2022 World Champs – Closing thoughts

Final Results Senior http://www.freeflightnews.org.uk/champs/ch22/WC22D.HTM

Final Results Junior http://www.freeflightnews.org.uk/champs/ch22/JWC22D.HTM

First off, I would like to reiterate that it was an honor and a privilege to be asked to act as Team Manager for this year’s World Championship. Traveling with a group to a foreign land you end up making much deeper connections with people and, to a person, it was privileged to get to know each member of this team better.

I also had the opportunity to meet a lot of the European competitors who I knew by name, perhaps by email, and come away from this contest with many new friends. A World Champs is a bit of an immersive experience; dining together, flying together, riding buses together.. you get to know people on a more substantial level than social media and email allow. There are lots of follow-ups with people that will occur once we get home based on random conversations that were started but not yet completed.

Without having to worry about my own flying, I got to see some things I don’t normally notice:

  1. We ALL experience obstacles along the way. Our Juniors had their struggles with learning the unique aspects of flying in the mine, but even our senior team who had all been here before had their struggles. Each and every one of them persevered through those challenges and found solutions. It strikes me that that is a unique characteristic of this hobby/sport. You have to develop processes that work for YOU to work through the challenges that will inevitably come. You can’t panic.. you can’t just quit.. you HAVE to work through the issues one variable at a time to find a solution.
  2. That “working through the challenges” is actually the FUN part.. if this hobby/sport were easy, it wouldn’t be as fun! And succeeding after adversity is much sweeter!
  3. The friendships we make along the way are worth infinitely more than any trophy, plaque or medal. Your fiercest competitor is the one cheering the loudest for you on as you take your place on the podium.

I am so incredibly proud of our Juniors. Between their parents and Coach Chuck who have instilled in them a strong sense of self, they conducted themselves with the utmost respect and sportsmanship throughout the competition and took the time to have fun whilst competing. If anyone is worried about our future.. don’t! These young people are smart, caring and incredibly empathetic. They worked together as a TEAM!

After watching a lot of fierce competition, I am more convinced than ever that the hobby is healthy and on a path to continuing long into the future. Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated!

Buoyant Air,

Dave Lindley

2022 World Champ Rounds 5 & 6 (Final Day)

Once again, I am a bit derelict in my duties. Th final day was busy (but productive) so forgive me.

The Senior team went in this morning with a plan to gain some ground in Rounds 5 & 6. Lead off hitter for the Senior team in the morning was John Kagan who went off right as the round and put up a 27+.. his best flight so far and moved him into 2nd place at the endo of Round 5! Emily Guyette went second for the morning round and put in a nice 22+ flight.. not her best, but upped her second flight so a positive result. Kang was batting cleanup for the morning round for the team.. with 30 minutes left in the round he began winding and proceeded to break 4 consecutive motors, which left him no time to wind a 5th to get a flight in for the round. Brett, meanwhile, but a STRONG 28 minute flight in to up his second flight total and solidifying his 1st place standing after Round 5. Unless someone comes on strong he might not even have to put in a final flight.

For Round 6, with Kagan leading the team, he got to choose his flying position.. he chose to fly second.. so Emily led off. Emily posted a 21+ flight but not good enough to up her two flight total.. her flight profile was generally good, it just seemed to catch some bad air and sank a little too quickly in the last half of the flight.. Kagan came up next and wound for the ceiling. He reached a few meters short of the ceiling but had a beautiful cruise and posted another 27+ flight to give him a new second flight.. strengthening his second place standing. Kang batting cleanup had a tremendous 27+ flight which ended up being his best flight of the competition.

Brett waited until late in the round, but one of the Ukrainian team had the possibility to best Brett’s score so Brett opted to take the chance and make a Round 6 flight. Brett and the Dmytro Senov launched within a minute of one another and both raced to the ceiling in similar circles. At the very top they had a slight midair, which entitled them both to a potential reflight. Sednov recovered fine and posted a 27+ flight. Brett did not recover quite as well, and ended up running into and sliding down the wall.. ruining his flight and his airplane! Brett immediately delared he would take his reflight options and went back to the pit area to get his backup model. To my knowledge this would be the first official flight Brett would make with his backup airplane. Brett prepped and launched just as Sednov was landing his flight and the end of the round.. From the launch pattern you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between his #1 model and backup.. it circled straight for the ceiling and looked to be a good flight.. Sednov decided NOT to excercise his reflight option.. satified with his 27+ flight even after the midair.. So Brett would be the final flight to the ground for the 2022 World CHamps. 80% of the cometitors packed their gear, loaded on buses and left while Brett’s flight continued. When he finally landed..at 29 minutes even.. Brett solidified his victory, posted the best flight of the competition.. AND we believe posted a new two flight total World Record in competition!

