Here my report continues. I also invited Peter Germann to fill in on F2B, and he most generously did so. His report follows below. There are also a few added notes on F2A and F2B at the end.
If anyone wants to air his opinions and ideas about the Champs, rules or other things, this forum is open: E-mail them to me, and they will be included in future issues of "THE CIRCULATOR" and posted on my web site.
Has ever the Russian domination been so pronounced? It even narrowed down to a single name, Beliaev: Vyatcheslav (Slava), father; Serguei, son; and Andrei, not related. All from the St. Petersburg area as was the junior Gusev, and for the second year running, a Russian junior gets the silver medal. It is promising that the very young Russian also displayed sportsmanship to a great degree.
Another family affair: The German junior Michael Prikker used his father as a mechanic. In a heat where Michael had a winning position that would take him to contend for the junior championship, his dad threw his helmet in the air out of joy. Instant disqualification and out of the contest!! Michael was also German junior boxing champion. Dad's further fate is unknown. :-)
Speaking of family, the brother and sister Loet & Monique Wakkerman placed high as usual, although Loet had to step down from the throne, in spite of his own design engines. I saw an interesting bout where he met one of the Beliaevs, I think it was Slava. This illustrates an important point about F2D at championships in recent years.
Loet was up on cuts and had no streamer left. He was flying level, but had the Russian following like a wasp in his tail. He stayed cool, continued to fly dead level, interrupted by occasional attacks when it was safe, and was able to justly take the victory.
Other less experienced fliers in the same situation were caught in the trap of being deliberately hit from behind when they didn't fly level so that the hit wasn't obviously intentional. The hit was normally done with the handle pulled in so the own outer wing would hit the opponent's inner wing. Easy to guess which model stays flyable after that! The most obvious case was when it was done twice in the same bout to Alexandre Gusev by one of his countrymen (Serguei B?). Gusev was in tears afterwards. The judges weren't willing to make the verdict of a deliberate hit (causing a disqualification) unless the victim was flying dead straight absolutely floor flat level, and maybe not even then. Many viewed the judges as too lenient in this respect, and argued that something has to be changed if F2D at the championship level is to stay as fair and enjoyable as in other contests, where the 'win at any cost' tactics are absent. The case when someone hasn't any streamer left and gets attacked is easily identified, and a rule covering it could be enforced with little controversy. Opinions, please!
The engine style is changing. The recent trend is to have a metal silencer in a cutout in the wing leading edge, combined with a rear exhaust engine with only a slight upwards exhaust inclination. Kozyol, Redko and Cyclon are a few prominent engine designs.
The local officials were excellent throughout. Timing and cut counting were done without any controversy. The crew was youthful, girls being in majority.
The centre judge Vernon Hunt watched efficiently at line tangles, and any handle pulling or other fouls got penalized.
The organisers had provided the pilot circle with a blanket cover that protected the grass as well as providing a firm grip for the feet. This is something that should be considered in all future F2D champs. What wasn't so good was that the grass surface was quite hard and caused many bent engine bearers and even distorted crankcases.
Flying abilities were generally high, but as usual at championships, there were blatant exceptions. One pilot managed several wins in spite of being barely able to do loopings, perhaps due to the confusion he caused to his opponents. In contrast, one of the most able flyers, Stanislav Tchorny of Ukraine, had to go home without any wins.
Three Americans had booked flights to Spain under the impression that they could enter the European Champs under a waiver. This couldn't be done, as it would have influenced the tournament. They didn't look too unhappy and got a chance to feel some of the heat anyway as they got enrolled as mechanics for Finland. Other pleasant associations also provided comfort. :-)
The British didn't make the usual good showing, and Mike Whillance's wow that he'd pull down his pants if he lost to Monique Wakkerman didn't improve it. :-)
The banquet was held in a hotel a bit outside the city. Many dishes were served with prompt. The main dish was a leg of mutton. A generous amount of wine and other beverages was available. Throphies were transferred from the old to the new champions, including F2B. A nice surprise was that pictures from the contest were on display, and on top of that, a video was shown with footage taken up till just a few hours ago, complete with narration. With that in mind, the absence of printed results was the more out of character, and one could do nothing but console the unhappy Aerosafa crew and congratulate them for making the event such a pleasure.
