Wednesday, September 14, 2011

F3B Worlds Championship 2011 China

Hello glider fans,

The F3B worlds championship will be held 21-29 Sept in China. Its my privilege to be able to attend, instead of just going as a spectator, i wanted to do more,be involved, learn and kick-start this discipline in SG. Thanks to Roman ,  the contest director, who linked me up with the organizer. i am able to be there as a volunteer. Will share some of my notes here.

F3B is the pinnacle of FAI Sailplane model class, the Formula One of RC Soaring. The models are winch launched and required to compete in 3 demanding tasks:
A: Duration. Ten minutes thermal flight with precision spot landing.
B: Distance. Four minutes distance flight over 150 meter closed circuit (to get as many laps as possible.)
C: Speed. Flight over 4x150 meters, (to get fastest speed as possible)


Official website
pod cast with TeamUSA
- website of contest director

Team websites

Heading over to Jinan tomorrow.
Edited : Some Videos from F3B WC 2011 China here.

So here i am in Laiwu, Jinan, China at the F3B worlds. The F3B worlds is part of the China Int'l Aerosports Fiesta. CIAF, there will be other related events, airshows ,etc

Weather been pretty bad past 2 weeks, field is water logged. It stopped for a day yesterday, and rain is back again. We are hoping for better weather so that the practice sessions can get started.

Meanwhile, i am tasked with helping Roman train the Chinese referees, base judges for the competition. Spent a good morning session with Michal Behensky, part of the czech CD team who gave me a detailed run though of the rules. F3B is much more complicated then i though, many small techincal details. The Czech team is very professional, they ran the last world champions and were invited by the Chinese to run this one. They brought with them all the equipment , including a backup system.

Came up with a short handbook for referees and spend the hours translating.... with help from google translate. kekeke.

So today we meet up with about 20 Chinese referees. It was a surprise although China is not flying F3B for nearly 20 years,some of the past pilots turned up as referees and were quite well educated about F3B. Very enthusiatic bunch. Not too bad i felt, my half past 6 chinese manage to translate decently and they showed good understanding.

Hoping for better weather and waiting to see some field action tmr.

tempo stepping up, we were busy setting up the field pass 2 days, rolling out the carpets, setting up the bases, etc. F3B is fairly techincal so the field has lots of things to settle but almost there. For the worlds they setup up 2 sides so can launch from any direction , we really just need one side 250m, i m thinking where can we fly in SG, maybe OHR, Tampines or Tuas?

This afternoon, the practice sessions began for both the teams and referees. My first impression was the slope guys will love it, no need to wait for wind anymore , can fly anytime, the launches can go easiler 200+ to 300+ m, super fun.

Pics from practice day here.


F3B is very much a team sports. The pilot needs the other team mates and helpers to perform his best and the whole effort is a team effort.

Pulley line helper , collects the parachute and line and bring it back to winch. In f3b restarts are allow as many times in the working time, if there many not be enough winches so the pulley line helper is crucial to ensure there is always lines ready. Michal who was helping out the czech team in the last worlds told me he clocked 25km over 5 days as the pulley line helper.

Lauching guys. helps to lauch the models, very important guys as lauches are everything in F3B. Without a good launch, there is no way to get a good score.

During flying there is up to 3 helpers helping the pilot.
1 - main caller, looks for air , advises the pilot when to turn.
2- score board timer/ flight time keeper
3- working time keeper, laps, scouts for other team planes

The pre-worlds contest which serves as a warm up, just ended yesterday, the germans looking sharp and smooth. Rest of the teams are warming up nicely as well. results at

Today is the start of the Championship, should be exciting.

Nexxster, its definitely possible to host world class events like this in Singapore but not in the near future. RC flying as a competitive sports is still very much in the infancy in our region, unlike in europe and US where there are many competitions, etc. It takes alot of resources and support to organize such activities. More work needs to be done laying the foundations,we need to get into the schools, lay out programs , build up the community, etc like other mainstream sports. AFS has a very important role to play.

Anyhow, after a week of intense competition, the germans took top spots with their consistent flying. It has been a fantastic experience and i hope to share more when i get back. Gordon from team usa has some very good write ups at their website Full results at

Prize giving

Standardized winches uses to haul the gliders up

Stretching the body for maximum line tension before launch

Spot landing of Task A

Distance task - toughest task as well as requires most strategy. Teams looking and waiting for good air before launch. The whole groups flies together, collisons are not uncommon.

Speed task - need good estimation of base length.

Relaunching - Fast landing, bringing plane to winch fast is essential to minimize time loss

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