“Underdogs” Practice CIAF Site – Laiwu – Sun 18th

Finally we made it out to fly today with overcast skys threatening to rain again but an opportunity to take the Team bus to the China International Aerosports Fiesta (CIAF) Site and practice on the full size airstrip there. The trip out in the bus was once again a mini adventure with the weird driving customs we are gradually beginning to become accustomed to. At one point the driver received a call on his cell phone while we were just starting from a red light. Instead of pulling over to park while he took the call he gradually rolled across the intersection to the other side stoppng in the lane holding up traffic in all directions while he discussed returning to pick up another passenger. Eventually after a minute or two he proceeded to do a U turn on our side of the 3 lane road and back across the intersection against the light all at slow speed while other cars and trucks avoided us. (And my wife reckons my driving is bad!!!)

We arrived at the Aerosports airfield at about 10:00am and decided to set up a winch alongside the taxi way on a 25 foot wide stretch of grass. The prevailing wind was about 10 to 15mph and right down the shoot so an adjacent fence was really a non issue but landings needed to be done carefully in the limited grassy area we had.
Tim, Tom, Dave and I assembled aircraft to try out the conditions and Tim and his Vampire became the first F3B launch in our China trip. The conditions appeared to be quite bouyant with warm water in the lake appearing to raise the temp of the air as it passed across about 2km creating pretty nice air on our side as it contacted the colder land and needed to rise over an adjacent slope to our left. Tom launched the Fosa and spent about 45 mins scouting the area and riding a few bubbles back to a ridge behind us. I finally got the Target sorted with a reasonable radio program and throws etc with Dave and Kyles help and got her in the air for my maiden. Though flyable she did need substantial adjustments but it was just fabulous to be flying an F3B ship in China with the USA Team.

The launches were rather conservative in the blustery wind because we only had one roll of mono which was 1.25 and clearly Dave , Kyle and Tom could break that with ease. It really wasn’t ideal conditions for doing any real useful Team practice without the correct battery or line setup. Nevertheless it did serve as an opportunity to get out of the Hotel room and actually do something. For me it was a great opportunity as a helper here to get some stick time on a new model and learn some with the expert guidance of Dave and Kyle. I am probably the least experienced F3B task pilot here but I think I might be the most excited. 🙂 Every launch today was a rush with my Target and I feel both honored and fortunate to even be here helping this great team – let alone actually flying B models in a pre- contest.

Liwen our China co-ordinator took us to lunch at the AeroSports Fiesta building in two groups but the day was really cold enough to cause many in the tea to spend a lot of time on the bus to stay out of the chilling wind. Glauco was a great sport as he returned line from the turnaround for most of the day and clearly it will be a role reversal next time we get out.

We had the aussie pair of Steve Keep and John Skinner arrive late in the afternoon with a roll of new mono so a winch was set up for them and they tested out their new Fosa’s to the delight of Tom who is also sporting some really nice Fosa’s this worlds.
The Fosa is a really great looking model in the air with a much larger aspect ratio than the average B model and these beautiful ships appear to launch very high. According to many they have a distinct advantage in distance also. When we read John Skinners Zlog data logger later it showed launches around 285m on light line! Clearly with the correct line 300m plus launches were entirely possible in the conditions available at this airfield.

With some drizzle starting to dampen our enthusiasm late i the day we packed up and left with the aussies in tow to check out the new official flying site. The whole facility has been created especially for our event and much money has clearly been expended to make a flying site available to Romans design. Unfortunately rain disruptions etc have slowed down the development of the area leading to the field being a little under-prepared. Nevertheless it will be ready for us to fly on in the pre contest and maybe also for at least one practice day before hand.

Teams of workers were still busy filling holes, laying tiled pathways and sweeping up in readiness for the events. A very long and large tent has been erected to house our aircraft and it is understood we will be able to leave our models and equipment in the tent onsite over-night during the contest as a 24 hour guard will be provided.

In general the flying site still needs some work before we can fly on it but the organizers are really trying hard to get it ready. When we arrived back at the hotel we learned that the Japanese team was arriving tonight and would be staying on our hotel level also. I looked forward to introducing myself to them as they are reported to be a very friendly bunch indeed.

Kyle convinced us all that another dose of KFC was in order for dinner as the Chinese fair was wearing him a bit thin. He dragged us all back to high cholesterol heaven and we finished off the day with a beer at the Korean restaurant over the road. John Skinner and I enjoyed a good chat over a bottle of chinese red and joined Steve Keep and Roman for a chinwag in the aussies room before retiring for the day.

The plan for tomorrow is a 10:00am start to head to the practice field again. With some luck we may be able to actually fly at the official field in the afternoon.
Adios until then