Uncle Sydney’s World Champs Gossip - July 2008

Bene clinches Feigl triumph in Turkey
Sloping roof leads to tightest of margins

Benedikt Feigl is the new F3J world champion. David Hobby lost his chance of a hat-trick of championship triumphs by only by 15.3 points in ninth place! After a six round flyoff in which any of the eleven pilots could have won, Benedikt and Jiri Duchan were level with 4,997.30 each, the German pilot winning the crown with a better score in the preliminary rounds.

So the 2008 and best organised FAI F3J championships ever brings yet another success for the Feigl family and NAN’s Xplorer. With new world champion Bene, his brother Sebastian who is 2007 European champion, and father Peter - no mean F3J pilot himself - you wonder what is left for the Bavarian Eagles to achieve.

The Gallizia family from Italy is also returning from Turkey triumphant, Giovanni Gallizia came from eighth place in the preliminary rounds to win the flyoff and become junior world champion. Father and senior pilot Guiseppe Gallizia had a hard time with penalties in the senior contest, but he chased hard with his three sons Giovanni, Marco and Carlo to take the Italian juniors to fourth team place, a terrific achievement. The cheers for Giovanni’s top spot were heard all over the field!

Team champions in both seniors and juniors are Germany, both by wide margins, the three senior pilots having dropped 60 points out of 33 flights, less than two points per flight. The juniors dropped 370 points, again after 33 flights, which is also remarkable. The team wins prove the strength in depth of the German F3J league and also the thorough preparation and leadership of team managers Karl Hinsch and Tobias Lammlein and their lusty towmen.

Team Gallizia with proud junior F3J world champion Giovanni (centre rear) just minutes after the flyoff results were announced. Grandfather Gallizia, who had brought the whole family to Turkey in April for the Eurotour contest, had to stay at home “working” this time and missed his grandson and family’s triumph.

Uncle’s merit awards

With 122 pilots challenging for world title recognition, there can only be two individual winners and two teams of three for the podium. The reality is, of course, that many others’ achievements merit recognition. I mention just a few.

Tobi Lammlein, junior world champion in Lappeenranta and in Adapazari senior pilot and German junior team manager, had perhaps the most successful week in Turkey. Due to pressures of work, Czech Jan Kohout had to drop out, and since he and Tobi were my favourites to win the top prize, I found myself rooting for Tobi.

In the precontest F3J Spor Yapi Cup, he did not do so well with 21st place. In the WCs he improved with third place in the preliminaries and again third in the six round flyoff, three points below the champion. Not bad. Nobody was busier on the flight line for Tobi was coach and spotter for Philip Kolb and as team manager for the juniors, he was out there helping Johannes Weber and Reinecke brothers Christian and Manuel.

In the surprise Multiplex Easyglider competition, held after the first two flyoff rounds on Friday, he missed a place. Then in Saturday’s final event, the ASC Cup where the top five seniors and juniors had a 20 minute flyoff competition, he won with his High End. At the end of it all, he apologised for letting me down in the WCs. No need - he gave us all a treat.

Sven Zaalberg was on my flyoff shortlist and apart from the New Zealanders and Colin Lucas, UK’s team manager and Sven’s flying mate when he lived in England, most observers saw him as a rank outsider. Two very young children, his lovely wife Coral and a recent house move had prevented too much preparation. But he flew his socks off and taxed the air reading capacities of Joe Wurts to find himself leading in many of the preliminary rounds, and winning fourth place in the flyoffs. If he had not slid a few centimetres too far to score 95 in the sixth round, he would have been champion. What a week to remember!

Another busy man was Joe Wurts, between US and NZ nationalities and excluded as a WC pilot until next year, he came fourth in the preliminaries of the Spor Yapi Cup and ended up in fifth place. In the champs he was on the line far more than most, team manager for the New Zealand pilots, spotter for both Daryl Perkins and US’s gifted junior “AJ” McGowan, who with his long hair and furry “keep cool” hat, came third junior. Anyone who doubts the requirement to have a gifted coach if you want to win, need only check on Joe’s input for the week. For the record, when NZ needs clashed with US, then his new country allegiance had priority.

Daryl Perkins was the “contest brute”. He flew Supras and in practice before the event, he’d broken a tailplane on launch and needed a replacement. I took out my spare from England but he’d already got another one. Then in Round Eight in gusty winds with Cody Remington stretching the line to breaking point, he tried another rocket launch and the tailplane burst company at the start of the zoom. He landed the wing safely and quickly, model two was ready, another rocket launch and the zoom resulted in a flurry combining loop and roll. Another broken tailplane with over nine minutes to fly and two launches gone.

This time the tailplane stayed on with the right hand tip bent down 20 degrees, the fold slightly askew. Amazingly the abused Supra was still in control. Daryl coaxed it to the trees and rode the waves, eventually nursing it into kinder air and even gaining the odd 50 metres to fly out the slot. The flightline manager ran over and followed the flight to check that all parts of the plane were still attached before landing. Flight time: 9 minutes 15.8 seconds and one relieved pilot flat on his back.

