April 30th / May 1st, 2016
Well after a few years of sorting it out, plans finally came to fruition, our first ever IMAC contest at Galatea was held, and was a roaring success.
If ever there was a time to buy a lotto ticket, this was it. Superb weather for this time of year, and a great turn out of pilots for the first ever contest, everything fell into place.
If you didn’t make it to this comp, I’m sure you will hear about it from those that did.
So … where on earth is this place called Galatea ? South east of Rotorua. North east of Taupo. Just down from Whakatane. Its about a 4 hour drive down from Auckland and 6 hours drive up from Wellington. It’s as central as we can find, and the setup is just what the Dr ordered. A fullsize airstrip about the same length as Waharoa, tons of airspace, and zero full size movements/interuptions all weekend. Combine those features with locals bending over backwards to help us out, it’s really looking like a great place to run IMAC events in the North Island.
Just for a bit of history on how we came about this site, I found it on Google Earth about 2 years ago. The place looked mint. Fullsize strip, no houses on the side we would fly over, in the middle of nowhere so should be pretty quiet as far as fullsize traffic goes. Next mission, to track down a contact for the local aeroclub. I found a thread on an NZ based aeronautical bulletin board, where someone had been asking about the place. Posted a message trying to find out who is the local contact, and someone soon emailed me a name and phone number. Last year around this time, Baldrick was having a bit of a holiday in his bus up and around the Gisborne / Waikeremoana area, and I said go and check out Galatea on your way home. He did, and reported back that it looked perfect for what we needed. Baldrick also checked out some other sites closer to Taupo, with the help of Jeff Winter, but nothing ticked the boxes like Galatea. Leading up the nats, we contacted the local aero club, and Baldrick stopped and saw they guy on the way home from the nats to get it set up. Turns out he’s a bit of a modeller too … wow look at that Wilga !!! ok you wanna have a contest here ? no worries mate, bring it on !!!!
The initial date was set for mid April, but this clashed with a scale comp at Waharoa, plus it was pretty soon after the Nats, so I bumped the date to the end of the month. Hmmm … fingers crossed that was a good move, and we still get good weather ??? End of April is pushing it.
Right … so I set off for Galatea with Jarrod midday Friday. He’s on school holidays, and we’ve been busy. Last weekend was Warbirds over Awatoto. Loaded to the roof with camping gear, and a trailer full of models, off we went. Soon we get a call from Lurch … hey Bogan we are at the field in Galatea, ready to have a fly, and we just tried to ring Baldrick, only someone at the Taupo Pak’N’Save answered his phone ? Oh here we go, Baldrick, the main contact for the weekend, has gone and left his phone in the Supermarket, and he’s on his way to Galatea now without a clue. Bugger. How on earth can we sort this one. Hmmm … Kerry Nichols will be driving through Taupo today, so 20mins later I give him a call. Oh Hi Bogan, I’m in Taupo, yeah just calling into the Pak’N’Save, oh hey it looks like Baldrick is here too, I can see his bus … problem solved. Jarrod and I stopped at Rotorua, and stocked up on food and beer, plus tons of gas and smoke (not smokes … smoke diesel for the Raven !!!). The drive from Rotorua to Galatea is pretty cool. You head south to Rainbow Mountain, and then turn East. 30 mins of dead straight roads heading through a thick pine forest. Eventually you pop out into a pretty big valley, where you immediately go through a tiny place called Murapara. They have a gas station and a four square. Then its only 10 mins up the road to Galatea. A big mountain range to the East is the start of the Te Urewera National Park. What a setting. This looks even better in person.
Galatea is a quiet little place, with dairy farms all around. There is a school, a squash club, a rugby club, and an old RSA with a bar (that we have yet to check out). No shops. No gas station. But it has an Airfield right opposite the school. We get to the field, and a few bods, Ian Hill from Wellington, Kerry Nichols from Masterton, Derek Whelan, JB and Lurch from Auckland, all sussing out the club room, and setting up camp. Woohoo check this place out its awesome !!! Off down the runway, and I find Baldrick and Kerry Oakley aka “Smokey Oakley”, having acquired a new nickname since toasting up his RV at Mercer. Smokey is on a mower, and he’s making the grass for 100m of the fullsize runway, a few inches shorter. I’m looking at it wondering why we are even bothering, but I keep forgetting the guys with 50cc models have tiny wheels, and they just won’t get off unless its mown. We get a quick fly in before it goes dark, and the final mowing is finished under headlamps.
Back down to the clubroom, it’s all hands on deck, and we crank up some BBQ’s, and launch into the pile of groceries Baldrick collected. BBQ chicken and spuds etc. Hey boss do you know that Apple are now starting to market iPhones at local supermarkets ?
Saturday morning … hmmm .. something I hadn’t quite factored in, early morning sun is well in the box at the left hand end. A few guys pulled out in the days leading up to the comp, but we still have 15 pilots, which is a great start. Smokey cracked out of bed at 6am, and he has been rolling the runway using his bus. It’s looking like you could play billiards on it. We are all set.
