The contestants are all rested and their planes are prepared for the Melee in the Mine. The entrant list for the World Championships is a bit longer than that for the earlier Otto Hints Memorial, 39 versus 33 but some of the Otto Hints contest fliers are missing has there were more than three entries from several European Countries. The most interesting of the missing are from the Romanian team. After taking places two through four in the Otto Hints contest, only one of these top senior finishers, Corneliu Mangalia returns today. The winner of the junior division at the Ottos Hints contest, Alex Stoicescu, is also missing. Also of note is the absence of Lutz Schramm from Germany. Schramm, the 2012 World Champion, has been a fixture at the World Champions for many years. Schramm pioneered the use of the elliptical shaped and Elliptical dihedral wing in the 55cm F1D class. His design ideas will be carried on by several, included Brett Sanborn and Joshua Finn, at this year’s event.
Now, let’s get to the flying. Zoltan Sukosd put up an early flight and the flight quickly got to the ceiling. Alas, Zoltan’s flight ended with a hang on the catwalk at 5:07. The best early flight is that of Great Britain’s Tony Hebb at 24:07. Joshua Finn, the first to fly for the US senior team, puts up a respectable 20:48. Kang Lee, after having problem in both the Otto Hints contest and the practice day, has gotten his plane to climb well. However, the climb may have been a bit too good, as after scrubbing the ceiling for a bit, Kang’s plane also hung on the catwalk at 7:05. Kang was able to recover the plane although the tail boom was broken but repairable. Kang has already repaired the tail boom and is ready for round two.
Round one ended with 37 fliers posting times. US team member John Kagan in first place with a 25:43 followed by Hebb. Brett Sanborn holds third with a 24:02. Joshua Finn is in 12th with a 20:48. The junior fliers’ results are headed by Romania’s Bulai Cal at 22:30 and then all the three members of Ukraine’s junior team with times all above 21 minutes. David Yang, of the US team, is next, in fifth, with a 20:20. All 13 junior entrants put up a first round time.
The more interesting things to learn from the first round is the depth of the Romanian fliers as their team for the World Championships appears not to have their current best fliers. It also goes to show that there is a home team advantage at the Slanic mine. Also, it seems that the top fliers can get up to the ceiling this year and that adjustments will be needed to complete a flight without hanging. Brett Sanborn got past this after his hangs in the Otto Hints contest. Top competitors Kang and Zoltan will have to adjust or back off after pushing a bit too hard in the first round. Some might say both pushed too hard as their planes hung relatively early in the flights compared to Brett’s weekend hangs at 11 and 12 minutes. Round two should be even more exciting.