MFNZ 70th Nationals @ Clareville – Jan 3-7, 2018

I drove down to the 70th Model Flying NZ Nationals with Baldrick on the 2nd of Jan in Baldricks bus. Loaded with Tents, Gazebo’s, Beer and Steak, and a trailer full of models on the back. Leading up to the Nats we’d had a month worth of unusually nice weather with a huge high parked right over the country for about four weeks straight, dry and no wind. However a model aeroplane flying event had been scheduled, so of course all that was about to change !!

The day before the Nats started, plenty of people arrived for a fly out on RC1, which was looking magnificent thanks to the mowing of Len Drabble out in the hot sun on the days prior. But now a weather bomb was moving down the country, and a massive storm rolled in mid afternoon. This would set the scene for the rest of the week. On our way down, what was building above the Tararua ranges right outside the Galloways in Norsewood, looked like Lord Voldamort and his sidekicks had moved in. But we made it down there in one piece, soon to be greeted by loads of modellers all fizzing at the bung to get started with some flying the next day.

Weather Bomb on its way south

Day 1 – RC Scale / RC Aerobatics. Scale got underway in the morning, in beautiful weather, with a big entry of pilots, especially in the Intermediate class. Great to see the IMAC guys are no longer having to boost the numbers with a line up of Extra’s, as was common about 10 years ago. No now all these old IMAC guys have got actual scale models, shaken out of an ARF packet, with proper paint schemes and radial motors !!

We got started flying RC Aerobatics just after midday. First job, get the poles up. Andrew Palmer has been busy in this department. He’s made an app for your phone called “F3A Zone”, and it made this job the easiest it’s ever been. On screen using Google Maps, you set up where the 150m / 120 degree box is going to go, taking into account sun position throughout the day, and surrounding obstacles that need to be avoided. Then 3 teams head off with their phones, walking towards a pin dropped map location of where each pole needs to go. Literally just keep walking till you get to the exact spot, job done. No waving of arms, no trying to sight it up with a board, no walking around in a paddock getting lost and frustrated, it was quick and easy. Great, on with the flying then !

Barrie Russell and Mike Shears getting started. Checkout that weather in the background !!
Young Jabob Wardley, proving that a low wing sport model is all you need to fly Sportsman Aerobatics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in the week the entries for RC Sportsman Aerobatics where looking rather slim. I think we had 3. But at the last minute we had a few more sign up, a couple of Advanced entries dropped back, all of a sudden I think we had 6 flying Sportsman. A record turnout compared to what we’ve had at the Nats in the last 4 or 5 years. I don’t know what it is about Sportsman Aerobatics, but apparently turning up with a low wing sport model, doing 3 loops, 3 rolls, an outside loop, and a 3 turn spin is a pretty big deal for your avg club guy to even consider attempting. Even more frustrating when a number of onlookers watching it flown, commented … oh gee I could have had a go at that, didn’t realise it was so easy. So well done to the Sportsman guys who got involved, it certainly provided us with some entertainment as they all needed a hand to get through it.

Kerry Nichols with 2.6m CARF Extra 260.
RC Sportsman Aerobatics Fliers at the Nationals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jayden and Jacob
Murray Irvine from Nelson enjoyed his first ever Nats, flying his Monolog in Sportsman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following Sportsman, Advanced got underway with Graeme Job, Ewan Galloway and Chris Wong. By now the afternoon storm was approaching, and just as F3A was about to start, rain curtailed the days flying. Back to camp to try and BBQ under a rain shelter, for the second night in a row.

Day 2 – More of the same, RC Scale in the morning, followed by RC Aerobatics in the afternoon. Scale had a round to finish off, and got a nice pocket of weather, with maybe a little more crosswind to deal with than the day before. RC Aerobatics flyers were at the ready, we needed to get the remainder of the contest through, as more rain was headed our way. As soon as Scale finished, F3A got started. Myself, Hamish Galloway and Andrew Palmer prepared to do battle through the new P19 schedule, and we flew 3 rounds back to back. As the afternoon continued the rain threatened, but thankfully it kept moving down the ranges, and missing us, as we flew in practically dead calm weather. At one stage we were almost totally surrounded by rain showers, yet didn’t get a drop. Sportsman and Advanced flew again, and as Hamish, the last F3A flyer was landing for a complete four full rounds of all the classes, we got a quick “hurry up its raining” group photo done.

