Brisbane Free Flight Society: 2002

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Dateline: Coomynya, July 21, 2002

Coup D'Hiver: never was a contest better named--"Winter Cup" in name and fact. The state F1G contest this year attracted 15 entries to the lake bed at Coomynya (that's koo-min-yah) The lake bed? Yup. That's right. When we first started using this site, the area pictured was totally under water--ok, so not far underwater, but never the less, it qualifies as lake. Someday, it may be again, but right now it's dry, cracked, dusty and reasonably flat, if you have a 4 wheel drive (the Porsche would never have made it). The temperature at the contest start time of 0815 was shifting between 8 and 9 degrees C, warming to a peak (that I saw) of 26 at mid-day. Wind condition for round One was *perfect*. Round Two was a fresh breeze. By round Five, it easily qualified under: Howling Bloody Gale, Mate!

Nevertheless, thermals abounded and the usual suspects were doing the usual thing. The rising wind resulted in some voluentry and involuentry retirements. Big Bird Bloke, Brian Taylor decided he liked his model better than Yet Another Trophy and wimped out after round 2. Others suffered damage presumably due to models being blown along while waiting for owners to perform the long trek to retrieve. By the last round we were down to a field of 11, or perhaps 10 if you count my own sad tale. With two minutes remaining in the round, I had no option but to launch into the gale and was promptly dashed to the gound. Sad as I was staring third place in the eye until then. Looks like F1G is out to get me.

At the end of round five, we faced a fly-off between Pieter DeVisser and John Lewis. After some brave puffing (PDV: "Three minute Max?"; JL: "I Was going to suggest four..."; PDV: "Five!"; JL: "Unlimited!!"), both backed down and admitted that neither wanted to risk their models. The CD therefore agreed that the fly-off be postponed to a single, very early morning, dead air, unlimited flight at a date and place to be agreed.

No models were lost, though there were some very long retrieves and while there was only one barbed wire fence to cross and no long grass to wade through like at the Fernvale site, abundant large dead thistle stalks can bite every bit as well as barbed wire. Van Richards-Smith had an out of sight DT on his last, even using binoculars. Fortunately, the model had a tracker and we located it about a mile away after the contest in a friendly chicken farmer's paddock (but oh, the smell...)

To close off, here's my venerable (very venerable) "Garter Knight" coup -- an Aeromodeller free plan that virtually introduced Coup to the world in the December 1962 issue. This example is a seasoned campeigner of some 10 years, now fitted with a reliable timer (see Big Bird Story). With only a little bench testing of said timer, it DT'd early in round one from an easy max to leave me one second short at 119. Next three were all easy maxes until the disasterous round five. Leason learned: don't get yourself into the position of launching late in the round when the wind is blowing strong. With a long retrieve, you become locked into that position and are guarenteed that the final make or break flight will be made in the worst possible conditions. Oh well... next year maybe...

Dateline: Wivenhoe, June 30, 2002

The 16th annual Big Bird contest, sponsered and run as usual by Julie and Piet DeVisser, attracted a good field of 15 coups (plus Vic who was anticipating high winds, so did not fly). The morning was cold (someone claimed it was 4 degrees C at 7am) and, like Vic, we all feared strong winds. However, the day warmed up and the wind stayed down, eventually decreasing to almost nothing. This year, we tried the "Super Max" round one that is becoming popular on the Continent and the UK. The first flight, flown in the dead, early morning air is flown with an extended 3 minute max. However any time over the standard 2 minutes is applied only if a fly-off situation is reached. In this case, those extra seconds are applied to reduce the field, or even identify the winner.

And a fly-off there was between Pieter DeVisser and Brian Taylor. Both were flying very traditional coups. Pete's is a DIG 150 with the fuse rotated 45 degrees to reduce drag in the climb. I like the this design. Apparently, so do bovines, as a cow ate most of mine. Brian's model is also traditional with a rolled balsa tube fuselage. He also likes launching late--the max that got him in the flyoff was launched less than 2 minutes before round 5 closed as the hooter went off while he was still airbourne.

