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How to setup your rotorhead
9Z for Dummies
3D Downunder
Victorian F3C Champs
Visit to Model Engines
Flying the Fury Tempest FAI
Pilot Profile - Pete (Panos) Niotis
Australian Trip 03
Introduction to the Century Predator
Building the Fury Tempest FAI
Professional Aerial Photography
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Pilot Profile - Russ Deakin
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Toolbox Essentials
Setup for F3C
Vigor Refit
Pilot Profile - Curtis Youngblood
JR Challenge 2003
Pilot Profile - Len Sabato
Helicopter Resources
Comparing the Webra 91AAR and the YS 91ST
Engine Tuning
Curtis Youngblood in New Zealand
Futaba GV-1 Governor
Pilot Profile - Malorie Zastrow
Scale: Flybarless Heads
Pilot Profile - Jason Krause
JR 10X
Pilot Profile - Mark Christy
Futaba 9Z WCII
Pilot Profile - Alan Szabo Jr
163km/h with a Vigor CS!
Raptor 60 V2
Low cost, high camera!
TSK & the Squirrel Part (V)
Follow up - Hirobo Freya
Follow up - Hirobo Shuttle RG
Sceadu 30 update
Hirobo Shuttle RG
Vigor CS - My thoughts
Bye bye little Ergo
Kyosho Caliber 30
OS 91
JR Voyager 50
Hirobo Sceadu
TSK & the Squirrel Part (III)
NZ Team Returns from Heli World Champs
Hirobo Freya
OS 50 Review
Millie vs CS (Part III)
Living with the CS
TSK & the Squirrel (Part II)
Promoting the Hobby
Ergo Z230 Gasser
Millie vs CS (Part II)
Millie vs CS (Part I)
TSK & the Squirrel
TSK & the Squirrel (Part IV)
Victorian Champs
The Victorian State field is very new and a very impressive outfit.
The VMAA clubhouse, I've never seen a clubhouse like it!
The 'clubhouse' kitchen facilities!
Michael Leung, the Singaporean and Chinese national champ came over from Hong Kong for this event.
Chris Chang, also from Hong Kong with his Caliber 90.
The go-karts, the Aussies were more serious about the karting than the flying! A WHOLE lot of fun these things.
Fred Proos, one of the F3C judges and Australian Xcell importer.
Australian National Champ, Neil Addicott in the square with his secondary CS. His primary machine was written off the weekend prior at 3D Downunder.
Mick Warren in the square with his Caliber 90. Mick suffered a couple of radio glitches in the first round and was unable to finish, however he came back fighting in the second.
Me in the square with the Tempest
The Tempest sharing the sky with a 757. The field was on the flight path out of Melbourne airport and planes were constantly passing overhead.

Simon Lockington

Upon completing the 3D Downunder competition, we had a couple of days to kill before heading back into Melbourne for the Victorian Champs. We checked into another overpriced motel which had the smallest hot water cylinder known to man. Very short showers were the name of the game here!
Visits to the zoo and the Victoria Park Markets as well as a general look around the city were the plan. Melbourne zoo isn't up to much. We thought we'd be able to walk amongst the kangaroos and wallabies but that wasn't the case. Instead they sat way over the other side of the fence and looked at us and couldn't be stuffed getting up at all. If you're in Melbourne and want to see animals, go to Healesville Sanctuary instead.

With the touristy stuff done we started to make our way to the caravan park everyone was staying at for the event. True to form we ended up going the wrong way three or four times, but eventually arrived.
Apollo Gardens is a fairly large caravan and camping park with cabin/motel facilities. Finally we were staying at a place that had plenty of room and we weren't being charged like wounded animals!

It wasn't long before the other guys started turning up also, Gary and Jim Watson, Brendan Tucker and Mick Warren to name a few. Mick participated in the 2003 Worlds and came 36th overall, an impressive achievement.
I had been planning on going to the field to do some flying but apparently that was not possible as the field was not open, so instead, I fired up the Tempest in one of the large grassy areas surrounding the campground for some tuning flights while Mick assembled his Calibers and everyone else chatted.

Go Karts
With dinner time coming up the idea was put forward for a bit of pre-dinner go-karting at the local track which everyone was keen for.
The go-karts at this track were ex-race karts with 100cc two stroke engines on an outdoor track used by the local go-kart club. We paid our money for 10 minutes and got into it. It was immensely enjoyable, the karts were not lacking for power and had very powerful brakes which made some guy's last minute braking attempts for the corners quite tricky!

Friday morning heralded the arrival of the guys from Hong Kong, Stephen Fan of Cyberheli, Micheal Leung (Xcell) and Chris Chan (Caliber) had just got off the plane from Hong Kong and were assembling their machines as the rest of us were having breakfast.

