Hamilton MAC was host to the first Aerobatic contest in Hamilton for around 10 years I’m guessing.
How was this possible ? Many committee meetings, lots of trials and testing, a long halt due to Covid, some procrastination, and finally a decision, followed by a magical thing known as a Notam.
Thats right … it was “All On, In the Tron”. And we had a fantastic day, with a huge turnout of 20 pilots.
Guys from Auckland came down (after their passports checked on the Bombay Hills of course) and some of them had brand new gum boots on. Shiny ones right out of the shop. Wow look dad, cows !! I rush over …. Yes, we have cows here in the Waikato, and you see those ones with the red paint on the tails, well those are the creamers. The ones with the blue paint on the tails, yep those ones are the skim milk etc. How else can the Farmer tell which ones are which at milking time ?
The weather started off awesome. We started flying Clubman, and soon it was into some Basic and Sportsman IMAC. Hot sunshine, cool breeze down. Perfect flying weather.
With 20 pilots to get through, and only a single day to run the event, time was going to be short.
The solution …. two flightlines !! Thats right … it was “big boys undies” time.
We had enough contestants/judges to make this work, and a brain wave I’d had during the week, meant we had enough room at the site, to setup up two lines at just the right angles, that they did not cross over. However this meant one line, facing south east, directly into wind, and with the sun at your left shoulder, was soon nicknamed the “Nice” line. Oh yes …. it really was nice flying there. The other west facing line however, had sun glaring through clouds right at you, and a direct 90 degree crosswind blowing out 10 to 15 knots !!! Yep, this was instantly known as the “shit line”, or the “wow that really sucked” line, or worse …. the “That was just f’ing horrible” line. It certainly made for a workout on the rudder to stay in close.
That being said, we managed to rip through 4 rounds of Masters and F3A, over 8 pilots, in a very short space of time. A bit tricky at times as we started to run short of callers, and the moment you landed, it was fuel up / change batteries, and you were up again on the other line. Well … we didn’t come to sit around all day warming up deck chairs now did we !! The alternate option was a long day, and not much flying.
The turnout of local club guys to come and watch was really good. At times you could hardly get to the flightline, with a huge entourage of on lookers taking it all in. Cheering for their favorite pilots, and some of them heard mumbling, gee I could have had a go at that. Clubman looks easy. Its just 3 loops, 3 rolls and a spin. Hmmm….
The new notaumatic scoring system was working over time, and guys are all getting up to speed at using them. This was our 3rd comp using the system, and its really starting to work well with many “learning bugs” ironed out now. As you are landing, the judges hand your scores hot off the mini printers to your caller, and you walk away happy (or un happy as the case may be for some !!) Thumbs up to Rob Lockyer here. Rob has made us a UPS. A what ? A UPS … “Uninterrupted Power Supply”. Why ? The system runs off a tiny computer called a Raspbery PI. It needs USB power (5 volts), and it needs to be running all day. The PI receives the scores, and publishes them via the wifi. Rob has made a beaut little device with a regulator on it. You chuck a couple of 4S / 5S lipos at it, and you can hot swap them out one at a time to keep them charged, without loosing power to the system. Good man !! We actually had to revert back to old paper and pen to get the second flight line running. Those scores had to be manually punched in, so its no surprise we are in the process of ordering another two of these units asap.
As the day went on, warm sunshine started to hide, the wind got up, and it got darker …. soon it resembled a comment I heard once about an ex wife. Lets just say “It was an angry sky” and leave it at that.
Right, lets have a look at the results….
Clubman was won by Mike Shears of the Hawkes Bay. Mike came to fly Classic, but in the morning I said, hey Mike, I think you should fly Clubman. I’m not sure we will get time for Classic today with this massive turnout. Ok, I’ll give it a go he says. Mike flew the good old kiwi Team Bogworm “Matrix” design, only this one is something that Barrie Russell conjured up, with a few mods, and its called the “Russtrix”. Powered by a DLE35 on pipe.
Second in Clubman, young Ricky Maitland who has been flying Clubman since October last year, and is well and truly the man in Clubman to try and beat right now. I should say “Young Man” at last check I think he is 12. Ricky is flying a Calmato low wing sport model. Put your hand up if you have one of those ?
Third in Clubman was another youngster, Kaden Newman who came down from Highbrook with his dad and a few keen helpers.
Fourth in Clubman was …. no wait … what … hang on … um …. where are all the names of the Hamilton local guys that I’ve seen doing loops and rolls, and could have easily had a go at flying Clubman ? (Insert silence here, all you can hear is wind blowing, and an image of some tumble weed rolling down the runway). It thought it was going to be too windy. My glo driver was flat. I forgot my wing tube. The mother in law was coming round for lunch…. you can lead a horse to water, is all I can say.