As seen here the loot (and perpetual Big Bird trophy) goes to:

  1. Brian Taylor
  2. Pieter DeVisser
  3. John Lewis
  4. George Barnes
  5. Larry Brownlow

John and Ben Lewis were campeigning brand new "Mini-Wakerfield" style coups with scaled Androkov blades and sections (John confesses he has no idea if these are good; he just invokes The Name in the hope of rattling the opposition). Now, John could heve been in that fly off. He was waiting for lift in round 2 when I wandered back from retrieving my second max (*smirk*) and jokingly said "Looks good: I'd go now". Imagine my amazement when he replied, "Rekon? Ok!" and off he went!! He was later (but not very much later) seen stalking the flight line shouting "Where's Chernich!"

I've been having difficulty finishing coup contests due to lost models for the last couple of years. Alas, this year was no different. Even though I hadn't super maxed round one, I did rack up a pair of easy maxes and was feeling good when my timer split a gear. I elected to fly with no D/T in round three and snagged a thermal at zero feet from a bad launch. Garter Knight go bye-bye. Anyway, trackers are wonderful things and the model was found several miles away near the old Low-Wood/Fernvale railway line after the contest. This is good, since Big Bird is traditionally flown 2 weeks before the state Coup contest, giving enough time to build a new model, but not trim it! So equiped with new timer (and a spare!) we'll see if I can finish a coup contest for a change, next time.

Dateline: Wivenhoe, April 21, 2002

The Queensland State F1A titles attracted a reasonable turn-out of 9 competitors. The day was fine, with good lift, even if a bit breezy at the outset. This breeze got steadily worse, resulting in some rather long retrieves. From my stable of new, hi-tech F1A's, I decided on the light-weight "Sija" for the first (8AM) round and was rewarded with a max (and a long retrieve). Rather than change horses, I stayed with the Sija (pictured here) and ended the day with 180, 180, 180, 91, 180. All in all, I tromped over 10 km through chest high grass, passing over, through, or under 40+ barbed-wire fences, which proved good enough on the day for first place! The model employs a tubular carbon-fiber spar, carbon TE, balse LE, with carbon caps tieing the whole thing together. It is fitted with circle tow and zoom, but due to wind strength (and very high grass in the running area), I straight towed all day. Ultimately, I believe it was light weight that helped me most. The model actually carries 45gm on the CG to get it up to just over minimum class weight. In the air it was obvious that at max surface area and minimum weight, I was just plain outfloating everyone. Thanks go to W-Hobby for a good kit of a good model.

Dateline: Not at Wivenhoe, May 1, 2002

Alas, for me, the Gallah Week-End was a Wash-Out (though I now hear others braved the downpours). Philosophically I could say we needed the rain, but as it also make the grass to grow, and the grass at Wivenhoe is already chest height, the point may be debatable. I'd intended to satisfy Big Bill's continuing requests to see the Veron Lavohkin LA-17 fly before we all get too old, but fate conspired against us. This model was finished to the painting stage over 5 years ago, but never taken the final step due to concerns over inevitable tissue damage from landings. Since I now know about tissue over mylar, the model needs to be stripped and recovered. Hence the quickie job seen here to get it judgable for the contest that did not happen. Oh well, next time... Details of model are: Designed by Phil Smith after extensive experiments in ducted fan technology from 1949 onwards. Kitted by Veron in 1952, becoming the first commercial ducted fan kit (as far as I know). Model built from plan and print-wood copy obtained from the designer. Power: Cox "Golden Bee" 0.049 driving a genuine Phil Smith "IMP" impeller type "A". Weight as seen here; 11 oz. Things I would do differently next time? Leave the annular fan-shroud in one piece to make dropping the hatch into place safer when the engine is running.

Found at an Archelogical Dig somewhere in the Brisbane Valley

Ever wonder what two weeks at the bottom of a water-hole would do to an F1A? Van Richards-Smith will be able to advise you. Here is his Czechmate after being returned by a friendly farmer following a DT failure and fly-away. Needless to say, it had been DT-ing happily all day while we practiced our circle tow technique. Apparently it overheard us mutter the fatal "...just one more, then we'll go home" and decided we needed to learn The Lesson, all over again. The model was lost OOS still airbourne and despite a tracker, compass heading and hand-held GPS, we could not find it. Final resting place was over 25km from the flying field. Van is currently draining the mud out and intends to fly it again (yes, he's completely insane!)





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