Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Eastbourne 2012 BMFA F3F Rd 7

Mandy and I made the long journey down to Eastbourne at the weekend about 5.5h from sunny Lancaster, if you travel at stupid o'clock (5:00 a.m) Saturday morning. We went for a walk at Beachy Head, those cliffs rise about 165M straight up and would be awesome to fly off, unfortunately no wind today. We then walked the seafront at Eastbourne and resisted the urge to jump off the pier into the aquamarine blue sea, even though there were many signs telling us not to!

We had the obligatory fish and chips, before continuing our walk on the pebble beach looking at the Lobster boats coming back with there catch that had to be hauled up the steep beach, carving new slip ways in the pebbles. There is an old Napoleonic Fort called the The Redoubt, which seemed to consist of a brick and concrete squat building complete with Cannon emplacements and dry moat. There was some sort of Historic Reanactment going on, we could hear the loud cracks of the rifle's going off inside and the clouds of gunpowder smoke rising above. Although we only got as far as the entrance bridge before a man in a bright yellow jacket challenged us with the admission price of £6 each, we decided to pass this time.

We then walked back through the town centre, resisting the coffee houses full of delicious cream cakes to make our way back to our accommodation in Alfreston, although we stopped on the way for a quick walk up to the Long Man.

A small meal washed down with some Golden Best Ale at the Smugglers Inn and I felt pretty shattered and Mandy was a bit out of sorts so it was an early night in preparation for tommorrows race. Unfortunately the weather forecast had taken a turn for the worse and it looked like our trip may had been in vain with lots of rain predicted for Sunday.

Sunday dawned and we had a cracking cooked breakfast from our B&B hosts and then it was up to Butt's Lane to stand in the rain, wind and mist deciding whether to pay the parking fee or not as we might not get a comp in. At about 10:00 a.m. we were summoned to the hill as the clag looked like it might lift and after erecting our sports brella, racing eventually got under way by 12:00pm

I had decided to try the EM style that I have been practising after doing badly at the Long Myndd, for the first time in competition as I had confidence in finding the bases, but was struggling with the climb outs, my sollution was to fly light with less ballast to help me out, and things turned out no worse than if I had used the trusty reversal. Got a 57.xx, 57.xx, 51.xx and a 58.xx I got a cut in the 2nd round so the 57.xx wasn't too bad considering, the 58 killed me though, but it was just bad air, as the model came on step too late on the last leg.

Team GB were there fresh from the recent WC at Rugan, they were pumping out 45.xx and 48.xx times and were in a league of their own. With the bad weather there were only 15 of us, and we were lucky to squeeze 4 rounds in 2hours before the clag came down. I ended up in 6th, but wandering what it could have been if I hadn't cut. In the video is my 51.xx run which wasn't as quick as the run I cut, but with a bit more practice hopefully I can tighten up on those bases and perfect my left hand turns.

Video & Photos below.

Eastbourne 2012 BMFA Rd7 from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Parlick Practice

It's that time of the year when it becomes hard to predict the weather on our fair isle and it takes a bit of luck making the right call. Saturday didn't look very promising weather wise, but late morning with the sun shining outside the living room window and the golden autumnal leaves stirring, a quick look at the various weather websites gave three options, Barbon ,Tow Scar or Parlick.

After a couple of brief discussions with my weather spotter in the Dales, Paul, he convinced me that it wasn't on so I took a chance and drove off to Parlick with some gliders.

As I drove closer to the hill the omens did not look good, with half a dozen paragliders grounded on the top, still it was a nice day for a walk and I decided to chance it and push on. The bottom of the hill was overcrowded with cars, mini buses, vans and even a sheeted up motorbike parked for the weekend. Looks like there were about 50 or 60 assorted ramblers, fell runners and para gliders, us Glider Guiders are a bit of a minority in these parts.

One of the vans had decided to block the turning spot, so I had to drive all the way to the top to turn around (no parking at Fell Cottage) and decided to stop and have a quiet chat with him about the lack of lift, as you might have guessed, he was a paraglider. He confirmed my fears that they were just walking up, jumping off and flying back down to the cars. Even the full size gliders in the glider station below were on an extended lunch break.

Still, being the eternal optimist, I managed to squeeze the little Fiesta in between two mini buses and started the climb up in the pleasant early afternoon sunshine, weighed down by a brace of heavy F3F models and a rucksack full of ballast, did I mention I was optimistic!