Will this four-time F3B world champion learn to temper his strengths? Good news is that Daryl is determined to be back at the next WCs in France. He has a burning ambition. He wants a fifth world title, preferably in F3J.

Cody Remington returning to the pits with Daryl Perkins’ wounded Supra, tailplane askew, still able to score 9 minutes plus after relaunch.

Jaroslav Vostrel from the Czech Republic made the flyoff along with team-mate Jiri Duchan, both flying in their first WCs. But Jaro makes my merit list because as part of the Samba team, it was the Vostrel family who produce the Pike Perfects which were by far the most numerous at the event. Managed by Jana Vostrelova, the Czech team also placed second in the team champs with outstanding performances by Jiri and Vitezslav Sterba. We might yet see the Czech national team comprising exclusively of Vostrels, Vlastimil and Jana getting ever better pilots and placing 33rd and 35th in the Spor Yapi Cup.

Mathew Goodrum, (aged three I think), is on my list for allowing mum and dad to fly for South Africa and only once or twice interfering for the needs of nature. His dad Craig was another of my long shots for the flyoff and made it, taking fifth place finally, less than six points behind the winner, but with a complete model write-off in the second round after brushing with Primoz Rizner on launch and losing radio control. Primoz was lucky and flew out. Craig must regret losing the odd second per flight because he scored 100 point landings otherwise. His time in most rounds was 14.55 plus.

President of the organisation committee for the 2008 F3J WCs, Serdar Cumbus, a pillar of support for Istanbul’s Soarist Club.

Serdar Cumbus
, the gentle giant, was for me the unsung hero of the WCs. He also spent much of the time sat on the flightline counting down in a lingo which I should have learnt by now and backing Larry Jolly’s coaching for Turkish seniors and juniors. Everybody’s thanks should go to Serdar for chairing and leading the organisation of the whole event over the past couple of years.

Towards the end of the contest, a memento book was passed among the 25 competing teams, and team managers contributed their comments, mostly in languages which I could understand. Almost all ranked this championship as the best organised to date. France has a hard act to follow in 2010, but my bet is that they will succeed!

Alex Wunscheim and Marin Kordic were the flightline managers, pristine in their red shirts, ever patrolling the lines for early launches and late landings, the first time that I have seen this as a separate dedicated task at any championship. It proved to be a welcome and effective innovation. Their duties were not simple because they were required to police low flying and inflict 100 point safety penalties.

That leads me to the one criticism of the whole event - a serious one. It was caused by the positioning of the super tented hangar which provided lots of comfortable space for the competing teams, for storing models, for relaxing when possible, for meeting rival competitors and exchanging information. But the long roof ran parallel and alongside a line of trees, ten metres or so higher, producing a highly efficient slope for soaring whenever the afternoon winds were drawn across the field from the north.

This lift generator became the “get-out-of-jail card” for many if not all the pilots. Having lost their lift far downwind and struggling to make it back for seven or eight minute flights, they could then play the ridge, and more often than not, they flew their slots out. For other pilots, it was even more of a lifeline. One pilot in the flyoff, who shall remain nameless, reckoned he spent seven minutes navigating along the top of the tent, and others did the same.

Adrian Lee, who led the UK efforts, rarely needed the slope lift and when he did he tried and succeeded a couple of times in getting away again to comfortable height by catching one of the thermal bubbles which flowed through. Ian Duff and Brian Johnson reckoned the risks were too great, they were untutored in the tree technique anyway, and it wasn’t cricket!

It was this lift generator which caused troubles for flightline managers Alex and Marin. Even before the contest, the slope lift was well recognised as a rescue haven. At the first team managers briefing, they emphasised that tent and tree sloping would be watched, primarily because it could have been a safety hazard. At times as many as ten gliders were dodging and weaving a few metres over the tent, and it was potentially dangerous. The “whoops” and “aaahhs” of the spectators proved how entertaining and fascinating the antics proved to be.

So it was made clear that penalties for overflying safety areas by less than three metres would be applied strictly although it was going to be difficult to judge. If gliders came over the tent directly for a landing, then that would be OK. But if they were utilising the slope lift and came below the sight line from the safety corridor to the top of the trees, then they would have 100 point penalities.

On the first afternoon six pilots were penalised. Later in the week several more suffered the same. The judges were reluctant to punish, they were conscious that they were not infallible.They did not want to spoil the chances of any pilot. They tried apply the rule consistently.

The escape card was sad for everyone, and it diminished the quality of the competition, so perfect in every other respect.

The team accommodation and official tents and the line of trees which produced reliable slope lift whenever the north winds blew, which sadly was most afternoons.

