2011 F3B World Championship – SA achieves Gold!

During 2010 an “almost new” team was selected to represent South Africa at the 2011 F3B World Championships to be hosted in China.  “Old hand” Craig Goodrum and arguably the best RC Soaring pilot SA has ever produced was on hand to mentor, guide, teach, train, cajole & enforce discipline amongst the newbies: Rudi King & Nigel Wilkinson, with Jason Weber taking up the only position of “Junior” after a stunning performance at the 2010 (F3B) Nats and the FAI decision to encourage youth participation in all sanctioned disciplines that do not already have junior participation.

After many months of training, broken models & depleted wallets, and spouses severely questioning sanity/logic, the team departed to China amidst concerns that the Europeans were generally boycotting the event – some claim costs. but it seems patently ironic that they do not attend when they are required to travel unlike the other nations that have annually called for cost capping/reduction due to travel costs.  At least the top pilots were in attendance & the list of countries read as the veritable Who’s-Who of this, the most technically challenging of all RC Soaring disciplines.

Our team fared very well with a 4th position overall & Craig taking 12th in the individual rankings overall.  Jason won Gold for his Junior status even though he was scored alongside all the seniors.  Whilst 10 full rounds were flown. The partially flown round 11 was cancelled due to rain & these scores were not counted.  Scheduled round 12 was not flown at all due to rain making conditions unsafe: these gliders fly in excess of 170 kph, have razor thin wings & are mostly silent, making visual tracking of utmost importance from the point of launch from the winch.

“F3B” is one of the FAI sanctioned RC Soaring disciplines, that involves flying three tasks (across multiple rounds of competition).  The RC gliders are launched using a winch anchored in the field & mono-filament nylon line (resembling fishing line).  The three tasks that have to be completed using the same model:

1. Speed - the competitor uses a winch to launch their model glider & then attempts to fly the fastest possible (i.e. lowest possible time) around a 2 pylons - effectively flying 4 laps of the 150 metre course. The current World Record in a competition is 12.68 seconds, setup in Sweden during 2008.  Our own local expert, Craig Goodrum, flew the speed course in 13.25 seconds during the 2010 SA National Championships held near Johannesburg.

2. Distance - the competitor has 4 minutes to fly as many "laps" as possible across/around the two pylons after launching their model from a winch. If I recall our current local record is around 32 laps which equates to the world best.  This is possibly one of the most demanding of the tasks, both from a technical skills aspect & also from pilot skills – where apposing thermal & speed skills are required to perform optimally.

3. Duration - using the same glider for speed/distance the competitor is required to fly a 10 minute thermal duration task (points are deducted for every second under/over this task) with a spot landing measured to the nearest metre.  This may be the most common of RC Soaring tasks; it is no simple task to maintain a RC Glider aloft for 10 minutes – especially not a glider that also needs to be able to be flown fast!

Technically, F3B is probably the most challenging of all RC Soaring disciplines: this being due to the compromises required to excel across all the tasks. For example, it is easy to create a model that can fly fast (speed), or fly for long (duration) but combining this into a single design is an incredible challenge (distance). Secondly, the skill set required for fast vs. long vs. distance are also vastly different & requires considerable concentration and ability.

Team scores:

1st Germany; Herrig, Andreas; Kunz, Andreas; Seyfang, Michael
2nd
USA; Klein, David; Paulson, Kyle; Kiesling, Thomas
3rd
France; Medard, Patrick; Estivals, Fabrice; Gauthie, Laurent
4th South Africa; Goodrum, Craig; King, Rudi; Weber, Jason
5th
Japan; Kodo, Susumu; Yoshida, Masahide; Sakurai, Naoto
6th
Australia; Skinner, John; Keep, Steve; Kullack, Tim
7th
Hong Kong; Yeung, Chak Sang; Yeung, Ngai Nang; Choy, Wing Pong
8th
China; Jian, Shen; Bin, Quan; Jianguo, Dai

Individual results:

