Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
SamC wrote:funny about spinning.

ive got quite a few hours with adrian in g-eeek and found best exit was elevator neutral as soon as spin established and a squirt of power when adding opposite rudder. works ok in a cap10 too.

Using power in the spin - excellent! Could be an entire thread by itself! Alan Cassidy arguing with CFS over high rotational spin recovery in the smashing out of the bottom of a mulleroid (erect flat accelerated spin) using full power - from start to finish... :shock:
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Contest Day 1 - Programme 1 (Free Known)

As you may imagine our first day of our first international competition was a bit nervy.

This showed a little in our flying.

Today everyone flew their Free Known sequences. However, we also had to submit sequences for Programme 2, the first Free Unknown, for which we had selected figures the night before at the Gala Dinner. We also had to select figures for Programme 3, for which we will submit sequences tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Finally, after we had flown, we need to start thinking about and selecting sequences for Programme 3 and starting the process of strategising and learning the sequence for tomorrow, Programme 2. There is a LOT of work to do at these events.

In the past I have let the stress of big competitions get to me a bit, so I have been working on that. I was very pleased that in the end I was able to manage the mental-game part of this sport and I ended up flying in a pretty relaxed frame of mind.

So how did we do. Tony flew the first of everyone, remember he picked number 1. He flew very well, his flight was representative of how he flies generally and so it was a great start for him.

Graeme had a bit of an adventure. He flies his aeroplane with "cleats". He wears shoes a bit like cycling shoes, and they clip onto his rudder-pedals so that under high negative G his feet remain on the pedals. Except on this occasion they didn't. During his warm-up one of his cleats detached and he spent the rest of his first World Championship flight trying to fit it back in. Actually from the ground his flight was not bad.

Trevor flew very nicely for most of his sequence, but lost heading in a flick which compromised the quality of his later figures a bit.

Several members of the team were a bit disappointed with their flights and are hoping for better in later programmes. Nevertheless we are all having a hard-working, but great time.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the Adrian's Gen Pro was being used by the Polish team. Majiek had a heavy landing and damaged the tailwheel so sadly Adrian and the entire Polish team are out of action. Lots of phone calls to Hungary, where the GenPro is made, and it looks like they are sending a team, and some spares, to try and fix it through the night - Fingers crossed.

In the end I was the lucky one on the GB team. I was able to remain pretty relaxed and so flew quite well. My Free Know flying was consistent with how I have been flying in training all week and so I ended up with a good score. It turns out that I am third best pilot in the world at flying Intermediate Free Known sequences :lol: 8) :D

I came third in Programme 1. The Ukrainians are all flying extremely well, and two of them are ahead of me.



Every day there is a morning briefing. We are told the weather, and changes or news to the programme, pick flying order for the following day and choose figures for the day after that.

One of the significant complexities, at least from my perspective, is the need to juggle at least three sequences concurrently. This is VERY hard when you are trying to focus on the one that you are about to fly. But you must also be planning for the one tomorrow, submitting your preferred sequences and picking the sequence you, personally, will fly the following day as well as picking figures and starting to thing about sequence design for candidate sequences that you will submit to fly the following day and fly the day after that - Phew!

We have been assisted enormously in this by a team of friends at home that we have started calling "The Panel". As soon as we have the figures for the Free Unknown, we send them off to "The Panel" and they get designing while we concentrate on flying. We have designed a couple of sequences here, ourselves, too. Mostly though we have relied on the Panel and that has taken a big burden off us giving us more capacity to concentrate the sequences that we are flying on the day. My thanks to them all!


Flight line on comp day 1
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Contest Day 2 - Programme 2 - Free Unknown 1

I can't remember if I said, but the collection of figures selected by the countries for Programme 2 was horrible!

At one point, Elena Klimovic, multiple womens Unlimited World Champion, who is a Jury member, said "Please remember that you have to be able to make flyable sequences from these figures".

We worked on a sequence ourselves. We got several suggestions from our "Panel" and all of the sequences had tricky problems of one kind or another.

What do I mean by that? Well the first obvious requirement for an aerobatic sequence is that you can fit it into the "Box" without that you will get horrible downgrades, and maybe even get asked by the judges to call it off. Several technically valid sequences that were submitted were, in our opinion unflyable. One had a Half Cuban Eight (very long 45 lines take up at least 1/2 the box.). Three different sets of hesitation rolls and a "P loop" at the end - Ridiculous! It would take three or four boxes to fit that in.

