to in North America but still very easy to drive on. 

Agnes had booked a very nice place to stay for the night and we spent a bit of time walking around the grounds before calling it a night.

Shanty town on the edge of Jo'Burg

Some local wildlife near a roadside gas station

Parking lot security :)

This tree has Africa written all over it!

Agnes behind our guest house in Nelspruit

Agnes with some local vegetation.
Our room in Nelspruit.
View from the balcony.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day #7 - Finals

Alright Kelly and I are now at the airport awaiting the flight to Cape Town. She is shopping, I am blogging :-)

Yesterday’s blog was delayed by the fact I really didn’t have any opportunity to write it as we watched the finals, updated info via the team Facebook page, participated in the closing ceremonies, drove home to shower the dust off, change and drove to the banquet 44 km from our accommodations.  Just no time :-)

We had our usual great breakfast served to us by the staff and chef of the Village Guest House then did some packing. Some of the eight planes were disassembled and placed carefully back into their respective boxes for shipment back home.  We didn’t rush around much today as we will be spectators at the final day of competition.

We headed out to see the 1st flight of unknown’s (these are the schedules that each pilot must fly cold ie; no practice with the plane permitted before the flight) These are a harder sequence of maneuvers and can really consume the 8 minute flight time limit. Your caller has to be ahead of you as a missed element can spell a scoring disaster :-(

1st Unknown Schedule
2nd Unknown Schedule
Judging Panel for Unknowns :-)
We had a good view of the action and I slipped on a “H” bib and Oxai hat and snuck into the pits for up close action:-)  I tried my best to update the team’s Facebook page as best I could. It’s not easy writing about an ongoing event via posts.
Andrew's Proteus airframes
Robin Trump's Hera
CPLR awaits his turn.

Oxai Galactik... An Axiome variant on steroids
We missed the first couple pilots but soon settled in to the routine of the sequence. Gerhard Mayr was about to go up in the triplane but he had issues getting his motor to arm/run.  It’s possible that the main battery connection plug was not inserted because when he went to run the motor it would not go. Nothing, nada. Their team members didn’t seem to rushed as they tried the on/off switch a couple times. By the time Gerhard walked back from the flight box and then took off his TX tray thingy (in order to get underneath the plane to access the plug under the belly section), valuable time was ticking away.

Now two minutes is plenty of time if things are going right but throw in an issue and your team has to move quickly. After one minute of “Oh crap” time our procedure is to call “Back Up” and swap to our other airframe.)

Gerhard had no such backup and was left to trouble shoot his only plane. The plug was armed and it looked like the motor was now working but the two minute start period had run out. This ended his round and he was effectively relegated to 10ht position unless someone else had a similar event. Lots of people wanted to see the plane fly and whether you like his style of flying or not it was interesting to see it go so slowly... such a departure from the norm.  Would his battery have lasted? We will never know.
Gerhard packs up his gear following the DNS
He carried the plane back through the pits and put it into the van and departed. Not really the  way you want to go out of a championships. In spirit he could have continued but I am sure he was upset about the circumstance he found himself in. 

Only one major error observed by Onda that stood out in an otherwise good flight. They finished up the 1st Unknown round and broke for lunch. I took the opportunity to look at the various airplanes as I am secretly on a shopping trip for my next airframe. Spoiler!! Do not tell my wife! Lots of options here to watch and assess. :-)
Chad chats with Christophe
Chad was interested in CPLR’s Galactik and was getting some personal thoughts from the man himself on just what changes he made from the Axiome aside from wing/stab shape. I conveniently hung around close by :-) Christophe was very open and let us look inside the airframe at the setup (YS powered) and freely answered the questions regarding CG etc. that Chad asked. Why the servo in the tail? Why the larger stab size? What canopy attachment method? etc. etc.

The next round of F went right on time at one o’clock and everyone had good flights. No time issues or the like. As there was only 9 pilots flying now it did speed things up a bit. The second F scores are being posted over at the main facility but no one is over there except the odd TM that speeds  over. My spies have Tetsuo Onda ahead by one point... yep very close!