Rank        Pilot        Score        %

1         Herrig, Andreas GER        26635.83        100.00

2         Herrig, Martin GER         26455.63        99.32

3         Kunz, Andreas GER         26066.60         97.86

4         Paulson, Kyle USA         26008.77         97.65

5         Seyfang, Michael GER         25775.61         96.77

6         Klein, David USA         25284.31         94.93

7         Gauthie, Laurent FRA         25250.40         94.80

8         Kiesling, Thomas USA         25148.89         94.42

9         Estivals, Fabrice FRA         24986.97         93.81

10         Skinner, John AUS         24884.03         93.42

11         Sakurai, Naoto JPN         24829.84         93.22

12         Goodrum, Craig RSA         24819.02         93.18

13         Medard, Patrick FRA         24568.55         92.24

14         Kullack, Tim AUS         24393.87         91.58

15         Kodo, Susumu JPN         24335.22         91.36

16         King, Rudi RSA         24316.83         91.29

17         Weber, Jason (Junior) RSA         24045.25         90.27

18         Yoshida, Masahide JPN         23089.47         86.69

19         Keep, Steve AUS         22852.43         85.80

20         Wilkinson, Nigel RSA         22185.14         83.29

21         Yeung, Chak Sang HKG         18685.04         70.15

22         Jian, Shen CHN         18054.55         67.78

23         Bin, Quan         17855.21         67.03

24         Yeung, Ngai Nang HKG         14097.28         52.93

25         Choy, Wing Pong         10753.49         40.37

26         Jianguo, Dai CHN         5923.20         22.24

Overall a fantastic result within this very demanding sport and again our South African National Soaring team have done us supremely proud!

Finally, be advised that the 2012 F3J (hand towed thermal duration) World Championships in South Africa are in advanced stages of preparation & we are expecting the very best thermal duration pilots from all over the world to attend – with interest even shown from most European countries due to favourable Euro-Rand exchange rates.  This is going to be the most exciting event on the MGA, if not the SAMAA calendar for 2012!


Many people have been asking what aircraft are being flown so I visited each team and compiled a nearly comprehensive list of the models in use.
Nigel Wilkinson (Sth Africa) – Ceres
Craig Goodrum (Sth Africa) – Fosa
Rudi King (Sth Africa) – Fosa
Jason Webber (Sth Africa) – Fosa
Darrel Zaballos (USA) – FS3
David Klien (USA) – FS4
Kyle Paulson (USA) – FS4
Tom Kiesling (USA) – Fosa
Glauco Lago (USA) – FS3
Tim Traver (USA) – Vampire
Gordon Buckland (USA) – Target
Martin Herrig (Germany) – FS4
Fiedler Christian (Germany) – FS4
Michael Seyfang (Germany) – Shooter
Andreas Herrig (Germany) – FS4
Andreas Kuntz (Germany) – FS4
Laurent Gauthie (France) – Shooter
Patrick Medard (France) – Hurricane
Fabrice Estivals (France) – Radical
Tim Kullack (Australia) – FS4
Steve Keep (Australia) Fosa
John Skinner (Australia) – Fosa
Susumo Kodo (Japan) – Tanga


Many people have been asking what aircraft are being flown so I visited each team and compiled a nearly comprehensive list of the models in use.
Nigel Wilkinson (Sth Africa) – Ceres
Craig Goodrum (Sth Africa) – Fosa
Rudi King (Sth Africa) – Fosa
Jason Webber (Sth Africa) – Fosa
Darrel Zaballos (USA) – FS3
David Klien (USA) – FS4
Kyle Paulson (USA) – FS4
Tom Kiesling (USA) – Fosa
Glauco Lago (USA) – FS3
Tim Traver (USA) – Vampire
Gordon Buckland (USA) – Target
Martin Herrig (Germany) – FS4
Fiedler Christian (Germany) – FS4
Michael Seyfang (Germany) – Shooter
Andreas Herrig (Germany) – FS4
Andreas Kuntz (Germany) – FS4
Laurent Gauthie (France) – Shooter
Patrick Medard (France) – Hurricane
Fabrice Estivals (France) – Radical
Tim Kullack (Australia) – FS4
Steve Keep (Australia) Fosa
John Skinner (Australia) – Fosa
Susumo Kodo (Japan) – Tanga