As I summited the top of the hill, I got lucky as the wind suddenly switched on and the air was suddenly filled with paragliders as they launched en-mass. I couldn't believe my luck and hurried down to the west bowel where there is a mini slope below the full size and paragliders where you can fly close in out of everyone else's way.

First up was the Cyril, with just two slugs of ballast in one wing, stupidly in my haste I didn't put any in the other wing although it didn't bother the Cyril as I only discovered my error when I came to put more ballast in later, doh! Wind was light and a little crossed to the left, launching has to be done with a good firm push as there isn't really an edge, just a steep grassy slope with no real compression zone just lots of powerful smooth lift. EM turns seem to work better for me today than yesterday, and I could get in really close to the slope nearly cutting the grass, it really is a bit psychological these rocky cliffs that I can't get close to!

I adjusted some settings on my camber and speed flap and tried some reversal as well to compare with the EM. Reversal still seems faster, but it doesn't last long enough with the wind crossed after the dive in, whereas the EM is very consistent and seems to deal better with the crossed conditions, you can get a great slingshot in the upwind turn, this speed can be kept to help with the down wind turn where you have to drive back through the head wind.

Practised my pump outs, but was a bit hindered by the full size and paragliders lurking above me, but felt better than yesterday, of course with no tight compression zone to worry about it is a lot easier. Landings were straight forward as the hill dips down into a saddle so you can land on the top in lift, just got to be mindful of  the fence, but there is plenty of room and you can always go around again.

Chucked the Xenon off, and wow this thing really pings the turns, looks like it is better suited to EM than reversals, it seems to turn itself although it was dropping the nose quite a lot into the hill which needed correction so I backed off the aileron differential 5% which seemed to help. It also doesn't seem to mind snap flap in the EM, where as the Cyril hates it, in fact I could see the Xenon might have a new lease of life trying to learn the EM turn as it turns real nice. I had to have a few more flights with the Cyril to compare and the Cyril seems faster in a straight line whereas the Xenon carves the turns much better. The Xenon is still harder to land than the Cyril, I backed the elevator compensation off a tad on the Xenon but it still carries a little too much speed in the landing, but hey ho it got down in one piece.

The wind moved to bang on the slope (WNW) and then got really strong and moved to the right (NW), this is when it got dark as a giant black cloud covered the sun, although strangely a hole appeared in the middle of the cloud letting the blinding rays of the sun through making the Left hand turn difficult as the sun got lower. The paragliders had all dissappeared by now, not wanting to get sucked up into the cloud, so I had the slope to myself, apart from when I would land for a break and the full size gliders would jump in to get some close in slope action below me.

Eventually the giant storm cloud moved on and the sun was back out with blue skies, was still cold though but I have a new jacket that is doing a good job of keeping we warm compared to last year. You could see light showers rolling in from the coast, but they were all burned out before they got to me. The visibility was very good with the Lake district and the windmills out in Morecambe bay 50 miles away visible.

Managed a good 2 hour of flying, which meant I was the last off the hill as the sun was setting, the wind started to die and it was time to get off the fells before it got dark. It was eerily quiet when I got back to the car with everyone gone, apart from that lone motorbike all sheeted up as if it was going to be there for the long term, perhaps the owner has gone off wild camping, their helmet made an un-shapely lump under the sheet.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Tow Scar

Got some F3F practise in after work on Friday afternoon, conditions were not ideal with strong winds, slightly crossed and occasional showers, some wintry. Still we persevered, Paul seemed to find the best groove flying close to the rocky edge, I haven't got the confidence to do that on this slope and flew a little too high and over the slope in the turbulence. Oh well, more training required.

Rugan 2012 World Championship - Day 5

Congratulations to Stefan Hölbfer, 2012 F3F World Champion!

Also congratulations to Team Germany for being the top team!