The last round consisted of the #2 Unknown sequence and the demo was flown by USA’s Brett Wickiezer with the retract equipped Alferma Bipe. I thought he did a great job! The other contestants quickly followed and everyone was watching for slips or mistakes. Some over rotation in snaps and sharp radiuses stood out in an otherwise good battle for top spot. It’s only my opinion but the contra setups just seemed to not have the vertical upline speed that made for consistent flight speeds throughout the flights. 
Seba awaits his turn.
Silvestri Sabatino ended his round with a flat battery and unfortunately turned away downwind... the plane went in level, just behind a barrier of rubber tires. It only suffered a damaged gear leg and is easily repairable. Not sure how many mah he put back into those packs? :-) 

Pretty good shape considering.
Andrew Jesky, CPLR and Tetsuo Onda finished up the unknowns and provided good viewing for the large crowd. Everyone was treated to applause following each successful landing.
The US guys watch CPLR's last unknown.

The crowd quickly moved over to the main building and in a flury of smart phone calculator button pushing, the pilots knew it would close for CPLR and Onda but the #3 & 4# spots would await TBL calculations to determine the outcome.  Que Jeopardy music!

And here are the scores...
We hung around when they announced the start of the closing ceremonies and final awards. The Individuals were done first with the top junior going to South Africa’s Roston Dugmore. Top pilots were CPLR, Onda, Jesky and Shulman taking fourth.

Onda, CPLR and AJ get their awards.

Teams were #1 USA (in a repeat) along with #2 Japan and #3 Austria. The teams all gathered in the fading light on the podium and many pictures were taken. Mine didn't turn out well. Strangely Gerhard Mayer was not with the Austrian team for the awards presentation.
Team Scores
It’s not my place to say why he chose not to attend but I was reminded of the saying “There is no I in Team”... just saying.

We listened to a few more speeches but darkness had come and we couldn’t even see who was speaking. We headed home to clean up and attend the banquet. As it was a long drive so both Colin and I became designated drivers and safely managed to get the team there and back without too much trouble... yes there was the one speed bump that jumped out of the bushes and launch the crew in the rear :-) and Colin was on fumes in the van, hence a stop at the gas station with us providing "support" if anything untoward occurred. It didn’t:-)

The banquet hall was beautifully decorated with very nice table centerpieces. Awards were made throughout the night as we enjoyed a buffet style dinner. Many goodbyes and hand shakes until many of us meet again in Switzerland in 2015. Safe travels to our friends.

Once home we headed to bed as our batteries where fully depleted as well :-)

These guys are hungry!!
Chad & Agnes
Father & Son

Darin, Andrew, Jason and Kevin with the hardware. Congratulations guys.... not sure where Brett got too?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day #6 Worlds Semi-finals

FYI I have added some additional pictures to the team gallery and one day will get a chance to caption them :-)

Up at our usual time for a team breakfast at the Guest House dinning room. Michi and Colin are packing up airplanes this morning before we all head out the flying site for Chad's first flight. Winds are very gusty at the house so it should be a real test for the pilots on this day.

I had hoped to use my I-phone for blog updates but you really need 3G to make it work well. The Edge service I received just didn't cut it... sorry.

We went to site #1 to see C.P.L.R. and Gerhard Mayer start off the round in the blow out conditions. They flew well but two entirely different styles to be sure. CPLR was more the usual use of the box and Gerhard a much smaller and slower style of flight. His snap presentation was "interesting" for lack of a better word. The rotation was not axial at all, almost to the extreme opposite in fact.
The crowd gathers for start of Round 1.
Start box for flightline 1
As Chad was flying at the other line we headed out before seeing any others fly at site #1. You can't see everyone :-)  We arrived early and Chad set up his planes while we watched some of the US guys go through the F-13 schedule. The winds made for a good challenge for the pilots.

