Tuesday, December 25, 2007

More Pictures Part 2

Well folks the pictures are finally posted. Sorry for the delay.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

More pictures

We are slowly acclimatizing ourselves to the cold weather that has replaced our southern climate we were just getting used too! Oh well it was great while it lasted.

Xavier has posted some pictures on the net at the following locations.





PS My UPS shipment that I sent down prior to leaving has just been return yesterday... seems there were a few flaws in the customs process... all in good order though.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Heading Home Day 5

Once we hit Toronto we had to wait a long time for the planes to be delivered to the oversize area. We then scrambled to clear customs, recheck bags, go through security again and then find the gate. The weather was dreadful with freezing rain and snow and a world apart from were we had just been. Mark looked a little out of place in his shorts!

Our connecting flight was waiting for us and we were one of the last people on board. With the crappy weather making a considerable impact on operations at Pearson Airport we final got airborne at 11:02 local or 2 hours late after they sprayed the airplane…. I believe there were lots of delays today.

Our flight out of Vancouver to Victoria was changed to accommodate the delayed arrival but we just headed right to the gate as there was a flight leaving in 20 minutes (12:00). We were given new boarding passes and headed to the plane. The baggage and planes had already been loaded!!! I have to say it was an awesome job by the Air Canada folks.

Lauren and Sid met us at the airport and we gathered all our stuff. Said our goodbyes to Mark & Robyn and headed home. Checked the planes out (well actually I had to unpack the planes so Kelly could get at her shopping and everything was in good shape. We are all beat from the long trip and will relax the day away… a nap may be in order.

I’ll plan a review of my trip in the coming days….. suffice to say it exceeded my expectations beyond anything I imagined.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Heading home. Day 4

Our last day here started with the usual morning breakfast. We couldn't get on the internet at all so headed up to start packing the bags once we finished eating. Due to the large amount of shopping that a certain someone has done over the past two weeks we are now in "jettison mode". Lint brush, shaving cream, shampoo bottles, clothing bags/boxes etc. will be left behind in an effort to evade those nasty "overweight airline surcharges"!

I popped down with Mark and we were able to get back on-line.. hence this blog posting. I'll update throughout our journey home.

We checked out of the hotel on schedule at shortly after noon. Our rentals were brought forward to the front of the hotel on Cerrito street. Once we loaded our gear we were quickly on No 9 De Julio heading towards the Obelisco (The giant monument in the center of the city.) This was a crazy ride as there are so many lanes, well marked by the way, but it’s just a guide. You basically take your section of the ground and “maintain” position behind the vehicle in front. It’s like NASCAR as the speeds are only slowed by traffic lights. BTW this is the only place we witnessed people actually completely stopping at red lights. Once the light turns red, a throng of pedestrians make their way across in front of you. They walk with purpose much like Kelly heading to the shops on day one in Buenos Aires J The locals also have an innate sense of when the light will turn green and they must be clear of the cross walk or be crushed under the onslaught of automobiles! Organized chaos as Robyn once described it.

In short order we were on No 25 De Mayo and heading directly to the airport. A quick fuel stop ensued and we hit the departure area. The Thrifty Car guy showed up and after some paperwork was done we headed for the check in counter with all our gear.

Ok so it’s 13:30 and the check in counter opens at 15:00.??? So much for the “Get there early” stuff we were told.. arrghh. We were pretty much first in line and one of the baggage guys help us get the plane boxes squared away and prepped. He also helped out with the agent when it came time to put them through security. He was most helpful and received a nice tip $$.

We headed back towards the gate and spotted the Australian Team with all their planes in deep discussion with an airline official. Turns out they did not remove their 4 stroke engines (only cleaned them out.) We tried to help but all our tools (Allen keys) had already been checked. We wished them luck and went to the gate feeling a little remorseful for not being able to help out their team. It may be a long night for those folks.
The flight departed on schedule and we enjoyed the new in-flight entertainment system this aircraft had. A refreshing change from the blank seat back I looked at for 13 hours coming down from Toronto to Buenos Aires. I prepped our blog update on our way over to Santiago, Chile We will stop for an hour or so and re-board the same plane for the flight to Toronto. I looked around for our camera and after searching through all our bags realized it’s gone missing.
In reflection, I had taken a picture of Mark flaked out in the waiting lounge and must have left it behind when we boarded the plane in Buenos Aires. I notified the airline when we got to Santiago and will leave it in their hands… never know it might turn up someday.
The Canadian Team.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buenos Aires Day 3

Met up with Mark & Robyn for breakfast in the hotel as this is our normal meeting process. This is also our blogging/e-mail time as well although connection has been hit and miss the last couple days.