Mustafa Koc let me down by not finding a place in the flyoffs, especially after this year’s fine run of successes in the Euroleague. Maybe the pressure was too great, but I think not, for he proved as genial a host as ever. He must have been proud too for daughter Esra who flew out most of her slots and mixed so happily with many of the pilots. I know he wants to play down his interests in the sponsors. But for once, I want to say a warm thank you, and I know all teams will join me.

Snap reactions

Before moving on, I want to deal with the Supra tailplane problem. I happen to fly a Supra from Vladimir’s Model because I find it the most comfortable (and for me most successful) glider I have ever flown. I have no vested interest or connection except that I have known Vladimir for a long time and Barry Kennedy of Composites fame, the US distributor, for a couple of years. The reporting of flight times, scores, triumphs and disasters within minutes over the Internet, which was another successful feature from Adapazari, portrayed Supra problems largely undeserved. That was the first topic I was questioned about by friends when I got back home.

The facts are that Supras rotate on launch very rapidly, and it is best to launch overarm if you can. If the tailplane hits the head or shoulder of your launcher, then you are likely to crash. I know - I’ve done it. Supra can also launch faster and higher than say a Perfect, if you are a skilled gorilla. But you risk pulling the tailplane off its platform.

Vladimir, Barry, Joe and Daryl all analysed the tailplane problem. Next version of the tail will have carbon cloth around the bolt hole tied into the main spar, and that should prevent the bolt simply tearing through. That should also prevent the tail actually creasing with the rapid switch of lift from bottom to top surfaces in a mega-zoom launch. I am sure that Vladimir will detail his modifications and retesting shortly.

Serious thoughts for future F3J

Jury members Tomas Bartovsky, Raymond Pavan and Gerhard Wobbeking had a couple of appeals to reject but were otherwise left in peace. Chairman Tomas called his technical meeting where he spelled out changes for next year which most people knew about already. More interesting discussion followed on flying below the three metre margin over the safety areas and launch corridor. Events in the contest had provided ample proof that such a rule was impossible to measure and administer. How can you honestly check that a model flew less than three metres above someone’s head. You do know if it hits him/her!

The significant change, now up for consideration by CIAM’s technical committee, is whether F3J should follow F3B safety philosophy. Really punishing penalties should be given to a pilot if his model actually hits an object in a safety area, and disqualification if the model strikes a person.Team managers were in favour of dropping the minimum three metre rule as too haphazard to apply and the 100 point penalty as insufficient a deterrent. Anticipate new rules in 2011!

CIAM was also interested to test opinion on hand towing versus winch launching, or allowing the option for official FAI contests. I was surprised when a show of hands showed a two to one vote in favour of retaining hand towing. I expected the opposite after the rejection of shorter towline length earlier this year and the fact that most countries run their team qualifications with electric winches.

One discussion which brought unanimous approval was that towmen and spotters should receive far greater and deserved recognition for the vital parts they play. Contest organisers are encouraged to seek all means to signify appreciation and I hope a sensible convention will evolve.

Extra curricular activities

As well as the Spor Yapi Open contest which preceded the WCs, Serdar Sualp and his team organised a series of fun events, the Easyglider competition sponsored by Multiplex, the ASC 20 minute flyoff event sponsored by Serdar Cumbus and a two man towmen competition where national team towers had to drag a quad bike driven by their team manager as far as possible in five seconds. Much cheating ensued.

The ASC contest proved what had already become obvious: it makes little or no difference in sunny thermally conditions if you run a 15 or 20 minute flyoff slots. All the skilled contestants find it as simple to fly out 20 rather than 15 minutes, even with a two second launch.

The Easyglider event was an eye-opener and great fun, well worth repeating given the chance. The ten pilots - five top seniors and juniors - were given their Easyglider Pro kits. As supplied they have four servos ready fitted. Pilots had one hour to install their own receiver and test fly, then had two ten minute slots launching from a standard cotton covered bungee and 150 metre lines. You could launch as many times as you like with the last flight counting.

First pilot ready was Jiri Duchan, in about 10 minutes flat, and he dashed out and gave it a handlaunch, not a throw. Up it sailed and he clocked over two minutes. Next flight was up and away over the trees, sky’s the limit. The others were much the same.

The Easygliders proved well able to hook thermals and fly away. The two round contest was flown out by several pilots for the full slot time, the only difficulty was keeping your eyes on your own white foamie and its size at distance. Yet we all spend 15 times as much to buy our Perfects, Xplorers, Supras and Espadas etc. I’ve had electric Easyglider and I shall now buy a plain Pro to follow. Good marketing Multiplex!

Easyglider champions about to start their contest. Most of the pilots flew out their two ten-minute slots from a bungee launch. Ex- world champion David Hobby rescued his week by winning.


Benedict Feigl

Uncle’s betting shop

This year my senior flyoff forecasts were not up to scratch, but my team prize guess of Germany was right, in fact doubly so if you count the juniors. First problem was Jan Kohout not turning up (and I took my drums). Flyoff places were set at 11 not 12, so that evened matters for everyone who named Jan. One of my certain bets was Cody Remington who up to Round 11 was well in, even after a zero in Round 5.

