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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

French F3F championship 2012

Last week-end was the F3F championship 2012 near Grenoble, and organized by two local clubs (Busards, and Brié Alpes Soaring). We were very stressed because of the weather forecast with thunderstorms and low wind during the 3 days. On top of that we had a very bad surprise to learn the day before that the collective accomodation had been closed because of the death of the manager. 35 people without accomodation less than 24 hours before the beginning of the competition, that's a real problem ! Laurent Lombardo achieved a miracle (a very appropriated word as you will see) by finding a plan B in a very special place: an abbey/sanctuary at 1700meters of altitude in a magic place.

Saturday we met at the slope with all the competitors. around 1:30 pm, we launched the very first round with 6m/s growing to 11m/s at the end of the afternoon. We achieved 7 rounds during the afternoon, and hopefully the thunderstorms announced didn't come ! The best time was 34 seconds by Matthieu Mervelet and his FS4. The lift was variable with time to time some sink air, but also very good lift and thermal. This is usual in mountains with sunny weather. At the end of the day, Matthieu Mervelet was leading the competition followed by Andreas Fricke (Alliaj HM) and Philippe Lanes (FS4). On my side, I did 2 cuts, and got average air so was pointing in 5th position.

Sunday was another story. We could expect the same type of weather, but unfortunately, there was too much humidity, so clouds were continuously appearing on the slope and we stayed most of the afternoon in the cloud, before the thunderstorm comes around 4:30 pm, forcing us to declare the day off and run to the cars.

Monday, the last day of the competition, sunny weather was back again. We waited until midday before to be able to start the competition. We managed 4 additional rounds in 5m/s to 6m/s with usual thermals and sink air. Matthieu Mervelet was imperial, fighting for each flight, placing the plane on the right path, doing the right turn. He deserves his victory and title. Andreas just couldn't follow. Arnaud Krebs, who started the competition with a zero for diving, bypassed at the very end Philippe by a very small margin to finish third. On my side, I was hoping to recover a bit and target the 3th position. Weather decided differently, and I got only crap air when other pilots were getting consistent air round after round. I lost one place in the ranking to finish finally at the 6th position.

Aside the competition, we had a technical and very interresting presentation from Thierry Platon, and the second evening, I did a presentation and played a 30mn video about the french F3F team building sessions. The abbey/sanctuary welcome us very well and provided us all the facilities for meeting, drinks and presentations.

Picture by Alain Galinet

On the plane side, Alliaj HM and FS4 were the plane flying well. The slope was not as technical as some other slopes and didn't need Energy Management turns to succeed. More important was the flying path and the distance to the slope and the ground, some diving, but not too much, and of course the gain of altitude.

Overall, this championship was a success. With 11 rounds, we flew a lot during the 3 days. Organisation was really at the top, despite the last minute surprise for accomodation. We have been spoiled during the price giving and at the registration with a nice T-shirt, and some gifts sponsored by Flash-RC, and some other generous sponsors.

Here are the results with plane list (click on the image to get a better resolution):

The F3F season continues with the come back of a popular competition in Séderon (South-Alps).

Stay tuned !

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