Aerobatics Over Awatoto – Feb 29 / March 1st 2020

As usual, this was a great event, down in the Hawkes Bay, held over the last weekend in Feb. Hot and Sunny was on order for this time of year. And it was for most of the time, with light to no wind.

We had tried to get enough people to commit to being there by midday Friday, so we could start contest flying early, given that this was going to be a busy weekend with many planning to attend. But we got little take up on that idea. A number of guys made it to the field on Friday in time for some practice, and although I didn’t make it till around 5pm, I’m told there were plenty of models lined up in the pitts at the busiest part of the day.

Saturday morning, arrived at the field early and ready to go. The safety briefing was held, and as we did at the Nats, we ran a 15 min pop quiz on Judging related matters. We’ve been trying to do this at recent comps, and I think it’s the only way we can encourage people to get involved with actively knowing the Judging criteria. So watch out for more of those in the future. Yes we could run a full blown judging school in the middle of winter, but would we get anyone actually hoping in their car and driving to one of those ? Insert Tui add here…

Something we did at the briefing was unveil a new trophy, that has come out of the Mike Johnson Estate. This Trophy has been presented to the NZRCAA by Paul Tomlinson and Paul Stairmand, and is named the “Mike Johnson Memorial”. Make it for the Juniors they said. I’m sure Mike would be happy to see that. So what we decided to do was have this Trophy at each event where possible, and award it to the most deserved Junior. A bit like “Player of the Day” done at junior sports. To start with we can do that based on % possible, which work’s  if you get Juniors flying across different classes. But we want to be flexible on how we hand out this award, and the main aim is to encourage Juniors, which right now we have quite a few of, which is great to see.

Worms and Granny

Right onto the flying … the country had been in drought for weeks and months, with the North Island looking very brown and dry. But would you believe it actually started to drizzle with rain when it was time to get started !!! Not a bad thing, and it didn’t hamper us much. With about 20 pilots in attendance, some flying Pattern, some flying IMAC, and some going to be very busy flying both, we made a start with the Basic IMAC class.

The numbers in Basic were a little thin on the ground, now that we’ve had a few guys make the move up to Sportsman. Rob Lockyer from the local club flew his 50cc Extra 330LX, Derek Whelan flew his 2m CARF Yak 55. Good to see these two guys from the local club getting involved and having a go. Young Dom Clarke was there, he had hoped to be flying his new 50cc Extra too, but some last minute problems meant he flew his trusty AJ Models Acuity. That thing fly’s so well, it looks like the perfect electric pattern model to get started on. I think it’s on 6S batteries ? No surprise that young Dom smoked the old blokes in Basic, but looking at the scores both Derek and Rob were on the improve all weekend.

Sportsman IMAC was the biggest class over the weekend with 8 guys flying. Kerry Nichols was missing in action for most of Saturday. He was on his way home from a job down in the South Island, but managed to get up to the Bay by late afternoon, with new Pattern model and IMAC models all ready to go. Someone we haven’t seen for a while, Ross Heald, managed to make it to the Bay he flew his 3m Red Bull PBG Extra 260, and looking at the scores flew well on day 1, winning a couple of rounds. But Ross couldn’t be there for Sunday, so missed flying the unknown which dropped him down the result sheet. Mike Shears !!!  Another Local keen man, this guy is normally number 1 pitt crew helping out young Jayden, but this time Jayden was away, and he had no choice but to fly himself. Mike flew his Ultimate Biplane. Steve Sherbourne from Te Awamutu was let out for the weekend, and he flew his Hangar 9 DLE60 twin powered Inversa. Now you might say that is not a legal IMAC model, but if that thing doesn’t look 100% like a Su 31 with the U/C on backwards, then I don’t know what does !! Ian Hill was there again, he’s a good keen man too, and is always a starter for some Sportsman IMAC. Ian usually makes the trip up from Wellington to join us, with some Golf on the way. Ian flew consistently well all weekend, and finished in 4th place, only 15 points behind 3rd. Aaron Maitland from Tuakau made the trip down with his family, and they checked into the local Campgrounds on Friday night. Aarons son (age about 10 I think)  Ricky calls for him, and he flew well to finish up in 3rd place. His model is a small Extra powered by a four stroke glow motor, but he has a small squadron of bigger petrol powered models that he’s working on getting sorted. Aaron has just made the jump from Basic to Sportsman. Paul Tomlinson in his first ever IMAC event placed second. Paul recently got his hands on a 50cc Extra, and brought it along to have a go, and when his contra unit in his pattern model packed in, it was just as well he did. A pattern flier from way back, he needs to learn the IMAC lingo, how to read aresti, and what a 2 of 4 is, but after flying the unknown he was heard to whisper to his pro caller “I actually really enjoyed that, what a challenge”. Young Jacob Wardley cleaned up the Sportsman class, but it was no easy feat. On Friday he practically got no practice flying at all due to engine related trouble. Lots of time with the cowl off. In the first few rounds on Saturday he flew a borrowed model. By the end of the weekend it seems the engine was sorted, and he was back on his own model, a 70cc MXS. Great to see you didn’t give up when things got tough Jacob !! We look forward to seeing you in Intermediate soon, you will be Ewan Galloways problem next.

