Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marc's fourth report from the F3A World Champs – Pombal, Portugal

Practice day 4 (Thursday)

I have to admit to missing out on my report for this day, but sleep deprivation had finally caught up with me! Here follows a short précis of the day as best as I can remember…

Once again we were at the field in Barosa, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, it was billed as a field with a ‘carpet’ runway. It is in fact a very thick woven cloth that has been tightly stretched over some hard rolled ground and is actually a great surface to fly on. This time the field was not very busy, and we each got in about 7 flights during the day. The temperature was quite hot – about 32deg, and the wind was blowing cross at about 15-20 kph. Many of the practice flights were done into / down wind, but after watching Wolfgang flying in a 80 deg crass wind, I asked him why, and he said that the predominant wind at the main contest site was the same, so it would be good practice. After this we started to do the same and also flew crosswind, at first with the wind in our faces, which I found easier, and once the sun had moved around, we switched to flying on the other side, and then we had a blow out. This proved very challenging for all of us, however, watching Wolfgang, was like thinking that the wind wasn’t blowing… what a master!

We left the field quite early… about 7pm, and stopped off at Mac Donald’s for dinner. Kind’a hurts when you have to pay about R65.00 for a big Mac Meal! Anyway we all went to bed quite early, hence the lack of a report.

Practice Day 5 (Friday)

Same old same old! Up at 7;30 down for breakfast, and on to the flying field via our favorite supermarket called LIDDEL to collect essentials in the form of bananas, peaches and various cool drinks and water. We had bought a nice cooler bag a few days ago, and today, instead of paying R40.00 for 2kg of ice (”gello”), we got the hotel to fill the cooler bag and we were set for the day! When we arrived at the field it was incredibly busy, and after putting our names on the list, we worked out that it would be 3 hours before we got our first flight! During the wait, Andre started to clean his model, as he always does and both Walter and I thought it would also be a great idea, as the dust of the last few days was starting to affect the well waxed look of the Beryll. It was while wiping the wing down with a bit of windowlene on a cloth that I noticed a small crack on the right hand wing of the Beryll, which was positioned just at the point where the carbon wing tube ended. What to do!? After a lot of consultation with most of the pilots at the field, it was decided that we should pull open the crack enough to drop some cyano into it and just monitor the length of the crack after each flight. Eventually my chance came up and I decided not to be gentle, but fly as if it were a contest round, and if it broke, well then ,so be it. Fortunately, the wing held, and after the whole day’s activities, seems to be coping quite well with the repairs metered out at the field.

Today the wind was stronger than it has ever been since we’ve been here, and the turbulence over the trees and hill was, to put it mildly, quite daunting. Today we had the opportunity to spend time with the Japanese team, as well as BPLR and CPLR, all of whom used the Barosa site for their practice today.

Watching these guys fly is like poetry – Walter was convinced that the 20km/h winds would mysteriously stop when these guys were flying, but somehow when we went up… the wind would start up again! Both BPLR and CPLR were flying their Oxiome design – a half biplane / half overgrown T canaliser equipped monoplane. Today we decided to braai… and thanks to one of the local club members, who grew up in Pretoria, we were able to organize a braai and some wood as well as a grid and all the necessary essentials to make it happen. Needless to say, we were the envy of the whole field when the food was ready! As mentioned before, the wind was really bad and we always flew crosswind, either with a blow in or a blow out.

We left the field a little early again today, as john had to go to the Team Managers meeting in Pombal, which is at least 40 minutes drive from our hotel.


Here’s what we have seen so far…

QQ is flying his new bi-plane (called Venture or Ventura- can’t remember) with Plettenberg electric power.

Jason is still flying his Integral, he says he has made one or two mods, but he is very familiar with the design and happy with it’s performance.

Andrew Jesky is flying the Spark, and looks like a nice one.

Both B and C PLR are flying the Axiome, as used in the Euro’s last year, and Wolfgang Matt is also flying a biplane, an upgrade of the Amethyst, which he also flew at the Euro’s

The Japs have also got new aircraft, and they as usual have one heck of a colour scheme and paint job on them.

The big news however is that Bernt Beschoner from Germany is flying some sort of vectored thrust motor system… haven’t seen it yet but should get to see it tomorrow.

Tommorow at 10;30 is our official practice slot, followed bu the opening ceremony, so we will feed more info through as soon as it’s over.

That’s it for now, if there’s anything you would like to know, please drop us a mail and we’ll get you the answer - Until tomorrow…

Please feel free to email the team at

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