Round 12 spelled disaster when he landed out. He sat down on the flight line in despair, head in hands, hardly believing what had happened. Half an hour later, all was well again - almost anyway. He had given his flyoff place to Daryl Perkins, a slight consolation. Cody’s mum, down to earth as ever, told me that it was as important to learn to lose as well as win.

Back to the betting, my score this time was five from 11, many readers scored six and joint winners with seven are Margaret Pettigrew from Australia and Larry Jolly from the US who was there all week trying to fix the results. I hope for more entries next time around, and by then I hope I shall have delivered the two prizes.

Roll on next summer for the Polish Eurochamps and in 2010 to Jura in France for the seventh F3J world champs!

16 July 2008.
End of Gossip

Sydney Lenssen sydney.lenssen (at) ntlworld.com

Larry Jolly timing for Murat Esibatir

3 of Team New Zealand

Jiri Duchan CZE

TM Jana Vostrelova, pilot Jaroslav Vostrel and helper/pilot Vitezslav Sterba CZE.

Team Australia with David flying

TM Karl Hinch and Tobias Lämmlein

TM Jim Monaco, Cody Remington and pilot Daryl Perkins

Jim Monaco holds a Supra up to show the 3 meter rule over the corridor

Philip Kolb and Stephan Lämmlein

The couple Goodrum's Craig & Michelle





Uncle Sydney's gossip column - June 2008

Adapazari beckons F3J would-be world champions

In two weeks F3J pilots from around the world will meet to find the next world champion, this year held for the first time in Asia - to narrow it down, in Adapazari, Turkey, about 150 km east of Istanbul.

How the ten years have passed in a flash since the first F3J world champs in Upton upon Severn, England. How two or three significant shifts in F3J glider design have raised model standards to levels which would have been scarcely imagined at Upton. How pilots from continents around the world have honed their skills in thermal reading, high speed launching and accurate landings on the dot to make this simple form of model competition more demanding and unforgiving than any other.

So what's in store? Which teams and pilots will climb the podium after six days of contest flying on 5 July? Before reviewing prospects and guessing results, first let's look at how and why Turkey has been chosen to host the sixth F3J world champs.

I first met Team Turkey at Lappeenranta in Finland in the summer of 2002. Semin Kiziltoprak was "team mother" looking after every need of the Istanbul Soarists. She also saved my bacon by letting the UK team use their van after we'd tried for two days to rent our own! Team Turkey was flying at an FAI F3J championship for the first time, and already their friendship was there for all to share.

The real story of Turkey's model soaring enthusiasm started a year earlier. Mustafa Koc and some friends were visiting Dusseldorf for an exhibition - looking at boats?  He had heard of the HKM Sharon Pro and its success on the contest circuit. So he decided to visit Willi Helpenstein in his Odenkirchen shop, near Monchen Gladbach, 40 km away.

In the shop he asked: these are good F3J models, but how good? Willi closed the shop, took them his local flying club, and spent the afternoon demonstrating just how good. The Turks took an unknown number of models back with them in the plane, and others followed soon after. Willi took a trip to Istanbul and the Soarists  became Sharon pilots.

The Turks were ambitious. Mustafa contacted Philip Kolb, nursing a broken leg at the time, asking for details of his Sharon Pro set-up. Give me your e-mail address and you'll have all the data tomorrow. "No, no that's not what we need. Which airport do you fly from? Come out here and show the club how to do it!"

Philip's first vsit to Istanbul was in March 2002, for a long weekend flying at Riva, everyone keen to gain greater skills in what had become an addiction - F3J thermal soaring. He remembers a crowded city, a lot of people taking wonderful care to make him feel at home, and a serious determination to do well in this new sport.

Five months later, in Lappeenranta F3J WC 2002, Team Turkey came last.

Disheartened? Not at all. They went on to organise the first Istanbul Open, they gained Contest Eurotour status, they turned up in force ever more regularly at Eurotour contests, they showed the world how to attract wide sponsorship and to run contests with unrivalled enthusiasm, facilities and entertainment. They appointed Thomas Rossner as team coach for Canada in 2004, and at Red Deer amazed soarers worldwide - including themselves - placing second in the team championships.

Contest success alone is not what endears all pilots and visitors to Soarist hospitality. It's the effort and determination of all the hosts, timekeepers, caterers, officials, helpers, family supporters and not least toilet cleaners, to ensure that everybody has fun. They create a magical world of F3J friendship and "F3Food." They fully deserve to host F3J's premier event.

Contest director and supremo - Serdar Sualp

Serdar has been an integral part of the Soarists since day one, and to this day I do not know if he flies model aeroplanes.  But he does fly, all over the world as part of his job. As we all left Adapazari in April this year, tired and satisfied after a one of the most exciting flyoffs I have ever witnessed and a demanding Eurotour contest, Serdar rushed away to catch a plane to China. It is not all play!

