Xueye Open Contest – Laiwu – Day 1 Wed 21st

The “Xueye Open” is an open F3B international competition held at the official contest site as a “pre-contest” prior to the 18th FAI world championship F3B. Each International Team can nominate up to FIVE pilots for the open competition but Roman assured us that all seven US Team Members would be allowed to fly but without Team protection in duration. It is the opportunity for the helpers on the team to enjoy flying for a couple of days before the big event and the first real test for the senior pilots to fly the course and really get their flying fine tuned.

The weather was just superb with about 4mph wind and clear skies. Another great opportunity for our field to dry out some more also as much of the turnaround area had been very wet yesterday. The field was set up with lane assignments in both directions so we had three winches to the North and three to the south. With a WSW variable wind we found ourselves launching in either direction all day.

First round was Task A – Duration which of course for me is my chance to shine with much recent TD experience and little F3B under my belt so I was excited to get launched in the contest with a task that I could complete at a high standard. Darrell flew Group 1 and managed a fine 10:03 -100. The lift was soft and really just bouyant air without clearly defined thermals. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky when I launched in Group 2 but there was a lot of joy in my heart as I took my first flight in a contest in China. I found a nice patch of air that sustained my height without really climbing and the 10 minutes flew by. Found the tape and landed at 9:59.67 and a 100 only to discover that the seconds are truncated on the score sheet in F3B. 🙁 Nevertheless winning my group for the 1000 put a smile on my face which lasted all day. Dave was also in my group and he scored a nice 9:58 -100. Kyle and Tom were in Group 3 and they both flew fairly uneventful 9:57 – 95’s. Glauco flew a 10:00 – 90 in Group 4 and Tim wasn’t able to hook up on his first launch and needed to relaunch with about 7 minutes left in Group 5.

With duration done we moved right into Distance and due to the light conditions most of us decided to ballast at about 40 to 50% which in hind sight proved to be a little light. The day was warming up and lift cycles were starting to roll through from the west. about 200 meters to our west is a line of tall very flexible trees parallel to our field and further upwind about another 5000 meters is another line of similar trees. They proved to be invaluable guides all day as they swayed a lot even in a small breeze and more importantly they fairly easily gave up the wind direction in two locations upwind of our field.

Darrell was in Group one and he flew a fabulous distance round taking the 1000 points with 19 laps. Dave and I were both flying in Group 2 and we had Martin Herrig also in our Group. Martin took the 1000 with 27 laps in air that was really pretty good while dave managed 23 and I could only muster 20 in this elite company. . Group 4 was flown in tougher air and was won by Michael Seyfang from Germany with just 20 laps while Tom made 16. Group 5 included Andreas Herrig and Kyle and Tim from our team. Andreas launched early and took a thermal out to about 1500 feet and entered the course in the same thermal as it drifted on-course to make a big 31 laps. Kyle launched a little late to grab the same ride and managed to salvage 22 laps from the remnant of the thermal. He was a long way downwind with height in hand at 2:30 in but needed to work back to the field as there is nowhere to out-land at this location. Tim made a great 20 laps with his Cyril. Glauco was in group 6 with Andrea Kuntz taking the 1000 with 25 laps. Glauco did a fine job in this elite company to make 22. Darrells excellent effort in Group one saw him into 3rd place after Task B was complete.

Speed began after a 1 hour break for lunch and the order of flying was that of the start draw which for our team would have Darrell up first with Dave 2nd myself 3rd and so on. With a very limited breeze to work with the launches were not that great for any blazing runs. Darrell flew a clean run for an 18:49 to maintain his postion as the leader in our team. Dave had a cut at Base B and had to go back for a 20:10. I finally managed to track the Target approx parallel with the course and made some fairly clean turns to get under 20 for 19:48. That put a huge smile on my face. Next up was Tom and his 17:23 with the Fosa was really smooth. Kyle was next up and he won the 1st round of speed with a blistering 14:91 to take the 1000 points. Glauco had an unfortunate mishap on his launch which took out a wing and he didn’t make a score. Tim was our final competitor and he flew a great run to make 19:94. At the conclusion of round 1 Darrell was our top placed competitor in 7th with Kyle 13th. Tom 14th and myself 15th. Dave was 18th courtesy of his cut and Tim 24th with Glaucos crash taking him out.

The 2nd round of speed was commenced immediately by Roman and the pilots were flown in the reverse order of their finishing positions for round 1. Tim flew a great 19.94 with his Vampire. Dave took a cut on a fabulous run which may have been a 16 but finished up with a 20.10. I made a real mess of mine by cutting at Base A for a 29.48. Tom flew a nice 17.43 and Kyle took the 1000 points for the round with a 14.97. Darrell was last to fly for the USA and he flew a steady 18.49 to maintain his position on the first page of the results.

The final task for the day was 2nd Round distance with the sun starting to sit low to the west. The orientation of the course North/South meant that the Base A turn was often right in the sun form the pilots perspective. Group one saw Michael Seyfang of Germany take the 1000 with 23 laps beating Darrell by 2 laps in the end. The 2nd group included our Tim Traver who flew a great course in light conditions to make 17 laps against Patrick Menard with 19. Kyle was matched against Martin Herrig in Group 3 and finished up with 20 laps to Martins 24. Andreas Herrig took group 4 with 21 laps putting more hurt on me with just 17. Group 5 was taken by Fabrice Estivals of France with 24 laps. David was in the final group with the sun setting low on the horizon making for some great photo opportunities at Base A. David flew a great round against Andreas Kuntz to finally be pipped at the post by one lap on 20.

Roman wrapped the days flying up with that and this time we were able to leave the winches on the field overnight with security available 24 hours. It had been a revealing day in many ways with an opportunity to really see what Germany has in their quiver compared to our strong team. Clearly we can beat them in speed all things being equal as Kyle, David and Tom proved. The distance task still needs a little polishing up but we are learning a lot every round and the Team is really clicking along well. Tomorrow should be a really good test to see if we can get our senior pilots up the ladder to join Darrell in the top 10. I am sure we can do it.
Bye for now