The Australians said the field was 'just up the road a way', to us it felt like an eternity going down all manner of country roads until finally we saw the Victorian State Field which is quite an impressive affair.
The club rooms were newly opened and were decked out with full kitchen facilities, very clean toilets, a workshop area, public address system and even a telephone! The New Zealanders were highly impressed!

Lew Woods, the other pilot from New Zealand was already out practicing in what was turning out to be a very hot day (it would later hit 37 degrees).

A shade tent was soon erected and it quickly became the most popular spot with Xcell's packed tightly with Vigors and Calibers.

Micheal and Chris from Hong Kong were soon out on the flight line putting in some aerobatics that were very fast, very high and very big. This was quite in contrast to what I and obviously some of the Aussies were used to. It was however, highly impressive. Stephen Fan was going to be one of the F3C judges and he commented that the big, fast style of flying was predominant in Asia

I spent a lot of time talking with Micheal who was flying an Xcell Pro2K with a Tempest FAI head and a Webra 91. Micheal is the current Singaporean and Chinese national champ and had come to Australia to gain more international experience in preparation for going to the World Champs in Spain in 2005.

It was becoming very apparent during the day that either everyone in the F3C class was quite close in terms of skill and ability, or no one was showing their cards. Looked like it was going to be a tough competition!

Friday night and the Aussies were keen on another round of go-karts before dinner. Honestly, they seemed more keen on the go-karts than flying! This time we had some more guys join us which made it even more enjoyable.

Saturday - first day of competition
Saturday morning and all of a sudden the Aussies are all serious and keen and they're out packing their cars before we've even had breakfast! The wind was a lot higher today than on Friday which would be a challenge for the pilots.

The plan was to run three rounds of F3C, Advanced and Basic today with a further round of F3C on Sunday and also have a go at the B schedule after that.

Things were a bit late getting started after discussion on where the flight line should be based upon where the sun and wind came from during the day, but once running things ran very smoothly thanks to the organization of the Melbourne Radio Controlled Helicopter Club (MRCHC). However, with each F3C round taking two hours to run, it was apparent that we weren't going to get three rounds in on Saturday seeing as we still hadn't run any advanced or basic schedules yet.

The judges for F3C were Fred Proos, Mike Farnan, Nick Csabafy, Glenn Asquith and Stephen Fan, a very credible panel indeed with both Nick and Stephen having done judging courses in the past and Mike having a lot of experience flying at a World Class level.

As I expected, the level of flying in F3C was very close. I literally could not pick the placings.
In line with Murphy's Law, just as I was about to start the Tempest in the start box, a bolt flew out of the one way shaft on my starter rendering it useless. Darryll ran and stole a nearby starter and we were operational again. I had been having some flooding problems and wanted to make sure that the engine would start when I wanted it to.
I had a pretty good first round, my hovering went pretty well but my aerobatics were weak. The MAH blades I had borrowed hovered well but seemed to 'pitch' quite badly when pulling up and so I lost a lot of vertical momentum which impacted upon my loops, stall turns and pushover.
Andrew Donaldson ran out of time half way through his aeros when he found he had to change a glow plug in the start box.
Mick Warren also had to abort near the end of his aeros due to glitching. It turned out to be a couple of bolts that had fallen out after assembly at the motel.
Gary had an excellent round and won it, followed by myself and then Micheal Leung.

Straight after lunch we got into Advanced and Basic with two flight lines running simultaneously. I was judging Advanced and with only three fliers we were able to do two rounds in quick succession. Fred Proos emerged as the early leader with some very nice hovering. The only small drama was when a Quick 50's engine flamed out during the hovering and damaged itself on landing.

People turned their heads towards the Basic flightline when what sounded like a turbine started spooling up. It turned out to be a Raptor 50 with a home made electric conversion. It sounded and flew great! I got to fly this machine afterwards and it flew very nicely, although it only really had the grunt of a good 30 size machine.

Lunch was once again prepared by the MRCHC as people took a short break out of the sun before the second round of F3C.

The second round looked to be even closer than the first, now that Mick's machine was fully operational again, it was going to be all on! I felt he put in a nice flight that was going to take a lot to beat, given that this time I was last in the line, I had plenty of time to see how everyone else was flying. Once again, it was looking very tough and difficult to pick placings.
During my second round my hovering was not too bad but my aeros seemed to get worse. I tried to be sparing with the elevator while entering loops to try to reduce any snatching, but it didn't help.
Surprisingly I placed third in this round behind Mick (second) and Gary who was once again first.