One thing you will quickly recognise, if you don't know him already. He  has a memory of an elephant, mention your name once and it's fixed in his mind. He is the driving force behind the competition computer systems. A fair contest is safe in his hands and he'll always be there with a smile, help and a strict but sympathetic attitude.

Serdar Sualp - "Memory-Man"

Serdar will be helped by Alex Wunscheim as flightline manager, one of the driving forces behind hand launch gliders worldwide and former F3K Contest-Eurotour manager, occasional F3J flyer and friend of the Soarists. Other vital helpers can be seen on the WC website. Official FAI Jury 2008 will be led as usual by Tomas Bartovsky, helped by Raymond Pavan from Luxembourg and freeflight fan Gerhard Wobbeking from Hamburg, F3J juryman for the second time after Osijek and a CIAM vice-president.

We're promised a host of innovations, scoring systems, videos and weather forecasts. There's a threat to hold a football tournament after hours, and by that time the UEFA European Football Championships will be over. Which F3Football team will triumph at international level?

National teams  who's who

How to list the national teams? Previous Gossip columns have used alphabetical order or registration date order. This time it's random order and you, dear reader, must search for your favourites.

We should start with hosts Turkey. No surprise to find team manager Serdar "Gentle Giant" Cumbus leading pilots Mustafa Koc, Murat Esibatir and Dr Ilgaz Kalaycioglu forming the senior team as they have done for the last six years.  Make no mistake, today it's not as easy as in previous years to gain a team place with more than 20 pilots challenging in the qualifications. But the three are on hot form, Mustafa and Murat forging neck and neck in the Euroleague, and the doctor making the flyoff in the home Eurotour and in Italy. The trio should also benefit from the canny eyes of flight coach Larry Jolly, the man with an endless stream of jokes to tell, tailored for every occasion.

Turkey also has three juniors, Diren Ustundag, Ali Ersu and Esra Koc, all them coming on leaps and bounds and in with good chances. It's another tribute to the Soarists that they can field a full junior team when so many long established F3J countries, particularly UK, find it almost impossible to persuade juniors to fly at all. As hosts, all the pressure will be on Team Turkey. Of course, like everyone, they want success, at the same time they will want to be welcoming. If you are neutral, then wish them luck.

Next out of the hat comes Switzerland, and no strangers in the team with TM Ernesto Weber looking after Koni Oetiker, Rudi Baumgartner and Reto Baumgartner, with probably the best tow-team of the champs. Koni started the season well with second place in Turkey, a flyoff place in Belgium, just a foretaste of what he hopes for July.

Taking population and number of F3J pilots into account, Israel fields a team which usually scores far better than you'd expect. Eldad Manheim will combine pilot and TM with Uri de-Swaan and Arik Meir making the seniors.  For the first time they will have full compliment for juniors, Yair Lange, Elad Mazor and Tom Dagon, all wild cards ready to make their mark, and if the winds blow, they could surprise everyone.

Holding the world champs in early July has caused a few problems, particularly for Italy where high school and university exams clash with hobby hopes. Giuseppe Generali, oft described as Italian F3J boss, has a host of family and work problems and hands over TM duties to Francesco Meschia. Marco Generali is another victim due to his engineering studies, always with a shy smile and buried in his laptop studying at every spare moment at many contests.

Filippo Gallizia who is now 18 has his final high school exams and might not make it, in which case his father Giuseppe will. Amazingly the Gallizia family makes up the entire Italian junior team, Marco aged 9, Carlo aged 14 and Giovanni eldest at 16 years old! Italian F3J flyers have probably improved most over recent years, keenly competitive and noisily shouting on the flightlines. Expect seniors in blue Marco Salvigni, Massimo Verardi and Fillippo or Giuseppe to get close to top place.

The Russians turned up in force at Adapazari in April, relishing the chance to test the field and eager to crash a few models in the process. It is so good to see the enthusiasm but so difficult to talk over the language barrier.

Some of the pilots flew longer in time and distance from their home towns in Russia to Moscow than the flight from Moscow to Istanbul. They are keen. Again a full team of seniors and juniors is led by the looming serious-faced TM Alexey Schegolev, seniors Ildar Sultanov, Dmitry Statkevich and Andrey Volikov, and juniors Dmitry Gashnev, Vladislav Frunze and Mikhail Lobov. Fingers crossed for them all.

Ukraine is a country which has been into F3J since the beginning, and TM Vladimir Gavrylko continues to be a leading light in competitive gliders and one of the world's significant producers. His association with Barry of Kennedy Composites and Dr Mark Drela has made the Supra probably the most popular F3J model in the USA and Blaster 2 ranks second to none internationally in commercially produced hlg's.