2012 F3F World Chanpionship Rugan
After 23 Rounds
Rank Pilot Country Total Score Rank Country Total Score
1 Hölbfer, Stefan AUT 19997,82 1 GER 58172,00
2 Gaubatz, Lukas AUT 19889,54 2 AUT 55319,55
3 Herrig, Martin GER 19724,39 3 FRA 54873,36
4 Herrig, Andreas GER 19404,64 4 USA 54871,71
5 Paulson, Kyle USA 19121,76 5 GBR 53389,62
6 Borchert, Helge GER 19042,97 6 TPE 51570,40
7 Paulson, Kyler USA 18693,87 7 DEN 50617,18
8 Mervelet, Matthieu FRA 18643,15 8 NOR 50171,01
9 Rondel, Pierre FRA 18363,13 9 CZE 48446,37
10 Krogh, Søren DEN 17980,61 10 ESP 48246,62
11 Marechal, Alexis FRA 17867,08 11 VEN 48136,54
12 Newnham, Martin GBR 17843,88 12 SUI 46845,12
13 Redsell, Mark GBR 17842,97 13 SVK 44821,76
14 Thornton, Simon GBR 17702,77 14 POL 43928,25
15 Torp, Espen NOR 17497,35 15 HKG 42647,86
16 Chang, Tai-Chang TPE 17431,17 16 NED 41757,78
17 Segnini, Raul VEN 17422,70 17 POR 27093,95
18 Plaza, Gerardo ESP 17378,39 18 UKR 13732,48
19 Tseng, Kuo-Tung TPE 17075,99
20 Lee, Wei-Tee TPE 17063,24

New Baudis Prototype

New Baudis Prototype model being flown at Rugan WC by Espen Torp, photo by Pierre Rondel.

Rugan 2012 World Championship - Day 4

Final day today, looks like team Germany has an unassailable lead, but 2nd place is a close fight between team Austria and USA. In the individual ranking Lukas has a slim lead over Stefan, but you cannot count Martin Herrig out in 3rd place plenty still to play for today, but as usual there is a small amount of luck in F3F even at the highest level.

2012 F3F World Chanpionship Rugan
After 20 Rounds
Rank Pilot Country Total Score Rank Country Total Score
1 Gaubatz, Lukas AUT 17233,95 1 GER 50110,74
2 Hölbfer, Stefan AUT 17118,10 2 AUT 47690,17
3 Herrig, Martin GER 17013,44 3 USA 47369,09
4 Herrig, Andreas GER 16662,26 4 FRA 47268,90
5 Paulson, Kyle USA 16526,50 5 GBR 46043,45
6 Borchert, Helge GER 16435,04 6 TPE 44641,00
7 Paulson, Kyler USA 16109,98 7 DEN 43899,29
8 Mervelet, Matthieu FRA 16108,58 8 NOR 43296,35
9 Rondel, Pierre FRA 15944,06 9 ESP 42828,26
10 Krogh, Søren DEN 15598,85 10 CZE 41865,70
11 Newnham, Martin GBR 15441,17 11 VEN 41632,64
12 Redsell, Mark GBR 15378,70 12 SUI 40729,16
13 Thornton, Simon GBR 15223,58 13 SVK 39241,61
14 Marechal, Alexis FRA 15216,27 14 HKG 38162,40
15 Plaza, Gerardo ESP 15105,77 15 POL 38061,18
16 Torp, Espen NOR 15104,04 16 NED 36053,04
17 Segnini, Raul VEN 15064,96 17 POR 23427,39
18 Chang, Tai-Chang TPE 14997,41 18 UKR 11927,11
19 Tseng, Kuo-Tung TPE 14859,57
20 Lee, Wei-Tee TPE 14784,02

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Rugan 2012 World Championship - Day 3

Calmer skies and less wind and a different slope the Wind Tunnel today. Austria still leading the individual ranking, and Germany still leading the Team ranking. However Team USA has made some good gains today to leap frog Team France and get very close to Team Austria for 2nd place, still plenty to play for with three more days to go!

