Event Report By Corey Westhall, Photos by Phong and captions by Bogan
What an awesome experience, this place is massive. I left the big smoke and headed over the Auckland border, and yes passport stamped, and currency exchanged at the Bombays. Phong in toe as our personal chief photographer. Im not sure what takes the most room in the car, all of Phong’s camera gear or my plane kit.
Galatea is not too bad of a trip from Auckland with around a 4-hour drive door to door or more like door to field with no stops. Although I did hear the others from the Tron complaining of some road closures and detours in place.
Arrived at the field around half past, what a place. This is a full-size aerodrome and a well-manicured runway. The weather was great, and having to strip down to shorts and tees. The wind so calm that the take-off direction doesn’t matter.
Frazer and Lyndon arrive not long after, followed by Tony Christiansen from Tauranga. Tony was right on the job with mowing the strip and pits area. More dust than grass though. Man the ground was dry. Thanks Tony for the awesome service.
Models assembled, fueled, and range tested. After Frazer flying the routine managed to get some well-needed practice in Until……… Disaster…. The engine let out the blood-curdling raw as the exhaust header blew off one of the heads coming out of a snap roll. Lyndon managed to keep my nerves calm as I brought it around for a landing. Tip. With the header off, the idle is much higher as no backpressure on the engine. After cutting the engine managed to safely get the model on the ground, some 100 meters down the field. (Ed – More like 400m !!)
Well, after getting the model back and a quick inspection it was found that the header had cracked and broken through at the flange. I thought my weekend was over!!! But No. Frazer was on the Texting machine and before long with some face timing to Mrs Briggs (Trina) she managed to find a new header flange in the PBG shop, that was going to fit. Thanks to Gavin Madsen for driving across town in Hamilton to retrieve this. And thanks to Mark Newman for about turning to pick up the gas set.
Ian Hill arrived from Wellington just in time to put his model together and do a test flight before someone turned the lights out, man the sun goes down fast now.
We meet some friendly locals on the way from the field to the lodge as we stopped at the local fish and chip shop. “Plain Jane” Cheese burgers all around, for non-Galatea people, this is a cheeseburger with No F In Tomato. Well stocked with lots of beer, wine and spirits. Must say the “Plain Jane” and chips was not too bad either.
We bunkered down under the heater at the lodge with some well-needed beverages, listening to Frazer’s tales and waiting for others to arrive. Derek Whelan from Hawkes Bay is first up closely followed by Mark and Kayden from Auckland. Yay some more friendly Aucklanders to join me. Oh and the gas set. A few more beverages were needed while we waited for the Galloways to arrive from southern Hawkes Bay. But wait no Knox family!!! Frazer was on the phone machine and they had been tracked down, hiding out at the field and keeping things safe in their camper. Great evening with most of us escaping to bed at half-past.
Saturday morning was a bit of a slow start. Just a bit dusty from last night. First up was some field welding to get the Yak back on tune, I had to look away while Lyndon and Mark attempted to turn the Comp-arf into a firecracker.
Pilots briefing all done and first up intermediate IMAC. A bit chilly with a steady breeze down the strip. Sean & Ewan Galloway, and Aaron Maitland had some awesome flights, showing us newbies how it’s done. Followed by Unlimited with Frazer, Hamish and John. It’s always a good show watching these great experienced pilots fly this sequence, just mind-blowing, something to look forward to in the future.
The Sportsman guys take it out however with a massive following of 7 pilots. Grasshopper, Lyndon Perry, Derek Whelan, Kayden Newman, Corey (that’s me), Gavin Madsen and Ian Hill. With Lyndon number one on the leader board, followed very closely by Grasshopper, they showed the newbies the sequence.
The breeze did pick up in the afternoon but stayed down the strip, nothing to really call home about, just shows a few LOFT issues in some maneuvers.
Well the day comes to a close for flying, we all headed back to the lodge for a needed shower and a few drinkies before an amazing BBQ dinner prepared and cooked by Shelley Knox. Man you have it good John !! Phong helped on the BBQ, once the cobwebs had burnt off and a bit of heat sterilisation had occurred.
Due to a big day flying some of us headed off to bed at half-past, but only to wake to a very miserable day indeed. On the flip side no wind, just a constant drizzle. But we did make the most of it after breakfast. As we all huddled into the lodge common room with an assembled model. With Frazer, Hamish, John and Ewan leading the charge, we went over some important tips for model setup, trimming and also polished up on some judging tips. Well worth the trip just for this experience.
With the odd bit of blue sky looming, it was decided that we would head down to the field to pack up the BBQ and do the prize giving.
Frazer takes out the season Unlimited trophy, Aaron takes home the Intermediate trophy and Lyndon with the Sportsman trophy. Well done guys. (Editors Note – Dean Hill was the Basic Series winner)
For the Galatea winnings. Unlimited Frazer, Hamish and John. Intermediate, Aaron, Sean and Ewan. For Sportsman, Lyndon, Grasshopper, Gavin, Derek, Ian, Corey and Kayden.
Again well done all and many good memories to take home, I’m sure. I big thanks to the organisers. And we will see you all again in a few months…..