John McLean, Newbold, Icicle Trophies, 2017 results

Most CD’s reports contain an account of the event’s prevailing weather, for that has a material effect on all aviation, especially aerobatics. For  three contests at Breighton on 6 and 7 May 2017 this was especially so. The previous week had been CAVOK in post places on most days, but that weekend a line of low cloud covered much of the north east of England, including Breighton.

No less than 33 pilots had entered for the four events, and a welcome 12 had volunteered for the judging line. In the event there were present 25 pilots and  13 judging crew, both commendable achievements.

Eric Marsh as Contest Director gave the first briefing at 0900 prompt on Saturday. A new requirement of the CAA is to provide a comprehensive Risk Analysis at such events to be seen by both the organisers (BA) and the host airfield. This RA had been posted in the briefing room, but EM as CD elected also to read out to all attendees the “hazards” specified in the RA. Briefings were also given by Alan Marsland as Breighton’s Chief Pilot and by John Royce as Chief Judge.

Alas after that very little happened. The main cloudbase hovered around 3000 feet and slowly lowered during the day to merge with the scattered cu below it at 2000 ft, preventing any competition flying.  The CD held updating briefings throughout the day, but at 1700 hrs L (which was also the then cloudbase!) it was considered unviable to continue and all were stood down.

At 0900 Sunday an update briefing was held by CD, CJ and Chief Pilot, with the weather still the main concern. Local TAFS were not good, and the cloudbase remained at around 2300 with no sign of lifting. By noon several pilots were planning an early departure, so at a final briefing at 1400 EM as CD announced that there was minimal likelihood of clearance and with regret the event was abandoned. (Later reports indicated CAVOK 20 miles west!)

Cancellation of the Icicle Trophy is particularly unfortunate. Members may recall that the actual trophy is rather bulky and many winners declined to take it, so that for several years it has been stored by  BAeA’s  Keeper of Trophies.  In that capacity Eric Marsh contacted the original donor, Mr Andrew Chadwick, and invited him to provide a successor. This he did and it was due to be presented for the first time at Breighton. The date for re-contest is still to be decided, but a photograph of it (by Leif Culpin) appears in this report.

Eric Marsh