Our Junior team all had good flights today and I am so amazingly proud of how they all comported themselves throughout the competition.. they each had their struggles, but persevered through adversity and did well as a team.. helping each other to succeed!

An amazing day for Team USA:

Individual Senior

Brett Sanborn 1st

John Kagan 2nd

Team Senior

Team US 2nd Place

Team Junior

Team USA 2nd Place

Junior Female

Odessa Wignall 2nd Place

Senior Female

Emily Guyette 1st Place

2022 World Champs Rounds 3 & 4

Breakfast is being served at 7am now that we’ve started the World Champs and the breakfast buffet is served in the hotel restaurant across the courtyard from the actual hotel building. Its gotten chilly in Slanic overnight and we walked out for breakfast to a slight dusting of snow on the ground this morning. I have a new appreciation for people that make their living working in mines –we typically leave the hotel before the sun comes up and only the last vestiges of light remain by the time we come back out of the mine at 4:30. Not sure if its being focused and busy all day, but I do feel more tired by the end of the day than a normal (what is ” normal” for Free Flighters) indoor contest. I’m guessing a little vitamin D will be in order when we get done here. But we still have work to do.. so onward we march!

We will start today’s report with the Juniors. thankfully Junior Team Manager Chuck Andraka was able to gather the report for us today:

The USA F1D Junior Team showed solid improvement on day 2 in the formidable salt mine. Day 1 saw flights to less than 120 feet, which in a 180-foot ceiling is quite limiting to the flight times.

Elijah Rose continued to improve his climb, reaching over 45 yards by removing boron to improve motor stick twist and resulting wing wash. Elijah sits at the top of the young USA team, out pacing teammate Quinn Sorbello. Quinn also had improved his climb, but struggled with too fast a letdown. Quinn switched to a different plane for round 4, and while it has climbed well prior, it helicoptered and tail slid after a brief climb. Despite this setback, the plane cruised tremendously and posted a decent score. If Quinn can combine that cruise with a strong climb, he’ll have something great!

Odessa Wignall continues to put up solid but not spectacular times with her backup plane. It climbs decently at the beginning, but appears limited to about 35 yards and under 18 minutes. Her primary plane tested well on the weekend, but lost its ability to climb without helicoptering. She continues to try adjustments and fixes, as this plane promised stronger flights in testing.

Guha, who won team trials, is learning just how unforgiving the mine can be! His planes have had robustness issues as well as crab-walking the climb, leaving Guha to many late night building sessions. He is determined, and seeing results in improved times. Today he lost his reinforced plane to steering when the wing folded on what looked like a perfect steer. He showed promise that the climb issues were resolved, but the plane didn’t like being pushed around. His second plane went slightly right on takeoff, and ran into the rough salt wall. Guha was able to pick it off the wall with the steering balloon and salvaged a decent score. His planes have been very well trimmed for cruise and letdown.

Despite the challenges of competing against the home team, the juniors are doing well and learning a lot. Competition at this level is not easy, especially in a highly technical class like f1d. 


As for the Senior team.. we started the morning with big plans to make some moves today. Emily Guyette was our lead off hitter for Round 3 and had tuned up in the hour before Round 3 started on some half motors that were looking incredibly good and pointing toward a possible 27+ minute flight. Once the Round started she processed immediately and wound her motor feeling very confident. She released her model and it started into a perfect climb pattern, then SNAP…5 feet out of her hand apparently the the thrust bearing decided in not longer wanted to be attached to the fuselage.Honestly for as catastrophic as a fully wound motor can be, she did no damage to the wing.. but broke her prop and know the stab off.. but she did end up taking a ZERO in Round 3 while she did some repairs and re- trimming in one of the mine halls off to the side of where official flying occurs.

Kang Lee went second and posted a nice 25+ minute flight which was his best flight in official rounds thus far. He got good altitude, but it seemed that the air today wasn’t quite as good as it has been. All-in-all though a strong flight.

John Kagan batted cleanup for Round 3 for Team USA and posted a 23+ minute flight. Kagan drifted up the hall in the opposite direction the primary drift has been for the past few days and actually hit some turbulence toward the top that caused his model to stall and loose a bit of altitude before he had a chance to steer it back down toward more stable air. Unfortunately the altitude had already been lost.

Brett Sanborn posted the rounds best time at 28+ Minutes. Brett has been super consistent in his flying and his model is well tuned.

Round 4 followed in similar fashion.. Kagan leading off with a 23+ flight. Kang next with a 23+. Emily batting cleanup after getting her model back together and doing some basic half motor trimming posted a 21+ Brett out a 26+ up in Round 4. But none of our Round 4 scores moved the needle as they each had two better flights already on the board.

