July 29, 2019 at 1:21 pm #777
Well, tried too, what a blast!
Flew my first F3F race at Thornton Beach this Sunday.
I hadn’t planed on flying. I came out to help run the race and was talked into racing.
While not as exciting (read scary) as Man On Man racing it was very rewarding. Now before I go on any more I need to thank all the guys that acted as my fly coach. I also need to apologize for ignoring all their advice, from launching out of the lift zone to landing back behind the rotor!
Now with their help coaching, I was able to improve my time from my first run 120 seconds to my last run being below 60 second with a 59 second run. Ok you F3F guys are wondering how could anyone run a 120 second heat. I’m here to tell you it takes a lot of skill to run that slowly! And you are still a sleep looking at a 60 second heat. Well the 120 time was because I was the first one up and had no idea of how and were to fly, as I hadn’t even seen an F3F race before. While 60 second is very slow, most guys were in the mid 40’s that day (I think I saw a 41), my times improved about 5 seconds per heat! Now I was flying my sport 2.4m Mach II. This is a small ship and not set up for racing.
My sport low rates are set up for smooth sport aerobatics. Racing ships, well my racing ships, need be set up for very small throws if I hope to get a smooth fast run. I think my low rate started out about 70% of the high rate. By the end of the day I had turned down the rate to something like 50%. Also the Mach II can only take about 530 gram of ballast so I was admittedly light.
Ok, enough of the excuses, now to the racing. Thornton Beach has what is known as a strong compression lift zone. This means that to get any energy one needs to fly close to ridge top. On Sunday the lift band was very narrow like maybe 2 meter wide. This was one of many challenges I had to deal with. I come from a back ground in FAI F3D pylon. In that glow powered class of racing one tries to keep a level path around the pylons. In slope racing this isn’t necessarily the case. What you want to do is stay in the lift zone and convert that lift to speed. At Thornton the fast guys were making climbing turns so that their ships were in that narrow lift zone. They would them convert that potential energy into speed, flying less than a meter off the ridge lip. Let me tell you that is exciting to watch and scare to try to accomplish!
I also learned that most of ones speed comes from what you do before entering the course. Now my pumps, while on the 30 second clock, were poor. So was my ability to carry this energy off the course prior to entering the course. As a result most of the time I entered the course a second or two late. So I still have a lot to learn about flying the F3F course.
While the Sanda Mach II (carbon) is NOT an F3F ship, she was very good at responding to lift and proper turning technique. I could really see the speed increase when I was flying the course properly. Because she was small and light she also made it painfully clear when I was out of position. What I’m getting at is that while the Mach II is small and light I’m not equipment limited. If I knew what I was doing I think I could have gotten my time down into the low 50’s.
If you are thinking of racing F3F please please do it! You don’t need an F3F ship to try it out. What you do need is a stiff ship that you are comfortable with its handling characteristics.
Again I need to thank everybody at the race. They all helped me in one way or another. I’d also like to apologize to all I scared while trying to learn the course. This is your warning that I’ll be back trying to race F3F!
Now I want to clear something up. I did NOT charge the pylon judge for giving me a cut! I know it looked like it, but that is not what happened. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉
All the best,
- This topic was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by Konrad.
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