Pitts lineup

We didn’t have anyone flying Intermediate IMAC this time. We seem to have a bit of a gap there at the moment. Baldrick was not there, and he is usually a starter in Intermediate. Ewan Galloway being the only one, he stuck to flying Masters Pattern. But looking at the numbers in Sportsman, it won’t be too long before a couple of those guys are ready to move up a step and fill this class again.

Advanced IMAC – We had three guys flying in this class. Now I can count up the number of guys that can fly Advanced IMAC, and it takes both hands to count them on, you know who you are, but it seems these guys are a fickle bunch and getting them to all show up in numbers at the same time seems to be pretty much impossible. In this case we had 3 in Advanced, enough to make the class worth running. Local Chris Wong flew his 120cc Slick, but couldn’t be there for Day 2. James Farrow was 2nd flying his 120cc Yak 54. John Knox won Advanced also flying 120cc, a CARF Extra 330. Between the three of them they certainly supplied a fair share of entertainment for the judges !!

Unlimited, yeah …. with me being the only one there, I flew F3A instead. But I’m itching to get flying Unlimited again, so we need to work on a few more that are capable to make a showing.

This weekend was a combined Pattern and IMAC, so while we had 14 guys flying IMAC, we also had some Pattern running to. And if you wanted to fly in both, you were busy !! We had 13 flying in Pattern.

Clubman Pattern was not flown, those guys were happy to stick to flying Basic IMAC. But we had a good line up of guys wanting to fly Expert Pattern. 5 in total. Kerry Nichols only got a chance to fly one round of this, and he won that round !!! So a bugger he wasn’t able to get there in time for the rounds on Saturday, no doubt it would have made things a little different. Ian Hill was flying his trusty CA Models Epsilon and finished 4th. Aaron Maitland finished up in 3rd place, flying his classic model. I think it was a UFO. Aaron won Clubman Pattern at the Nats, and this was his first event flying the Expert schedule and having to learn all about “the box”. Two Juniors battled it out for the top spot in Expert, with Dom Clarke flying his Aquity in 2nd, just behind Sean Galloway flying his Matrix. These two “keen as mustard” juniors were both all set to give the ozzies a shake up, at their Masters event, but at the time of writing the event has been cancelled due to the world wide Covid 19 lockdown. Next time !! Lookout.

Sportsman IMAC guys getting ready for action

Masters Pattern was flown by 3 guys. Ewan Galloway was the winner flying his Alchemy, ahead of Paul Tomlinson with his Pegasus. Paul Tomlinson was 3rd, the contra unit in his biplane turned inside out during the first flight, and sounded like a Kenwood Cake mixer on full bake. So that was him done for the weekend on that model.  

F3A – We had 5 flying in F3A, and what who’s this … Granny ? aka James Danby. Back from a 2 year hiatus, and flying a new model too, a BJ Craft Super Pro Fantasy Sister. Granny was 3rd in F3A ahead of John Knox with his Allure and Chris Wong with his BJ Craft model. Worms aka Hamish Galloway had his new “big fat” Allure biplane, only just recently test flown, and he was working out the bugs in that thing, swapping to the Alchemy monoplane after a couple of rounds. I can report that the Biplane is dialed in nicely now, I went down to the Galloway farm in Norsewood after the weekend for a few days, and got to have a fly of it too. I was the winner of F3A flying my well seasoned Galloway Allure with YS185 “slimer” chugging away up front. Not the only YS though, my YS buddy Chris Wong has a YS200 in his model. Go the mighty YS.

