SPO & INT British National Championships, 2021 results

Competition Report from Chris Sills

The first contest day of the Nationals always begins with a somewhat leisurely start to enable all inbound competitors to transit from across the country. There usually follows a few hotline calls to the CD advising of clement weather and this year was no exception. By the time of the first briefing though, there was only a single pilot who had been stuck on the ground due to the weather so we started promptly at 10:00. 

With most details being shared at the online briefing the previous day, it only really required the short form daily briefing to make the pilots and admin team aware of any relevant information relating to local operations or indeed weather predictions for the day before we called the event open and started the slow wait (somewhat different to the long wait at the parts counter when serving an apprenticeship :-)  ) for the low cloud to clear and the first pilot to get underway. 

The clouds parted, much like the red sea for the Israelites and at exactly 13:00 the first pilot at Sports in Ben Filer was wheels up, woop-woop, we've started.

There followed a processing of eager and enthusiastic pilots all awaiting the return of competition flying.

As the day and the number of flights progress, the role of CD is to try and predict at what point we need to call a halt to proceedings. It’s a fine balance between pushing the pilots to progress without adding any unnecessary pressure. Let’s not forget, there are often inexperienced competitors or even those who are attending their very first event. 

We sometimes forget the nerves that surrounded our first event, all the details of the performance zone, safety figures, wind direction, all of which are required to put in a championship winning performance and this is on top of the mental and physical stress that goes with flying upward of 10 figures with various amounts of positive and negative G force.

In addition to all of the above, there was a rather gloomy outlook for the weather on the final competition day, Saturday. 

So with this in mind and barring a couple of short comfort breaks, the judging team maintained their razor sharp, mark one eyeballs and stayed out on the line all the way through until just after 18:00 whereupon we had made a full pass through the Sports and intermediate classes Known sequences and into the first 6 Sports pilots who had been busily learning their first unknown for the contest.

It was shortly after 18:15 when Sports pilot #6, Andy McKee in his fully composite, Silence twister made his way back down to the ground and we could all relax with a well-earned cold one.

Typically we run an official, competition diner one evening but with the continual threat of the ongoing pandemic I  was conscious that wouldn't be in everyone's best interests so took the difficult decision to remove it from the calendar this year.

Following the usual 08:00 briefing on Friday morning, where the low laying cloud was holding us up, I discussed the potential to finish the contest that day to ensure all pilots were able to return safely that evening based on the foreboding forecast for the following day.

After a false start in the GenPro to check the weather, Mr. Walsh in his Extra 300 took to the sky to confirm the cloud base was lifting and I set a wheels up time of 11:00 for the first Sports level competitor in Barbara.

The usual shepherding of judges, last-minute calls for assistants and it looks like we are underway! Woop!

Not only was this Barbara's first national championship, it was also her inaugural contest full stop. 

To say she performed like a champ was an understatement, the added pressure of starting first, box flights for the judges and the potential for cloud in the box, it was an experience that could easily have defeated anyone, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have managed it at my first nationals! So well done Barbara!

As the sports pilots were finishing, the cloud layer at 1800' started building and, following a 15min comfort break for the judges, Mr Willis as the first intermediate pilot made his way into the box but was unfortunately thwarted by low cloud and returned to the ground.

Unperturbed we launched him again 45 mins later and the clouds almost under command, parted and paved the way for the intermediate pilots to show us their skills!

As the day progressed, I realised we would indeed be able to run another sequence for the sports pilots and ensured the judges were ready with the necessary paperwork (Jen as ever was miles ahead and had already got it all arranged and over with the judges ready to go), the pilots were all prepared and had been memorising their second unknown so without further ado we pushed into the home straight and the 3rd sequence for the sport pilots.

As pilots are finishing their final sequence for the contest, their thoughts return to the journey home and consideration for the weather en-route. To wit, a few pilots are looking to depart early as their direction puts them into the inbound front and they pass on their congratulations, thank-you's and goodbyes before departing for respective home airfields.

Just as my predictive timings for each flight get more accurate, the contest is drawing to its inexorable conclusion and with that, the final pilot is sent into the foray. Subsequently flying ceases just after 17:00 and that as they say, is a wrap!

In the end we managed, 3 Sports and 2 intermediate sequences, a total 56 flights in just under a day and a half, now that is some going ? and as I'm sure you'll agree a very high standard of flying all around.

