JR Challenge 2003
After a couple of months of planning, we successfully held the first JR Challenge at the Trentham Range on March 8th and 9th.
HOW IT WORKS:
Once the pilot has completed the compulsory section, they then choose three
K-Factor maneuvers from a list of 38 or so. These maneuvers range in difficulty
from a figure 8 circuit to tornadoes or inverted knife edge circles. The
judges then decided if you executed a recognisable maneuver (ie the piroetting
flip kinda looked like a piroetting flip) then you were awarded the designated
K-Factor points depending on what class you had entered into. For example,
three stationary flips had a K factor value of 6, 3 and 1 for Clubman, Sportsman
and F3C respectively.
This meant that people of all skill levels could then compete on a fairly even field.
THE EVENT ITSELF:
Although the event was due to start at 9:30, requests from the pilots to have some 'practice' time to have a go at some of the K-Factor maneuvers meant competition didn't get under way until 11am.
The first round went very well, it was great to see people who had never competed in competitions as well as those who had only just learned to hover involved in amongst the Sportsman and F3C fliers. Some of the highlights of the first round was Darren Boote who had never done a roll in his life complete a loop and stall turn for the K-Factors then landed and turned to me and said "If you let me lean it out a bit, I'll do a roll" to which I replied "Hell yeah!". Sure enough, Darren took off again and executed a recognisable roll (even if it was in ID1 and the rotor speed decayed quite considerably!). I was rapt, Darren had just illustrated the whole purpose of this event, to encourage people to have a go!
I on the other hand had bitten off more than I could chew. Being in the F3C class I tried to be a hero and selected K-Factor maneuvers that I could somewhat pull off with my Voyager, but hadn't tried with my Vigor CS. I picked the death spiral, the inverted knife edge circle and the tornadoes. The death spiral was pretty easy, no drama there, however the inverted knife edge circle was a different story. The CS does it much bigger and FASTER than the little Voyager and as it was coming nose in at me I lost my nerve and bailed out which caused some excitement! Next up were the tornadoes which I screwed up in royal fashion when I over cooked the rudder and the CS ended up in some kind of orientation (which I had no idea of for about 2 seconds or so) so that was the end of that for my round.
Neil Harker had some troubles with his little Raptor 50, it was vibrating heavily and then the exhaust came loose.
Steve Hall, a Sportsman flier put in a beautiful compulsory round and began the K-Factor round by completing the rolling 540 stall turn and got halfway through a Cuban 8 before the sun caused some orientation problems and his Freya went in on it's head. Remarkably, the heli came off pretty well.
John Knox only just got started in his F3C compulsory round when his Vigor CS had a flameout straight after the two rolls which meant a high speed, long distance, downwind auto which he pulled off.
Heather Smith was one of the people having their first competition experience and she put in a great effort in both the compulsory section and did great doing a nose in hover and three second piroette for the K-Factor round.
It was clear early on who had gone through the list of K-Factor maneuvers and selected the highest scoring maneuvers in the Clubman class as the higher skilled Clubman pilots went head to head. It was also clear that next year, I was going to have to re-visit the weightings I gave to some of the maneuvers. A case in point was three piroettes in fast forward flight which in many cases turned out to be three piroettes in forward 'drift'.
Lunchtime arrived at the end of the first round and the public were treated
to a fixed wing display by selected members of the club. One of which was
a Great Planes Biplane which was a crowd favourite.
During the day, George had kept the public informed of the proceedings as well as introducing the fliers and describing some of the maneuvers via a public address system which went very well. If you know George, you'll know he's well suited to this kind of task (being from Florida and all eh George?)!
Round two began in the same order as round one to ensure no frequency clashes.
Kim Attwell, a new member to our club put in a great performance for his first competition and showed real balls having a go at a stall turn for one of his K-Factor maneuvers. While the heli did get away on him a bit, he recovered and landed safely.
G.J Knox, a real up-and-coming threat in the Clubman class struck bad luck when his dad's CS flamed out again half way through his round, but he landed it in one piece.
Mike McCormick under-extended himself once again in the second round, but this time had to use the Venture 50 due to John's CS having retired to the pits, however that didn't stop Mike putting in a great performance except for the three piroettes in forward flight. Two in one pass then one in another pass doesn't cut it Mike!
John Knox put in a stunning second round with the Venture 50 and as he was the last in the flight order put on a 'victory' display for his fans in the crowd.
That concluded the competition and the field was then open for funflying before the 7:30pm dinner at a local restaurant where most of the competitors and their partners came together to drink, discuss the day, eat, and have a good time.
The main event for the day was supposed to be Neil Harker's first successful
roll attempt. After a couple of 'unsuccessful' attempts months earlier,
Neil was determined that today would be the day. Numerous attempts were
made but due to the sun being in the wrong position, the moons not lining
up correctly the event was called off until later in the day.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR NEXT YEAR:
Some things we'll improve on for next year:
Everyone who attended had a great time and hopefully we'll see more competitors next year now that people know what it's all about. Mark your diaries for the second weekend in March next year!For more details on how the JR Challenge works, visit www.galtechmodels.com/jrchallenge/