Entries were well up this time on the past few years at 18 - we only had 8 in 2016. This trend has been there for all of the first three F3K events this season and is a very welcome sign. Not just more entries but an improving standard of flying across the board with several new names coming in and already flying at a good standard.
We were all keen to see and try the new BMFA National Centre field and we were not disappointed. Driving up from London I met increasingly overcast conditions and a fair breeze from the west. The sky cleared during the day and the wind dropped off giving ideal conditions for a contest. F3K set up camp outside what will be the main carpark for the field with the box towards the south-western corner of the property. People were able to operate from their cars but the box was constrained by the newly seeded runways which we need to stay off until the grass is established. Once we can get on there, it will be an even nicer set-up.
CD Michael Stern had set up 8 rounds of 3 slots to give a relaxed contest and make sure that the newer pilots could always get an experienced timer/caller to help them through the various tasks, which can seem a bit confusing at first. Everybody enjoyed the way the contest ran and we were treated to some spectacular flying from the top pilots who seem to able to conjure some help from the slightest waft of lift with their modern high performance airframes.
Some of the tasks require pilots to make fast turnarounds – a tip catch timed to the second followed but an ultra-rapid re-launch – to maximise air time. We fly to a 10 minute slot for the 1,2,3,4 task. Here, you need to make four flights as near as possible to the maxes to win – you can do them in any order so you need to think on your feet. You cannot actually do the full times as they add up to ten minutes and you need to re-launch three times on the way.
The eventual winner, Michael Stern (yes the CD!) did 0:57 1:58 3:00 4:00 making a total of 9:55 in 10 minutes! In the 5 x 2:00 round he also did 9:55 but this time with four re-launches making 2:00 1:59 2:00 1:59 1:57. That’s about one second for each re-launch given that times are rounded DOWN to the nearest second.
As Team Manager, it was good to see this year’s Team of Michael Stern, Mike Challinor and Richard Swindells finish in that order in the top three places.
Full results are in the Forum post below
Nick winds up for a big launch.
Matt and Phil head out for a flight.