Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eurofly 2009 - Allard van Wallene

After some criticism in on-line forums on how the competition has been run in some of the past years, the organizers announced in Free Flight media they would stick strictly to FAI rules. This information combined with a near perfect weather forecast and an expected high turn out were the main ingredients for an end of the season show down. For some flyers a lot was at stake, winning or loosing this competition would make or break a World Cup victory. In F1A Roland Koglot and Thomas Slokar were still in the running for a victory in F1A, Andrjukov in F1B and Truppe in F1C.

Figure 1 Hotel Gurnigelbad, view into valley obstructed by layer of clouds on F1B day.
We, Maarten van Dijk, Ivo Kreetz and I, arrived Friday evening in hotel Gurnigelbad, built on parts of the foundations of the once famous 19th century 600-bed hotel, which is located on the west slopes of the valley at some 1155 meters altitude. Saturday morning dawned with clear skies, but a look into the valley showed a dense cloud layer. We thought this grey mass would reach all the way to ground level and competition site which is situated along the road between Kirchenthurnen and Mühledorf, but when driving down the mountain to the starting area we were well below cloud level. Flying conditions were perfect with virtually no wind. In F1C a proper trimmed model would have no difficulties in maxing, but in F1B this was another story. The buoyant air was present in ‘layers’, and ending up in the wrong layer would make even the best model landing very close to the maximum flight time of 4 minutes. Andrjukov saw his chances for a World Cup victory vaporize, when the controls of the model were apparently not properly set sending the ship down for a disappointing 205 seconds. In F1C maxing was a mere formality provided the model was well trimmed and launched in the right direction. Vladimir Vsychov was flying a completely re- engineered model with some novel features. The stabilizer was flapped for a symmetrical section during climb, and under-cambered during glide. The engine was particularly hot, running the highest RPM on the field. The foldable wing worked reliably and the transitions were clean. He was going strong heading for a fly off spot, when an attempt launching the ship with the wings in un-folded position crashed the model beyond repair.

Figure 2: Vsychov launches new full carbon folder with flapped stab, impressive climb
After having watched the second round, we headed for another spot on the field for some proper practicing. We soon realized that real thermals were very scarce indeed, in fact we experienced only one during the whole day which would actually carry the model to higher altitudes. For the remainder of the day, a good launch and careful air picking was not always a guarantee for a 3 minutes flight. All day the weather allowed watching the behavior of models from a close distance for the entire flight. It was interesting to see the layered nature of good and bad air. In particular, models that would centre well in more ‘normal’ thermal conditions would wonder about all over the field scraping the best air available but inevitably passing through sinking air in the process. Maarten and me launched two identical models in the same air. The first 2 minutes model one was doing better, in the last minutes of the flight the roles were reversed. Just in time to watch the fly off spectacle, we packed up and headed for the flight line. The fly offs were soon on their way.

Figure 3: Truppe launches for winning flight
With the zero wind conditions, the altitude of the models could only be judged from a distance, so we watched the participants from the food and beverage barn. The F1B with the best rubber and the F1C models with the hottest climb had a clear advantage. In F1B no one made the max, while in F1C only Truppe and managed the 7 minutes. Their following fly off was a bit of an anti climax. The Italian flyer who flew consistently all day, launched a bit to the right making the model go off its pattern. The bunt was followed by a fierce stall and he radio DT’d the model to avoid further damage. Truppe only had to repeat his consistency which he did for a convincing win. In F1B Mike Woolner had the best performance with 6:26 closely followed by Tonu Luman and although he now also had 3 first places, it was not enough to knock Silz from the winning spot in the World Cup ranking. He was allowed to do his singing act again at the banquet that night.
F1A day dawned less cloudy and the first round was sunny and windstill. Thermals were absent, so a good launch was practically a guarantee for the 3:30 max. 40 out of 73 flyers managed. In round two the force of the sun created small patches of lift, which could vanish as quickly as they appeared in particular towards the end of the round. Watching other models was just as important as checking the air on tow.

Figure 4: Ivo Kreetz checks rudder while Maarten psyches up for first round
Despite the sometimes tricky air, 24 managed a clean score. Around 4 pm these flyers lined up for the fly off. Maximum time was set at 7 minutes, as announced before the contest.

Figure 5: Cenny Breeman flew this unturbulated ship, but a slight stall spoiled his chances
Both Allard and Bart Rotteveel started towing when the flare shot up. The models were dangerously close and Allard's model hit Bart's towline and crashed into the hard tarmac of the road. An approaching car could not avoid a collision, and the model was heavily damaged. Others were already towing comfortably in the middle of the field where good air was developing. Allard rushed back for his back up ship, and was on tow again 5 minutes into the round. Roland Koglot repeated one of his rocket- launches, and shot his flapper well over 90 meters. The glide was superb, but a landing on top of a downwind barn ended his chances for a victory of this competition and World Cup. Apparently the timekeeper of Aringer saw his model for the full 7 minutes although others saw it land at 6:11. The time was averaged to 6:35 for the victory. Both Pouzet and Kosonoshkin tied with a time of 6:24 and had to fly another fly off to decide the runner up place. Kosonoshkin had the better launch, and although both models were holding well in the solid air, it was Kosonoshkin's short model who did 5:54 against 5:19 for Pouzet. It took some time before the final results were announced, but close to darkness the prize giving was on its way.
In F1Q Andreas Lindner won. His model went up like on rails with no rolling or yawing followed by a bunt. Most of his climbs were followed by a loud applause from the onlookers. Runner up Wolfgang Gerlach was close in pattern but not as perfect and the fly-off made the difference in performance clear. In F1G no less than 24 participants attended. None of them managed to max out, a clear sign of the sometimes tricky conditions. Jean-Luc Bodin dropped the least amount of seconds with a 171 in round two.

Figure 6: Aringer launches for son Luca
This competition was a worthy climax of the season with the best flying conditions imaginable and high performances in all classes. The low wind speeds made it the perfect spectator event, even for the flyers, who could relax in between flights. The competition was well run with plenty of timekeepers from the local ice hockey club, a barn with food and drinks and sanitary. Results were processed with a computer and final results ready soon after the final fly offs.
After an excellent dinner in one of the local 'Gaststube' we drove back up the mountain to our hotel for a well- deserved night sleep. We were woken at 3 AM by howling winds and fierce rain. The storm managed to stay out of our way long enough, but then hit us at full force. Next morning the roads were covered in a thick layer of autumn leaves. But despite the wet, traffic was light and we made it home without delays.

Figure 7: Tame sister of Red Bull