Nowra, NSW, May 2007
Four Victorian members – Barry Murphy, Leigh Hocken, Danny Martin and Tom Wetherill - made the long trek to Nowra, NSW over the weekend of 19 – 20 May 2007 to participate in the race organised by the NSW Pylon Group. The event was held at the Shoalhaven Model Flying Club’s field, which is located in the middle of a horse racing course. The field was in excellent shape, with a mown grass runway as well as a paved runway.
Saturday’s practice session was adversely impacted by weather – the wind was gusting to 35 knots and there was a lot of turbulence from the trees that surround the race course. As a result, a visit was made to the air museum and café at the nearby naval air base, HMAS Albatross, to wait for the forecasted drop in wind and check out the aircraft on display.
By 2 pm, the wind had started to drop a little and the brave began to put in some test flights. It proved to be an interesting afternoon and the planes were getting buffeted a lot and landing was like a lottery. Some of the old hands experienced some problems - Ranjit Phelan damaged the tail on landing after encountering turbulence. Barry Murphy’s plane ended up landing in reeds in a wetland area after the wind changed direction by 180 degrees as he came in for a landing. He had to take off his pants and boots to wade out to retrieve it. Danny Martin had a big “moment” when the wing mounting pins moved back in flight – he was able to shut it off and land safely. Most chose to wait for the expected better weather on Sunday.
Sunday dawned fine and clear, but there was still a good breeze. However, the forecast was for the wind to drop during the day. Three classes were flown – Q500, F400 and FAI – and all events were 10 ½ laps of the FAI course.
Q500 attracted 10 entries including one newcomer, Daniel Degregowski, who flew his sport plane. There was plenty of close racing over seven rounds - unfortunately, it proved to be too close for some as there was a spectacular mid-air at #1 pylon early in the first heat. This trend continued and there were further mid-airs during the day. When the balsa and foam confetti had settled, Peter Kerney was in first place with a score of 536.6 points. He was closely followed by Tom Prosser with 37.2 points and Jeremy Randle with 39.2 points. Steve Hassett posted the fastest race time with an impressive 97.7.
F400 attracted five entries and six rounds were flown. Tony Howse finished in first place with a score of 310.8 points. John James was second with a score of 386.5. Peter Locock finished in third place with a score of 448.4 points. Tony posted the fasted F400 race time with a 74.2.
FAI also an impressive nine entries, with six rounds being flown. Leigh Hocken’s 3,000 km round trip drive from Mt Gambier proved to be worthwhile as he finished in first place with a score of 327.7 points. Barry Murphy finished in second with a score of 334.2 and a rapidly improving Danny Martin finished in third with a score of 351.9 points - with a best time of 62.5 in only his second FAI event..
The Victorians took out the first four places in FAI, with Tom Wetherill finishing in fourth with a score of 372.0. Ranjit Phelan finished fifth with a score of 448.3 and had the fastest time of the day with a 59.7.
Thanks go out to the NSW Pylon group and the host club for putting on a great event. Scores are posted on www.nswpylon.org
Report by Tom Wetherill.