The plan is to split up this morning as they have several shops scoped out that they want to visit. Kelly wants to do the other half of the pedestrian street that we have not seen yet. I will …gulp… do my duty and shop with her for the morning at least. Hey it’s a small sacrifice and how often do you get a chance to do it in Buenos Aires… besides I am planning on picking up an MZ-14 so brownie points count!

NEWS FLASH!! Ok I never thought it possible! After leaving Kelly in the shops, I returned to the hotel to get some blogging updated and e-mails read. When she returned later in the day, she uttered the words I have waited to hear for a long time…. “I never what to go to another store”…. I was dumbfounded, shocked and totally unprepared! Wow with the money we will save that MZ-14 is looking better all the time! Mark and Robym also hit the stores.. twice actually and were also shopped out much like Kelly.

We headed for dinner but to my amazement, (not really :-) Kelly had recovered slightly from her “shopper shock” and managed to hit a couple shops before we ate. We return to the airport tomorrow and, as we have a noon check out time, we have made arrangements for a 13:00 car drop. This is going to give us lots of time to clear Argentinean Customs and get all our stuff checked in before our departure. I am betting Kelly’s bag(s) will be overweight :-)

Here are a couple pictures as we walked about. Sometimes a strange mix of old & new buildings.

Lot's of dog walkers.

Statue at Pellegrinni's memorial.

Ok this is the plate of steaks they bought out at La Estancia Parradilla (BBQ) to show the customers. We had to put this picture up so Kelly’s brother Rodney (a big beef eater BTW) could see it as a picture is worth a thousand words. HUGE steaks! Very impressive!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Buenos Aires Day 2

Met up with Mark & Robyn for breakfast in the hotel. Its included every morning in our “package deal” the gals arranged. The hotel is not as nice as Santa Fe but its clean and close to everything. We are right on #9 De Julio, “just minutes from the shops” according to Kelly. Wireless helps me get the blogging done at breakfast!

Kelly took this shot of me infront of the Obelisco... I figure its at the top of the box :-)

We walked many miles today and my legs are feeling it! Mark got his 400th geocahe at a very interesting Argentinian Tall Ship.

#400! Very cool.

There is a very sleek pedestrian swing bridge down at the waterfront. Here is a shot of the gang.

We scouted out some eateries down by the water frontand decided on Italian tonight just for a change of pace. I wonder if the spaghetti will taste as good as my moms...:-)

The rest of the team fly out today at 18:15 and we will head home Wednesday. We are sitting in the right now watching the largest traffic jam I have ever witness... we are guessing at 22 plus lanes of bumper to bumper rush hour traffic! I'll take some pictures tonight/tomorrow. For all you RC guys hoping for pictures of Latin American hotties... neither Mark or I have seen any.... well maybe a few :-)..... the women have seen lots of good looking men though :-)

Dinner as planned was Italian. We grabbed a cab and went back down to the waterfront as Mark had spotted a great menu from one of the many restaurants in the area. The cab ride was a nice break from the many miles of walking we have done in the past few days. Although the cabbies could not speak English, we managed to travel both ways with no difficulty whatsoever. Our total return cab fare down and back was $6.50 Canadian including tip! Forget walking! Check out the video :-)

Here is the gang in the cab. We strolled around, took some more night pictures and then loaded up on pasta. It was delicious and very filling.

After dinner we continued to stroll (to work off the pasta!) and came across a soccer game being played under the lights. We stayed for ten minutes and marveled at the speed & skill these players exhibited as well as the seriousness of play. It was like pickup hockey... only better quality.

Kelly and I on the pedestrian bridge.

Kelly and Robyn in front of this neat neon art deco “sculpture”.

We then managed to get the last geocache in Buenos Aires for the four of us. It was a "micro" with coins in it so we left a Canadian quarter and Robyn left a coin and Canada Flag pin.
We then grabbed one of the half million cabs driving around the city for the trip home to the hotel. We are done for the night.

Buenos Aires Day 1

It’s a wrap on the 25th Worlds! We had a great time at the banquet the night before but it was so late into the evening (dinner was served at 23:00) that most teams headed out after desert was served. We met up with the gang the next morning for breakfast and a rehash of the previous day’s events.

We said our goodbye’s to my fellow team members and friends before leaving the winds of Santa Fe and the now simple sanctity of one plane and one pilot working the flight box. We trade that for the super pedestrian shopping area of Buenos Aires and the chance to rub elbows with half a million other shoppers! Even my wife is in S.S. mode…. “Shopper Shock”. Every fancy shopping store is located in a special walking area in the heart of the city just off the main street of #9 De Julio. Now when I say “Main Street” I am not kidding…. it has more lanes than our very own BC Ferries parking lot.