Then there is the speed management. To construct a "nice sequence" not only do you need to be able to fit it in, but also you need the figures to join together, and, ideally for some figures you need to be fast, for others slow. Managing all of that is a bit of an art, but it can be next to impossible with some collections of figures. That was the case with Programme 2.

We submitted a sequence that most of Team GB wanted to fly, but it was rejected by the Jury because they thought that it may end with tired pilots being a bit low at the end. C'est La Vie!

Although nominally Programme 2 is the simplest, I think that the sequences that I have seen so far for Programmes 3 & 4 look MUCH nicer to fly!

Nevertheless, we must fly it.

Here is the sequence that all of the Brits, and much of the rest of the field, chose to fly.


The start is fairly simple, a "P loop" into a humpty-bump with a 1/4 roll on the down line then a stall turn. At the end of this we are at the bottom of the box running fast to the down-wind end. Now we must wait because we want fig 4 at the extreme downwind end of the box to make room for 5 & 6.

Also, we now need to get to close to the top of the box for a 1 1/2 turn spin followed by another P loop, now flicks and hesitation rolls.

Fig 4 is a link figure (low "K") but the tricky part here is to get to the top with enough speed to roll decently, and then to effectively stop for the spin. We saw several competitors sail out of the upwind end of the box waiting to slow-down enough to start a neat spin.

The next nasty bit is Figs 8 to 11. To present well you want 8 near the bottom of the Box. 10 needs decent speed to maintain enough control authority to make the hesitations crisp. It also take a lot of box to do all of these rolls. However, to fly Fig 11 you need a fair bit of height and, crucially, to fly 11 well, you want to be really slow inverted to make a nice corner at the top.

Finally 13 takes up nearly all the width of the sweet-spot that is the performance zone, placing 14 up high in a corner where it will never score well.

What a nasty sequence!

Our guys were spread through the second half of the day. We worked together on our strategy for flying this sequence, watched each other walk it through and headed off to the airfield from the hotel around lunch-time.

Tony was first up from our team, he, like most of us, lost heading a bit in the snap-2x4 roll combination and ended up out of position and rushing some of his later figures. Because this sequence was so unpleasant and tricky, during our strategising we had discussed several key-heights. "If we don't make this height, at this point, we wave-off and take a penalty".

You can take a penalised break at any point - 50 pt deduction. If you end up too low - 200 pt deduction. Naturally the points don't matter, we also want people to be safe!

To his great credit Tony found himself below his nominated height at one point and broke-off. He came around and finished the rest of the sequence tidily.

Sadly his score reflected all of this.

The GenPro could not be fixed overnight. There was a component missing. There was a period where we all thought that it was over for Adrian and the Polish team. The CIVA rules for international competition says that pilots can only fly one sequence per day. Mostly this is designed with Unlimited sequences and pilots in mind because they are so challenging. However, it is in the rules.

The GenPro makers could get the necessary part to us and fitted to the aeroplane if they worked all day and all tonight.

The Jury thought that it was fairest to allow the GenPro pilots to "catch-up" tomorrow. They held a meeting of the team managers who unanimously agreed to allow this rule to be ignored on this occasion.

The GB Team, and I am sure the Polish Team, would like to offer our thanks to all of the teams and the Jury - A very Sportsmanlike outcome.

My flight was not the best British flight, I screwed up the 1/2 flick 2x4 combination, lost heading a bit and so I lost my 3rd place overall and slipped to 4th. I am still currently the highest-placed non-Ukrainian 8)

The results were as follows:

Overall results so far (Note: The GenPro pilots are still yet to fly Programme 2, so these will change):
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Contest Day 3 - Programme 3 (Free Unknown 2)

Great news! The Gen Pro is fixed. Herculean efforts on the part of the Hungarian manufacturers including designing and fabricating a better replacement part meant that Adrian got a phone call at 4am confirming that the aeroplane was fixed and ready for action. Great support from the manufacturers.

Adrian and the Poles will fly Programme 2 early in the day, learn Programme 3 throughout the day and fly it, after me who drew last in the flying order for today. This gives them the most amount of time to learn Programme 3.