2012 F3F World Chanpionship Rugan
After 13 Rounds
Rank Pilot Country Total Score Rank Country Total Score
1 Gaubatz, Lukas AUT 11507,89 1 GER 32654,57
2 Hölbfer, Stefan AUT 11333,44 2 AUT 31354,75
3 Herrig, Martin GER 11061,11 3 USA 31352,94
4 Herrig, Andreas GER 10976,73 4 FRA 30918,35
5 Paulson, Kyle USA 10961,40 5 GBR 29974,47
6 Paulson, Kyler USA 10765,05 6 TPE 28164,12
7 Mervelet, Matthieu FRA 10698,53 7 DEN 28119,50
8 Borchert, Helge GER 10616,73 8 NOR 27286,60
9 Rondel, Pierre FRA 10276,44 9 ESP 27076,54
10 Krogh, Søren DEN 10176,79 10 CZE 26608,02
11 Redsell, Mark GBR 10099,12 11 VEN 25916,18
12 Thornton, Simon GBR 9949,79 12 SUI 24727,57
13 Marechal, Alexis FRA 9943,38 13 HKG 24200,93
14 Newnham, Martin GBR 9925,55 14 SVK 24175,86
15 Segnini, Raul VEN 9892,20 15 POL 23063,47
16 Plaza, Gerardo ESP 9776,79 16 NED 21509,67
17 Day, Warren USA 9626,49 17 POR 14252,24
18 Rivero, Carlos VEN 9595,95 18 UKR 7816,43
19 Torp, Espen NOR 9583,91
20 Monte, Brandon USA 9517,09

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Rugan 2012 World Championship - Day 2

The Turbulator was very windy today and that resulted in mixed fortunes for the brave pilots with some models damaged. The Austrians are still dominating the individual ranking, but Germany is leading the team ranking!

2012 F3F World Chanpionship Rugan
09/10/2012 After 9 Rounds
Rank Pilot Country Total Score Rank Country Team
1 Hölbfer, Stefan AUT 7698.10 1 GER 21574.04
2 Gaubatz, Lukas AUT 7693.00 2 AUT 20947.96
3 Herrig, Andreas GER 7435.00 3 FRA 20331.75
4 Herrig, Martin GER 7368.00 4 USA 20249.8
5 Mervelet, Matthieu FRA 7115.00 5 GBR 19467.88
6 Paulson, Kyle USA 7108.00 6 TPE 18195.11
7 Paulson, Kyler USA 7012.00 7 DEN 18000.01
8 Borchert, Helge GER 6770.00 8 NOR 17407.1
9 Krogh, Søren DEN 6747.00 9 ESP 17238.51
10 Marechal, Alexis FRA 6637.00 10 CZE 16769.68
11 Rondel, Pierre FRA 6578.00 11 SUI 16385.63
12 Thornton, Simon GBR 6535.00 12 VEN 16223.24
13 Redsell, Mark GBR 6483.00 13 SVK 15483.39
14 Newnham, Martin GBR 6448.00 14 HKG 15316.8
15 Plaza, Gerardo ESP 6370.00 15 POL 14404.74
16 Rivero, Carlos VEN 6327.00 16 NED 12982.06
17 Lee, Wei-Tee TPE 6310.00 17 POR 8868.49
18 Segnini, Raul VEN 6310.00 18 UKR 5193.27
19 Torp, Espen NOR 6134.00      
20 Day, Warren USA 6128.00      

Monday, 8 October 2012

Rugan 2012 World Championship - Day 1

Looks like Stefan Hölbfer & Lukas Gaubatz owned the Turbulator today! However Team GB put in a solid performance with Martin Newnham 12th, Simon Thornton 14th and Mark Redsell 17th. Hopefully plenty more rounds to improve over the rest of the week.

After 5 Rounds, the top 20 (out of 54) look like this;

Rank Pilot Country Total Score
1 Hölbfer, Stefan AUT 3933,30
2 Gaubatz, Lukas AUT 3916,61
3 Herrig, Andreas GER 3799,28
4 Paulson, Kyle USA 3645,16
5 Herrig, Martin GER 3525,96
6 Borchert, Helge GER 3459,69
7 Krogh, Søren DEN 3458,97
8 Rondel, Pierre FRA 3447,52
9 Mervelet, Matthieu FRA 3444,52
10 Paulson, Kyler USA 3396,92
11 Rivero, Carlos VEN 3372,25
12 Newnham, Martin GBR 3317,09
13 Segnini, Raul VEN 3305,96
14 Thornton, Simon GBR 3281,44
15 Day, Warren USA 3266,36
16 Marechal, Alexis FRA 3263,18
17 Redsell, Mark GBR 3235,82
18 Lee, Wei-Tee TPE 3189,57
19 Hebsgaard, Knud DEN 3180,44
20 Tseng, Kuo-Tung TPE 3100,25

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Rich brought a new toy to maiden at Hawes yesterday, an RCRCM DG600, video below.

