McAully & Fenland Trophies, 2021 results

How does a CD write a CD’s report on a non-event?! No contest it might have been, but all learned something from it.

In the interest of covid protection, the obligatory pre-comp briefing was held via Zoom at 1930 on Friday, facilitated by HCO Brian McCartney. It was attended by most entrants, those not present being obliged to view the recording before flying. Standard briefings were provided by Eric Marsh as CD, John Royce as CJ, Michael Wright as AO and Jen Buckenham as Registrar & Scorer. Poor weather was forecast, in expectation of which several pilots asked if they could fly home that evening to return Sunday: this was approved by CD on 3 conditions: that they consulted CD before doing so, that they pledged not to practice, and that if another pilot protested that would be assessed accordingly.

First live briefing occurred at 1000 outside LAC tower; at roll call all were asked to respond if present and additionally yes/no if they had an aircraft. Current entry list showed 8 at Sports and 4 at Intermediate, whilst roll call netted two at Sports and two at Intermediate. Calls from south reported pilots and aircraft stranded in bad weather, and given unflyable cloudbase at Leicester start was delayed, with briefings hourly on the hour. Around noon absent pilots were given a time deadline to be at Leicester, after which they would be assumed to have withdrawn. Their not having arrived by 1300, and Leicester cloudbase still unsafe for contest aerobatics, CD offered option to pilots present to cancel competitions but in its place training flights would be provided. A show of hands showed a desire for that, and accordingly Nick Buckenham briefed all then conducted four training sessions comprising in flight commentary and advice.

Thus the event concluded around 1600 and all dispersed. Special thanks are due to all pilots and officials who were there, notably Nick Buckenham, who provided his highly qualified training – free – to the appreciative pilots.

On the following day there was some WhatsApp discussion about the previous day’s actions, with its decision to cancel the contest. For the record, such decisions are not taken lightly but only after extensive consultation with all parties, including those who were awaited, and the duty CD concluded that the compromise reached was in the interest of the majority. I make my respectful apologies to those who were disappointed at the outcome.

Eric Marsh, Contest Director