Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mike Smith's Report (USA Team)

Hello again F3B Fans

It seems there is renewed interest in F3B all over - I saw this post from Mike (Smith - I'm guessing -see photo of him and intensely patriotic Altus planes he flew in recent World Champs) Anyway Mike graciously allowed me to quote his report as it has some good ideas and comments for the development of the sport.

Mike writes "

As far as the competition went... I came away from this event with a few choice nuggets. I agree that glider choice is important, but it was very clear that even if you had the winning glider, you weren't guaranteed a good result. F3B is very much a pilot skill, and preparedness test. He who spends the most time flying and competing with his gliders will be the best prepared, period. While the Herrigs were flying Radicals, they were executing their launches, and flights with great precision. It was obvious that their experience was the biggest reason that they won. I don't think there were any other Radicals in the top 10, but I am not sure about that. It is possible that Joroen Smits and John Skinner were flying Radicals, but again, I don't know for sure. I was flustered a bit by the delay in the horn from the timing system. The practice that Aaron and I did together got us very used to an instant confirmation of our crossing the line. If we didn't hear it in a fraction of a second, then we went around immediately. With this system, the delay is approximately 0.3 seconds, and is on top of any delay that might exist due to the turn by jury system. What was apparent was that we did indeed know where that turn was, but unfortunately, I didn't trust it enough and started back at least twice only to get the horn, and wiggle my way back down the line to the finish. Total cost was at least 2 seconds on one run and about 1.5 on another. The Altus is a competitive glider. My cut on the last speed run of the contest cost me 5th place, but wouldn't have helped out our team standings enough for second place.Smooth, round, carving corners were demonstrated by the Herrigs in their speed runs, and the results of knowing where the turn was, and keeping their model's energy up throughout the course is evident in their scores.Launch equipment was something we struggled a bit with. We were presented with batteries that had a remarkably low internal resistance. So much so that we spent two evenings modifying resistors on the winches, and adding resistor bars to the batteries to get above the 23 milliohm limit, with sufficient safety factor to survive a spot test on the line. I think our buffer was too high, but lack of experience with our own tester, and fine tuning the winches keeps me from knowing just how big an impact this had on our launches.All in all I think we did well. I know for sure that each of us is capable of performing better. As Tom mentioned, distance is so dependant on the team for air reading and stategy calls that lack of practice here hurt us for sure. And I agree that going to a contest in Europe would be a great way to get better prepared for the next WC's for anyone that makes the team. Personally, my opinion is that Tom, Aaron, and myself were/are top 10 pilots in the field for this WC. The results showed our lack of experience more than anything. This is without a doubt the Olympics of our sport. It has all the intensity, and level of competition of that caliber of event. Even though this was my second time going, I learned more this time than last time."

More importantly he ends with this which is just as applicable in SA "

"I am very encouraged to see that there is some more interest in flying F3B in the States (could be SA there are several people in building groups etc). Please get out there and fly the event. It will make you a better all around pilot, and it'll be a lot of fun too. Don't wait in line to buy the latest and greatest glider. Get anything that will hold up to the launces, and start flying. It is more about the experience of flying the event than it is getting the hot glider. Take my word for that.Thanks again,More later, Mike"

As always comments with names and sugestions welcomed.


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