Nats Report Day 5

  • 8 January 2018
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What a day! Why couldn’t they all have been like this?? Well, if we’d had 6 days as good as this, everyone would have collapsed with exhaustion. We made an early start and Vintage RC got out there at 7am to pack in a full days’ programme. In fact what they were hoping to do was to get as much of last years’ 5 day programme achieved in a single day, and by golly, they nearly did it! There was frenetic activity on the field and it would have been even busier if they had had spare timekeepers, but no matter, the weather was great and the new field even better. HQ had extended the shut off time by an hour to 4pm and so on all of our fields, aviation was happening in a big way.
Soaring decided to start the day by running the Radian competition and then going on to do F3K. This went well and a few people were able to Radian before dashing off to another field to compete in other events. The sky was buzzing from the blast of pulse jets on the control line circle to the roar of the IMAC machines over at RC1. As 4 pm approached, some had completed but others were able to squeeze in fly offs. The results was an avalanche of results coming in and the flying fingers of Phil Eldridge working his programme to the max to churn out results. Soon, the SIGs were holding their prizegiving meetings and tired hands were pressed together to reward the winners. We came together in the Vintage Car Club rooms next to HQ for the finale ceremony. Individual SIG Champions received their accolades and then the overall Champions were announced. Certificates and trophies were handed over by Hans Visser who has previously been our representative in Europe on the FAI and CIAM committees. The buffet meal included a Celebratory 70th Anniversary cake baked by Gill Shorer and loud cheering broke out when Wellington MAC took the Champion club award.
We had 603 entries placed by 132 competitors, so a very creditable outcome and numbers on a par with the best of recent years.
The plan for next year is for the 71st National Championships to be held at Matamata on the 3rd til 7th January 2019. Steve Warner will be the manager assisted by Mike and Frazer Briggs.
Plenty of time to undertake repairs and plan the winning strategy for next year……

Nats report Day 4

  • 7 January 2018
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Only those sleeping in solidly built houses got a good nights’ sleep. Otherwise, caravans shook, tents flapped and sheds rattled as the wind tore around us and the rain beat down. It didn’t seem like the ideal start to a days’ flying and so it proved. Meetings were held, decision times set and generally a lot of waiting around looking for an improvement in the conditions. Helicopter Fun Fly and Multirotor cancelled their events. Vintage made several forays to the field but 40kph is not compatible with lightly loaded old timers or their models. Soaring decided to take over the hall and run a paper plane competition. And so we were becalmed in the buildings, surrounded by gales. Around lunchtime, the sun came out but the strong wind persisted. Moods brightened when Pilot Pete turned up with his shop and shiny things proved irresistible to buy. Vintage made yet another trip to the field but even at 3pm it was still too windy. The RC1 team came up with a plan but were only able to get the pylon course set up ready for a better day. “What about Aggy” was the question on everyone’s lips. The forecast was that the wind would be down to 20kph by 8pm which sounds quite reasonable but when you think about chasing the plane downwind, running along behind it, that seems rather faster. By tea time, it still looked a bit iffy and quick showers didn’t help the prospect, but Rob Wallace held his nerve and we trooped out to Rayners farm. The pilots lined up on the launching line. Some stripped down to shorts and running shoes. Some were even seen doing stretching and limbering up exercises. There was a smattering of safety helmets and hi viz jackets to show that safety was a concern. With the sound of the hooter, the wind dropped to almost nothing, the spots of drizzle faded away and engines were started. Most people got away well and the scores will be posted shortly. A frustrating day finished with the successful completion of just one event, possibly the zaniest, most enjoyable event of the 90. No-one had a heart attack or got hit by an errant model and much fun was had.
Tomorrow, we hope to fill a day of great weather with action packed events on every site. We are making early starts and have extended the day to fit in as much as we can before prizegiving.

Nats Report, Day 3

  • 5 January 2018
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Well, they were right! Heavy rain during the night and rain when we woke up. But…… a forecast of a dry morning before another dose of the wet stuff after lunch. Contest Directors were tested to the max. What to do. Soaring decided that they needed 6 hours of good weather to run an F3B competition so called off early. Control line fly, whatever the weather, so they got straight into it. Pylon went out into the dying drizzle and set up their course in hope. Vintage RC headed down to their field and tested the air. After some test flights, the flyers were assembled and a vote taken, the decision was not to start the competitions. As people packed away, the rain stopped and then the sun came out, there was a bit of wind but the decision had been made and people left. Down at the Pylon field, the decision was to start flying at noon. Gradually, the bright blue radar returns crept down towards us and by about 1.30pm it was raining. The plucky Control liners continued to fly but the rest took shelter. Modellers drifted in and out of HQ, some had a go on the simulator, others took advantage of the hall for a bit of flying, or just to shelter from the rain. Fresh from proving his prowess on the simulator by demonstrating that Mode 1 flyers can cope with a Mode 2 Transmitter by flying low level inverted, Peewee then flew his foamy straight into the wall of the hall.
Today seemed like a good day for holding AGMs with both Vintage and Control line completing the processes. But the real winners of the day were Free Flight and Control Line scale who completed their programme without any interruption from the weather as it is held inside the hall, the only distraction being the sound of the rain beating on the roof.
Hopes are high for tomorrow. The rain should clear mid morning and we hope to complete a full days flying culminating in the mad dash around the fields that is Aggie. It might be a bit windy so the game will be to avoid long retrieves. Jarrod the greyhound is absent this year so we don’t need to feel quite so athletically challenged, but lycra shorts and running spikes will be frowned upon.