[The judges were Bernadette Gilbert, FRA, Massimi Semoli, ITA, Carlos Felipe, POR, Stefan Kraszewski, POL, and Louis van den Hout, NET.]/G.O.
54 entries clearly indicate how popular the difficult art of flying control line precision aerobatics has become. While the "old" masters are still dominating, it was very encouraging to see a couple of younger flyers successfully compete, and finding one of them among the five best after the final rounds was a great experience!
The models flown did as usual cover a wide range of design philosophies. While the influence of past world championships has motivated a number of flyers to build duplicates of Paul Walker's Impact design, it was interesting to note that both the 1997 European Champion Luciano Compostella and 5th placed French flyer Gilbert Beringer flew 4 cycle-driven models designed around moment arms, c.g. positions, elevator/flap areas and weights otherwise not considered as ideal. While Henk de Jong flew his ultralight, conventional laid out .60 ship to a remarkable 2nd position, the "new" German flyer Christoph Holtermann displayed truly excellent flying control over his ST .51 powered "standard design" machine. Not only did he make it into his first finals, he found himself at a very well deserved 4th place in the final standings too. French competitors Serge Delabarde and Gerard Billon flew their Russian design stunters to 11th and 13th positions, while Yuri Jatcenko from the Ukraine finished 3rd using a similar model.
Engines are a major item for stunt flyers and sometimes it almost seems that the choice of the power plant is considered more important than the actual flying! After all, the first question after a contest is not how the winner flew; It's what type of engine he did use. Unlike the situation in the USA, where tuned pipe drive trains have become a well-accepted standard (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th at this year's Nats), European stunt flyers are using a much wider variety of engines. While the winner in Valladolid, as well as number five Gilbert Beringer, demonstrated excellent mastering of the not easy to handle 4-cycle engine, many pilots flew "industry standard" ST 51's or ST 60's. A group of top ranked pilots were using the Czech MVVS 51 type, some equipped with rpm governing exhaust systems. Also, very good flyers from Russia, Ukraine and France have flown their Russian engines very successfully. And, of course, Tony Eifflander deserves a special "bravo" for flying a Diesel on his high level of expertise. Surprisingly enough, tuned pipe engines, despite their ease of handling and remarkably well-modulated power output, have not yet found a place in many European stunters. The few ones observed, such as Peter Germann's OPS .40, Kerkko Kehrävuo's PA .40 (running on 40 % Nitro!), Walter Weinseisens's and Erhard Weinmann's OS .46 VF did function very well and needed no dramatic adjustments to compensate for barometric pressure and temperature.
Flying, which after all is what counts more than technology used, once more proved that the quality of a flight is made at the inner end of the cables. Good weather conditions for almost anyone made fair judging possible. While scores of course always leave room for discussions, it was my personal observation that small manoeuvres, together with rock solid bottoms and clean intersections, were well rewarded. Just like the book says...
What was less than perfect was the fact that severe tabulation errors made it impossible to hand out final results at the end of the contest. While errors of course may happen, it is difficult to understand why the organisers refused qualified help offered by several team managers at a point in time early enough to correct the problem. With the actual score sheets not having been handed out until now (Mid August '97), results achieved in F2B unfortunately remain doubtful. Apart from this rather difficult matter, the organisers have not only provided an excellent site, but also very good accommodations and a fine contest organisation run by group of very dedicated people. The F2B community looks forward to return to Valladolid!
Some clarification and change of the speed calculation rules should be done, as both the rounding of intermediate results and the discarding of one of the stopwatches are things that introduce unnecessary random errors and injustices. Opinions, please!
Another problem was that there was no room for the judges! The circle had a row of low bushes planted around it, and was laid close to the area fence with just a narrow path between, used by the public. The judges had to sit at the circle perimeter inside the bushes, with their noses in peril.