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31. mai 2012

Dopamin launch, Ørebro Open 2012

Thomas Johansson ready to launch Joakim Ståhl's Dopamin which they both helped Martin Weberschock to develop. 
Joakim showing his Dopamin wing

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19. juli 2011

North England-Wales trip

The background for this trip was the Eurotour F3F at Hole of Horcum hosted by North York Moors Ridge Soaring Club. I flew in to Birmingham Airport and Greg was there to pick me up. When we drove back to his place I discovered a slope near Greg's house which he had not seen himself. The reason for this was that it is a man made slope recently made. Well we had to test it and Greg found his aerobatic model Vector III from RCRCM. The slope looked OK and the wind seemed to be fine but there was not many places to land. Anyway Greg got some air time until the wind died and an emergency landing had to be done. A little damage to the leading edge and that was it. I doubt Greg will fly there again at least for some time.
Next day we drove up to Pickering and the Hole of Horcum only to be sitting in the car at watch some other model fliers get extremely wet in the massive rain. After some time Stefan Bertschi, Dieter Perlick, Peter Kowalski and Torsten Herman came up from the main bowl.
So no flying for me and Greg this day so we went to our hotel which was a pleasant surprise. We got installed for the next 3 days and had Internet, TV and a pool table. So if the flying did not go well we could always play pool.....
First day of flying did not promise well. We only managed 2 rounds in rather uneven conditions. Again this type of conditions showed the need for an automatic weather station as the one our club has made(more info about the device is here in the blog somewhere). Typical problems that occurs is wind direction is off and very hard to measure manually, the same goes for the wind speed. The contest director had a very hard time to keep track of this and extra personnel was needed to try to monitor this. From my point of view we must make a rule change to get rid of this problem. Our experience is that pilots trust a machine doing these measurements. All the CD has to do is to read out the results after the run and give the pilot a reflight if conditions was under the minimum criteria for the day/slope.
Next day was similar but I must admit that I thought we could not even manage a complete contest as we experienced in Denmark 2 weeks earlier. Luckily I was wrong and 3 more rounds was flown and we saw some good rounds flown by pilots further down the lists which actually had some impact on the total results. Dieter Perlick did the most out his DP-Air and won clearly with me taking a lucky 2nd. place. I say lucky as Joel West should have swapped his third to a second or first if he did not make a big mistake in very good air in the last round. Results can be found following the link to the NYMRS club. Many thanks to NYMRSC and their sponsors MKS Servo-tech, T9 Hobbysport.
Since we had no plan to leave the area before next morning Team Tea Swillers took a trip to visit Whitby for a meal so Greg could get his well deserved Fish and Chips. Nice trip indeed and we rounded off the day with some pool with me and John struggeling to give Greg some competition in this game. We could not!

Next day we drove over to North Wales to visit an old friend of mine, Nic Wright. We met Nic in his home (which he built himself as you would expect from a guy that used to build all of his models himself and the fact that he is a building engineer). After tea and lots of catching up (we met last time in South Africa in 1999) we decided to go to the Llangollen slope an hour from Nic's house. It turned out to be a very nice afternoon and some gentle flying were I tried to show Nic the new Dynamic flying style. I could not help noticing that even Nic has not been seen doing competitive flying for more than ten years he was more than enthusiastic about me and Greg showing up and also how our models were performing.
After the flying we drove down to Llangollen and Nic knew a good restaurant and again we got some good food. A perfect end to a perfect day except one little thing, Greg had to drive 2 hours to get us to our hotel in fashionable Llandudno.
Next morning I was out early to get a good look at Llandudno and it was much bigger than I thought. Clearly a place a lot of tourists chooses to go to with many, many hotels and nice beaches.
Anyway we had a little bit of bad luck as the air was moist and fog was present. So I am sorry that we did not get the chance to check out the big slope The Great Orme.
We headed over to Nic's place again and we hope to get out and fly again with the Legend. But due to lack of wind there was no chance and we took a walk up to one of Nic's local slopes facing North-East. What can I say, there is many, many nice places to fly from and scenery in Northern Wales is very pretty. No doubt this is a good place to be if you are interested in the sport of slope flying. Here you can combine beautiful nature and the thrill of Radio Controlled Sailplanes and not to forget the local pubs and resturants. Perfect!
Going back to Swadlincote was for a change an easy ride as summer traffic was not so bad and Greg and his SAAB did a good job bringing us home. A quick sleep for 4 hours and we had to get up at 04.00 for me to catch my flight.

