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The flying season is really underway at last. Itís off to Corfu next week, sniffing out the gossip, hopefully reporting next issue. International competition is OK, but letís hope no lunatic supporters bring the Belgian experience to the Greek islands, certainly not to the Ropas Valley. The local drink is ouzo ? the rough version of Pernod ? so that should be OK. I shall advise removing all plastic chairs and tables.
Came back from Germany last week, having a holiday near the Bodensee -?Lake Constanz ? which has Switzerland and Austria as well as Germany around its shores. Itís about 60km long and 22 km across, all fresh water since itís really the start of the River Rhine. The weather is balmy, we had 25 to 30 degrees plus vicious thunderstorms lasting an hour or less.
Tore myself away to visit Markdorf, about 10km up the road, which has a model club plus pavilion plus runway, and is the home club of the Lammleins, Professor Doctor Stephan and son Tobias. They were away in Munich for Germanyís last F3J team practice ? two days.
All the flyers will be in Corfu a week early, and for this Tobias gets a special two-week extra holiday from school. Father will catch up later, crossing by ferry from Venice to Corfu Town, bringing the heavy gear. Incidentally, Adrian Lee hopes to keep him company, so he will be driving down with High Fives, trailer and Fiona (not listed in priority order of course!).
Two things I like about the Markdorf Club: they make you very welcome and thermals abound. I enjoyed 12 flights with a Corrado, bringing it down each time after 10-15 minutes flying. Even my 100-inch caught lift nine times out of 10. And they told me it wasnít really thermic!
The club has two electric winches stored in the pavilion, plus a pair of heavy-duty batteries on charge waiting to go. The big winch is all contained in a red box, about the size of a tea chest, on castors which can be locked. Its weight is enough to keep it anchored, and the line drum just pokes out of one side with 400 metres of heavy line. A rocker switch gives you half speed or full throttle. Iím told itís survived two seasons of communal use to date.
I hesitate to think what they might make of my local club, if
they turned up out of the blue for a few holiday flights.
On of the Markdorf guys turned up on Whit Monday, back from Gisy Les Nobles in France, where he flew in the French F3J stage of the EuroTour. Entries were down to 41, four from Belgium, Rod Potts and Robin Sleight from UK, six from Switzerland and two from Holland.
The Markdorf man was not at all happy. Heíd driven more than 1000 km with two mates, and smashed his fuselage on first launch. Turned out that the field was far from ideal, with a hump in the middle of the field, which prevented launchers from seeing the two men towing. So everyone was relying on hearing the hooter/buzzer. His plane was torn out of the launcherís hands unexpectedly, with dire consequences.
Iím pleased to see France returning to the F3J circuit: for the last two years nobody got down to organising the Tournoi F3J Eole. Part of the problem was getting a suitable site. We know in this country how difficult that can be. But when you drive across France, the place seems full of boundless meadowy plains. How can that be a problem there?
But thereís a more threatening question for the Eurotour. Those countries which are close to the borders of Europe - and I mean Great Britain, Czech and Slovak Republics, Portugal, Denmark and Sweden ? are proving too far away to attract more than nominal attendance from overseas flyers. In contrast, the German and Dutch events attract ever more entries. NB if youíre thinking of Hollandglide this year, get in quickly because they are cutting off at 120!
Speaking to Mark Easy last month, and heís organising Interglide this year, there are no visitors crossing the Channel so far. In fact Iím told that UK contest lists only fill up these days at the very last moment. That makes it a risky worry to put on an event. Inevitably some people really donít know if they can attend a competition sometimes, but if you do know, then please book early and save the organisers some angst.
Spiteful gossip has it that Jaro Mullerís new Escape is causing a few problems, partly due to the six servos in the wing, but also because it doesnít stay up in the way youíd expect. Now that could be simply the talk of rival manufacturers. But I did spot two of the new 3.7 metre Sharons ? carbon wings ? in the colours of Stefan Eder and Phillip Kolb, being packed hurriedly when I called in at one model shop. I canít believe that they would be even thinking about changing horses at this late stage. But Iíll be able to check next week, so watch this space!
End of gossip for this issue!!!!