Ukraine's seniors are Vladimir Makarov, Alexander Petrenko and Dmyrto Kharlamov, probably the most youthful of the senior teams. The junior team has Vladimir's son Jury again together with Alex Sakhno and Alexander Chekh. Sooner or later Ukraine will make the podium and perhaps this is the year for that!

Michelle and Craig Goodrum from South Africa have already tasted the delights of the Adapazari sodfarm, travelling last October for the championship of champions, a pretty damp experience after all those thousands of airmiles. And they left "the little one" behind which upset me! July must be better, and in fact might be hotter than home.

RSA TM will be Lionel Brink who cut his teeth towing in Martin 2006, and the Goodrums will be joined by Chris Adrian. Junior team, bursting with confidence, will be Conrad Klintworth, Simon Tladi and Ryan Nelson. Conrad took second place in the F3J national qualification, only beaten by Craig, and he will still be eligible for 2010 Junior champs. Junior TM will be Ian Lessem who flew as a junior in Finland and Ryan's dad, "cocky chirper" Simon will be towing mightily.

Brazil also needs to travel far but they bring a sparkle and colourful shirts to every championship they attend. Combining TM and pilot is Marion Luz and the senior team is completed by Marco A Silveira Fracao and Mauro Lopes. There are eight travelling from Brazil but no juniors. I find it difficult to track form down there and can only wish them well in Turkey.

The Czech team is the first to be managed by a woman, and Eurotour watchers will have noticed that Jana Vostrelova is flying more than ever with improving results every contest. Jana of course is the English voice of Samba and will have F3J fans around the world rooting for her senior and junior teams. And the Norway team is also hoping she'll give a hand.

Brother Jaroslav Vostrel is in the senior team along with former world champion and guitar-toting Jan Kohout and Jiri Duchan. Junior team is Tomas Kadlec, Jan Leiner and Jakub Lzicar. Then Jana's brother Vlastimil will lead a team of seven helpers to give full backing.
Edit: Jan Kohout steps out because of business and in comes hot Vitezlav Sterba

I'm sad to see that Jaroslav Tupec, one of the Czech Republic's most successful pilots, is not listed. He has threatened to retire from contest flying for several years and at the end of last year he sent me his FAI Licence as confirmation of his decision. We shall miss you, and also hope you change your mind.

Australia has a heavyweight team, bolstered by twice-winning and reigning world champion David Hobby. You have to ask - can he do it again? - but that should wait for later. The three seniors are Gregg Voak, Theo Arvanitakis and Michael O'Reilly and it is pleasing to see Theo as a pilot this time rather than spotter-in- chief or mighty towman.

David Hobby, twice world F3J champion, and can he do it again? The Adapazari podium will be stronger, just in case!

The team is completed by one junior Michael Abraham and three helpers. I shall miss Carl Strautens who unexpectedly missed a team place and the Pettigrews who support the Aussies around the world but won't this time due to a changed cruise plans.

Recent years has seen an F3J resurgence in France with more than 70 pilots competing for the team each year, boosting support for the Jura Eurotour, now second in numbers to Hollandglide, and the smiling cheer of Luc Bocquet as TM. Four qualifying rounds are flown to pick the team and at the end of the third, nine pilots could have made the final three.

This year's team is completely different from last year's Eurochamps in Trnava, Lionel Fournier from Burgundy Jura, Olivier Finck from Grenoble who competed in Corfu 2000 and Holic in 2001, and Philippe Daumas from Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne, the beautiful mountains which I last visited on the way to see the Millau Viaduct, one of the newest "wonders of the world." Philippe is one of that
rare breed who designs, builds and flies his own gliders and with best hopes for success, I look forward to seeing the valid proof of this approach.

Both North American teams, Canada and the US have had significant personnel swaps in the run up to Turkey. Jim Monaco who was the tough TM in Martin replaces Larry Jolly for the US and Canada will not field Arend Borst for the first time at a world champs, although he and his son were orginally due to compete. Both teams got together in May for a final practice in Denver in the Rockies. Was it ominous that Daryl Perkins won the day?

I should also be surprised if any national group other than the hosts will be larger than Team USA. They have seven pilots because Cody Remington returns in his own right as the current junior world champ, this time in the seniors, flying his Espada and in "deadly form" I am reliably informed. On top of that, they have six helpers including Phil Barnes (and his dlg?) and 12 travelling supporters. The Americans set an ambitious target of raising $30,000 in sponsorship to help team costs and at time of writing, they have 80% in the bag! That's good to see.

Senior team will be Daryl Perkins, eager to win an F3J crown to go with his four F3B successes. My old friend Ben Clerx is back on circuit and he's had a taste of Adapazari in April already. Finally Richard Burnoski who hails from Chicago where you don't fly too often over winter months, but he's been making up since then whenever the weather allows.

