2016 F5D World Championships; Lugo, Italy
Hello family, friends and fellow pylon racers. I wanted a place on the internet where anybody interested could view images and read about the team's activities and experiences during the F5D World Championships in Lugo, Italy. So I created this thread in the High Performance forum on RC Groups where I’ll try to post daily so you can keep up. I welcome comments and questions and will respond as time permits.
Before I go any farther, I feel compelled to make a statement about my “ranking” within the pylon racing community. This probably isn’t necessary, but I don’t want anybody to think I have some kind of ego just because I’m on a national team. I have too much respect and admiration for all the past and present top-level pylon racers around the world for me to think I’m any better.
I’ve been pylon racing for about four years now and I think I’ve caught on pretty quickly. I’d say I’m a pretty good pylon racer, but there are lots of “pretty good” pylon racers out there, so that makes me about average!
And if all the best pylon racers in the US were also flying F5D, I probably wouldn’t be going to Italy. If you handed an experienced pylon racer an F5D plane he could probably fly a sub-60 second race after a few flights. But nobody hands you a plane. You also have to learn about the planes, motors, propellers, batteries, Watt limiters, wiring, etc. Then, you have to learn the intricacies of building and handling an F5D plane. It’s a whole other world than glow pylon racing. F5D takes the same amount of time, drive and dedication that it probably takes take to understand how to tune a Q40 engine and be competitive in that class.
All said, I don’t see why any of us on the US team can’t hover around 60-second race times and dip below 60 at least a couple of times. My greatest desire is for like a 57 or a 58 which a good F5D pilot can do. But plenty of 60s without to many 200s (DNFs or double-cuts) should put us right about in the middle of the overall standings.
Okay, back to pylon…below is a link to the home web site of the world championships. There, you’ll be able to view more images and see results. The Open contest – which is a two-day, four rounds per-day warm-up competition for the world championships is Friday and Saturday August 12 – 13. The world championships is also four rounds per-day, four days Monday August 15 through Thursday, August 18.
In addition to my class – F5D electric pylon racing – there will be another competition going on at another area of the same site which is F5B. F5B planes are similar to F5D in that they are hyper performance planes made from composites (carbon fiber or carbon fiber and Kevlar), but F5B planes are larger and more like gliders. F5B planes have about three times (six times?) the power of an F5D plane. They fly segments between two markers, but can run their motors only when outside the markers. The goal is to glide as many laps as possible between the markers. When the plane gets too low the pilot can apply power, ascend, then glide more power-off laps. At the end, there is also a duration gliding component followed by more points scored with a spot landing – all using a pre-determined, minute amount of power – they have to get in all these tasks and can run their motors only for so long. So an F5B plane must be able to glide efficiently while also being able to fly fast – kind of two opposite ends of the spectrum making it very challenging for the pilots!
Here’s the link to the WC home page (to view information on F5D click on the “F5D” pull down tab across the top of the menu bar):
And if you’re interested to learn more about an F5D plane here are links to threads where I’ve posted images, videos and building progress of the F5D planes I am flying now:
BBR Dominator from Bruce deChastel (Australia):
Avionik D16 from Sergey Sobakin (Russia):
Rook from Sasha Boiko (Ukraine):
Shameless plug: I have a connection with Sasha Boiko and you can purchase a Rook here in the US from me. I’m out-of-stock currently, but am expecting two more Rooks within a couple of weeks. As a point of reference, here’s a link to an ad in the RC Groups Classifieds for the last Rook I sold:
Back to USA F5D…
The 2016 USA F5D electric pylon racing team comprises:
Bruce Brown, San Diego, CA
Jim Nikodem, Crystal Lake, IL
Trey Witte, Mint Hill, NC
Myself (Tim Lampe), Champaign, IL
Trey didn’t catch onto F5D in time to compete in the team trials last year, so he can’t compete in the world championships, but he’s considered a Team member just the same and is an expert pylon racer himself. I see and compete against Trey in EF1 and Super Sport Quickie 500 (AMA 426) at the Nat’s and a few of the other AMA races. Trey took 2nd in Quarter 40 at the 2015 Nat’s which is a BIG DEAL! Trey will accompany us as a friend/assistant/helper and will also compete in the F5D Open contest.
