July 27, 1996


by Percy Attfield, South Africa

Elimination Time ! Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The giant finally roared on Wednesday. Time to do battle, with the elements, with the plane, with the engine, but most of all with yourself.

For some, a time to enter the history books of Aero sport with a place in the 1996 World Championship event, perhaps even a win. For many, a chance to prove themselves and to just enjoy a meeting of great proportions. Those who compete for their own personal best surely will also reap the most lasting reward, sweet memories of a very special event.

The team from South Africa, competing in this event for the first time, is proud that they will also set the standard for the next team. Having flown out 30 litres of fuel in practise they are sure that what ever placing they achieve it will be the best possible at the time they were called upon to perform their flights. 30 litres of fuel is about 80 flights for each team member, during the past few days.

It is the first time that they will fly in a meeting of this size, a meeting where there are ready boxes and starters orders. All new concepts which carry their own level of worry of the unknown for the team.

All Wednesday and Thursday the angry scream of combat engines with the all too frequent thud as the models collide in mid air, mostly followed by a deathly hush, could be heard. It surely takes a special kind of person to compete in combat with its carnage and destruction.

Team race got underway and the consistent snarl of these engines is attribute to pitmen and pilots alike.

Speed models scream like demons from a Shakespeare play, like a soprano of the highest standard they lift above any other and draws one to the speed circle like a moth to a flame.

Stunt grunted and groaned their way through the ballet of all aero sport, aerobatics. Each stunt pilot tests reflexes against the unforgivable forces of earth and gravity.

Each event pumping its own Adrenaline to a pitch, where when it stops withdrawel symptoms are experienced.

This is only the mechanics of the event, the real event are the gathering of the greats. Who ever may be your hero or your mentor figure he or she is as close as walking over and speaking to them. Of one thing you can be sure, that you will receive only courtesy, help and friendship. Surely aero modellers are of a special breed.

But it is not only the contestants you meet there are also others such as Mike Keville, president of PAMPA, and Joanne Keville, ms VSC, as well as Art Adamisin and his wife Betty to name but a few who suddenly jump from being a vague image to friendly living people. For those who couldn't make the trip this time, we hope to see you next time.

Slowly the finalists who will do battle on Saturday are being identified. Although none of the South African team will be in the final 15, each one gave his best, so much so that both Roston Dugmore and Percy Attfield flew their best scores ever, Keith Renecle had a one second engine over run or he would also have flown his best ever score.

Considering that it is only about 3 years since serious control line competition started in South Africa, this is no mean achievement. Far away from other experienced flyers able to coach and impart valuable knowledge and experience the members of this team had to make it happen for themselves.

A big thank you for helping to provide some perspective must go to PAMPA and more specifically to Stunt News and all the contributors of letters and articles which was read, studied, criticised and internalised. We have to thank Tom Morris who was the editor during this time for producing a magazine which helped us to climb a very steep learning curve.

Mike Keville sends his best regards to all PAMPA members and especially to our new Editor Larry Cunningham.

Next time you hear from this column will probably be the end of next week when the wrap up will be provided.