With everyone pretty beat from the long day it was time to retire back to the motel and get ready for dinner. There was talk of more go-karting, but by the time everyone had got themselves ready the go-karts were closed so it was straight to dinner then back to the motel for more drinking. Topics of discussion varied from the usual helicopter talk, to rugby through to the features of a particular kangaroo we'd seen at Melbourne zoo. For all the talk the Aussies had of roos being at near plague proportions in some areas, we didn't see one in the wild at all on our whole trip!

Sunday - second day of competition
Sunday morning dawned very windy indeed to the point where it looked doubtful we'd fly. On the way to the field we saw some pretty amazing electrical storms and rain in addition to the wind which was all rapidly diminishing my enthusiasm to fly!
Upon arriving at the field it seemed that everyone else had the same idea and were inside the spacious club rooms drinking coffee and eating the great breakfast put on while we waited for the electrical storm to abate. Eventually the sky did clear but the wind didn't die down however the decision was made to proceed with another round of F3C anyway.

The first pilot went forward and started his hovering maneuvers. It was obvious that the wind was having quite an impact but it looked like we could manage. However during the aerobatics the pilot pulled up into the pushover too close to the judges line and the wind pushed the heli to a point nearly over the pilot's head. It was about now the pilot began to lose orientation and down the heli came. I thought it was going to just smash into the ground, but at the last second it flew straight at the start box where Mick was leaning over his Caliber about to start it. Had Mick not executed a commando roll over his heli that Rambo would have been proud of he may have had an intimate encounter with a screaming heli. Luckily the pilot recovered the heli and landed, no harm done to human or heli. It was at this point the competition was called off. Not long after the wind started blowing over the competition limit anyway.

A group photo was taken followed by the presentation. The organizers had decided to take the best round of each pilot (drop the worst) from Saturday's rounds and order them.
In addition to the plaques handed out for placings, most pilots got an envelope with A4 pictures of them an their heli taken by Don Dennis with his paparazzi style digital camera that looked like it could double as an anti-tank weapon.

The organizers had prepared some certificates for those of us non-Australians who had come over for the competition which was appreciated.

Slowly people started to disperse and head home, some had 14 hour drives ahead of them while Sharon, Darryll and I followed Stephen, Micheal and Chris back to the motel. On the journey back to the motel we saw Stephen's car was parked in front of a car with large flashing red and blue lights with 'Police' emblazoned on it's flanks. It seems our mate from Hong Kong had been a little too accelerator happy!

However it was Stephen's turn to laugh at us as 5 kilometers down the road our station wagon ground to a halt with what looked to be ¼ tank of gas left. I got on the phone to Avis to tell them about the problem who said they'd send someone out right away. Shortly though we were joined by five other cars full of helicopter guys who had seen us and pulled over to help. The diagnosis seemed to be that the car had run out of gas which I flatly refused to believe given that the gauge still said ¼ full. I was soon proved wrong when Don produced a can of gas which he poured into the tank at which point the car burst into life like nothing had happened!

A quick trip back to the gas station for more petrol and a terse phone call to Avis to tell them all about their damn fuel gauge and we were heading back to the motel where the New Zealanders had an afternoon nap while Andrew Donaldson and Don showed the guys from Hong Kong around a bit of Melbourne.

Sharon, Darryll and I then spent the afternoon disassembling the helicopters and cleaning them ready for transport home. After hearing all the issues the Aussies were having going through airports we decided to pull the engines out and ship them home when we visited Model Engines, one of the largest model distributors in Australia on Monday.

With everything packed up and ready to go we relaxed some more before the guys from Hong Kong got back and we went out for dinner again with Don and Andrew finishing up at the Hong Kong guy's cabin to try and finish off the left over beer and supplies that were still around. In the end though we made up 'take home bags' for both Don and Andrew full of the stuff we weren't going to eat or drink and said good night. With everything already packed up and ready to go we were set for Monday morning when we'd pay a visit to Model Engines, one of Australia's largest distributors, before flying back to New Zealand.

The competitors of the 2003 Victorian State Championships.
The boys from Hong Kong, Stephen Fan (left), Michael Leung (center) and Chris Chan (right)
Don about to engage an enemy tank with his camera. Don was the 'official' photographer for both 3D Downunder and Vic Champs, most of the pics in these articles are his.
Just about everyone who stayed at the motel.
The rain heading out to the field on Sunday morning.
Jared Hartley, winner of Basic Class.
Fred Proos, winner of Advanced Class.
Gary Watson, winner of F3C class.
The helis hiding from the rain.
Brendan Tucker in the square with his Hirobo Eagle
Everyone stopped to help us when we 'broke down'.
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