The rest of the British team took it pretty easy. We had a bit of a lie-in, later breakfast than we had and then got on with strategising our flight for Prog 3. All of us except Graeme who chose to fly a different sequence to the rest of us. We helped him a bit, but were all, including Graeme, wary of getting too involved with someone else's sequence at the cost of your own focus.

All but Adrian stayed at the hotel rather than spend all day at the airfield. We annexed a bit of the hotel patio and marked out a copy of the box on the floor with Gaffer Tape :)

All the time that we have been here, practice and competition, the wind has been NW or WNW. This morning was the same, but the forecast for the afternoon, and the actual as it turned out, was for it to swing more Northerly. As a result at lunch-time the Judge's position was moved to the Western end of the box. Meaning that we had to fly at 90 degrees to the direction we had been using so far.

We were pretty confident that with a fully marked box (we don't get to fly in those in local competitions because of all of the work to set them up) orientation shouldn't be too much of a problem. Nevertheless, I think it was on all our minds.

The other drawback of this orientation was that we, sat on the airfield, would be watching any flying "end-on" so it was very difficult to really know how good a flight was. We could spot gross errors, but the subtleties were lost on us.

To help with orientation when we marked our box we marked one of the significant geographic features in the box, a barn (or something like) and a farm-track to it. Our Gaffer-Tape art is a wonder to behold :)

I described the Free Unknown process in an earlier post. When the teams have all picked candidate sequences all are posted. At which point every pilot is free to pick their favorite, even if it was drawn by another team. Our panel drew some great sequences, for Programme 3 we all picked sequences from our Panel. I think that this gave us an advantage, because our sequences gave us more opportunities to subtly modify the position of our figures dynamically as we flew the sequence so that they were most effectively presented to the judges.

All but Graeme chose sequence "I" drawn by one of our coaches, Phil Burgess. It was an excellent sequence and helped us a lot.

Several teams struggled with the conditions, it was quite windy, though straight down the box, and so tended to push the aeroplanes out of the downwind end unless you too great care to keep working upwind.

I am pleased to report that this meant that some of the teams ahead of us made some mistakes and that we were able to improve our position a bit as a result.

I landed knowing that I hadn't zero'ed anything, feeling that my flight was decent, but with no real picture of how it would score. I was blown a 100M or so South of the box a couple of times, but otherwise I was happy with my positioning and I knew that some of the figures were OK. In the end, my flight was the second best overall for this Programme at 77.12% and leaves me, currently, in the Silver medal spot overall. A delightful surprise for me.

Trevor and Tony flew nicely again, placing 8th & 9th in this programme, leaving the GB team, currently, in the Bronze medal position.

One more flight left, fingers crossed for some more decent flying from us all!


"Choose your weapons!"


Me getting ready to fly.


Change in the wind means the Judges move West. Airfield is bottom of this image, up to now we have been presenting our figures on the "A axis" parallel to the runway. Now judges will sit in the yellow box to the West.


The sequence that most of the team chose for Prog 3, and I came second with.


One of the things that I have really enjoyed in this experience has been the team-work. We have done a lot to support each other in many different ways, and it has made things easier. In these pictures you can see GB team members offering critique and advice as we "walk our sequence" in our Gaffer-Tape aerobatic box.

We plan all sorts of things. We identify bits of the sequence that may be tricky to fly and offer advice to each other on different aspects of the flight.

For example. During the training camp at Morovska Trebova, which seems ages ago now, on one flight I wanted to work on 1/2 flick-rolls on a 45 degree up line. These are tricky because you tend to loose heading. I ended up flying Cuban-eights over and over again with flicks instead of 1/2 rolls. Amongst other things this taught me that if I left the power on I was way too fast on the 45 degree up-line to fly the flick. So I was flying the looping part, from the top with the engine at idle, and powering up round the bottom before starting the flick.

I explained this to the team and so most of us took a similar approach and so made a better job of fig 4 than we would have otherwise.

This kind of planning is essential to fly unknown sequences well. It is difficult to jump into an aeroplane and make a good job of a sequence that you have never flown before.

Anyway, time for my moment in the sun, here are the overall individual results for today. 8) :D

TheKentishFledgling, Dave W, nallen and 5 others liked this