25-Jun-24 - 07:21 PM

Thermal Circle Text - Thermal Circle 06

Written by Hayden Daley - 12 September, 2007.
Welcome to the soaring circle for this issue of Radio Control Model News. In this edition I will be interviewing David Hobby and asking him about his experiences at the various competition events that he has attended and his opinions on what are the best models at the moment and other soaring equipment releated topics. David Hobby is the current F3J world champion and the first Australian to achieve a soaring world championship victory. David has represented Australia in various competition disciplines over the years and has been very successful in these competition events. David has also given me a copy of a large number of F3J world championship photos so the better photos will hopefully be in the next couple of issues. I have been fortunate enough to have been given an Airstrike winch by David Pratley from Airstrike winches for the day to review, as well as one of his Escape competition models to test the winch. Finally the end results from the RCGA league is at the end of this column.

David Hobby

Hello David and welcome to the first soaring circle interview. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.The first question is how long have you been r/c soaring and how long have you been soaring competitively?

So far I have Had two periods of soaring competition first one was from approximately 1995 through to about 2000. Then I took a break for a while and concentrated other activities and then I got back into soaring at the 2003 nationals and thats where I started my plans to get into F3J competition.

Can you please tell our readers some of the more major victories that you have acheived in model aircraft competition?

I flew four electric world championships my best result was seventh place in Germany in 1998, other than that in international events I havent competed that well due to technical difficulties, the previous best in thermal events was the Jerilderie event in Australia. I did well in the Soar Nats in New Zealand in 1997 basically from there I deceided to fly F3J and things went well from there.

Congratulations on winning the world championship, was the pressure intense during the competition? Was it worse at the start of the event or worse during the fly off?

The weirdest thing about this whole competition was that I was very relaxed. There was pressure there but it was no differerent to what I feel in Australian competition I went to the event confident my gear was 100%. I was confident my practice was adaquete, I believe.I was a little bit rusty to start with because I hadnt actually flown for two months before the event, and then once we started the event and we were progressing very well,the pressure really didnt build up until the final stages. My flights were consistant so the need for any high pressure was not really neccesary

You flew a Pike Superior and an Escape at the contest, where you happy with this choice of models?

Very happy.I only flew the Escape once during the whole competition for some reason I was very happy with the Escape before I left Australia but when I got to Finland I was much happier with the Pike which was mainly as the event was at altitude.

Which was the better model the Pike or the Escape?

For that event defininetly the Pike.The conditions required the aircraft to range out to find the lift and the Pike does that very well.

There are many different F3J models for sale at the moment, could you please tell Radio Control Model News readers what the best performing and best value F3J models are at the moment?

I actually dont know a lot about the other aircraft I have only been back into thermal soaring for a little while but the top ten aircraft they are very readily available throughout the country and are all within one or two percent of each other in performance it just comes down to what your comftorable with, starting with the Escapes and the Pikes you have also know got some of the guys are know flying the Estrella which are very much more suited to F3B, but are very very good duration planes. You have got the new Phases and Elitas coming out on the market any of the top duration planes coming out are all very competitive.

Wing sections are critical to the performance of any competition sailplane, what are the best wing sections for F3J at the present time?

Well I think the trend is to go to a slightly thinner less camber a little more ability to range a little bit more, perhaps faster on the launch as well, so I guess in those respects the new Quabek sections are becoming very popular such as the one that is on the Pike, and the Ellipse 4, also has the same section that is the trend but this may change by the next world championships it is very fickle

What type of tranmitter did you use during the event?

A JR/Graupner MC24.

What servos did you equip your models with?

JR servos in particular DS368's primarily,and I also used JR 331's in certain aspects,flaps and elevator on the models with a cross tail.

What type of batteries did you use in your world championship models? what capacity? How many battery cells were in the models?

I used a 5 cell pack with Sanyo 1350 FAU Cells which are two thirds AA size designed mainly for higher discharge and charge applications but I prefer them for my gliders because I have the need to charge them quickly I can,and they are very robust.

How did you charge your models batteries during the competition? Which type of charger did you use?

I have a Schulze charger that I have had for years and years and thats what I used during the event.

What launch line did you use, what poundage? and what diameter?

Ok I dont know what the poundage was but we used 1.1,1.2 and 1.3ml,depending on the winds and the critical part of the flight. If we had very critical rounds we would use a slightly bigger diameter than we would normally use such as in the finals we only used 1.3ml, just to make sure there was no chance at all of a line break.

You must have seen a lot of different competition models at the contest, was there any models that stood out with exceptional performance compared to the other sailplanes? Was there any home brew models with exceptional performance?

No, there was no serious home brew models there,Michael Kozlowski from the U.S.A had his own design similar to the Estrella look to it, it was a very good launching aircraft but did not have the ranging abilility it was a bit to light. Then you have the Sharon, the 3.7 meter Sharon, they are a brilliant aircraft in calm air, more difficult to land,but very good in calm air.

You regularly fly in seven cell electric competitions and are very succesful, do you think this type of competion prepared you for the f3J world championships?How often do you fly in these competitions?

Well its interesting that you mention that I havent actually flown seven cell for quite a while once I started flying thermal duration I deceided not to concentrate on 7 cell. I have know changed my mind on that I just went to a competition this weekend in Canberra it reinforced that it is an extremely tough competition to do well in it requires the skills to be able to launch very quickly and find a thermal early and at a very low altidude and that for F3J is very helplful. Also the seven cell models being hard to fly makes for extremely useful practice.

Which pilots provided the stiffest competition? Who did you think may beat you once you were in the fly off?

Well, anybody, to get into the fly off the top ten in that field anybody can win that event of course there is the big names Joe Wurts, Arend Borst from Canada, Phillip Kolb from Germany all of the these guys have won major competition and are very experienced.