Team Suriname heads down the highway.

I was very lucky on the shopping trip with Kelly today as I was able to pick up a couple Pico Dulce suckers. These are great little treats and help pass the time as the wife drags me from store to store. (Just ask Andrew Jesky… it worked for him before round 4 on Saturday!)

Anyway I did actually pick up some men’s cologne as my previous scent had long since mellowed since my glow powered days:-) .
We had a good look around and found some great parks close by. We plan to check them out over the coming days.

We had a great steak dinner (best so far) at a restaurant close to our hotel in the walking district. They have a huge BBQ pit going and it was incredible service from start to finish. We decide after dinner that it will be our “last meal” location prior to leaving Wednesday.

We walked back to the hotel on a great evening. We are beat so it's early to bed for all of us. We plan on doing some geocaching tomorrow.
More on my pack issue later :-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tech Support Update

Well it's been over 3 weeks since Dave last saw his F3A packs that he sent by UPS Canada to Argentina. This was done to ensure that they would be here when we arrived ready for practice on November 5th. Dave's wife (Kelly) received a sheepish telephone call a couple of days ago from the UPS representative in B.A. that the shipment has been sent back to Canada at no charge this after many emails and even a telephone call to the Canadian Consulate to try and access the shipment.
It's a good job that we had a back up plan otherwise Dave would have been scrambling to borrow packs from other pilots. We did manage to talk to Colin McGinn of FlightPower who came to cover the semi finals and finals for the company. Colin told us that FlightPower UK sent 19 sets of F3A packs with banners, hats, shirts etc. to support the pilots using their products at the event and these mysteriously disappeared in the Argentina customs. A second shipment was sent and received here by one of the teams using the FlightPower products but we had no idea that they were available. Colin was very supportive in our situation and the company will support us in replacing any of the product we have lost. Thanks Colin!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 7 -Finals

Up late this morning as we all slept in a little. We spent the morning packing up the planes and getting ready for our departure tomorrow... seems like we got here yesterday!

We decided to head out around lunch time to the flying site. We will watch the last F-07 and Unknown rounds before attending the closing ceremonies at 16:30 this afternoon. We'll plan to head back to the hotel to prepare for the big "social" this evening. It starts at 21:00 at the Terminal building so one more trip to the airport.
We headed out at 11:45 and watched the F-07 round and then the Unknowns. It was blazing hot today as the temp in the car showed 38C (100.40 F). We melted in the sun as we watch the flights. Mark and I pose with the FAI flag when we arrived at the flying site. The pilots had all been up early as the first round started at 07:00.

Onda prepares for his final unknown sequence as they watch the warmup flight.

QQ puts in his final unknown round at the competition. He flew very well as did all the pilots at this level.

Team Canada had a large cheering section infront of USA. We had very high temperatures at 33F and the girls made a nice long trip back to the car for an "air conditioning check".

You can't get much closer to the action than this!

QQ gets a helping hand as he heads towards the van.

We all huddled in the shade as we awaited the closing ceremonies to begin. We managed to find a nice cold water tap to help cool us off.

Team Canada poses for a shot prior to the closing. Speaches, flyby's and fireworks ensued.

The French, US and Japanese teams after recieving their awards

Quique celebrates after winning the Individual World F3A Worls Championships! It took 27 years to get to this point in his carear.

Chad dresses up really good as we socialize at the banquet. We ate very late but everyone seemed to enjoy the event. Every one was very tired!

They put on a very nice dancing show to entertain the guests. Other than the late hour it was very well done. We headed back to the hotel around 00:30 and watched a dazzling light show of lightning. Xavier has some great pictures that I hope to post.

We will head to Buenos Aires in the morning for a couple days of sightseeing and down time. I'll update this blog with some comments as time permits.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 6 - The Semi Finals

We are all looking forward to seeing the flying today as the quality is going up big time. As I reflect on my performance here, it's evident that making the semi's will be the next goal for me. It's the next step in the process and this trip and the whole experience will certainly help as I focus on the next goal. Hey the Canadian Team trials are just 9 months away :-)
Ok now on to the details of our day..... We arrived at line "B" early to support Chad in his push for the finals. We met up the US team along with many of the other competitors that were scheduled to fly on this line. The 27 semi finalists were split between the two flight lines with each group flying in front of 10 judges. The fliers will switch sites during the lunch break.
The winds continued with a moderate blow out condition. These are pretty much the norm for the spring here. As the flight lines are set up on the taxiways they are subject to this crosswind condition.