RCRCM DG600 from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Hawes Sloping

Trip out to deepest darkest dales to Hawes for powerful lift, cold as usual but warmed up when the sun came out. Rich & Keith were already there with a variety of models including Scalies, F3F and foam. Paul turned up later and Rich taught us both more EM secrets, just need to perfect my pumping and working out what ballast works next, changed my Aileron Differential as well.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Levisham Practice Photos

Here are the photo's from the recent Levisham Practice day last Saturday.

Barbon on a Friday afternoon

Managed to sneak out of work early this afternoon for some Barbon slope soaring. Although the wind had been blowing well all day, once Paul and I got up there the wind started to drop off, the large rainstorms to the South seemed to be dragging the wind all over the place even though it was forecasted Westerly.

Anyway I loaded the Cyril up with 600g of ballast and chucked off with trepidation as there is no landout option at Barbon, just rocks to smash up on. Fortunately there was enough lift to get some EM practise in and even a little bit of reversal. Paul flew next with a heavily ballasted Race MX, this didn't work well in the fleeting lift and eventually Paul gave up and managed to gain enough height for a landing.

The landing zone at Barbon is about 30 ft above the slope edge and about 100 ft behind us, so you need a bit of height to make the landing zone, no rotor though and only the occasional rock. I went for another go, in two minds whether to drop any ballast, fortunately Paul advised that the lift wasn't as good as before so I dropped down to 300g.

As Paul picked up the Cyril to launch he commented how solid it was, I chided him for cursing my model and reminded him that I always feel like I am flying on borrowed time with the Cyril as it used up its 9 lives long ago.

He was right about the lift though, it was definitely departing and I only managed a couple of dozen laps before it went very quiet. I managed to get 40 ft above us, as Paul started to forecast that the wind was going South. Sure enough a big gust 45 deg off stopped the Cyril in its tracks above us and I said out loud, 'Now would be a good time to land!' Unfortunately the Cyril started dragging its tail as the lift failed and I started pushing out to the left to see if we had any lift left, a few poor turns later and I was level with the slope edge and we were onto plan 'B'.

I quickly decided to attempt a down wind landing onto the slope edge rather than struggle and risk landing out on the rocks below. She came in quick with full crow dragging in the wind, coming up the slope edge, quick look to my left to check for rocks, bit late now but what the heck, crow up as she slid through the rough grass, pirouetting as she went by. Another life used up then, as I noticed a couple of rocks in the grass that she had flown over!

Levisham Practice Video

Here is the video of the practise session, at the end of the video Jon Edison expertly lands his Acacia without elevator!

Levisham Practise Day from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

F3F Practise at Levisham

29th September, Levisham, Westerly, 15 - 30 mph, sun & blue skies.

Although EM style is all the vogue at the moment my attempts at Levisham last Saturday on the course had mixed results.

In practise with a good climb out, plenty of ballast and the snap flap turned off (more about that later) EM style turns were fast and good fun, on the course they were consistent, consistently slow!

I struggled with the climb outs, my pumping drifted off the course a couple of times, activating the buzzer's prematurely so I gave up trying to do that.

The run times were in the low 50's, the only run that felt marginally quicker got messed up with a cut which cost me greatly, resulting in a 57.xx run.

After that I gave up the EM style and went back to reversals where I did a 45.xx, 60.xx & a 48.xx. I learned today that EM is consistent where as the reversal is still a bit hit and miss depending on how good your air is.

With regards to snap flap, I managed to find a setting that worked better, I backed it off a couple of mm, down to approximately 1mm and have it coming in later at 30 % (previously had it coming in immediately ). Although I tried it again yesterday back on the home slope (Tow Scar) and in mega lift I ended up with it switched off again, so still a work in progress.

More practice required, but have a better feel for it, I am starting to initiate the turn using rudder with minimal aileron input, following some advice, and trying not to pull too much elevator around the turn. Just need to work on positioning the glider back into the lift band, which is a lot easier with reversal, and finding the bases again with the new style. As always a lot easier in practise than when on the course as there is a still a lot to remember as it does not come naturally, yet!

It does go scarily fast though, and I had a big scare when it nearly took my head off and got spat out into the rotor on the edge, but managed to save it and fight back through the rotor to get back onto the slope!

Video below of practice before we got the course up, still working on the other video.

Cyril at Levisham from Tom Foreman on Vimeo.