Next up, Basic IMAC – Kim Clarke of Tauranga and Rob Lockyer of the Hawkes Bay, both flying 50cc Extra’s. Rob was lucky to make it actually, he’s just bought a new Electric Car and had to stop a dozen times on the way through to charge it up. Says he has a special app that tells him where the Coffee and the “Go Juice” is. However he did well, and managed to squeeze his smelly & slimey gas powered model into Jayden and Mikes trailer, which made for a nice quiet ride with his better half, Mrs Lockyer. I think he had to borrow some fuel for the plane though. Kim Clarke was proud as punch to get his first 1st place certificate, and I see some promo points in his scores too. Time to start practicing Sportsman Kim !!
Sportsman IMAC – 7 guys flying here, its a very popular class, with good numbers lately. The scores were close at the top, and the final result came down to the last couple of flights. Aaron Maitland of Tuakau was sitting in a position to possibly scoop the win, but his engine seriously “Barkered” itself (that’s an America’s Cup reference), and mid flight the crank shaft and everything in front of it let go. Prop, spinner, hot metal, it all went off into the paddock way yonder, never to be seen again. From that moment on, he was a glider !!
Young Dom Clarke from Tauranga put in a great last flight to take the win in Sportsman IMAC. He has recently had a bit of an upgrade to a bigger size model, an Aeroworks Yak with DLE 85 in the nose. Also getting promo points, its “Intermediate” time for you very soon. Not far behind in 3rd was Mike Briggs aka Baldrick, from Tauranga. He was in a hurry to leave, with tickets to a show at Claudelands Arena that night, and he left half of his stuff at the field. Coffee cups, starting gloves, tools, wing tubes etc. He said they Bill Bailey show was great though.
Fourth in Sportsman was Lyndon Perry from HAMILTON club !!! Wait …. what … HAMILTON ??? Yes …. HAMILTON !!!! wow good to see at last, Lyndon was flying his big Green machine, the Katana, with DA120 up front.
5th Derek Whelan from Auckland/Hawkes Bay, flying 2.6m Extra 260 with DA 100. Derek is starting to enjoy his new big model, and was headed north to Auckland to check the mail, then back to the Bay on Monday, and on a mission to score himself a Classic model. 6th went to Steve Sherbourne also from HAMILTON !!! flying his Inversa Sukhoi with DLE 60cc twin. And 7th was Gavin Madsen, also from HAMILTON !!! All these locals. Crikey. Gavin said he was not that happy with his flying, due to a lack of practise time, but on the flipside said he was well stoked not to have to go to another 5 year old’s birthday party at 11am on Saturday morning !!
Masters Pattern – 4 guys flying in this class, and it was pretty close. Dave Wilkins from up near Silverdale is back on the scene flying an Allure, he was 4th. 3rd went to Hawkes Bay Jayden Molloy flying the Russtrix. Jayden is moving north, he just scored a job at Ardmore Airport. 2nd was young Sean Galloway, from southern Hawkes Bay, flying electric “Nuance”. He did well to handle the strong wind, and won a round of John Knox. John flew his ballistic classic model, a Phoenix 8 ? into first place. This thing handled the strong cross wind no problems at all, which is no surprise, it has bugger all side area.
F3A Pattern – 4 guys flying in this class too. The even split between Masters and F3A was handy, allowing them to judge each other over the two lines. Paul Tomlinson “Grumblingson” of Waiuku was 4th with his Allure Biplane, contra rotating props. 3rd (also from Hamilton !!! here we go again) was James Danby “Granny” also flying contra electric, but starting to run out of electrons in the wind and needing to land now !!! Still having fantasies about how models fit easily into sports cars, even his Mrs says its time for a van ? 2nd was Hamish Galloway “Worms”, up from the southern Hawkes Bay on a short 36 hour leave pass, with his new Angelit. F3A was won by Frazer Briggs “Bogan” who’s YS went great in round 1 and 2, carved up the windy sky with plenty of power to spare. But then it did a “Ford” on the startline for round 3. Yes again !!! so he had to fly Pauls Biplane, making it a close finish with Worms who was suddenly in with a chance.
Well it it got colder, and darker …. as soon as the last flight was done, the judges came back in shivering, and quick prize giving was done just after 6pm. This was our last comp before daylight savings ended, and the last of us left the field at 7pm, almost totally dark.
Wrap up …. great to have a comp back in Hamilton again. Thanks to the local club for the use of the field, and a shout out to the guys that helped on the BBQ at lunch time.
We look forward to the next Hamilton contest !! Come and have a go ….