The planes were put together in preparation for the first on two flights today.

The US guys also gather prior to the start of the flying session. Much discussion about the winds... winds... winds.

Mark poses with Chad's Twister.

Marco Mechanic and Chad carry towards the flight line.
Interesting things started to happen as the flying started early for some reason. It was scheduled for 08:30 but the first guy was up at about 08:10.

Chad has his batteries checked while the Swiss competitor ahead of Chad appears to be a no show. He may be going much earlier than originally scheduled. Not a big deal as he is well prepared to fly. The Swiss flyer Marc Rubin casually walked over and asked if Chad was next up as the ready box beside Chad was empty. They said "no your up next." and the Swiss team went into into overdrive as they quickly brought up their plane and equipment.

A further delay ensued as the Transmitter flash card (carrying the model settings) was missing from the TX. mmmm.... interesting no? Another mad dash to the van to retrieve the card and Marc was up and flying.

Chad's plane was once again sound tested (every plane was checked prior to flight) and passed the test.

Jason and some of the US team watch Chad's flight of F-07. Chad was fourth up and had a very good flight (At least I thought so anyway as I have seen him fly a lot this past week.)

We spent the remainder of the morning watching the other competitors flights. Some good, others not so good. All in all we felt Chad had a good flight and would score well against what we observed.

A shot of Quique's Euphorias. Absolutely beautiful aircraft.

While awaiting the results we met up with the Plettenberg family that had just flown in from Germany. They came out to support the various pilots flying their equipment. It was a pleasure meeting then and I made sure they had some Team hats and pins to wear.

The scores..... well I am no expert on this judging thing at this level. Although I have flown in many contests as well as judged many flights over my RC career I must say I, along with Mark, were absolutely mystified at the scores award to some pilots. Flights that were much worse than Chad's scored higher! (?) Now I could go on about the judging but I am Canadian after all, and we are known as friendly, easy going, peace loving people that don't get wrapped up in the semantics of issues. So with some wise words of wisdom I had from my parents as a youth.... If you have nothing nice to say... don't say anything at all. So with that in mind I will remain very, very, quiet.
We headed for lunch at the Airport Terminal... ya try as I might to travel around the world, it's ironic that I and up in an airport cafeteria! Anyhow lunch was fast and then we headed to the "A" Flight line down by the hangers in preparation for Chad's second flight in the afternoon.
Chad prepares for the second flight.
Once flying started a rather large crowd gathered and were treated to some great flying. Once again Chad had a good flight and was very consistant. Both flights had some minor errors but he presented it very well I thought. (Both of these flight today were almost identical.)
Another shot down the pit area prior to the second flight.

Part of the Canadian cheering squad enjoying the heat of the afternoon

Quique's son gets "pinned" by Team Canada.

As we await the scores, Rosemary Ells, Brian Northeast, Mr Jesky and Mark relax in the shade of the lift gate.

When the dust settled (literally!) Chad was in 22nd position overall. The top 10 pilots will now head to the Holiday Inn (main hotel for the event) and choose their unknown manoeuvres for the finals tomorrow..... it will be a long night for them as they try to figure it all out. We, on the other hand, hosted a nice enjoyable "social" in our hotel room before heading out for dinner .
The finals go tomorrow! Should be good as the entire US, Japanese and French teams all qualified along with one Italian flyer.
Results of Semi Final flights here http://www.argentinaf3a.com/semifinal-flights.aspx
Lots of pictures here: Thanks Xavier!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 5 - Semi's Practice

We are all up for breakfast at 0700. We will head to Galvez to assist and support Chad as he prepares to compete in the semi finals on Friday. Mark and I plan to take our new kites and work on our synchronized kite flying.... because the swimming thing isn't working for me :-)

We expect to see the Japanese and Italian teams practicing as well. The girls are going shopping of course.

Update... Ok so our plans changes somewhat.... we decided that a return to San Lorenzo was the best bet at uninterupted practice for Chad. Dez & Xavier also made the trip down to burn off some voltage prior to the trip home. Xavier got a chance to fly in the southern hemisphere and was having a lot of fun with Dezso's Prestige. Chad put in 9 rounds and was looking good as we all tried to offer constructive critisism . Nice clean snaps with well flown rollers. He is ready.

We also managed to get the kites out that we purchased at the main flying site. As the winds are still howling it was the perfect stress reliever for us all. Mark and I have now moved from the pool area to syncronized kite flying.