In the meantime, tonight and tomorrow I’ll be dismantling my planes and packing them in my long gun case that will travel with me as over sized, checked baggage. I depart from O’Hare this Sunday, August 7.
Just for something to see for now, I’ll conclude this first post with a video of a couple practice flights with teammate Jim Nikodem and myself at my local flying field back in April. Fellow pylon racer Bernie Vanderleest was our pylon 1 judge operating the light down at pylon 1.
When we all meet up in Italy I’ll be certain to begin posting images of the team and all kinds of other images.
Last edited by KRProton; Aug 05, 2016 at 04:54 PM.
Stu and Andrea, see you there!
In the meantime, today was a long, but beautiful day. The weather cooled off and we turned off the air conditioning and opened up the house. I slept in a little, then got to work packing my planes. In my Pelican long gun case I have three Dominators, one Avionik D16 and one Rook. And the motors/ESCs, propellers and a bunch of other crap. I have my transmitter and batteries in one radio case and my charger and soldering station in another case for carry-on.
Just a few more clothes to pack, then my wife drives me up to Chicago O'Hare for a 4:30 departure. Conveniently, two of my teammates Jim and Bruce are on the same flight.
Catch you on the other side!
Summary of Day 1
Travel and our first day here was kind of a doozie, so as I write this I have just woken up on our 2nd day here.
The drive up from home to O'Hare was easy. I checked my suitcase and handed my oversize luggage/long gun case with my planes over to TSA and said good by to it.
I kissed my wife goodbye and got in-line to go through security. Wendy lingered long enough for me to smile back at her as I turned and twisted through the maze.
Then “it was on.” The standard security stuff – take off your belt and shoes, empty your pockets, the whole deal.
I had two carry-on cases; one with my charger and soldering station and lap top and the other with my transmitter and about 20 LiPos! The LiPo case stopped in the scanner machine thing and the guy asked “what's in this one?” I said a radio control transmitter and LiPo batteries. He said “that's a lot of batteries,” then pushed it on through!
I met teammate Bruce Brown who had just flown in from San Diego. We got a McDonald's and went to the terminal where we expected to meet up with other teammate Jim Nikodem (a pilot for American Airlines).
In an ironic twist of fate (sorry for the cliché) Jim had forgotten his passport and was on his way back home to retrieve it.
Long story short, Jim missed the flight but would catch the next one. The main concern was that I hadn't done my homework in scouting out directions and the route from the airport at our final destination to the hotel and Jim was going to be my navigator.
Well, the seven-hour flight out from O'Hare to Heathrow was a walk in the park – other than I froze my ass off!!!
Well, we made it to Heathrow no problem for a 90-minute layover. Then guess what; another security check! Oh boy, What will THEY think of my LiPos?
Turns out there was nothing to be concerned about because I skated right through again!
We got on a bus and took a long ride out to the gate. The flight from Heathrow to Bologna was another easy one – just about 2 hours.
We get on another bus for a ride from the plane to the airport which was about...100'.
We recovered our regular luggage immediately, but nothing spit out the oversize turnstile so it was time to start worrying about our airplanes. We went to the lost-and-found to let them know. They said it would come in on the next arrival from Heathrow at 6:00pm which was an inconvenient convenience because that was the same flight Jim was coming in on.
So onto the rental car place. The girls at Avis were very nice and talkative and helpful. I got the keys and headed to the garage to retrieve the car. We made the decision to rent a big van to haul the four of us and all our planes and junk. The walk to the garage was a lot farther than we thought. We had to go outside the building and walk pretty far outside to the garage. It was pretty warm out – like it's been back home in the Midwest, but not too humid.
