Wow, have tried to post here four times now and it’s not working for me so tonight I will try something different. Dennis and I arrived in Munich about 8:45 in the morning and, after securing the rental car, headed south for Austria. The flight from Atlanta to Munich lasted almost nine hours with almost no sleep overnight, so we were both really tired. The drive to Klopeirne See takes about 5 hours and Dennis was falling asleep at the wheel so I drove the last three hours.
The area is a resort area built around a very scenic lake. We found the hotel, unloaded and headed out to find the official site and some of the practice sites. I was so tired that we found the official site but, while we thought we found two of the practice fields, we weren’t sure. After an early dinner, we headed back to the hotel and went to bed early. Bad move. I woke up about 11:30 pm and couldn’t go back to sleep until about 4:00 in the morning. Managed to sleep about 4 more hours and got up. We drove around looking for practice fields, grocery stores, restaurants, and a Home Depot.
About 3:30 in the afternoon, Nick, Daniel and Amanda showed up. We got them checked in, gave them a quick tour of the area, got food and then they turned in. Nick’s models came on the plane, his batteries were here, but the fuselages did not make it on the plane. Supposedly, the would be delivered to the hotel the next day (Sunday) but I wasn’t counting on it. Cliff Hiatt was flying into Munich the next day so Nick made arrangements for him to pick up his fuselages so they would arrive in a timely fashion. Cliff showed u about 3:30 with the big box so Nick had a quick fuselage installation and he was ready to go. Daniel spent the morning assembling his models . Dwight and Sue showed up about an hour after Cliff so we are all now here.
By noon the next day, all the models were assembled. The previous evening Nick had run into a local RCer and secured the use of his flying field for practice. The official practice fields are pretty much always crowded so having our own field works out really well. WE got the field marked and started practice. It is really obvious that the guys have been working hard to get ready for this event.
Today was kind of a down day for everyone as travel and lack of sleep just took its toll. The guys were having trouble maintaining focus but still were flying pretty well. Tomorrow we will be doing “cold” practice flights, flights with no warmup, using a caller, and they will get no feedback until after the completion of the flight. It’s the closest to simulating an official flight as we can do and it’s invaluable for the pilots.
For the 2011 World Champs in Italy, I did a blog on Curtis' web site that was very well received so I have decided to start my 2015 blog. The 2015 World F3C Championships (and F3N) are being held in Austria, an absolutely beautiful country, in July 2-12, 2015.
The US Team consists of Dwight Shilling, many time veteran of world championship competition, Nick Maxwell, young but now two time veteran of world competition, and Daniel Hiatt, also a veteran of the WCs in Poland. The Team Manager is Dennis Purduski of Jackson Mississippi. Dennis is tasked with raising the money to get all of us, our equipment, and batteries to the site, dealing with all the entry issues, being the voice of US F3C, and facilitating for the Team members. Since I have been to the last three WCs, I agreed to go along to help as his assistant and caller for Dwight, and maybe Nick. Hopefully, Cliff Hiatt, Team manager for the last World Championships in Poland, is going along as the caller for Daniel. As most of you know, Cliff is a former World F3C Champion, and is a veritable fountain of information about models, techniques, and judging.
I am really going to miss Curtis and Dave Youngblood this year. Curtis decided to retire from competition in 2013 after an amazing third place finish at the WCs in Poland. Curtis IS the all time US leader in podium WC finishes and has been a fixture at the WCs since the 80s. We will certainly miss him this year but I know he will be following the team with great interest. Dave has been Curtis caller for many years and is great with technical support and he REALLY knows what he is looking at and makes valuable suggestions in the course of practice. He also has a very dry sense of humor that just cracks me up.
Will save some for later. Let me know if I can answer any questions for you about the Team, the WCs, and support.
Team USA F3C 2015
A little history.
I remember my first awareness of the F3C World Championships, 1989 in Tidewater Va. Cliff Hiatt was the Team manager and Curtis flew the first real 3D flight I ever saw on video. Dobashi of Japan won (he is STILL competing) and the US Team did well, second I believe.
Skip ahead to 2009, Muncie Indiana. US Team was Curtis Youngblood, Wayne Mann, and Dwight Shilling. I was there as the official flight timer, Dennis Purduski was there as the ready box manager, and Craig Bradley was the Contest Director. Hiroki Ito was after his 3rd straight World Championship and flying well. Team USA managed to score a win and took the Team World Championship.
I was hooked. The excitement of the WCs was amazing but even more than that, I got to meet most of the world champ judges and actually ask them what they were seeing and what they were looking for. I was honored to do a warm up flight before the finals in front of all judges. A young Nick Maxwell also flew a warm up flight (with a borrowed model), as did Daniel Hiatt.
Later, I got the opportunity to go to the 2011 WCs in Italy. Tim Diperi was the Team Manager, the Team was Curtis, Wayne, and Nick. Temperature during the WCs was over 100 degrees with the last round of the finals being 114 degrees F. Hiroki Ito won pretty easily. I saw his morning flight of F schedule and as critical as I am about perfection, I was hard pressed to find any significant errors. Apparently the judges also had that problem as he AVERAGED a 9.0 for each maneuver for the whole flight. Unheard of!
