[Headline: Another summer, another World Championships in the books]
This year the Control Line World Championships were held in Wloclawek, Poland, August 9-16. This was a special contest for me because it marked the 20th anniversary of my first time on the team as a Junior in Shanghai, China, in 1994. Much has changed since then, but many of the faces are still the same.
Coming up toward the competition, Team USA was looking strong. The team, selected at the Team Trials in the summer of 2013, consisted of Josh Ellison, Richard Stubblefield, and me. Sasha Nadein was the Junior team member.
Josh has been training hard and is one of the toughest pilots in the country. This summer he burned through roughly 10 gallons of fuel preparing his airplanes and himself for the championships. Richard Stubblefield is one of the most consistent fliers to ever wiggle the handle. When he steps into the circle, you can count on a good, hard fight.
To help me with final preparations, my dad and mechanic, Chuck Rudner, flew to Copenhagen, Denmark, a week before the competition. Ten new models had arrived, so we had our work cut out for us trying to get them trimmed before the trip to Poland. The wind was intense all weekend, but that’s the rule rather than the exception in Denmark. Fortunately, there was no rain and we managed to get all of the airplanes straight with time to spare.
Barely a week before the competition, disaster struck. Josh Ellison got a spider bite that landed him in the hospital. We all pulled for him to make a quick recovery, and there was nothing he wanted more than to make it to his first World Championships, but it was not in the cards. The doctors strongly advised him not to travel, and he stayed home to get proper treatment.
This turn of events was a huge disappointment, but through those tough times Josh showed his true colors. Although he wanted to be there himself, Josh wanted to do everything he could to help Team USA make a good showing. On such short notice, the first alternate, Andy Minor, could not attend.
My dad, who was already en route to Poland, was also our team’s second alternate pilot. Because Josh’s problem occurred after my dad left for Europe, he didn’t have any equipment with him to fly.
Josh graciously stepped in and gave all of his top-of-the-line, ready-to-go equipment to Allen DeVeuve (his mechanic) to take to Poland for my dad to use. Now that’s what it means to be a team player. Big thanks to Josh and Allen for pulling that off!
As soon as Allen arrived with Josh’s equipment, he and my dad prepared airplanes to test. Meanwhile, I hitched a ride from Copenhagen down to Wloclawek with Henning Forbech of the Danish team. Henning and I have shared some nice training sessions since I moved here. It’s interesting to practice with different people, and Henning frequently has good and helpful observations.
With the new lineup of Chuck Rudner, Richard Stubblefield, Sasha Nadein, and me, Team USA was still looking great. We set a record with approximately 140 years of combined Combat experience between us. When it came time for the rubber to meet the road, however, none of us could get much traction.
Sasha had a good showing, flying hard and making some good moves in her World Championships debut (one win, two loses). Richard looked solid, but things didn’t quite go his way. My dad gave Igor Trifonov (three-time World Champion) a real run for his money in a hard-fought match in round two. Igor won, but afterward was out of breath and said he never expected that a 66-year-old could fly like that!
With Team USA out after three rounds, it was time to check on and support our other friends still in the competition. Radik Magzianov, from Miami, Florida, was flying on the Israeli team. The airline managed to lose his equipment on the way to Poland, which put Radik in a bind. He was able to scrape together a full set of gear and push ahead with the competition.
Radik was looking strong, but in a heartbreaker of a match the chin strap of his helmet became detached after he had the win sewn up, resulting in disqualification. Radik’s on a good path, though, and I’m sure he’ll come back next time stronger than ever.
While the other US-based pilots were fizzling out, Alex Prokofiev, from New Jersey, turned up the heat with some of the most impressive flying of the contest. Alex has been training hard for the past year and making sure that his equipment was in top form. He knows what it takes to get to the top: it takes hard work and dedication. There are no shortcuts. Last winter he told me that after a big snowstorm he spent an hour shoveling a path to the circle so that he wouldn’t miss a weekend of flying. Although things were looking good for Alex, his ride came to a halt just short of the podium after a sequence of strange events.
Coming down to the final three, Henning Forbech of Denmark flew against Rudi Konigshofer of Austria for a berth in the finals. Henning had flown well all week, and coming into the match the odds were looking good for him. However, midway through the match, Rudi’s model cut Henning’s lines. It quickly became clear that Henning’s fuel shutoff had failed to engage. The airplane flew out of sight, and Henning was disqualified.
In the final, Stanislav Chornyy of Ukraine put on a fine display and captured his second World Championship title. Rudi and Henning had a fly-off for the silver and bronze medals. Henning came back with a vengeance, and captured the silver. Rudi took home the bronze. Rudi got a big boost from the help of Aleksey Topunov of Chicago, who was there as his mechanic.
Overall it was a good competition. Some issues with the rules were exposed—in particular the meaning of “intentional” regarding stepping out of the circle—which will have to be clarified before next season.
The next Control Line World Championships will be in Australia in 2016. If you want to get there, start preparing now. See you at the team trials![dingbat]
Control Line World Championships 2016
Miniature Aircraft Combat Association (MACA)