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Soarchamps 99 by Rob Condliffe


The Soarchamps99 were held about 25Km South west of Christchurch on the farm of Wayne Stott. He had given us a great paddock large and flat, ideal for the champs.
Wednesday the organisers plus Joe and Jan Wurtz set up the course and other equally important things like the loo!!
Weather was fine light winds with thermals popping everywhere. The Australian contingent arrived and some serious practice started. Things looked good for the two days of F3B.

Thirty three competitors, more than the USA Champs! Eighteen of these were flying fully moulded models and some had more than one model. Favoured models were mainly Ellipses and Cobras
with a few Tragis, one Diamond and three local Scorpions.
The wind had risen strongly from the North East and many models were to hit the dirt, at least ten in that first day. Wurtz being first as usual but this time with a crash first flight of the day a line tail wrap putting him in vertically - patient fix it session had the nose back on and back up for distance.
Speed runs were greatly improved over the last few years with 22 runs being under the magic 20sec that most Nzers are aiming for. The fastest run being by Wurtz at 15.69 The moulded models made the strong wind look as if it didn't exist and good times were put up in all areas. The greatest number of laps was 21 by Watkins of Australia with four Kiwis on 20 laps in distance in round four
Teamwork was the most obvious skill at these champs, those who had good callers and those who could cope with broken lines and reflights did very well. The wind on Thursday showed the 1.2 line as being far too light. Everyone was scrabbling around trying to find 1.4 lines of course some were prepared with spare drums and winding systems a good lesson for the Kiwis! Those selling parachutes and line had a great grin at the end of the F3B.

Joes Lecture.
Sadly I missed this for health reasons but it was greatly enjoyed. He covered a wide range of topics. The talk was videoed professionally and this will be available for purchase soon. As Joe had visited the slope site on Wed night a whole new generation of fliers was introduced to his skills in dynamic soaring - many were to swell the expected forty at the talk to sixty. Hope fully some of these will be attracted into the NZMAA.

Premier Duration
Due to wind changes, a winch line change and a later strong North Wester, only three rounds were flown. A lot of competitors pulled out rather than risk their models. There were only two old open structure models that I saw a Sagitta and a Aquila both well flown. The Norwester challenged even the strongest of lines with Joe Wurtz breaking four separate lines in the one round attempt. The eight Minute max was achieved on a lot of flights and it seems the move to 10 minute maxes at the next Nats is a sensible move. After the contest Joe entertained us by dynamic soaring one of the hedges on the farm - the eyes have trouble believing what they are seeing.

Fifteen competitors and all deadly serious.! Most had foam and fiber wings carbon reinforced.
The weather was a light North Easter which cycled small thermals. Joe Wurtz launching style was terrific and he was well ahead of the field. Great was the poaching/ scabbing!!! of others thermals.There were many spectators from the slope who had made a special trip to the venue to see this and my phone has gone several time s with question re sections and coverings. Youngsters can afford this event!

Thermal A
A medium breeze from the North east again which most aircraft could handle. Competitiors were getting pretty sharp by now and there were at least 10 who were over the 1300 points barrier therefore turning it into a landing contest for the top third of the field, who ray a NZer wins some thing, Dave Larsen from Auckland salvaging local pride.

It was great to be back flying after over a years absence - I was surprised at the greatly increased standard of all New Zealand competitors and the more modern aircraft they were flying , alsothose that spent a lot of time slope racing /combatting were noticibly ahead with their skill -food for thought.
Well done all Australians ,USA and Kiwis for a great meeting.
PS Will we have an F3B team for the next worlds, possibly Australia???