After the contest was over Ito-san did a demo flight using a new model, the SAB Goblin. I remember that he did not know where the idle up switch was and the models owner had to reach over and pull the switch. He put on an amazing 3D flight and got a huge round of applause. Team Japan won the Championship and the hometown Italian Team finished second. The US finished third and again made the podium.
I was very happy to make that trip. Nick got a real awakening on what level of effort was required to be in the finals and he made a dramatic improvement for the next WCs in Poland and now he is a real threat to contend for a championship. Daniel also learned that lesson in Poland so I have high hopes for this US Team.
I made the trip to Wloclawek Poland with the US Team for the F3C World Champs and incidentally the very FIRST F3N World Champs. The US Team was team manager Cliff Hiatt, team was veteran Curtis Youngblood, Nick Maxwell in his second WC, and Daniel Hiatt, the rookie. We all met in Chicago and flew into Warsaw Poland.
Poland is undergoing an awakening in its economy and it shows as they are investing heavily in infrastructure, new roads, and civic improvements. After a cross country trek we arrived at the hotel, very nice, the Hotel Alekzander, got our rooms, and then headed out to the site to check out the field. The WCs were held on a pretty busy airport that hosted gliders, parachutists, and club flying.
We tried to find the practice fields but found they were pretty rudimentary and really not suitable for the practice we wanted. Having been in Poland before the guys knew about an aeroclub field about 45 minutes away so we trekked over there and got permission to practice there. It also was a very active field with gliders being aerotowed out pretty regularly. We spent several days there and I watched each practice flight and made notes on each one. After the flight was finished we would all debrief on what we saw and what was needed to improve. The guys were getting good feedback from each other, me, Cliff, and Dave Youngblood.
We were well practiced when the contest actually started and the guys went after it. Curtis flew as good as I have seen him fly in several years. Nick, after his experience in Italy, was dramatically improved and easily made the flyoffs. Daniel caught a couple of bad breaks weather-wise, and missed the flyoffs but represented himself and us well, staying in the upper third of the field.
The top 15 flew in the finals with Hiroki Ito trying for his FIFTH CONSECUTIVE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (and he was only about 24 years old). He had many serious challengers and Curtis was flying his butt off. At the end of the day, Ennio Graber managed to squeak by Ito and Curtis finished third. The US Team finished third also and maintained their always on the podium finish.
Poland was amazing, fairly inexpensive, food was great, and sights were amazing. I was fortunate to be able to have my wife come over the last week and get to tour some. She loved it and it's an experience we will always remember.
Nick's New Idea
Just saw where Nick is going to run a 2015 F3C World Champ blog with pictures on Instagram. You might like to follow that also.
I know I will be watching.
Made the trip to Birmingham for the 20th (OR 21ST) Annual Fun Fly. Weather wasn't great but everyone got in a lot of flying. 2/3 of the US F3C Team was here (Nick Maxwell and Daniel Hiatt) and as well as the Team Manager (Dennis Purduski) and the US F3C Judge (Dave Sellars). I finally got to see Nick's new Steady fuselages with his paint job on it. I like the look and I can actually see it in the air against a cloudy sky. He has it hovering very well and the power system is very powerful but also very quiet. It is obvious that he has been practicing.
There was lots of very good 3D flying with a minimum amount of crashes, less than I can ever remember but there was one accident. I am not 100% sure of the details but was told on good authority that a pilot was dipping the skids in the ditch and got the model lower into the water than he meant to. He popped it back out but about 30 seconds later the model did something funny so he started to bring the model back to land and check it. On the way the radio quit working and the model came at the pilot and spotter. The pilot, as most of us would, kept trying to fly it and in the end he was struck by the model and had some very serious injuries to his thigh and calf. Fortunately no arteries were severed though he did require stitches. He was back at the field today and everyone was thrilled to see he was able to come back. As always, safety should ALWAYS be our number 1 concern.
Arrangements for our trip to Austria are coming together. I think most of us have our flight reservations and are putting together our hotel and meal packages. Hope so anyway.
To continue to raise money, Cliff Hiatt, former world champion and father of team member Daniel Hiatt, is building up two models to be raffled off. One will be a high end Hirobo Eagle and the other a flybarless 700 (not sure which). Models will be pretty much ready to fly with servos, motors, ESCs, etc. assembled by a master craftsman. Whoever gets either of these will have an outstanding model.
I picked up my three bladed tail rotors from Nick Maxwell Products while here and fitted one to my Raptor E820. Didn't get to fly it here as I bought tail rotor blades from Matt Botos (Synergy Helicopters) but had no way to balance them in the field so didn't want to take the chance of the weight of one blade being a little different from the matched set. I can easily do that at home but was not sure enough about doing it here. The tail rotors themselves are really very nice and look super on the model. The E820 with 800mm blades only turns about 1650 in idle up (1200 in hover right now) so the tail rotor is not turning very fast. In fast backward flight and at the end of an auto, the stock tail will sometimes give up. According to Nick, the three blade tail rotor eliminates that issue.