Saturday night Dinner – well this was a bit of a mission, to say the least. Plan A, let’s try something different,  “The Filter Room” which is handy to the field, and has tons of room. We were there only amonth ago for Warbirds weekend. Massive selection of craft beers and cider on tap. Yeah what a great idea. Only to find out on Thursday that they were fully booked for a wedding on Saturday night. Bugger. Plan B the River Bar / restaurant in Clive. Also handy to the field, but they ran out of some menu items last time, and dealing with a big group seems to be a bit of a problem. Well to make to work they needed our order by midday, so the Chef could handle it all. So you can only imagine how hard it is to get 20 people and possible partners to figure if they are even coming, and if so what they want to eat for dinner, at 10am in the morning. Then add to the problem that they are all modellers. Yep, what a mission that was. So the venue was booked for 7:30, which perfectly fits my “half past” mentality. Plus I knew we would still be flying at 6 anyway, Day light savings right. Well as I’m enjoying a beer in a packed kitchen full of visiting fliers all jammed into “Chateau Wardley”, at precisely 7:31pm, I get a call from Paul Tomlinson, “hey are you guys coming to dinner cause it’s on the table !!!” Oh shit … so we arrived 10 mins late to see a bunch of hungry modeller’s who haven’t had to wait more than 2 mins, all tucking into a very good feed. A couple of glitches with who ordered what, but it worked out to be really efficient, and everyone eventually got what they ordered. I didn’t realise that 7:30 meant we will serve it up at that exact time !! Ruthless efficiency, I think we might try that again next time, only I’m going to delegate a “Dinner Boss” to deal with the logistics of that task. Someone please volunteer.

Juniors at Awatoto, Sean Galloway with Matrix, Jacob Wardley with MXS and Dom Clarke with Aquity

Sunday the weather was awesome and we got started early. The plan was to be all wrapped up around 3pm leaving time for people to travel home. As the last flight landed, Prizegiving was run very soon after. The Mike Johnson Memorial Award for the top Junior, went to Jacob Wardley, who on % possible points finished ahead of Sean Galloway and Dom Clarke. He was no doubt the deserved winner according to the CD and the other committee members present. As a bonus, he has been tasked with making a box to transport the thing around in.

All in all another fantastic event at Awatoto.

A big thanks to the local club guys who gave up their site so we could fly there all weekend, they had some volunteer members cooking up those “Toto Burgers” for us on both days, and the Tea and Coffee was non stop. Right now Awatoto is hands down one of the best sites for us to run events at, a superb venue. So we look forward to the next one on the calendar.

CD’s wrap up … we only flew over one flight line during the entire weekend, which made for things to be a bit more relaxed, but we did have to keep the flying cranking through to make this work. It meant you could be waiting a long time till your next flight. We could have run a second line for some classes, but we really needed a few more people there to make the judging work for this to happen. Sportsman IMAC had 8 flying, and this was the one class that would have been worth flying over two lines to crank it through faster. It would be great to get a 3 day event going again, like we used to do in the days of the Rumble. They were very successful, and I keep getting the “Bogan, lets do a Rumble again” calls from some that are very keen to see it happen. The Rumble was a full on 3 day event, two flightlines all weekend. Thursday was practice day, and it was usually full of people arriving and flying. “Pizza and Beer Meet and Greet” on Thursday at 6pm was a hit. We flew an Unknown every day, which meant you got to drop one of those. It was full on, and by the time we did prize giving on Sunday at 3pm, everyone was toast having flown a lot. In its prime we had almost 50 flyers at the biggest Rumble, with 8 ozzies over for it. Yep 8 of them. Right now the Awatoto site is probably the most central for everyone, works for what we do, and has the local accom and food options that we need to make a big event work. But we didn’t get much take up on the idea of starting midday Friday, in the lead up to the meet. Some were keen, some were not because they needed Friday to drive to the Bay. Some did not respond. In reality there were a number of guys there practice flying on the Friday. If we went for a 3 day comp, can you drive to the Bay on Thursday night, instead of on Friday ? Aim to start on Friday morning, and make Friday a full day of competition flying. If we did this, we could still stick with the one flightline where practical. There is no doubt that some people prefer one flightline over two. A 3 day comp would mean a few more rounds could be flown. If you look at the scores, we got 4 rounds of Pattern, and in IMAC an avg of 4 rounds of Known, and 1 round of Unknown. So if you flew both Pattern and IMAC, you were busy and got tons of flying in. Which is what the combined weekend is aimed at. But if you only flew one class, you probably only got 4 flights over the two days, with perhaps a lot of waiting around. We know from a recent survey, that for most people, a 3 or 4 round contest is actually all they want to do. Which is fine. But it would be great to have a big 3 day meet once a year, again. I think we would only need to do one to make it start to snowball again, like the Rumble did. Toi start with, would it attract more or less people ? It sure worked for the Rumble, but our numbers have dipped over the past 5 or 6 years. A 3 day meet means we would get a few more rounds in over the weekend, and even have time to fly some Classic too. If we get slightly more people next time, and it’s a two day meet, we will need to fly 2 flightlines to get through the same number of rounds. Or we will inevitably end up flying less in the time we have. Timing, February / March seems to be the best time of year for this, it’s when the weather is the most reliable, and daylight savings. Unfortunately there isn’t a national public holiday / long weekend that matches up with this.

