Friday, August 21, 2009

Marc's third report on the F3A World Champs – Pombal, Portugal

Practice day 2 (Tuesday)

Once again, as every day, the team meets for breakfast at 8 am and as the main contest site was closed for the day, we decided that we would try the local model airfield just outside Leiria, in a district called Barosa. The advertised distance from our hotel to the field was about 5 km, and we probably added another 10 km to the trip by the time we found it! The field is located in a flood plain alongside an irrigation canal in an agricultural area. The runways are surrounded by fruit orchards on the one side, a maize plantation on the other, with tall poplar trees behind us and a tall’ish hill covered in pine trees making up the mix.

The flight line was quite busy in the morning, with many of the European countries choosing to practice at this site and the turnaround time between flights was about 1 ½ hrs. Andre was getting used to his new Quantum eL at the coast, but Walter was still having problems with his motor, so he changed out the CDI for the old Dingo 160 DZ. Walter spent most of the day trying to get this motor to run properly, but it was not to be, as the next thing to go was the throttle servo. After replacing the servo, the throttle was still erratic, and we discovered that it was actually the throttle barrel that was the cause of all the problems.

Practice Day 3 (Wednesday)

Once again the weather was the same as the previous days… misty mornings, although we only get up at around 8am, as we have been having late nights, what with only getting back to the hotel at around 9:30pm, and then still having to get something to eat and charge the uncharged batteries.

Today was once again not Walters’s day… having an overheating problem on his DZ 160. Try as he may (and he did!) the problem just kept persisting. After a team caucus, the solution was one of two… either replace the motor with a brand new unit… or try the CDI unit again. Walter was worried about flying with the new, as yet un-run motor, so he decided to give the CDI unit one more try, as it had been pointed out to him that it could be that the fuel issued by the organizers was of a different type to what the motor was used to. Once the CDi motor was back in, a different mixed blend of fuel was tried, along with adjusting the needle another THREE turns out! And hey presto – Walter was back in business. Fortunately, there were not that many pilots at the Barosa site today and we were running on a turnaround time of about 40 minutes. Today was quite a good day, as we managed to get in at least 8 flights each. We were very fortunate to have ex world champion, Wolfgang Matt at our practice site, and he was very willing to help with all sorts of questions that we threw his way. Often it is not only about the contest, but also about the information gleaned, and today was one of those days were we learnt a lot. We packed it in quite early today – 6pm (there was still about 2 ½ hrs daylight left) and once at the hotel, John called a team meeting, where we went through the maneuvers and discussed the team strategy and planning for the rest of the week.

That’s it for now as it is now midnight and I still need to charge. Until tomorrow…

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