Hamish and Ewan Galloway with the new Alchemy. YS200 power !!!
RC Aerobatics – Advanced Fliers – Ewan Galloway, Graham Job, Chris Wong
Bogan and Worms’ F3A models ready for action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sportsman was won by a Junior, Jayden Molloy from the Hawkes Bay, flying a 50cc Ultimate Biplane. Second, and not far behind having won 2 out of the 4 rounds, was local Kerry Nichols flying a 2.6m Extra 260. Third was our “most senior”, and long time stalwart Barrie Russell from Hawkes Bay, flying his own designed 2m model, with I think a 30cc Petrol motor up front. We had a guy all the way from Nelson, Murray Irvine, who flew his first ever contest, and he went home excited to try and get his mates to give it a go too. Another Junior, Jacob Wardley, put in some really good scores, it was his first competition too, but he was hampered by engine and tank troubles. Seems his dad (who was enroute to the US in the cockpit of a 777 at the time) does not know the difference between a gas and a glow bung.  Ross Heald rounded out the field, he missed day two of the flying, something about racing up to Auckland to play with new some toys ? This was to be a common theme as the week went on.

Judges and Pencillers
RC Aerobatics – F3A Fliers – Frazer Briggs, Andrew Palmer, Hamish Galloway
Andrew and Suetonia with the new Biplane. Made in Japan, this thing is a work of art. Contra electric power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced was a mixed bag, Graham Job had a few problems when one of his flight pack batteries though it was still “RC Scale” time, and he did a perfect “5S Lipo” bomb drop right on centre, during the triangle loop. Ewan Galloway and Chris Wong traded rounds. Ewan flying a YS 185 powered model, vs Chris flying electric. This was a case of who can stay online and in the box the most. Chris managed to pip Ewan by 13 points to take the win.

F3A was a battle of glow vs the electric, with both myself and Hamish flying YS 4 strokes. Andrew flying his nice new Biplane, electric power. Both of these guys went to the recent F3A Worlds in Argentina, and flew in 40 knot gales, so windy that portaloo’s were blowing over. So a little bit of Clareville wind and rain was not going to be a problem. But the pressure was on for Hamish, he had a flame out in Round 2, idle setting too low on the Stall Turn (electric guys be grinning as they read that), and only having enough time to fly 4 rounds, this would be his drop flight. The new P19 schedule flows quite nicely, Hamish and myself tied for the 1000 in the final round, but it was too late. Hamish third, Andrew second, and me in first.

Worms calling for Jacob Wardley in Sportsman

That night was the NZRCAA AGM. Andrew Palmer is your new Chairman, with myself the new Sec/Treas. Take a look on the NZRCAA website if you want to see a full run down of the minutes, in brief, we are looking at introducing a new Intermediate RC Aerobatics sequence, something to bridge the gap between the current Sportsman and Advanced, for the guys out there who are past Sportsman, but don’t have the willpower to practise Advanced. There is going to be a promotion run this year, to try and get club guys to have a go at simple aerobatics with their sport model, and a pretty cool prize up for grabs too. Plus “Classic” pattern is something we are going to try and get going too, you know the stuff from the 60’s and 70’s, Curare’s, Dirty Birdy’s, screaming 60 sized motors on pipes, centre manoeuvres only, lots of fun. More info on that coming soon.

Ewan Galloway with Slick. DA-170 power.
Onlookers in the shade
Chris Wong with Extreme Flight Slick, DA-120 powered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Pylon – By now the weather was getting nasty. The top of the North Island had been getting a hammering over the past two days, with some flooding near the Coromandel, and strong winds. So we had been lucky so far. I woke up at 6am in my tent to about 100mm of water on the floor, thankfully my camp stretcher was 200mm up !! Rain had literally gone straight through the “K-Mart Water Proof Fly” all night. New Jandals on, I waded outside to be greeted by low cloud, and drizzle. A small window of opportunity had been forecast for the mid morning. I’m getting off track here, no doubt John Danks will give a complete pylon report elsewhere. Only Sportsman Quickee was flown that day, by midday the rain had set in, and it got worse as the day went on.