We get to the vehicle and it's just a little crappy mini van. That's not going to work. So I go back to Avis and they said it's the largest vehicle they have. Meanwhile, Bruce is sweltering back in the garage while I try to sort this out.
So I go over to the Hertz office to see what they have. They had some full-size Ford Transits for about half the price of the Avis deal. So I go out to the garage to get a good look at a Transit. I go back to Avis, cancel the contract, then go back to Hertz. They offered a couple other choices, so I go BACK OUT to the garage and one of the guys shows me two other vehicles. I decide on the Opal something-or-other and we're ready to go – and for about half the price as Avis!
By now our window of time to check into the hotel (wherever the hell it is) and get back to retrieve Jim and our planes is narrowing.
Anyway, we get in the van and realize, we don't know where the hell the hotel is. Luckily, Bruce had printed out a rough map and the Opal has navigation, so after about 30 minutes of back-and-forthing with the navigation we ask the kid in the car rental place to key it in for us which he mercifully did
Oh yea, the Opal van is a stick shift. Luckily our main car is a Volkswagon CC which is also a stick, so no problem there. But the garage is really tight and the Opal has a crappy turning radius, so I must have looked like Austin Powers in that one scene in the movie where he gets the golf cart stuck in that hallway.
So we're on the highway and we come to a toll booth. What the hell am I supposed to do? I know what a toll booth is, but where do I put in the money and what kind of money? Luckily, all we had to do was take a ticket.
A few miles farther down we come to another toll booth. Which one is cash? I pull up to a booth and luckily I had a couple Euros Wendy had given me. I didn't know what to do with it, but a cleaning lady for the facility happened to be there, so she stuck the money in the machine for me and handed over the change. “Grazzi” I said and away we went.
A few wrong turns later we were out in the country. Where the hell are we now? All of a sudden we come upon “Hotel Selice” and there we were. We drive around the building but cannot find anything that looks like the entrance. Just a shut down restaurant.
We finally make it around to the entrance and get checked in. The guy spoke hardly any English, but we made it work. We had just enough time to get into the room with our suitcases and transmitter cases, then off to get Jim!
Luckily (again), the airport was already programmed into the navigation, so we made it there pretty easily. But where the hell should we park? Of course! The parking garage where we rented the car! So we drive in and are reacquainted with our new-found rental car buddies. They said we could park there for an hour. So we go to the lost-and-found and they said come back later about a half-hour after the plane lands.
The plane lands and Jim and I start texting back-and-forth. We plan a scheme for him just to grab all our plane cases and waltz right on out!
From the other side of the lost-and-found we can see Jim and the place where the oversize luggage spits out. Jim picks up his case, but no more cases. A few minutes later he picks up a silver case (Bruce's home-made aluminum case), then another black one like mine, but it wasn't mine. A minute or two later there's mine. So we fill out some papers, hand over our passports again and yaaaaaaay! We get our planes.
So we head out from the airport with all the people and all the plane cases.
Back to the hotel Jim gets checked in and we all open our boxes to see if there is any damage. The wing tip of one two of my Dominators has a little chip out of them, but that's about it. Guess I'll have to round them off a little.
I had also forgotten to pick up my FAI papers and stickers we need to register our planes for the competition. Wendy will overnight that today.
By now it's a about 9:00 at night. We head out to find a place to eat and come upon this little diner. We go in and there's the US F5B team.
The nice young woman who waited on us didn't speak any English. I tried to order a medium pizza with pepperoni, sausage, cheese and extra sauce. She brings out this huge thing with peppers and french fries. I don't know how she got “french fries” out of “pepperoni, sausage, cheese and extra sauce,” but it provided quite the laugh for everybody.
Anyway, I had a couple of Cokes with my pizza (had to order the ice separately) and was content. But I don't recommend fries on your pizza!
So back to the hotel, take a closer look at the planes, a few Facebook entries, then a good night's sleep. The hotel room is just okay. Pretty small especially for two guys and eight or ten airplanes, but we'll make it work.
More images and airplane stuff to follow. For now, get a clean shave and a shower and maybe some breakfast.