Chad is up on Line "B" at about 09:00 local tomorrow so it of to bed early for the whole gang.
I finally had a cold alchoholic beverage following my final flight on Wednesday... I have been abstaining in preparation for the event. So even though it may look like I had a couple of drinks in the picture on Robyn's blog ... nothing could be farther from the truth. The team comes first.
I'll update in the a.m.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 4 - The lady sings.....

Slept in today as Team Canada takes to the skies at line "A" in the afternoon. It was a nice change. I'll be first up followed by Chad and then Dezso. I'll update when we get back....

Ok I am back! It was carnage in Santa Fe when we arrived at the airport this morning. Strong winds prevailed.. Mark says the winds on Sunday, added to Monday & Tuesday equaled what was experienced today! 8 t0 9 meters per second with gusts to 13 created havoc for landings in particular. The first 11 fliers on line "B" had finished their flights with no less that 5 of them suffering damage to both wings and gear. The worst was Bernhard Schaden's Onyx that suffered major damage when the prop hit the ground.

Here Chad and Mark check out the damage. A very clean break that should be easily repaired.

After a short break due to the high winds. The head of the competition Mario Korman checks wind speed with Marco Mechanico observing.
We headed to the other flight line to set up and prepare for our afternoon flights. It is very windy......... and I probably would not have risked my plane if I was at my home field but hey, this is the worlds! Mark and I prepped the planes as we readied for my final P-07 flight of the contest. I am a realist and the chances of making the semi's is very slim ( this means non-existent :-) I would need a 550 or so to make it and ... well maybe wishful thinking, not really possible in the company of the great fliers that are present.
There were many delays prior to my flight. Try as he might, our team manager Harry Ells tried to keep us concentrating on the task at hand but unfortunately the local peeler palace sent over a few scantily clad girls to promote their establishment. I tried my best to not be taken off focus so I left the picture taking to my fellow Canadian Teammate Xavier.

Xavier did a pretty good job of capturing the moment?don't you think.

Anyhow.. back to RC flying.... lots of excitement on both takeoff and landings the winds were howling. Lots of zero landings as many planes inadvertently ended up behind the flight line as they overshot their final approach. One airplane from Brazil missed Dezso by 5 feet as it made it's landing. It ended up to the right and behind the judges station. The takeoffs were equally interesting.

I "launched" my Twister for my final flight and fought the strong winds as best I could. Not a great performance but I was happy I had the opportunity to compete at this level. I zeroed the spin entry as the plane pitched way to high in the strong winds. Sheesh twice in three days... not my usual style. I managed to get it back to terra firma in one piece and was rewarded with a 400 score. Sorry to let the team down but this will end up as the throw away round for the event. I'll end up in 50th position out of 83 competitors.
Chad was next up on our team and put in another great round with only minor errors observed. He seemed happy with the flight even with the stiff winds. He ended up with a 500 score and finished in 22nd position overall. This qualifies him for the semi-finals starting Friday. Congratulations Chad well done! My mechanico Mark has now been promoted to help Chad during the semi's.

Ultimate starter motors... powered by Flight Power!

Dez was last up for our team and had a good round going until he got blown in the last few elements. Aside from this he had a good competition and was awarded 37th place overall.

As I wrap up my slice of the worlds competition, I would be remiss to not thank the many folks that have helped support me through this effort. To the fine folks at Duralite Flight Systems & CRC Products.ca, my fellow club members at the Victoria Radio Control Modelers Society, the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada, the Vancouver based RCFCBC.... in particular Kevin Forsyth and Shaun Lammers, and fellow fliers Mike Scho, Brian Weekley and Greg Jestico for their technical support (i.e. borrowed stuff!) and Bob Stovel for his lathe work. The many contributors throughout Canada that sent funds (or bought raffle tickets.:-) in support of our team.
I sincerly thank you all.
Special thanks to our Team Manger Harry Ells for his support and efforts to make things easy for us pilots... well done. Of course we really know that it's Rosemary that should get the credit!
Most importantly a big THANK YOU to my helper, fellow flyer and good friend Mark Byrne for his unending support and assistance during these past few weeks. He was and is always ready to lend a hand and offer advice and constructive criticism when needed. This has made my experience here all the more memorable.

Mark and I after the fourth round.

Also "Thanks" to Mark's wife Robyn for keeping us all entertained with Kelly and her exploits in Santa Fe. http://islandcachers.blogspot.com/

It was truly a great experience and with luck and hard work, I... actually we all hope to return to these World Championships in future years. The team will now throw it's support behind Chad as he carries the flag into the semi finals starting Friday. It continues to be a great experience!