Andrew and Suetonia with the Memphis Belle

Day 4 – IMAC – Strong winds during the night demolished the Blue Lagoon Gazebo. Browney, Ted and JB were “all nationals’d out”, and they left at the crack of dawn bound for Auckland. Ted was in such a hurry to get home, he may have clocked the fastest “Clareville to Auckland” nats return road trip on record. We were supposed to be flying IMAC on Day 4, but with the wind this strong, the day was not looking too good. Guys went to the field for a look, and the hand held wind meter was too scared to even come out of its packet. What are we going to do Bogan ? We only got through 1/3rd of the Pylon, and today we don’t look like we will get through any IMAC at all. Just as well that the Nats is a 5 day event, and we always try and schedule the RC 1 stuff to get through in the first 4 days, leaving day 5 to who ever needs it. And it just happened that the weather forecast for Day 5 was stunning. We will fly tomorrow boys, go home, drink coffee, and come back tomorrow. You wouldn’t believe it, but we flew Aggy that night at the free flight field in almost dead calm conditions. Suetonia Palmer was 3rd !!!

IMAC Intermediate guys getting ready
Baldrick in action
Ian Hill getting ready to go

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Spare Day – Due to the weather bomb, an exodus had occurred across all the classes that needed to be flown, which would make things a bit easier. Pylon was all wrapped up by midday. We launched into IMAC, and had until 4pm to get through as much flying as we could, before the results were needed back at HQ. It was hot and sunny, with light winds. Kerry Nichols, Ian Hill and Chris Wong started flying Sportsman. Chris’s new Slick broke a header on round 1, so that was him done for the day, and he helped out with Judging duties. Kerry flying a CARF 260, and Ian flying his 60cc Edge, swapped round wins between each other, with some close flying. Kerry eventually taking out the win here. Intermediate is calling your name Kerry, you flew 65.3 %

Rodney Ford won Intermediate
Kerry Nichols won Sportsman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onto Intermediate, this class has had a recent boost in numbers, with a few guys all making the move up from Sportsman together. So we had four in Intermediate. Rodney Ford flying his DA200cc powered Slick taking out first place, winning all four sequences. Ewan Galloway flying the same design, with DA170 not far behind in second. Young James Farrow from Kapiti made the move up from Sportsman, flying his Hangar 9 Yak 54 into 3rd place, just ahead of Mike Briggs aka “Baldrick”, flying a PBG Extra 260 on a DA-150cc. This one is nicknamed big foot, you only need to see the size of the wheel spats to see why. Both Rodney and Ewan getting promo points here, Rodney 71.9%, Ewan 68.8%.

IMAC Winners

Advanced was a non event. John Knox was back in Kaiawa pumping water out of his modelling shed, while on the phone to the insurance company. Plus Ted had other “matters” to attend to back home.

Unlimited, just myself and Andrew Palmer this time. Both flying models built by me. Andrew has the PBG Extra 260 that was nicknamed the “Memphis Belle” on account that it got lost in the back of a 747 one year on the way to the Shootout. Fedex sent it from LA to Tucson, via Memphis Tennesee. Just take a look at the map of the USA, and you will see how whacky that is. A few years back, Rodney Ford designed and produced the fuselage plug for a new model, the PBG Extra 300. This is the popular 2 seater version of the Extra. So I was flying mine. Both Andrew and I are using the trusty DA-200 four cylinder, these things run as smooth as butter. We flew 4 sequences of the new 2018 schedule, me on 77.3% and Andrew 69.6%. Suetonia Palmer called for both of us, fantastic calling skills. Just the right amount of info at just the right time. I’m not joking, Suetonia what are you doing in October, I’m off to the Shootout again !!!

At 4pm the official results were emailed over to HQ, but the weather was so nice we kept flying till about 6pm. During the afternoon we flew a mixture of both the 2017 Known Sequences, and the new 2018 Sequences. So many of the guys kept on flying, working on the new schedules, but with no judging. There wasn’t time to go through an Unknown, so those are tucked away for next time.