After a briefing, 4 keen Basic flyers are fizzing at the bung to get into it. Gavin Madsen and his mate Steve Sherborne both came to the IMAC primer in December, and have been out practicing the Basic schedule ever since. Plus Derek Whelan now flying his DA60 powered CARF Yak 55SP, and Smokey Oakley with 50cc EG Raven, both having flown at a few comps now are ready too. Smokey has a new fancy JR XG14 radio set that Worms is busy programming up for him. We flew Basic on a bit of an angle to avoid the sun, but after the first round, the sun had moved enough we could fly straight down the runway.
Sportsman was up next. Baldrick, Kerry Nichols, Ewan Galloway who we haven’t seen for a while, JB and Ian Hill.
No Intermediate this time. Hopefully soon we see some action here, a few of the “non gold card” Sportsman guys might soon be ready to move up. Err, hang ong … looking at the list, there is only one “non gold card” sportsman guy !!!
Advanced, John Knox and Adam Butler, plus who is this … Aunty Grant Finlay ???!!!??? About bloody time too !!! There is only so many circuits on a piper cub that an ex aerobatic flyer can do, before he eventually gets the bug to return to competition flying. Great to see you back Aunty … your model needs more power, its not the 90’s ya know, and btw, you are judging Unlimited !!
In Unlimited myself and Jarrod both flying the same model, plus Worms is flying the Slick 360, which is great. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Worms at an IMAC contest. The Unlimited guys are fickle bunch. I can probably count 8 or 9 guys who fly it, but the chances of getting them all to the same contest, not likely. One such Unlimited Pilot, Steve Gene “Ditcho”, lives just up the road in Whakatane, so he comes down for the day and he gives us a hand with judging and scoring etc. Soon Ditcho will be into it, but he’s been a little “busy” since he got married last year.
We flew Known sequences all day. At lunchtime, a pretty decent crowd of locals has heard the noise throughout the valley, and come down for a look. I put on a display with the 150cc Raven with smoke and music, perfect weather for a 3D show, and no doubt they will all be talking about it for the rest of the winter !!! Lots of PR work by our flyers, explaining what its all about etc. The day ended with the Sportsman guys flying their last round in pretty dark conditions. Just when we thought it was time for a beer and a feed, Jarrod decides he needs to have a 3D session on the Raven too, all at pretty low level, and going well dark by now. Headlamps are needed once again for the packing up.
Saturday night, more BBQ action at the club rooms. This time steaks. All hands on deck, we had a great meal, followed by a lot of story telling, some of it true, some of it made up, all of it hilarious. All tucked in by midnight after a long day.
Sunday morning. Starts out a bit cold, but once again its looking like another mint day. Bacon and Eggs are smashed out, and we have a bit of overcast cloud meaning no sun issues first up. Down on the flightline the Unknowns are handed out, and the program for the day is set. Basic crank into it, but Gavin and Steve who went home after the first day are missing, so it goes through really fast. By midday we are running through the unknowns, and a few locals turn up for a look. This time Jarrod gets to put on the lunch time show.
Nothing out of the ordinary happens on Sunday, except John Knox who decides its time to break out his brand new CARF Extra 330SC, with DA-200 up front, and fly it in the Advanced Unknown. Only to have it go awol on the bottom of a downloop, where he executes a perfect 1 1/2 snaps, but it then does a nice opposite half snap all on its own !!! Something of John’s snapped shut just as fast, and he landed straight away. All sorts of opinions follow on what the problem could be, new fancy radio playing up, new fancy servos no good, aerial on the TX pointing in wrong direction … nope … it turns out on the grape vine that it 100% was self induced. Seems he had bumped a snap roll button on the back of his TX, that he thought was inhibited. Nice to find out what the problem was, trust me, there is nothing worse then fear of the unknown gremlin.
End of the day, we wrap it up around 2:30. Guys want to get on the road, but some just want to stay and fly in the dead calm conditions. The weather is just mint.
So … awesome weekend had by all. The site is magic, and the aeroclub wants to see us using the facilty. The best thing, not one interruption all weekend by fullsize coming onto circuit. We all had to drive a bit further to get there, but well worth it. A plan is made for the next contest end of November. At the next event, I’m expecting we might get a few more turning up, especially when they hear how good the first event went. So we will need to crank up two flightlines, to ensure we all get enough flying in.
Something else I should mention, the accommodation worked out really well. A couple of the guys found a place on book a bach. There are two houses not far up the road. Approx $80 a night, can sleep about 4 or 5 people. That’s a bargain. Plus Shelly Knox was going to call in at a lodge she saw, and see what they can do. Onsite there is tons of room for camping, and in November, it will be warm enough for this to be a great option. There is a portacom on the field, and it sleeps four people. First in first served. Plus a few of us bunked down in the clubhouse, but this means you are the last to bed, and the first up. No curtains !! Down the road we walked 2 mins to the local squash club, and used there showers etc. Gold coin donation. At the next event, its likely that the local school will put on the Saturday night diner for us, and maybe even lunch at the field each day. This is great for us, less organising, and they end up making a few bucks. Good to support the local community too, and it means we will be welcome for years to come.
Right …. the results and pics follow.
Click here for the results in PDF format: Galatea May 2016 Results
and here are a load of pics, most of which taken by Aunty. Click to zoom in.