[Headline: Overseas adventure]
This is turning out to be my year to travel abroad for various aeromodeling competitions. When I was in Valdemorillo, Spain, in March, Vernon Hunt—a British friend since 1982—mentioned that the World Cup event in Barcelona, Spain, on the weekend of June 28-29, was a first-class contest and I should consider attending. Although a trip from England to Barcelona is only a couple of hours, getting there from Los Angeles is another story.
I ran the idea by wife, Joanne, who did not hesitate. I contacted Yuvenko & Co., which sells aeromodeling products, and Manuel Mateo, who lives in Barcelona, so I could have models waiting for me. Manuel’s wife, Marta, has a contact at an upscale hotel on the Plaza de España and got us a great price. The hotel is a few kilometers from the Royal Aero Club of Barcelona (RACB) flying site on Montjuïc, behind the Olympic Stadium.
The local fliers are fortunate to have this dedicated site overlooking Barcelona that has a permanent two-story club building with a full workshop, meeting rooms, storage areas, a small museum, kitchen/bar, and restrooms. Although there are only two fenced-in circles, it works well for them. An RC car club has a dedicated dirt track at the same facility.
The RACB has a large membership and there were plenty of volunteers who helped set up the site and contribute to the smooth running of the World Cup. The volunteers did the cooking and serving, and provided table decorations for the Saturday night barbecue.
The hardest part of flying competitions in Spain is that people prepare for dinner at 9 p.m. We probably did not see any food until 9:45 p.m., and knew that we had to be back at the site by 9 a.m. the next morning. Apart from the unusual dining hours, those at the barbecue had a great time. As a bonus, the RC car club was having night races that same evening. There were still between 75 and 100 people at the races when we left at midnight.
This World Cup event drew 24 pilots from England, France, Portugal, Russia, Latvia, Spain, and the US.
There is always something to be learned by observing and conversing with other competitors. Some have developed good ideas for fuel shutoffs. Xavier Riera of France had an on-demand device with a machined piece that gave the pilot one free false fire from slack lines. The device required two attempts to shut the engine down.
The dominant engine was the FORA. Only Dmitriy Duschenko of Russia and Yuri Mihalkov of Latvia used AKM engines. The top five finishers were José Luis López, first; Raúl Mateo, second; Harry Walker, third; Francisco Mons, fourth; and Jean Luc Champain, fifth. All flew FORA-powered models.
The Spaniards are grooming Juan Ignacio Rioja and Nico Antúnez as their future replacements. This early development seems to be paying off, as the Spanish dominated the competition. José Luis López and Raúl Mateo are sons of the current competitors, and have the young reflexes to handle more veteran pilots.
Kansas City Triple Elimination Contest
Brothers Andy and Cary Minor put together and hosted the Kansas City F2D Triple Elimination contest in early June. The competition drew 27 entries, including some foreign fliers such as Leonardo Silva (Mexico) and Stas Kulachkin (Moldova).
Alex Prokofiev is on the Latvian World Championship team, but he is currently a US resident. The Minor family wants to make this contest a must-attend event in the US and goes above and beyond to make pilots feel at home.
The Minors host a Saturday night party in their home where friendships are made, strengthened, and renewed. The prize money of $1,000, merchandise (FORA engines), and trophies also attract additional entries. A couple of Junior fliers, Sasha Nadien and Austin Minor, are being groomed by their competitor parents.
International World Cup contests are fun, but the triple-elimination format used in the US offers the pilots an additional round of flying.
The top finishers were Alex Prokofiev in first; Mike Willcox, second; Stas Kulachkin, third; Alex Rennick, fourth; and fifth place went to Chuck Rudner. Andy Minor reported on this event, and if you contact him, he will be glad to send it to you. See the “Sources” for his email address.
In Southern California, we are fortunate to have a dedicated flying site at the Whittier Narrows National Recreation Area in South El Monte and good weather year round. This allows us to fly nearly every weekend, giving spectators or passersby an opportunity to ask questions. Many of these people used to fly models and then got sidetracked by other priorities. They remember how much fun it was to build and fly a model they had created.
Our club members take time to encourage them to come back out to the field with their dusty models and engines to have another go at it. We tell them not to worry about fuel and batteries and we will help them get into the air.
We explain how good modern equipment is and that those frustrating days of getting an engine started are over. We also let them know that most hobby shops will not have all of the CL supplies they need, but nearly everything is available online. When I place orders for models, I normally order extras so some can be sold at cost to returning pilots. I have occasionally been able to provide a prospective pilot with a full rig ready to go.
Dave Rogers, Chris Collins, and Mike Alurac are three former sport pilots who are making amazing progress with their flying skills. They are also starting to enter, help organize, and run contests. They regularly come to the flying field and listen to experienced pilots’ suggestions. Others make special trips to our field to get in practice matches.
Lane Puckett from Merced, California, spent a weekend in July flying with us and learning a few new tricks. Greg Hill of San Diego was also present to get in a few practice matches. I have been donating my broken models to Dave. He has become good at splicing wings together and making lightweight repairs. My old F2D equipment then gets a second chance as a converted Speed Limit model.
In Spain, Manuel Mateo has organized a class for youngsters in model building and flying. He found a low-cost engine and designed a model to resemble Dusty from the movie Planes. He had help in this project from his fellow club members. When I left Barcelona, Manuel had a number of kids already signed up for his class.
I will be leaving for Poland and the CL World Championships and I intend to get an update from Manuel on the status of the class.[dingbat]
Yuvenko & Co.
Miniature Aircraft Combat Association (MACA)