Daryl Perkins at the Rockies team practice day. Can he switch classes and do it again? (Note: spotter Larry Jolly in the background!)
Pic courtesy of  Phil Jones and RC Groups.com

Juniors come from various parts of the country, Jeffery Walter, AJ McGowan and Brendon Beardsley, all eager to show their talents. They won't have spotting from Joe Wurts this time with his wily reading of air, for he will be TM for New Zealand.

In contrast, Canada has only four people notified in their party, but hopefully a few more will turn up. Kevin Hanson is TM and his three senior pilots are Joseph Fitz-James, David Webb and Simon Thompson. I understand that only seven pilots turned up for the team selection competition - the distances involved are huge - and due to later squabbles over procedures, three pilots expecting to travel to Turkey changed their minds. That's sad. Canadians nearly always punch above their weight, so wait and see!

Bulgaria is home to NAN Models who I reckon manufacture by far the largest number of moulded models in the world these days, competitively priced in a climate which has seen cost of composites soar. This year the new Xplorer has emerged to follow up the Shadow, Xperience Pro and Vision, all still capable of wins. The latest model in the series has been helped by Primoz Rizner from Slovenia in concept and testing, he leads the current Euroleague and won in Adapazari while the model was still being trimmed!

Nikolay Nikolov, F3J's prolific builder from Bulgaria

NAN boss Nikolay Nikolov is a helper for the team as usual and their most experienced pilot Sotir Lazarkov is TM as well as pilot. Senior team is made up by Valentin Valchev and Konstantin Ranov. Junior pilots are probably the youngest in the field, with Georgy Dimitrov, Filip Stamenkov and Delyan Todorov. I expect Bulgarian models and perhaps one or more pilots to reach the podium.

World and Euro champs would not be the same without the jaunty language from Finland of Janne Savolainen, sometimes turning up all alone. This time he might not need help because he is joined in senior by Tuomo Kokkonen and Teemu Ranta, Teemu also doubling up as junior pilot.  Pauli Ranta will be a helper. I wish TM and our Finnish friends best of luck, and hope Janne has fully trimmed and tested his models!

Karl "The Hat" Hinsch is TM for the first time leading the German team, as formidable as ever, with a reputation for winning big events, even football. Seniors are Benedikt Feigl who this year replaces brother Sebastian, Philip Kolb who is now resident in Istanbul and speaks "restaurantese" with gourmet skills, and Tobi Lammlein, ex-junior world champ who will combine senior pilot with junior TM role, which his father Stephan filled so well previously. Dad will take it more easily this time as helper and towman.

Junior team is made up with two brothers, Christian and Manuel Reinecke and Johannes Weber, and they will be backed by helpers Michael Clauss, Sebastian Feigl, Peter Nelles, Jurgen Reinecke, Benjamin Rodax and Michael Weber. (Where oh where is Utz?! Who will finish the beer?)

Croatia always features large at championships and this year is led by TM Damir Kosir. First pilot to mention is junior Arijan Hucaljuk who has a remarkable record of wins and for the past two years has been his country's top pilot. He is joined by Marijan Balasko a newcomer. No third junior pilot because the selectors do not consider anyone worthy of WC status.

Seniors are Antun Sikic who was one of the organisers in Osijek 2005 and  qualifies as pilot for the first time, Damir Kmoch who has flown in the national team ten times previously and Sasa Pecinar another experienced pilot at Euroleague and championship level.

Long time friend Jos Kleuskens is TM for Netherlands. Junior pilot, the ever-smiling Lesley van der Laan, is all set to follow last year's success as junior champion of Europe to greater heights this time. If anyone can, it should be him, cool as a cucumber on the sticks. Senior team for Holland is Cor de Jong, Egbert Fokke van der Laan and Rob Sanders and they travel with an experienced group of five helpers including two more van der Laans.

A man who flew in April from Norway to practice in Adapazari is the ubiquitous ("allestedsnærværende" in Norwegian ;) Jo Grini - he won't know what that means either. He is TM and senior pilot with Alf Erik Ross flying in his second world champs and Tor Midtlund at his third. Jo has been gaining high scores this year and needs to keep his nerve his time.

Japan has only registered four people so far, led by Yoshihiro Kurita and senior pilots Hitomi Iwata, Masahide Yoshida and Hitoshi Ohtaka. Sad to see that Shuhei Okamoto does not look likely and I hope that the others continue the tradition of showing off their super simple mini dlg's. Japan has very strong trade links with Turkey and the week will strengthen the F3J links too.

Ask me to name a team I'm looking forward to seeing most, it would have to be New Zealand.  First, I was in the NZ team by fluke at Upton ten years ago; second, Sven Zaalberg, a personal friend who flew for UK in Canada, is now back in his native country with Air New Zealand and will be in the senior team; third, I want to witness the influence ex-world champ and new Kiwi Joe Wurts can bring to the team as team manager. Two other seniors are Les Stockley and Scott Chisholm, with Paul Chisholm coming as helper. Will they provide the big shocks?

