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?

No comments:

Post a Comment