Lakehurst Labor Day Report 2017 – Brett Sanborn

In Uncategorized on November 6, 2017 by nicholasandrewray

Lakehurst Labor Day Report 2017 – Brett Sanborn

The Labor Day 2017 contest at Lakehurst ended up drawing in several competitors from across the country. The full 2018 F1D team, John Kagan, Jake Palmer, and I were there along with defending world champion Kang Lee. Our team manager Tom Sova also attended, flying several events as usual. Junior F1D team members Joseph Szczur and Ross Clements flew for a couple of days along with Joseph’s dad, Don. Joseph set the F1D senior record with a time of 18:07. Steve Brown also made the trip to test a few models. Leo Pilachowski was there to keep us all on our toes. Steve Fujikawa made the drive to test out his F1Ds. Jerry Gross also made the trip from PA and flew a variety of models. Our club president, Horace Hagen, was able to work with the Air Force months in advance to provide access to Canadians Bill Silin and John Merett who flew several classes and set a number of Canadian Cat IV records.

Several months prior to the Lakehurst contest, we decided that it would be prudent to organize a club world record trial in case someone was able to fly the world record, the primary reasoning being that Kang, John, and I had all flown longer than 30 minutes under the 1.4 g F1D rules at Lakehurst in previous years, and it was well within Jake’s reach to do the same. The Cat IV world record was set by Ivan Treger in the Unirea Salt Mine in the spring of 2017 at the European Championships with a time of 29:43, which is an excellent time in the Salt Mine. Kang was especially well-positioned to increase the record as he held the national record at 31:36.

The week of the contest, the weather outlook for Lakehurst was pretty poor. Nick Ray e-mailed everyone a few days ahead of the contest to highlight how poor the weather outlook was, and encouraged us to reconsider making the trip. Nonetheless, everyone except Don Slusarczyk ended up making the trip to Lakehurst. On Friday, it appeared that the weather would be bad for the first two days and improve to 80 degree temperatures on Monday. We did indeed suffer poor weather conditions in Hangar 1 on Saturday. The temperature was a lowly 66 F with relatively high humidity of 67%. Despite the chilly temperatures, the air was fairly stable and allowed for decent test flights to assess how the models were climbing in the high ceiling. It rained throughout the morning on Sunday with slightly warmer temperatures (71 F) but with high humidity (80%) due to the rain, which also left several large puddles on the floor of the hangar and carrier deck. I noted on a few test flights that upon landing, I had water droplets on my wing and stab.

Despite the high humidity, the air was relatively stable and several people flew good half motor times. I was struggling to get the VP and max height tuned as well and to find the right motor. I was hopeful after a few half motors near 14 minutes and one 14:26; however, I wasn’t able to increase my half motor time beyond that and considered packing up around 5:50 PM knowing that it would likely be dark in an hour. I ended up putting up one more half motor at 6 PM that flew lower than the 14:26 and did 15:16, which indicated that the air was pretty good. Immediately after that flight, I moved model box and setup down to the floor of the hangar to launch a full motor, figuring that this would be my only shot for the day to do a decent full motor. At 6:40 PM, it was already starting to get dark. The temperature was 71 F and the humidity was still high at 75%, much less ideal than the 95 F and 56% humidity when I previously flew my best 1.2 g F1D flight of 42:03 in 2012. Despite launching in my normal spot in the hangar which usually gives a nice centered ascent, the model began to drift toward the wall during the climb. I waited as long as possible to steer, and ended up having to steer several times to reposition the model away from the wall and to be able to land on a clear patch of the floor. The model reached a maximum height of approximately 165 feet, which was much lower than I have flown for previous good flights at Lakehurst. I commented to Jake Palmer several times throughout the flight that I didn’t think it was going to do well. In the end, the model landed at 33:22 on the watch, including a total of 1 minute, 13 seconds of steering for a total flight time of 32:09—a new national and world record.* While I was happy with the time, I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold on to the record beyond that weekend since Jake and Kang’s models were flying very well and the weather on Sunday was forecasted to be better than Saturday.

The weather on Sunday was indeed better with temperatures near 80 F and lower humidity. While I flew many more good half motors compared to Sunday, including one over 15 minutes, I was not able to increase my record from the previous day. I had trouble getting my model to climb in the early stages of the flight which resulted in several stalled full motors. I am still not sure if this was due to some weak wing post issues or was caused by bumpy air. On my final attempt, I was roughly two-thirds of the way to the ceiling and the model seemed to be forced down in a rapid descent. My tail boom was damaged trying to prevent my model from landing on the tent drying rack. Kang was able to get a full flight launched at the end of the day around the same time as my record time from the previous day and was in a great spot, decently high up. His flight looked excellent and descended beautifully. I was constantly checking the time throughout his descent to see if I would be able to hold on to the record. His flight ended up landing after dark at roughly 31 minutes—meaning that I would most likely hold on to the record until we all were back in Lakehurst next year. From this experience I learned that it’s best to seize an opportunity to fly a full motor when the air seems good, and that magical days can happen at Lakehurst even when the weather outlook is poor—the trip was definitely worth it.

Thanks to Steve Brown for being the directing official, Jake Palmer and John Kagan for timekeeping, and Kang Lee for sending me his previous world record dossier to work from.



*Note: As of this writing, the AMA record has been approved. The FAI world record dossier has been submitted but has not been ratified.


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