Last edited by KRProton; Aug 09, 2016 at 03:20 AM.
WOW! Brings back some bad memories of the 2006 Romania worlds. My planes didn't show up for 3 days. And the airport was about 1.5 hours from the hotel one way. We drove back and forth everyday until they finally arrived! We didn't have a navigation system and we took a different route every time! Fun Times.
Day 2: Tuesday, August 9
Today was a long day (crap! 11:40pm already!), but an easy day. Not too much to do today, and wee need to recover a little, so we slept in until around 8:00. Got up, unpacked some airplanes a little more, then took a shower and met the guys in a little outside area for a banana and croissant (had to Google up the spelling on that one!) and some grape fruit juice for breakfast. It was already sunny, but the umbrella awnings sheltered us and it was magnificent. Nice and quiet too. We chatted with Bruce Flockhart and his wife (I apologize, her name escapes me) who travels around with the US F5B team.
We then followed our caper (hi Wendy!) to scout out the local grocery stores and get some supplies. Of course, the local crazy guy set his sights on meand it's pretty hard telling someone with a mental handicap who doesn't speak English that you don't speak Italian.
We then drove around one of the local towns. Let me tell you one thing, don't get an Opal Vivaro – nice enough vehicle, but it has the turning radius of a Cruise ship! You should have seen me trying to maneuver out of the parking spot after dinner this evening! Austin Powers all over again!
Well, we eventually made it out to one of the designated practice sites (available until the contests begin). There, we met a nice family, their dog Fidel (not named after Castro they insisted!) and a couple of RC pilots lounging in the shade and flying some FPV quads and an F5J glider. They were very accommodating and even offered to order a pizza for us!
We had just eaten so we declined. We didn't have our models together yet, but we lingered for a while and took in the quiet.
We then headed to the contest site at a local airport. It was very quiet, but they had the competitor's tents erected. The F5D course will be positioned over a paved runway, but we will land off to the side in the dry, crunchy grass. Shouldn't present too much problem.
We then headed into another little town and had some croissant sandwiches at a nice little pastry shop. The plan was to to take the food back to the hotel, but the lady poured our cans of Coke into glasses, so I guess we were supposed to eat there. It was great anyway and we sat outside in the shade. Another perfect little moment.
We then made it back to the hotel and met up with Niel Davy Australian F5D team manager and father of one of the Australian F5D pilots. We had a nice chat with him in the meeting area outside the hotel. I think this is going to be the spot for many friendly, relaxing meetings to come.
My bestest buddy and mentor Bruce deChastel (maker of the BBR EVO 5Dominators I fly) showed up, and boy were his arms tired! They had just flown in from Australia via Dubai. Bruce says he had been traveling for 24 hours straight. We gave each other a nice embrace, then he and his crew were off to do some recon of their own.
After that us US guys went up to our rooms and put our models together and started charging some batteries.
Finally, around 8:00 we headed out to dinner to another spot we had scoped out. Again, we sat outside. I had a steak with a caprese (another Google search required for spelling) salad on the same plate. One of the best meals I ever had.
I thought we were going to lose Bruce for a moment there when, apparently he must have bit off a little more than he could chew. All of a sudden he stood up and was a little sick. After a few moments it passed and all was okay. Whew! Just one of those crazy things! I assure Bruce is all okay now.
Back to the room a little more airplane work, then off to the practice site at 9:00am tomorrow. I think I'll brush up with my Avionik D16, then to the Rook, then my Dominators.
Then we pick up our other team member Trey Witte back at the airport at about 6:30pm – we got your back Trey!
The WiFy seems to be working pretty consistently here, but the signal strength says “Low.” We'll see what happens when more people arrive and start hogging up the signal!
Here are some pics of the Opal Vivaro, the practice site, the contest site, views of the hotel room, views FROM the hotel room, views OF the hotel and Fidel (not Castro!).
I guess that's all for now. Hopefully some good airplane pics tomorrow.
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