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The Official competition webpage can be found here https://wcf3cn2019.de/index.php
British Team Supporter and fellow pilot Bruce Naylor has kindly offered to run a blog during his time at the World Championships. Please check back for regular updates.
For those of us that aren’t lucky enough to be there, I would like to thank Bruce for taking the time to do this for us.
01 August 2019
As Teams begin to arrive in Ballenstedt and take a look at the practice sites, Mr Naylor was booked on a very early ferry from the UK to join them. We should start to receive regular updates once he arrives.
I suspect he might even want to get a few practice flights himself as he has the honour of flying the calibration flight to get things underway in a few days time.
Safe travels everyone. Good luck to everyone and in particular all our friends from the Euro Heli Series.
Most of the British F3N/F3C team pilots, helpers, partners etc travelled yesterday, but yesterday was my 54th birthday so I decided to leave a day later. While I was belting across the wilds of France, Belgium and Germany in "mostly hot, but with the occasional shower" type of weather, the British team were recovering from their journey, and finding out that the allocated practise field was, well, just that -
So, as I said this field is where the Brits were allocated. However this is not where the Brits are flying. Of the 4 practise sites, 3 are on or next to the competition site; the fourth is located at a local model club field. All countries are allocated one of the practise sites, shared between F3C and F3N pilots. On arrive the "field" was deemed by the team unflyable, so everyone moved to the much larger site allocated to the Austrian / Dutch teams.
The F3C team had a productive first day -
02 August 2019
Up at 07:00 to sort out the van, breakfast at 07:30 over the road at the hotel's cafe, then a leisurely drive through towns and villages towards the airfield. The airfield is a pretty cool place. Nice long hard runway, loads of surrounding grassland, sitting in a relatively flat area in between large hills. The boys set up camp once again at the nicer site and I went over to the "official" site to check out it's flyability. I'm marked down as a Calibration pilot, so needed to put in a couple of flights just to steady the nerves. Upon arrival, the Koreans were already onsite and sporting top of the range merchandise -
03 August 2019
The town of Bad Suderode. Altitude:200m. Population:1801. Bars and restaurants open on a Friday night: 0. Ok, so that last one isn't strictly true, but according to Google the nearest open restaurant that wasn't part of a hotel was, in the words of Mark Christy "a bit of a walk". It ended up a bit of a walk to an adjacent village. An Irish bar was found. Nightlife: 0. Food: Pretty appalling. We need a designated driver for future culinary adventures, and steak WILL eventually feature in some future episode -
It's early Saturday morning. I've just re-
Since I'm here in the "Official Supporter" role, I'm pretty much free to wander about and annoy people. Yesterday I had a good chat with Team USA's manager, and "Pimp my ride -
Before I forget, apologies. My writing style probably appears a bit haphazard. I've not written for a while and it's taking me time to get back into the groove. A bit like my aerobatics. Ian Emery is hosting this rant on the EHS website, so I'll try and expand the narrative to be more EHS-
Hit the field at 08:00 to watch to first F3C teams "official practice". The sun is low and to the right of the flight line, the wind is gentle, but blowing mostly in your face. The flags of around 17 nations rattle gently against their flag poles. Each team, sorted alphabetically, get 10 minutes per pilot allocated in a block, so first up were the Austrians with 3 F3C pilots, hence 08:00 thru 08:30. Next came the Belgium's also with 3 pilots, so 08:30 thru 09:00 etc. Slowly the sun rose, and the wind picked up. China then Chinese Taipei, Denmark then Germany, Great Britain then Italy took to the sky. Just past 12:00 a hush descended on the competition field as 3 vehicles entered the parking lot. The Japanese had arrived. Hiroki Ito, the 4 times World F3C champion, who came 2nd in 2017 against the Swiss powerhouse Ennio Grabber by less than 0.5% flew first and was pretty breathtaking. I managed to live stream a chunk of his flight via Facebook. There's no doubt this guy still has it. As Hiroki flew the wind picked up and the first drops of rain were felt. It held off for a while longer, but eventually the heavens opened and off to lunch we went. Up to this point everyone was relaxed -
04 August 2019
Well again strictly not true. Everything kicks off with a calibration round at 07:40. Some poor soul who is not a national team member has to put their head above the parapit and fly first in front of the 5 international judges. These then confer for 10 or so minutes, ripping the flight to pieces one manoeuvre at a time to understand why one judge gave it a 8 while another a paltry 4. So who would travel to a World Championships event with their competition setup just to fly once? What dumb-
Last evenings opening ceremony took place on the F3C competition flight line, possibly because it's a large space, probably because there was a large hanger nearby that could hold everyone if the heavens opened, but more than likely because it gave a good view of the runway where a smoke spewing Pitts aero display occurred to conclude the proceedings. Congratulations to the organisers for holding a respectful, but brief event. The sun was poking through the clouds and bearing down on the gathering of dignitaries, organisers, judges, pilots, helpers and one sweaty calibration pilot who somehow ended up at the front holding the "Great Britain" placard.
