2007 Korean F3F Open
The first international F3F contest organized by Korean flyers was held in Hwang Gum Mountain near the city of Daegu. The flying site is about 100 km north of Daegu city and the slope is suitable for westerly wind. There was a backup slope in the Jangbok Mountain in the south coast near the city of Jinhae which is suitable for southerly wind. The contest was a three-day event which attracted a total of 27 pilots participating in the race, of which 6 pilots were from Taiwan and 5 pilots from Hong Kong. The Daegu-based Albatross R/C club was the host for this event while the Xevious club based in Seoul was also co-organizing the contest. Taiwan team arrived one day early so as to have some practices prior to the contest. The Hong Kong team arrived in two batches; the first batch with 3 pilots traveled to Daegu directly while the second batch with two pilots was picked by the Seoul team in the airport early in the morning in the first day of contest and drove 200 km to Hwang Gum mountain to meet with other pilots traveled from Daegu.
The weather forecast in the first day was light southerly wind in the morning and moderate southwesterly wind in the afternoon. All parties arrived at Hwang Gum mountain at about 10:30am. They discovered that the wind was weak and was coming from the back side! So everybody started to play a waiting game and relaxed under the sun. The sky was clear and the temperature was higher than what we have expected in the Spring time Korea. The slope is on a south-north run ridge overlooking a valley with river winding across it. Several farming houses are scattered in this typical Korean countryside, the scenery is just so beautiful. The pilots and workers were each supplied with a lunch box of tasty Korean food by the organizer. Finally, at about 2pm, the wind started to pick up. Although it was off to normal by about 10 to 20 degree to the south, the condition was certainly sufficient for F3F contest, so the contest was kicked off at about 2:30pm. The first pilot to fly the contest was Stanley Chan of Hong Kong. He flew his Aris with a 59s, not bad with a wind speed of just 3 to 4 m/s. Not surprisingly, the wind speed for this inland slope can have a large variation over a short period of time, a pilot may start his run with wind of 6 or 7 m/s, but it may drop to 3 m during his run. This proved to be very challenging for pilots coming from coastal regions such as those from Taiwan and Hong Kong. While most of the pilots got sixties in the first round, Kim Dong Hum showed his master skill of steering his NYX to a perfect track and took the first round with a 50.91s. Unfortunately, he crashed and badly damaged his NYX in the second round and had to use a backup plane for the rest of the contest. The second round began from pilot number 9 with comfortable moderate wind initially, but the wind was gradually dying down towards the end. Yeo Young Gi of Korea flew his Europhia with stunning speed and took this round with a 47.36s closely followed by a 47.96s by Lee Seung Kuk. Two rounds were completed in the first day.
The weather forecast for the second day was light to moderate southerly wind, so the organizer decided to relocate the contest to Jangbok Mountain which is about 120km south of Daegu. It took almost two hours to drive there because of minor traffic jam along. This mountain has a bow shape slope facing East China sea and is obviously a lift-generating mama. It took the pilots about half an hour to hike up to the top from the car park. Once there we were happy to see that the wind was much stronger than what was forecasted - over 8m/s! However, the mountain top was covered with dense fog! Well, another waiting game was imminent. By about 1:30pm, the fog was cleared up a bit and the contest was immediately started. The landing area is a small flat area on the mountain top, there were lot of turbulence near the backside of the slope. Many planes were sucked down and damaged when they flew cross the ridge line. A Viking belong to Han Sung Ho was even lost when it flew into the fog over the ridge and then plunged into the jungle hundred meters away. It was still missing even after a large search team was sent to locate it. Many pilots got forties in this round as the wind was really strong. Angus Lee of Hong Kong steered his Skorpion to get a convincing time of 40.85s and took this round. This best time record was unbreakable as the subsequent wind in the last day was rather weak. At about 4pm, the fog level was lower again and the organizer called off the race after a few pilots had flown in the second round of the day. This result was then subsequently discarded. Therefore, only one round was completed in the second day.
In the third day, the sky was overcasted with cloud and the wind forecasted was light to moderate westerly wind, so everybody packed up in the early morning and tracked the 100km highway from Daegu to Hwang Gum Mountain. We arrived at the slope at about 10:20am and found that the wind was normal to the slope with wind speed varying between 3 and 5 m/s. Although the wind was not strong, it was F3F flyable. The helpers immediately setup the course and prepared for starting the contest in 30 minutes. But soon they discovered that for some reasons the poles for the bases have not yet arrived and as a result the contest was delayed for about an hour. Lee Jeon Heon of Korea flew his Opus magnificently with a 52.78s and took round 4. It was surprisingly to see Opus with a smaller wing span as compared to standard F3F models can sometimes achieve good results. Round 5 was taken by Chang Gi Seong with a 46.16s, the only forty in this round, amazing! The wind speed at Round 6 has dropped considerably and most pilots got sixties or seventies. Lee Jae Jin of Korea, however, defied the rule, and steered his Viking steadily to get a 58.27s to take this round. The contest was drawn to conclude at about 5pm as the wind died down to below 3m/s. Pilots were having funs for free sport flying and dynamic soaring at the backside while the judges were busy in calculating the final scores. Congratulation! Here are the winners of Korean F3F Open 2007:
1st place: Lee Seung Kuk (Korea)
See a full score sheet here: http://www.krsoar.com/07F3F0.jpg
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