Chad finally got airborne and had a pretty good round all in all. We debrief by the van and, as Chad was last in the morning session, it was time to head over to the main site and get scores and some lunch. He scored a 456. One thing I did notice was the plethora of signs announcing the Team Managers meeting 15 minutes after the announcement of the placings in the semi's. These were everywhere :-)
Bryan & Mark
The next flight was on site #1 and the flying got under way right on time. The flight line staff did a great job and had things running very smoothly throughout the day. Chad once again had a good round although he felt his first flight was better. After the final round of F-13 everyone headed to the main building for the announcement of the finalists. Only 10 pilots go forward to the finals and a clean slate for scores. Chad scored a 488.1 and waited, like the rest of us, for word on placings.
Flight Line #1
Wolfgang Matt prepares for his flight at #2 site.
Burt's booming voice echoed through the building as they announced the placings. They are listed in order below.
Final roster after the Semi-Finals.
Chad came in 16th for the third time in a row... that has to be a record! We had a celebratory beverage and enjoyed the camaraderie of our fellow flyers and teams.

We went back to the Village Manor House and got cleaned up for our dinner at the Henley Arms. Some plane packing was also started but eventually food took precedence. We had a great meal and enjoyed the ambiance of the fireplace and the warm, cozy atmosphere. 
Mmmm.. where to put the jumper cables?
Colin packs the planes while Ethan supervises .
Back home I finished up the blog. Tomorrow it's "Finals" & "Unknowns" day and then the closing ceremonies and banquet that evening. I was going to post the unknowns but I have only found the Aresti diagrams so far. I hope for the written version soon:-) The flying starts at 8 am Saturday.

We would like to congratulate all the teams, their pilots, managers & helpers/supporters that made the semi's and are now into the finals. Good luck and smooth skies.. er well that might be asking for a bit much here :-)
Stolen via cyberspace from Mark Atwood :-)
The folks at the Village Guest House dropped this banner off today for us. It was a bit too windy at the field so we hung it up in the Manor House.... looks good!  Great people here!

Team USA after the Semi's. Jason was the most happy :-)
Nothing like flying for your country.

Day #5 Worlds "Rain Day"

FYI This day is used in case we had a rain delay during the contest and had to make up some flying. We had smoke, haze, wind and dust... but no rain :-) Trust me, every pilot that made the semi-finals was out practicing F-13 and some unknowns.

A relaxing morning as there are no major commitments today. No flight lines to be at or any rushing around.  After the last four days this is most welcome.

We had a nice breakfast and Will, Colin, Ethan and Michi left for a tour around a game park.  Our chef Adele offered to drive them around on the only free day they have here.

Kelly and I stopped at Bob's Hobbies to say hello while Agnes and Chad headed to the Henley field a few minutes away. There were numerous pilots flying at the south site with Chad. Juan Rombaut, Sabastiano Silvestri, Wolfgang Matt,  Markus Zeiner, Lassi Nurila, Andre Stockwell, Reston Duore and Helmet Danksagmuller all took turns flying.  Some folks left and the rotation went pretty quickly.
Practice session at Henley field.

Andre Stockwell's Visa
Roston Dugmore's Peridot
It was good to see the F schedule being flown by different guys as there are several variations in presentations. You can learn what looks good and conversely what doesn't without getting out of your chair :-)

Red Bull Citrin of Markus Zeiner
Helmet Danksagmuller's Andastra
We snacked on some lamb from our braai the other night and it was delicious. Chad put in numerous rounds and then Kelly and I decided to get some "team" work done. We headed over to the main contest site to pick up some paper copies of the flight order for Friday. The place was locked up tight as the staff deserved a welcome day off I am sure. We checked out the portable cash machine and the satellite up-link for the wireless system.
Kelly demo's the portable bank machine on site... that is the satellite up-link for the wireless system.
We also grabbed a couple geocaches in the area before returning back to the Henley field one last time today. Chad was working on a couple elements to his flight that we had identified and it was looking very nice. He was done for the day.
Chad before the last practice flight today.
At home we met up with the other guys after their trip to the lion's den. They all survived the trip!

Ethan, Colin, Sleeping Lion, Michi and Will at the Game Park
 Dinner was at The Cafe Blue again and then back to the house to relax and unwind... everyone is tired and after a piece of carrot cake we all retired for the evening.

 Semi finals start tomorrow with Chad as our lone Canadian competitor. Off to bed

They set the grass on fire to revitalize the soil.
Judges & Staff with demo pilots. They watched F-13 today.

Semi Final Roster
Mark Rubin's plane on the backside of the rolling eight at Henley field (above us)