You won the Jerilderie L.S.F competition to gain the F3J world championship place. Are the other Australian thermal pilots world class? Have we got a lot of practice to do to reach the international level?

Absoloutley,simply by the results at Jerrilderie, I won Jerrildeire and went on to win the world championships but the scores at jerrilderie are very tight all the time,even with our local competitions in Melbourne the scores are very tight and that leads to a very competitive group of flyers any one of that group in the top ten could easily win the world championships.They are as good as anyone in the world.

Do you intend to defend the Jerilderie L.S.F title? Will you be at the next F3J world championships with the goal to win the event back to back?

Well Jerillderie, I actually missed the consecutive one because I was working overseas at the time. I intend to go to this next Jerriliderie which is again the team selection for the F3J world championships.I dont have to qualify because I am the world champion but I would like to go to keep the practice up.

I did not know that, as world champion you automatically get an invite to compete?

Yes, I get a special invite as the world champion, it also means the Australian team will consist of another 3 flyers,I will not be included as part of that offficial team.

Was there any new F3J techniques demonstrated by pilots from other countries at this event? How effective were they?

Not neccesarily new tactics,yes and no, the launches became much faster, so everybody was doing much faster launches that was a tactic that improved times. The landings became much more competitive,I think myself and the South African flyer both proved that you can do 15 minute flights in one thermal and that changed because it became a bit more of a eye sight event because we were flying extremely long distances down wind and extremely high so tactics wise this was a big change.

Where the 15 minute fly off heats hard to win? What was the lift like during these fly off heats?

The lift was excellent you just had to find it. It was there, there were good signs but the lift moved through quite quickly so if you wished to go to a thermal that you knew was there that was 500 meters down wind you had to go for it. If you didnt have any signs then you had to try something and in my case I fly 45 degrees cross wind in a straight line until I find lift. In the second round of the fly off this worked very well for me, the second round was a bit of a killer for most flyers where as myself and the South African both completeted all four flights with 15 minute times, and no other flyer did, so I think our techniques were very similar in terms of ranging out finding lift maximising that lift then tenaciously keeping away from the other pilots.

Was it intimidating to have previous world champion F3J sailplane pilots like Joe Wurts next to you in the fly off? How did you deal with this pressure?

I didnt find that much pressure my first two flights were very relaxed I guess the pressure came up on the second day of the finals where as I knew I did well and the pressure came on one of the main things was that at this world championship,I was very relaxed and I think this showed I didnt really feel any serious pressure during the entire competition but it was there,enough to remind me of the serioussness of the event.

The final elation must have been massive when the world championship trophy was presented at the conclusion of the event, how did this feel?

I was bewildered, to get into the finals was all I could hoped for, winning was way beyond what I could have hoped for, In that respect I was bewildered, very happy, but bewildered.

As world champion do you intend to seek sponsorship from model manafacturers to fly there sailplanes in contests or to design new models?

Designing models no, but I am Negotiating with certain manafacturers for sponsorship. Samba who make the Pike have been very helpful.

To win the F3J world championship must have been a long term goal, congratulations on being the first Australian to win a soaring world championship, and I hope you can repeat the result at the next world championships. Many thanks to take the time to answer these questions.

Airstrike Winch Review

On Monday 16 May,David Pratley from Airstrike winches and I went to the Briggs Field in Glen Waverley to test an Airstrike winch using a Jaro Muller F3J Escape competition sailplane. I provided the winch line, a new Graupner 1.1 mm 175lb, and this line again did the job magnificently. Graupner line is available from Model Flight and comes highly recommended as competition winch line. Anyway back to the winch, I managed 8 flights and the winch was supurb.The wind was a reasonable 10 knots and I found myself backing off, the winch had excessive power even in these light conditions. Its been a while since I have flown a competition model up a winch so the launches improved over the day to the point where I was getting competitive launches in the last couple of flights.The F3J Escape is a supurb flying model, one of the best thermal competition sailplanes I have had the oppurtunity of flying, even I was getting 8 and 10 minute flights. However the winch was better than the model! It is light weight and easy to carry. It has been designed specifically and built for f3b competition but is happy launching models in all other types of events or for sport flying. It has been made using a powder coated winch frame with integral carry handle and peg down points. The motor it uses is a Reconditioned Bosch GF type starter motor from Holden and that is resistored to 15 milliohms so is completeley competiton legal.It has a 200 amp continuous rated silver contact solenoid and quick action battery connectors. It has a remote foot switch with canon style 3 pin plug. It also has double row internal self aligning ball bearing at the outer end of the winch drum. Fully enclosed drum end flanges means no line tangles around shafts etc. The outer end bearing housing contains one way bearing and integral latch mechanism. Thick and strong drum end flanges to ensure the lateral forces from the line building up on the drum cannot distort or break the flanges. It is fully assembled ready to use at the time of purchase just add line,battery and drogue chute. The winch is covered by a comprehensive 12 month warranty on all parts of the winch. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this particular soaring circle, I can be contacted by email at soaring@newlitho.com.au and welcome any requests for items to be covered in Radio Control Model News. Happy, safe and succesful soaring. Hayden Daley.

Airstrike Winch Pic 1 This is a standard Airstike winch, it has the f3b motor and was extremely powerful during launch.

Hayden launch pic 2

This is me launching the Escape with the Airstrike winch, excellent performance from this moulded model.

Models start heat pic 3

This is the ready box for the start of a heat at F3J world chapionships, as you can see there are a lot of models.

Carl Strautins Pic 4

This is Carl Strautins at the ready line with his light weather Sharon model, and a Pike superior, at the start of a heat.

Australian team pic 5

This is the Australian team with the World Championship trophy at the end of the event. Congratulations to this team for there success.

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