Ok, that’s enough from me, food for thought …. let me know what you think.

Results and photos from the weekend follow. Cheers, Bogan.

Expert Pattern

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1
1 Sean Galloway 2,949.8 947.3
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 949.8
2 Dom Clarke 2,837.4 1,000.0 911.7 925.7 893.0
thrown
3 Aaron Maitland 2,558.8 730.2
thrown
887.2 814.9 856.7
4 Ian Hill 2,361.1 612.6
thrown
819.5 858.8 682.8
5 Kerry Nichols 1,000.0 0.0
thrown
0.0 0.0 1,000.0

Masters Pattern (A20)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1
1 Ewan Galloway 3,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0
2 Paul Stairmand 2,760.7 897.7 937.3 778.4
thrown
925.7
3 Paul Tomlinson 586.0 586.0 0.0
thrown
0.0 0.0

F3A Pattern (P21)

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1 Seq 1
1 Frazer Briggs “Bogan” 3,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0
2 Hamish Galloway “Worms” 2,870.5 961.6 950.9 935.0
thrown
958.0
3 James Danby “Granny” 2,646.4 877.2 811.4
thrown
871.1 898.1
4 John Knox 2,585.3 853.1
thrown
854.9 874.3 856.1
5 Chris Wong 880.5 441.9 438.6 0.0 0.0

Basic IMAC

Rank Pilot Final Score Known
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5
Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2
1 Dom Clarke 7,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
2 Derek Whelan 6,094.6 768.1
thrown
821.5 936.4 853.7 812.1 764.2
thrown
809.7 803.8
thrown
871.7 989.6
3 Rob Lockyer 5,406.7 736.2
thrown
724.2
thrown
770.9 741.9
thrown
762.6 746.0 766.3 783.5 750.3 827.2

Sportsman IMAC

Rank Pilot Final Score Known Unknown
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 1
Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1
1 Jacob Wardley “Scooter” 5,877.2 937.9 1,000.0 1,000.0 900.9
thrown
1,000.0 944.6 835.3
thrown
994.7
2 Paul Tomlinson 5,798.9 877.6 997.9 955.4 1,000.0 0.0
thrown
0.0
thrown
1,000.0 968.0
3 Aaron Maitland 5,354.6 871.6 902.2 781.4
thrown
868.7 951.6 918.7 816.1
thrown
841.8
4 Ian Hill 5,338.3 896.4 967.4 828.7
thrown
881.3 832.5 869.0 829.9
thrown
891.7
5 Steve Sherbourne 5,234.0 999.0 905.9 805.3
thrown
848.6 905.7 881.2 772.0
thrown
693.6
6 Mike Shears 4,769.3 660.3
thrown
814.3 825.4 700.9 542.5
thrown
840.0 876.7 712.1
7 Ross Heald 4,634.4 1,000.0 884.3 767.5
thrown
825.0 925.1 1,000.0 0.0
thrown
0.0
8 Kerry Nichols 3,876.9 0.0
thrown
0.0
thrown
0.0 0.0 972.3 952.9 951.7 1,000.0

Advanced IMAC

Rank Pilot Final Score Known Unknown
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 1
Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2 Seq 1 Seq 2
1 John Knox 5,000.0 1,000.0
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 495.8
thrown
1,000.0 1,000.0 1,000.0
2 James Farrow “Slim Jim” 4,255.5 922.0 956.2 554.5
thrown
1,000.0 680.4
thrown
811.9 565.4
3 Chris Wong 2,710.9 881.3 801.7 555.8 472.2 0.0
thrown
0.0
thrown
0.0