A Judges Perspective

"A Judges Perspective"

Now that a week or so has passed since the end of the Swiss F3A World Championships I will have a go at putting down my thoughts.


This was my first stint as a judge although I have been to three previous World Champs as a spectator or team manager. No doubt this was the best run most professional event I have seen and with the digital scoring David Gibbs has mentioned previously, the most involving for the public. All I can say for the Swiss organizing committee headed up by Bernhard Schaden and Peter Germann is: fantastic event, fantastic organization, fantastic friendliness, and fantastic forethought and courage to introduce the technology and have it operate virtually perfectly for the whole event.

Matching the Swiss event will be very tough for whoever accepts the challenge of 2017 and there have been no offers as yet.

Like most followers of F3A I had my thoughts on judging at international events. From hindsight and with relatively poor information I thought the judging was too biased towards the known top fliers and too tough on everyone else. I didn't think this was necessarily conscious bias, more just the way things were.

Now that I have had my chance to look closely at the complete spectrum of fliers I am strongly of the opinion that the result was largely correct although it is always possible to argue a place or two. As well as great skill the top pilots exhibit a confidence that was not evident past about the top 25. I'm sure that most of the 100 competitors flew better at home where they felt confident and comfortable in their surroundings. This observation also applies to our team. I have seen all three of them fly very much better than they did in front of me at Dubendorf. At home they looked like they were in charge of the situation but I did not think so at Dubendorf.

I tried really hard to give the same score for the same manouevre without regard for who was flying but in the end it is the sum of the individual scores in a flight that goes to deciding the order. Particularly with Christophe and Onda, every manouevre scored highly, any mistakes were very small. The big fast style is not my favorite but style has a small impact relative to pure geometry.

By the time of the finals the talent is very evident. There appears to be no lack of confidence, they just do their best and the results will take care of themselves.

When there is 100 plus competitors the "middle 50" (25 to 75) is a tough gig with very few points making a very big difference. 40 normalised points separated Bill from 30th place and a chance in the semi final. With the severity of judging, 40 points was not much more than a couple of wing wobbles.

I must commend very highly what David Gibbs has done with our team. He has introduced method, discipline and analysis to what in the past has largely been an individual undertaking. This was helped by the fact that this team was all from Victoria. I must say though, I don't think just practicing more will help make the leap necessary. I think that if our teams are ever to have real success they will need to join the European circuit like Russell
Edwards has done so that they will know what their capacity actually is. By definition our team is, or is very close to, the best in Australia but they need to compete against a larger skill pool. This is tough and probably too tough for most who aspire to F3A World Champs glory. A larger pool of top F3A pilots in Australia would help immensely.

Before I close a few words on models. Contra or no Contra that is the big question. At these championships it seemed to me that the contra flyers that did well flew their models essentially flat out, there was very few models flown in the slow, constant speed way. The three blade propellors that have been popular for the last 6 - 9 months seem to give most of the advantages of contra and none of the disadvantages. In the F schedule and the unknowns the contra flyers particularly were worried about running down the clock. All made it but there was some close shaves.

There was still a few four strokes but apart from Christophe, Onda and Brett Wickizer I didn't notice them. I think they gave Christophe and Onda a small advantage, I don't think it helped or hindered anyone else.

All the models seemed to fly pretty well although there was quite a bit of tail down. The monoplanes impressed me with their ability to do the knife edge vertical turns required in F and unknowns. The definite surprise of the championship in my view was Joseph Szczur the U.S. Junior who flew a standard Pegasus with a contra. Joseph flew this model into 12th place and he and it flew beautifully. Who needs a Biplane or a big canalizer?

Tom Bloodworth.