|World Jet Masters - Thailand|
Here is a personal account of the trip to Thailand. I haven't gone into too much detail on the competition, as I know this will be covered in the usual model magazines
Jon Tappin and myself had decided last year that we would like to attend, and
I was planning on building a Fibre Classics F-86 Sabre. This has always
been a favorite aircraft of mine, but I have never built one.
The English team all met up at Heathrow Airport with models packed in large boxes and crates. Fortunately, the Super Sabre fits in a BVM Jet case! All had been pre-booked on Thai Airways but it took four hours to persuade them to take the models as accompanied baggage. We had a direct flight to Bangkok, but then had problems with Thai customs! There were many teams from other countries arriving, but no one could get past customs. After another six hours we were allowed to pass, and loaded all the models on lorries, and then were taken by bus to the superb hotel in Pattaya.
Next day, we all went to the flying site, 10 minutes away, using the shuttle bus. Models all arrived safely, and everyone was busy assembling them under the Coca Cola tents provided. The runway was superb, but landing anywhere else could spell disaster, as some found out!
The temperature was mid 80's, but not too humid. Jon had a test flight, and all was well, so we were ready for the competition. Most people left test flights until the next day, which was very busy! All flying was stopped in the afternoon for the opening ceremony.
The competition started early on the Monday morning. Wolfgang Klurr was first with a Mig-29. All models were weighed, fueled for takeoff. The Mig was at least 1kg over the 20kg limit! So the Germans took out fuel to bring it within limits and started engines on the runway to save time. Five people from different countries judged flying. After Wolfgang, it was our turn, and we were surprised to find the F-100 weighed 19kgs fully fuelled with nearly 5 litres. Jon did a great flight and all was well.
Static judging took place one hour after your first competition flight. This system meant the flying went on continuously all day with very few problems, due mainly to the organization of flight-line directors Tom Wilkinson and his wife.
It took two days for the 60+ contestants to have their first flight. There was 10-15 knot crosswind nearly all day, which proved a problem to some models, especially F-15's, F-16's. Jets from the 50's seemed to cope much better, having smaller fin areas!
With great weather, all three flying rounds were always going to be completed over the week, so judges had long lunch breaks, and limited flights to about 6 an hour. This was not the case at previous WJM in England and Austria, where it rained nearly everyday!
The standard of models and flying was much higher than previous events, and the English team completed the competition without any damage to their models. There were however some terminal crashes and models landing outside the runway were lucky to survive in one piece.
The nightlife in Pattaya is well known, and many of us went downtown after the official hotel activities had finished at 11.00pm. The Australians and English were regulars at some of the bars, getting back to bed in the early hours of the morning.
Apart from a few early problems, the whole event went smoothly and everyone had a great time without spending a fortune. A good meal out cost £2 or less! Taxis cost £2 to take 10 people downtown (15mins).
The weather and hospitality could not be beaten. I vote we go back again for the next one, but rumors are that it will be in South Africa in 2 years time.
I shall be writing a couple of articles about finishing the F-100 for Traplet in the near future; also I shall be taking the model to the USA next April and competing in the Top Gun event.
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