Had a great time visiting, seeing old friends and making some new ones. I think there were 94 registered pilots and I'm pretty sure the threat of weather kept some folks away. Shame as the weather turned out to be cool and overcast, but not much rain. Field was not sloppy or muddy and it was a good time. David Harkey and his crew did a nice job. I think this event is the longest continuously running helicopter event in the country (I'm not sure about that but it's the longest I know of) and is worth the trip to see the guys "do the ditch."
I have attended this event for several years and always have a great time. This year, the weather forecast was not good. Cloudy Friday and rain Saturday and Sunday. We went anyway as it is still fun to see everyone, even if sitting under the shelter. As it turned out, it rained on us all the way up Friday and rained on us all the way home Sunday, but Saturday was beautiful. There were over 80 registered pilots and a lot of good flying.
I brought my Thunder Tiger E820 and my G4 E720, both equipped with the three bladed tail rotors from Nick Maxwell Products. I got a set of 106mm Rail tail blades for the E820 and another set of 96mm Rail TR blades for the E720 from Matt and Amy Botos (Synergy Helicopters) and FINALLY got a chance to test fly them.
The E820 with 800mm blades only turns about 1200rpm in hover and 1650rpm in idle up. The stock 2 bladed tail rotor is really not enough for this low rpm even if you run 116mm TR blades. If you get the model traveling fast backwards, and the tail gets just a little out of line, the tail will blow out. Options had been, turn the head speed higher, or run 450 rotor blades as TR blades (not really but really long TR Blades, 120mm+) With the three bladed tail rotor, there was none of that. The model felt very solid and I even did a slow pirouette while travel backwards at a pretty good speed. Starts and stops are very solid and it's easier to exit 540 stall turns with the nose exactly in the direction you want.
The E720 is my primary contest model and I have a lot of time on it and am VERY familiar with its characteristics. I had been running 110mm tail rotor blades and had no issues to speak of, other than a slight yaw when doing hard rolls as the gyro couldn't keep up. I put 96mm TR blades on it and was very pleased to find the model felt much more locked in in hover. It started more positively and stopped with authority but very smoothly. In aerobatics, the exits of pirouettes was more predictable and, again, stops were very positive but smooth. I like it a lot.
Dennis Purduski, the Team USA manager, came with Team apparel and I helped man the booth. Castle Creation donated an HV160 ESC to be raffled off at this event and we had a Rush 750 helicopter complete, ready to fly, built by World Champion Cliff Hiatt, that we sold raffle tickets on, that will be given away at the IRCHA Jamboree this summer. Dennis also did a 50/50 raffle and we raised over $600 for the Team's trip to Austria in July. This is a VERY expensive trip so any donations through the Team Web page would be appreciated. Shirts, jackets, and hats are also available.
Event was great, two of the US Team members, Nick Maxwell and Daniel Hiatt, did the first synchronized FAI P schedule I have ever seen. It looked good and was well received by the attendees.
Thanks to the Huntsville Heli Flyers for a great event. If you ever get a chance to attend this one, do it. It's one of my favorites.
Dr. Ben Minor graciously spent quite a bit of time working with Dave Sellars TT E550, setting up the CGY750. By Saturday afternoon, he had it humming. I was very impressed as I know how long it took me to get mine set. He definitely knows his stuff.
Nashville and XFC
Went to my 20th or 21st Music City Championship. Tim Diperi has put this on for so many years that none of us can remember exactly how many years it is. This year the entire US FAI F3C team was there, three pilots, two callers, and the Team Manager. We had a great time and, SURPRISE, the three Team members finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Cliff and I get a chance to practice with the guys and that's always reassuring.
The next weekend, Team Manager Dennis Purduski and I went to Muncie Indiana for the XFC. We set up the FAI USA Store and sold hats, shirts, and raffle tickets. The level of flying for the helicopters was pretty high for the first 6 or 8 pilots but dropped off after that. I am always amazed that the airplane pilots can keep up with orientation with an airplane rolling so fast. WOW!
Departure for the World Champs is coming soon. I just looked at my International Driver’s License, it had expired so I need to go to AAA and get a new one and some Euros so I have cash when I get there. I have been to Austria before and it is absolutely beautiful, but a bit expensive.
There are a bunch of things that you need to do when getting ready to travel. I needed to go to Verizon and get my phone set up to work in Germany and Austria. I went by AAA to get dollars converted to Euros and renewed my International Drivers License. Went and found my AC travel adapter for my computer and cell phone. Found my passport and made sure it was up to date.
I travel with a camera and lenses as I take photos for a magazine so I make sure my batteries are charged and I have spares for the flash and extra memory cards for storage. The camera bag is compact but HEAVY. I carry it on with me and have overnight stuff packed in it.
Dennis and I are on the same flight over, from Atlanta to Munich and will drive from there to the hotel in Austria. We are arriving a day before the Team to scout out practice fields. The Team starts showing up the next day, hopefully with models and batteries. Batteries tend to be an issue as some airlines are REALLY picky about them. Hopefully, all that will work out.
We are lucky to have Cliff Hiatt with us as he was the Team Manager for the 2013 WCs in Poland and is familiar with everything that needs to be done. I have been to the last two WCs and can help do some things also.