So.. we have our work cut out for us tomorrow. I think everyone has a game plan to move the needle tomorrow… stay tune for the final day tomorrow!

be sure to check out the live streams at: https://www.youtube.com/@FreeFlightDigest/streams

2022 World Champs Round 1 & 2

My apologies for no update yesterday. We had a busy practice day and then Opening Ceremonies followed by dinner.. followed by a Technical Meeting. By the time day was done, your trusty scribe was POOPED and fell asleep. It was much needed rest to get ready for the First day of the World Champs (Rounds 1 & 2)

To give some context of the format of competition.. rounds last 3 hours and only one member of each team can be flying at a time. So Team US Senior team has 3 members, the Junior team has 4 members and we have Brett Sanborn competing as returning Champion. That is EIGHT flights we have to make in a 3 hour window, and you figure each flight is 20-30 minutes. Add into that time to process the models wind the motor ( and most like break a motor or two in the process).. it was going to a VERY tight schedule at best.

Last night at dinner we developed a game plan for order of competitors to fly, and a basic time window allotted to each. If they missed their window, we would have to skip on to the next competitor to give each an ample opportunity to perform their best. I can tell you now without spoiling the ending that the time allotment plan worked very well.. we actually ended each round with a little cushion.


The entire Senior team was well prepared and trimmed by the end of the practice day yesterday, so with models already trimmed and assembled they were able to each put up respectable times in Round 1without taking any risks of damaging their airplanes. You can see the actual times below, but Brett and Emily led off at the very start of the round with strong 26+ minute flights. Kagan followed with a 24+ minute flight and Kang was the last Senior team member to fly in the round and posted a 25+ flight. Ivan Traeger posted a 28+ minute flight in round 1 to set the bar for everyone.. but after round 1 Team USA stood strong:


2 Brett Sanborn

3 Emily Guyette

5 Yuan Kang Lee

9 John Kagan

Team Standings after 1: Team USA 1st Place


We switch the order around a little for round 2 so Kagan was batting the lead off spot. Kagan was able to improve on his R1 score and post a 26+ flight. Next up to bat was Guyette. Emily had a great launch, but it just never got to the altitude necessary. It was a safe flight and a respectable score at 22:00, but not what she was hoping for. Brett launched third and Kang batted cleanup. Kang was using his backup model in round 2 because he had a broken bearing on his number 1 model that will need to be repaired over night. Again, a great launch and his model made it to about 155 ft altitude and looked to be a very strong flight. the air was crowded as we got late in the round and Kang lost a little altitude with a steering mishap while trying to get out of the crowd. He ended up with a 23+ minute flight.. but without that lost altitude the flight would have been an easy 25+. In that crowded air was Bretts model, which was unfortunately line fouled by another competitor while steering which brought Bretts model straight down. Because of the line foul, Brett was allowed a re-flight. Bret launched his reflight right as Round 2 ended.. se he had all the air to himself. He had a great launch and the model climbed to just under the catwalk (about as high as anyone wanted to push it on day one). Half to competitors had already boarded buses back to the hotel by the time Brett landed at 27 minutes, well worth the wait for those that stuck around:

After round 2 Team USA standing were:


1 Brett Sanborn

6 John Kagan

8 Yuan Kang Lee

10 Emily Guyette

Team Standings after 2: Team USA 1st Place

Again my apologies.. i didn’t get much one how the Junior team was doing (scores below) as I was fully engaged with the Seniors.. but i will try to get more tomorrow, nor did I have time to take any pictures.. check facebook i know a lot of people are posting pictures there as well as the live streams.

2022 World Champs – Otto Hints Day 2

We walked out of the hotel this morning to a drizzling rain. there was much speculation on the bus ride over as to how the weather outside might impact conditions in the mine, but no consensus was reached.. so it will be wait and see! Several Team USA members had made some repair overnight, cut some new motors and everyone had a plan on how to attack the day.

The Junior team members were still working on getting trimmed out on half motors most of the day.. just trying to get their climb patterns dialed in. while they each took a at least one official flights on half motors, they were all very focused on getting their models trimmed for the World Championships starting on Tuesday.

The senior team focused most of their energy on full motor flights today and figuring out trim to push it to the catwalk at the top of the mine. Brett & John each took a couple of official flights but all four of the Senior team were focusing on getting trimmed and dialed in for the World Champs as well. By the end of the day everyone was feeling pretty good about where they were in their own process.

The conditions in the mine were good most of the day.. a little turbulence about halfway up that took some power to punch through. and then a general drift at the top toward the far end of the mine. all very managable. everyone got a bit of practice steering as a result. The Romanians put up s

At dinner awards for the Otto Hints contest were presented (pictures below).

Tomorrow we start earlier.. buses leave at 7:45.. so everyone went to bed shortly after dinner to get rested up. we will have several hours of practice tomorrow before Opening Ceremonies in the mine. then its back to the hotel for dinner and technical meeting.