I think it's a testament to the training organisations involved that we are still able to run a contest demonstrating such high standards of airmanship, safety and competition aerobatics following the limited access to flying over the last 18 months. So many thanks to you all!

Last but certainly not least is the presentation of the medals to the well deserved pilots, well done.

It goes without saying that these events are not a one man.... woman, person, whatever, you get the picture :-)  show. 

There is significant time invested in admin, preparation and organisation around the event, so in no particular order I would like to thank: Jen as ever for her meticulous pre, during and post-event planning; Rod and his accomplished judging hareem; Julie, Sarah, Frank and the wider refuelling (aircraft and human) teams at Conington; the local public for supporting our endeavour and putting up with the intrusion; the pilots for their dedication and effort and their associated families who allow them to participate in this somewhat selfish sport that takes them away for days at a time with only a fuel bill and sometimes a shiny medal for compensation. I know you wouldn't have it any other way.

Until the next time.....

Chris Sills,
Contest Director

British Sports Champion 2021

Rank M/F Pilot Aeroplane Registration Known Unkwn #1 Unkwn #2 Totals O/all %
1 M Andy McKee Twister G-FUUN 1029.98 1106.94 1157.90 3294.83 82.371
2 M James Seward Pitts S-2E G-KITI 947.31 1111.59 1188.17 3247.08 81.177
3 M Nick Riddin DR-107 G-TAZZ 996.31 1089.55 1142.17 3228.03 80.701
4 M Ben Filer Extra 200 G-EEEK 1017.05 1041.99 1084.35 3143.40 78.585
5 M Stuart Baylis DR-107 G-IIID 1017.26 1106.29 1008.05 3131.60 78.290
6 F Laura Russell Extra 200 G-EEEK 933.07 1006.05 1125.71 3064.82 76.620
7 F Danielle Jackson Extra 300 G-XXHP 710.06 1025.45 1040.00 2775.52 69.388
8 F Barbara Blythe Extra 200 G-EEEK 820.10 983.04 898.02 2701.16 67.529
9 M Mark Larroucau Terveson G-CBGH 616.49 988.91 1037.68 2643.08 66.077
10 M Nick Greaves Pitts S-2A G-BTTR 730.12 958.29 893.65 2582.06 64.552
11 M Ilies Zidane DR-107 G-IIID 445.77 1110.36 721.15 2277.29 56.932
H/C M Duncan Ross Extra 200 G-EEEK 1031.89 1028.93 1115.51 3176.33 79.408
H/C M Carl Cox Extra 200 G-EEEK 981.96 959.76 1066.04 3007.77 75.194

Contest Director: Chris Sills, Contest Chief Judge: Rod Herve, Scoring Director: Jen Buckenham

Judges: Rod Herve, Nick Buckenham, Eric Marsh, Brian McCartney, Brian Gleave,

Judges Assistants: Dominic Gleave, Julie Lawley

FairPlay SystemACRO Version 5.0 Build: 26/08/21

British Intermediate Champion 2021

Rank M/F Pilot Aeroplane Registration Fr/Known Unkwn #1 Totals O/all %
1 M Maciej Kulaszewski GenPro HA-XEN 1901.97 1650.30 3552.27 82.229
2 M Anthony Walsh Extra 200 G-OLUD 1779.85 1444.24 3224.10 74.632
3 M Gary Ferriman DR-107 G-IDII 1713.95 1493.39 3207.34 74.244
4 M Graeme Fudge CAP 231 G-GODV 1707.94 1497.57 3205.52 74.202
5 M Adrian Willis GenPro HA-XEN 1732.54 1365.76 3098.30 71.720
6 M David Hall Extra 330LX G-IILX 1566.07 1447.19 3013.25 69.751
7 M David Slater Pitts S-1S G-BKPZ 1568.26 1318.20 2886.47 66.816
8 F Ruth Scott DR-107 G-IIID 1419.92 1419.50 2839.41 65.727
9 M Yair Yaniv GenPro HA-XEN 1334.84 1006.08 2340.92 54.188
10 M Chris Waddington Pitts S-1S G-BOXV 1110.26 1124.06 2234.32 51.720

Contest Director: Chris Sills, Contest Chief Judge: Rod Herve, Scoring Director: Jen Buckenham

Judges: Rod Herve, Nick Buckenham, Eric Marsh, Brian McCartney, Brian Gleave,

Judges Assistants: Dominic Gleave, Julie Lawley

FairPlay SystemACRO Version 5.0 Build: 26/08/21