IMAC Group Photo

That was the MFNZ Nats done and dusted for another year. Prize giving was held back at HQ that night, with drinks and nibbles. This is when we get to catch up with all the other groups of flyers, and hear how they have been getting on. Big thanks to the management team who do a ton of work in the back ground. Prize giving was all over pretty quickly with just the major awards being presented. We have a trophy for Aerobatics Champion, if you haven’t seen the trophy, it’s pretty hard to miss, it’s about the same size as the Bledisloe Cup !! This has been going for about 3 or 4 years now, the winner is determined by your average percentage score. Eg get straight 7’s from the judges all week long, and you are flying at 70%. This is calculated across both Pattern and IMAC, raw scores vs total possible. If you fly both, you get a 2% bonus. Now … somebody else needs to win this thing, seriously, it’s a bugger to get home and back each time, it takes up an entire seat in the van.

Final results for Aerobatics Champion are as follows.

 

Coming up … we have IMAC events booked in for Galatea, plus a combined IMAC and Pattern event in the Hawkes Bay in April. Other events will be put on the calendar soon, so keep an eye on the email for notifications.

The next Nats will be at Waharoa !! See you there.

RC Aerobatics Scores

Sportsman

Final scores in Sportsman ranged from a low of 1,731.2 to a high of 2,967.0 (a range of 1,235.8)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1
1 Jayden Molloy 2,967.0 1,000.0 967.0 1,000.0 334.8
thrown
2 Kerry Nichols 2,893.2 95.0
thrown
missing figure score(s)
1,000.0 893.2 1,000.0
3 Barrie Russell 2,608.8 916.9 770.9
thrown
891.0 800.9
4 Murray Irvine 2,503.3 755.3 715.9
thrown
784.2 963.8
5 Jacob Wardley 1,772.5 121.1
thrown
missing figure score(s)
235.7 758.5 778.3
6 Ross Heald 1,731.2 817.1 914.1 0.0
thrown
missing flight score(s)
0.0
missing flight score(s)

Advanced

Final scores in Advanced ranged from a low of 1,707.1 to a high of 2,952.2 (a range of 1,245.2)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1
1 Chris Wong 2,952.2 836.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 952.2
2 Ewan Galloway 2,939.8 1,000.0 939.8 921.0
thrown
1,000.0
3 Graham Job 1,707.1 0.0
thrown
missing figure score(s)
778.6 928.5 0.0
missing flight score(s)

F3A

Final scores in F3A ranged from a low of 2,815.0 to a high of 3,000.0 (a range of 185.0)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1
1 Frazer Briggs 3,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
2 Andrew Palmer 2,843.9 922.0
thrown
938.2 933.0 972.6
3 Hamish Galloway 2,815.0 910.0 294.9
thrown
missing figure score(s)
905.0 1,000.0

 

IMAC Scores

Sportsman

Final scores in Sportsman ranged from a low of 1,766.1 to a high of 4,000.0 (a range of 2,233.9)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2
1 Kerry Nichols 4,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0 909.3
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 725.9
thrown
2 Ian Hill 3,952.6 959.9 798.2
thrown
1,000.0 911.9
thrown
992.6 1,000.0
3 Chris Wong 1,766.1 905.4 860.7 0.0
thrown
missing flight score(s)
0.0
thrown
missing flight score(s)
0.0
missing flight score(s)
0.0
missing flight score(s)

Intermediate

Final scores in Intermediate ranged from a low of 2,476.2 to a high of 3,000.0 (a range of 523.8)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2
Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2
1 Rodney Ford 3,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
2 Ewan Galloway 2,913.5 940.0 975.2 896.7
thrown
998.3
3 James Farrow 2,546.6 876.6 747.0
thrown
783.8 886.2
4 Mike Briggs “Baldrick” 2,476.2 666.3
thrown
714.1 905.2 856.8

Unlimited

Final scores in Unlimited ranged from a low of 2,760.4 to a high of 3,000.0 (a range of 239.6)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2
Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2
1 Frazer Briggs “Bogan” 3,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0 0.0
thrown
missing flight score(s)
2 Andrew Palmer “Doc” 2,760.4 711.9
thrown
850.8 909.6 1,000.0

Note: Flights without a scale pilot and panel installed are assessed a penalty.