Ask me to name the hardest job at the champs, and that is trying to understand  Romanian at registration, but this team is delightful and ever improving, Team manager again is Serban Cristinel and he combines that with senior pilot. Other seniors are Janos Arpad Gocsman and Catalin Milea. They have one junior, S Norbertcarlat, together with a band of eight helpers.

Full teams of seniors and juniors from Slovenia as always, and this year confidence must be high. Pavel Prhavc is TM with Primoz Prhavc is pilot with Bojan Gergic and Primoz Rizner, who is setting the pace in this year's Euroleague. Juniors have Jure Marc, Robert Ratajc and Metod Meolic and both teams have five dedicated helpers. No rivals should underestimate their determination this year.

Perhaps one other team will be just as determined, Slovakia, led again by maestro Jaro Muller, true father of the moulded model gliders, still setting standards on quality of finish. His strong senior team, all long experienced, is Juraj Bartek, Juraj Adamek together with Jan Ivancik. Juniors are Jan Littva, Matej Gorok and Daniel Demecko. Four helpers make up the party.

Last, we hope not least, is team United Kingdom which has also been fraught with the last minute withdrawal of a senior pilot and two helpers, who should be named and shamed, but not by me. Colin Lucas is TM and would not miss a trip to Turkey without crying into his yellow boots.

His senior team is Adrian Lee, veteran of many champs and set to fly his faithful red and blue Graphites, with a Supra in reserve waiting for somebody to learn how to launch it. Brian Johnson is rushing to build and test new models, confident he can show his best form this time at Adapazari. Substitute pilot is Ian Duff, flying for the first time at this level, but undaunted and in form, winning at Aldershot last weekend. Helpers are Jon Stanswood and Brian's brother Les, plus Uncle tagging along if required.

Outstanding national teams who do not appear to be making this year's championship are Poland who I believe will be hosting the next Eurochamps, Lithuania who had become regulars recently, Belgium for some unexplained to date reason, and Austria who seem to have dropped flat field soaring, and who can blame them with such enticing Alpine alternatives. But we shall miss you!

Who are hot favourites?

This Gossip column has been shouting the odds over recent years, and I'm told that the guesses are the prime reason anyone bothers to read the column. Previous years it has seemed easy to check on form, but this year there seemed too many pilots who look likely to reach the flyoffs.

Obvious guide of course is progress in the Contest Euroleague. This time last year, Philip Kolb was running away from his rivals and had already won for the umpteenth time. Not so this year. With half the year still to go, F3J Euroleader is Primoz Rizner from Slovenia with three scores above 100 but no perfect score of 103 as yet. Philip Kolb trails in second place for the moment, nearly two points behind, and Sebastian Feigl who does not even make the German team this year although he won the Eurochamps in Trnava, is taking third place with one perfect score gained at Podhorany at the start of June. Brother Benedikt must be saving his best for Turkey and languishes far down the league.

Flyoff places are likely to be limited to 12 and my list to fill those precious spots is: Mustafa Koc of Turkey, Koni Oetiker of Switzerland, Marco Salvigni of Italy, Craig Goodrum from South Africa, Jan Kohout from Czechia, Lionel Fournier of France, Cody Remington from the US, Tobi Lammlein and Benedikt Feigl from Germany, Sven Zaalberg from New Zealand, Primoz Rizner from Slovenia and Juraj Adamek from Slovakia.

There are some notable names missing from that list and more than one surprise inclusion. Over the past few years I've averaged seven correct guesses out of 12, but I have also started with 14 choices which cheats a little. In Martin I was shouted at by David Hobby when his name was omitted from the forecast, and he proved me wrong. To give him incentive to win his hat-trick, he's omitted again. Philip Kolb is an obvious favourite and to become world champion is the only remaining challenge left for him. But life is not always about near-certainties and it only takes two mishaps to stumble in F3J.

How easy is it to guess the complete flyoff list? Why not try. There will be a prize for the person who sends me the most accurate flyoff list, naming most pilots correctly. If you would like to enter, either give me your list in a sealed envelope on the flying field before the world championships starts, or send it to me by e-mail to arrive before Wednesday 25 June.

Senior team prize prediction is Germany. Next world champion: my prediction hovers between Jan Kohout to repeat his Corfu success and Tobi Lammlein, and if forced to pick one, then I guess Jan. (Edit: At the time of releasing this gossip Jan has stepped down)

Even harder to predict is the weather. With 17 days to go, the temperature today is 32 degrees C. This time last year, temperatures in Turkey reached 40 degrees C plus many times, and that's a possibility, with humid winds coming from the north or dry winds from the south, straight across the flying field. More likely we shall enjoy temperatures between 25 and 35, hopefully no more than the odd shower of rain. Whatever happens, one certain bet is that all teams will enjoy a very competitive contest.

End of Gossip, 13 June 2008
Sydney Lenssen  E-mail sydney.lenssen@ntlworld.com


See also earlier gossip HERE