Well my cunning plan worked !!!
This was a re run of the event we tried to hold at New Years, when it was windy and raining. It wasn’t even “duckworthy”. The past two events, and many prior to that, have been rained out. So I advertised it as a float plane and kite flying day, and wouldn’t ya know it … on the weekend it was scorching hot weather, with zero wind. In fact it was almost too good. The sun was brutal. 39C in the shade was measured on the Sunday. Dam it was hot.
So Mercer was the venue, 23/24 Jan was the date, and we had a full on two days of IMAC flying at last. Its been a while since we had a two day event, with good weather and a good turnout.
However it was not without some drama. Kerry Oakley had a fire in his motor home on Friday night, and we were lucky he wasn’t off to the burns ward of Middlemore Hospital. Two fire extinguishers later, the fire started by the gas fridge was out, and the inside of hit bus was not looking to good. Kerry’s new nickname “Smokey Oakley”.
Saturday we cranked through a heap of flying. A couple of double rounds of the new 2016 Known sequence, followed by a single round to close of the day at around 6:30pm. Then it was off to the Tuakua Hotel for a pub dinner. A few laughs and a good feed. Everyone was so sun beat from the days flying, it was back to the Airfield, a few more quiets and then off to bed.
Sunday we had a couple of catch up flights to get under way first. Saturday night Adam Butler arrived, so he and Tony got in a few rounds of Intermediate up first. Well that was when they weren’t loosing canopies out over the maize, or having rudder malfunctions. Eventually between the pair of them, they got a few rounds in.
Unknowns followed for all classes on Sunday, finishing up with a single known each.
The only other drama on Sunday, Baldrick blew the wings up on the trusty Spruce Goose with a loud band. Not really sure what has happened here, but both wings failed out past the wing tube. Weird given the massive number of flights this model has done, through some pretty rugged sequences like Unlimited, yet here during a pretty tame Sportsman round, they went boom. Luckily they did not part company altogether and the model made it down to the ground with no problems. Its possible the problem may have been induced by aileron flutter, as this had occurred the day prior.
Onto the results.
Basic – Great to see two good keen guys here sticking it out for the entire weekend. Aaron Fowlds and Derek Whelan, with Aaron taking the win, but Derek managing to win a couple of rounds off him. These guys were so excited to see the Unknown Sportsman sequence flown, that they had a go too, and got through it ok. Look out Sportsman, these guys are coming.
Sportsman – A very close contest with Mike Briggs aka “Baldrick” coming out on top, only 25 points ahead of Jon “Ham” Berger, fresh back from his 5,000km epic family holiday caravanning journey around NZ. What was handy about the timing of this event, was it fell on Wellington Anniv weekend, so this meant Ross Heald and Kerry Nichols were both able to make the big trip up from the bottom of the North Island. Ross was 3rd, having won the Unknown round, and Kerry 4th also winning one of the Knowns. Craig “Tintin” Watkins flew Saturday only, and John Butler “JB” had bit of a problem when the tarmac quite literally jumped up and ate his prop.
Intermediate – Only two guys here, Adam Butler “Lurch” and Tony C-Smith “Chatterbox”. As mentioned above, they had a few problems to start with, and Lurch ended up winning this one, although Tony was starting to catch up after a few rounds. Less fishing, more flying Tony.
Advanced – Three guys in this class, John Rodgers “Ted”, John Knox “Oil Tycoon” and Dave Wilkins “Gordy”. Ted was flying his Ultimate Bipe, for what was possibly its last outing, due to the arrival of a Yak 55 he bought himself for xmas. I didn’t get a chance to judge too much Advanced, but when I did, the Ultimate was pretty much on rails. John Knox was not far behind, and its a bugger he couldn’t make it on Sunday, because he was only 15 points behind Ted when we finished on Saturday night. Dave was out with his new Black Beauty, but a fuel issue in one round caused a flame out. Less fishing, more flying Dave !!
Unlimited – Huggy Bear was overseas, and Lawrence was working, which only left me and Jarrod Briggs “Grommet” this weekend flying Unlimited. Grommet has well and truly taken the bull by the horns, and there is no way he’s going to fly Advanced. So Ted you are just gunna have to move up !! His flying improved out of sight over the weekend, with just some easy things like line length to work on now. He got through his first unknown with no zero’s and landed the tricky snaps. At one stage, the CARF 3m 260 was ditched for dad’s PBG Extra 300. As I said to him before he took off … we’ve got a bit of a problem here … what’s that dad ? … well once you fly that PBG Extra 300, there is no way you’ll want to fly anything else … so know we need to fund a DA-200 … any takers on a 3m 260 Airframe ?? lol. (Less Xbox, more flying Grommet !!!)
See you guys at the next event
Pics from the meet plus scores follow. Click to zoom in.