Day 2 Report

  • 4 January 2018
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We kept getting calls from the North telling us how bad the weather was and yet, we decided to go flying despite the bright sunshine and calm conditions. “It can’t last” they said, “you’ll be drowned rats by lunchtime”. As usual, the Free Flighters led the way to get the best conditions and soon we had 4 active flying sites. In fine co-operative style, Scale undertook to get a move on so that Aerobatics could make the best of what might be a shortened day. Many beautiful Scale models were flown and Frazer has posted photos of many of them. Soaring had a field change from yesterday moving from sheep pasture to cow pasture. There was ample space and soon the winches were singing as 4metre gliders were shot towards the clouds. Lunchtime came and dark clouds gathered around us. In HQ we kept a close watch on the rain radar and saw the bright blue patches denoting heavy rain building to the North and coming towards us. By mid afternoon, it was clear that the bad weather was tracking down either side of us. Flying continued, the soarers coped with fickle winds and endured downwind launches rather than re-rig but then it went calm, but having got 4 good rounds in the bag they decided to call it a day. Vintage Free Flight completed all of their competitions and had some epic retrieves across several paddocks as testament to the good conditions. Free Flight also kept to their programme.

Today has been combat for the Control line flyers. We hear the sound of high revving glow motors as battle commences but then it goes to a single steady tone and you know that only one flyer is left with a steamer. Fun to watch the twisting and turning and a steady stream of spectators enjoying the spectacle.

We had planned a Radian mass launch event for 6pm but the heavens finally caught up with us at 5 and so it was abandoned. All afternoon, new arrivals had told us that driving conditions were almost impossible in parts of State Highway 2 and so our luck had to run out sometime. Thankfully, it was after everyone had packed up for the day. We went ahead with the planned BBQ and gathered in the hall for a social.
The forecast for tomorrow is not too bright but the weather will be what it is when we look out of the windows and there is still plenty left in the banter tank.

Results are being posted as fast as we can process them.

Nats Day 1 report.

  • 3 January 2018
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After all the gloomy forecasts about the weather and torrential rain overnight, the day dawned clear and calm allowing the early birds from Free Flight to take full advantage. FF Scale were able to complete their programmed event by 7.30am leaving RC1 clear for the radio control scale team to commence their full schedule. Soon, all the flying sites were busy, from control line at the Clareville showgrounds through Scale on RC1, Soaring on the new Vintage field and Free Flight down at Rayners farm. The weather was warm, cloudy and dry. At HQ, a steady stream of arrivals proved to be more competitors with events later in the week and visitors coming for a look see. We are pleased to see Hans Visser, our representative with FAI and CIAM for many years making a visit from his native Holland and taking a keen interest in the activity. Control line looked to be very busy but strangely silent as electric planes went through their routines out on the Oval. Down at the Premier Duration soaring event, the lift went from tricky to abundant. As the clouds grew denser, there was clearly some heavy weather tracking down the Tararuas from the north and rain showers visible in the distance. Around 4pm Soaring were completed and Aerobatics well into their schedule when we started to hear thunder and spots of rain were coming as people packed away. By 5 o'clock it was raining heavily in the camp but people were starting to gather in the hall. Angus Mcdonald and Stephen Wade had been quietly practicing Hangar Rat for most of the afternoon. After an hour of Indoor HLG with some practice Ratting, the competition got underway at 7. A total of 26 entries prepared to do their best and at one stage there were more than 60 people in the hall enjoying the spectacle. There were some very creditable flights from Rowdy, Joe, Gwyn and Suetonia but most people simply stopped to watch Angus flying. The event doesn't close until 11pm so the results will have to wait til tomorrow but it must rate as one of the successes of the 70th Nats. Well done everyone, young and old for building,entering and flying. So, the first full day completed and an excellent day all round with fingers crossed that the weather will be equally kind tomorrow.

Nats, day zero.

  • 2 January 2018
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We’re off! The set up work is complete, the fields are mowed the signs posted and rations purchased. It has been very warm for the past few days and now, the heavens have opened. This is when you find out if you have pitched your tent on a hump or in a hollow. The rain is bouncing off the surface of the paddling pool and there are plenty of opportunities to sit around and chat. Vintage Free Flight got underway this morning and had the best of the weather starting in clear calm conditions. Eight intrepid early birds enjoyed the conditions and 3 of our 90 competitions are now completed. The results are available on line. The barbeque briefing was well attended and the entrants for Hangar Rat will have a chance to view the arena ready for tomorrow night. With 24 competitors registered so far, the sky should be filled with tissue and rubber.