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First indoor RC flight attempts

It is one week – or even less – until this year’s Aeropower Indoor Challenge event, which takes place, as usual, in the Concordia sports hall in the nice village of Chiajna, near Bucharest. Given that Milady has bought me an indoor flying model – Malibu F3P – as a Christmas present (on the condition that I go there to fly, and given that my indoor flying time was absolute nil, zero, nada, I decided to take the opportunity and join my friend Allen in a trip to Buzau, 120 km off Bucharest to the NE, for an indoor air models contest to be held there. So we loaded everything up around 06:40 this morning and we left for Buzau. The trip was more than ok, despite the -23 degrees Celsius on the road, and though the news reported the evening before that the road was closed due to snowstorms we found that the tarmac was dry as in hot summer. The only difference was in the snow on the roadside – and on the plains along the way…

We got there a bit earlier, 15 minutes before 9, even if Allen didn’t even hit the gas too hard. All preparations made and 6 wires cut, soldered and insulated later I was ready for my first indoor flight. Almost as usual, Florin did the maiden flight to trim the plane, and a minute later I was flying it doing long lines. Several lines later – and not completely accustomed to making the turns using the rudder exclusively – I thought I should try at least a couple of the contest figures, so I went for several hammerheads, a loop, a cuban 8 – hmmm, maybe I did that on the second flight after all… – and I managed to land the plane without any incident. And boy was I about to wreck it a few times, both in this flight and in the following ones. It surprised the entire audience, but not as much as it surprised me, how I got the “bird” out of some almost obvious and unavoidable “nose downs”. And there were some planes that did take a bite from the hall’s floor today. Fortunately all managed to fly again, save one.

Despite today being both my first day of indoor flying and my first indoor contest  at the same time (with only two practice sessions) I managed to only hit the ground once while testing an alternate propeller (APC slow fly against the GWS I initially used). I ran some level flights along the hall width – pretty uncomfortable – and I managed to pull out rather low and at low engine RPM, which resulted in a small crack in the front wooden structure. Lucky me, I saved several grams out of the existing 167 – rather heavy for an indoor model, which resulted in a quite high safe level speed, as well as a high speed for rolls and tight turns. In the end I managed to do almost all the required figures, more or less correctly.

The trip was pretty nice overall. I also saw something that left me quite a bitter taste. During the event starting festivity the presenter played “Hai sa dam mana cu mana”, the anthem of the United Principalities after the Union of January 24th, 1859. Apart from us competitors, standing up in the cener of the hall, there were a handful of local spectators (7 or 8) and, if I remember correctly, 4 guys that came with us from Bucharest. When they started the anthem, ALL the local folks stood up and one who was wearing a cap instantly took it off, for the entire duration of the song. On the other hand, all the other guys from Bucharest who were still in the stands cared absolutely nothing, continuing to sit down and talk irrespective of what was going on around them. Well, maybe I wouldn’t have jumped up at the first note, but I sure would have followed the example set forth by the locals. Well, but that’s just me and I’m overreacting as usual.

Unfortunately this post has no pictures attached, since I forgot my camera bag in Allen‘s car (it was dark in here, the bag is black and the bag was in a shadow. I’ll get them tomorrow, and it looks like I’m going to have quite a few shots made by Allen himself, since we swapped the cameras a few times because of the lens – I use a longer focal length range than the lens he brought with him (18-200 mm against a 17-55 mm). Hopefully I’ll make some time tomorrow to add some spectacular shots from this otherwise nice event. And I definitely hope they’ll do it again next year and I can get there too.

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