Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2011 Team trials

A shaky start from a first time blogger, but I hope to master this sooner than later, and that the reactivation of this blog will be a success in the near future.

Being selected together with Nigel Wilkenson to run the F3b soaring, as not the most proficient pilot, seems a daunting task. Yet I hope my passion for this adrenalin and technically challenging discipline, with the help of all the F3b junkies will see me through it. The deep end you might think, well I do! with having a WC this year there seems a lot to be organised and learnt.

Unfortunately this sport is not widely popular in South Africa. If we have 10 active or interested pilots, we consider ourselves lucky, leaving us to scratch for support in terms of helpers. So you can imagine, as a first timer, what we were up against.

The team trials should have been completed by the end of 2010, but I guess we all ran out of time. So we rescheduled to have it over the weekend of the 29/30 January 2011.

The final number of entries were 7, of which only 5 were serious of going to China.

Preparations started a week prior, sorting out score sheets, arranging sights, gazebo's and the all important buzzer system, which Nigel took upon himself to repair. I think he was seriously challenged with the time (very late nights) he afforded himself to sort it out. But in the end the buzzers all worked, and we are very thankful for his efforts.

Although the BERG flying field was selected earlier in the year, we took for granted that the grass needed to be cut. So alas, as we wanted to enter the field on Saturday morning, most of us drove passed the gate, since it has grown nearly completely closed. I was astounded that all the guys proceeded to unpack and set up their equipment. The grass was knee high and difficult to walk through and yet the only comment I got was, "we flew in worse conditions". A sigh of relief for my oversight! Luckily I packed my "panga" which was used to clear the grass around the winches.

The sights and buzzer system were set up, and our self selected ( maybe he was forced to stand in ) CD, Evan Shaw got things going at around 14h00.

My idea was to fly 6 rounds, splitting them up in duration and speed on the Saturday until 18h00, and the rest on Sunday from 9h00 to 12h00, to make it easier for our helpers, so that they only need to assist us on one day. Needless to say, I was informed that this would break the rules! Typical South African!! So we proceeded to break some more (not completing a round with the same plane)! But in the end we flew all 6 rounds with one throw away.

Everybody helped and filled in where it was necessary, for which I was very grateful. Running in the high grass had its tolls. We all suffered from cuts to the shins ( everybody wore long pants and even gum boots the following day), sore bodies ( the overnight rest was welcome) and some suffered severely with hay fever. But in the end everybody present, made it a success.

The scoring was done in the evening with a couple of hick-ups. And this is what transpired over the weekend.

In the following months we will be having practise rounds as preparation for the WC in China. I hope to see more pilots either participating or helping our guys in these events.