Calibration went like a dream. Such calm conditions. I lifted to the hover. My helicopter found it's grove. I was relaxed. Manoeuvre after manoeuvre were performed. Crisp stops, rolls, bunts. I stood there spellbound watching my flight unfold. Finally I climbed for the auto. Tracking in from the left I pulled up in a beautiful half crescent, cut the motor, completed the loop and banked right. Down she sailed and found the centre circle with the last of the energy recovered from the rotor blades. I stood there in shock. I'd just flown the best flight possible and I performed it at the Worlds. The judges, suitably shocked, conferred at length. A small fight broke out. Riot police arrived. Tear gas was released. I woke up.
Weather this morning is mostly calm with some high cloud obscuring the sun hanging low to the right. I flew calibration to my usual substandard level of incompetence, and so started round 1.
"Saved by the Russians" is not a phrase I typically use in conversation, but I believe now is as good a time as any. Yesterday I was "saved by the Russians". And when I say "saved" I mean they stopped me from wetting myself. About 10 minutes before Scott Mayo flew his first World Championships round as a Junior, I realised that my bladder was bursting. Unfortunately the toilet block -
This morning is wet. On and off, but currently on. Although heavily overcast it must be in the mid 20's. We're surrounded mostly by hills varying I guess 1 to 10 km away; some with significant peaks. Weather forecast is therefore along the lines of "Expect wind, rain, long bright spells with modest to high UV. Possible calm periods. Chances of snow". The competition has settled down and is now ticking along nicely. Cars appear. People appear. Models are removed and prepared. A pilot fly's. The car is loaded back up and the people depart. The only constants today are the organisers, judges and me. Everyone else seems to be transient. Today I've been trying to get photos of all the EHS competitors who are here flying for their countries, and failing badly. I mean I'm failing to get the shots, not that pilots are failing their countries ... oh well. In the afternoon the wind picked up big-
I've some work to do out here for the next couple of days; I might get to the field for a few hours each day, but no promises for any updates from me until the fly off's that should start Friday. All the pilots, team managers, judges and organisers I spoke too today seen in good spirits. 2 more rounds of preliminary competition to go to resolve the team placing, then Friday starts the fly off rounds for the individual placing's. Best of British luck to you all. Catch you later.
05 August 2019
Until now the F3N and F3C rounds have been taking place on flightlines either ends of the airfield. For the flyoff we've merged the two at the F3C site and running the disciplines interleaved. This really is good. All the teams/judges/supporters are in one place, and we're seeing the best pilots in both categories compete for the title of World Champion. There is a carnival atmosphere here, helped in no small part by the F3N flights to music -
After the closing ceremony we headed into the local town to attend the banquet. A delicious "all you can eat" buffet was laid on in a classic town hall just about large enough to hold everyone. With the prospect of a long journey home, I left around 9 after many handshakes and hugs with numerous F3C family members to get a good night's sleep.
Standard of flying at this event has been nothing short of breathtaking. All the teams fielded high calibre pilots, and the rumour mill says Italy might be in a position to host a European Championships in 2020, which would be fantastic. Congratulations to the hosts, organisers, helpers, and all the teams who participated -