Pictures from the trip can be found here

12. juni 2011

Norway Open 2011, Eurotour F3F

This years Norway Open, the 9th. turned in to be the best since the start 10 years ago. The competitors list had names from 7 different countries and we were 25 pilots in total.
All pilots did a super job helping us to gain 16 rounds over two days. Friday was cancelled due to lack of wind but the forecast indicated around 8m/s from northwest the following days so we were not worried. Well, the forecast was wrong, in the end of the day it was around 15 m/s! 10 rounds was flown and hill record was achieved by Helge and Espen with 36,7 seconds.

To have a competition like this once in a while makes all the effort put in worth it. I have to thank all pilots for showing up and helping us with this event.
Saturday started with 9-10 m/s wind and when we finished it was around 14 m/s. Our timing gear/weather station did a good job and we will present all the weather data soon. Sure we have some variations but if you look at it round for round it may start low and go up but it also go down again in the same round.

It was quite clear even before the competition that it would not be easy to brake into the top 10 in this contest. Everybody was fighting very hard and trying their best. We had two crashes due to pilot mistakes and luckily nobody got hurt. But this was a reminder to us all that it can be a bit dangerous. So the layout of a comp like this must be thought about where to have the depot and make sure there is no people near to the course. Even you do all this something bad can happen but at least you can say that you tried to make it better. Safety lines does not really prevent incidents like this.

On Sunday the wind dropped and we had between 4 and 6 m/s wind. To fly in this type of conditions was a challenge and many pilots mastered this better than others. I have not calculated the results only from Sunday but it would be interesting to see this list for sure.

The final results ended up like this:
1 Espen Torp 13663
2 Søren Krogh 13467
3 Joel West 13425
4 Helge Borchert 13391
5 Kaj Henning Nielsen 13323
6 Knud Hebsgaard 13314
7 Jesper Christensen 12958
8 Arild Møllerhaug 12847
9 Bjørn Tore Hagen 12815
10 Dag Skoglund 12724
11 Jørgen Larsen 12712
12 Andre Austen 12679
13 Peter Gunning 12619
14 Olav Kalhovd 12475
15 Stefan Bertschi 12475
16 Rolf Børge Rettedal 12225
17 Erik Bjørnstad 12085
18 Kjell Sture Johansen 11816
19 Jan Grannes 11670
20 Geir Njaa 11517
21 Erik Andersen 11372
22 Marius Leirdal 10740
23 Tor Bruun 10656
24 Ingio Herrera 10518
25 Kjetil Stensen 5147

I would like to talk a little about the slope we flew on, "Hodne". Hodne is the name of the farmer and is also the name of the place. We are really glad we have a good relationship with them. From the sea to the top of the stone wall it is approx. 24 meters high. We have used the slope since the seventies. From my point of view few other slopes produces this kind of stable and equal conditions. The other thing is the possibility to have a safe depot and a rotating shift of the pilots when organising the starts. We guide the pilots on the backside out to the middle and let one and one pilot come forward when their turn is up. When finished the pilot swiftly moves over to the landing area and next pilot can be ready within seconds. We always have base A to the right side so the 30 second window will make sure the pilot that flew is well out of the way when the next pilot starts.
Take a closer look at the pictures and hopefully this show what I am talking about. The CD and the timing gear is placed 10-15 meter behind the wall for safety reasons.
Next year we will try to have ready our system for counting laps (beeps) and a system for showing the time after each flight. I think this is a must.
Hodne is a perfect place to have a F3F contest!

I would also like to mention the weather station did the job this time also. As seen on the pictures we placed it a few meters behind the wall and it does not show give us the data 100% but more than good enough for indication of the conditions.
The weather data will soon be punched......



22. mai 2011

Quiet for a long while

It has been quiet here for a long time. It is not because I have been sitting still and doing nothing. It has more to do with the fact that I have been busy with work.
Even I have been busy with work it has not stopped me from going to contest in and out of the country. Biggest event was of course the Viking Race last year in France(2010). I did well until the finals (6th before finals)and ended up in 11th. spot. I flew my Alliaj in all rounds and was relativly happy with it. Perhaps I should have had more time on it before the contest??
I also went to Vitoria, Spain (2010) with Tomas Eklund. Nice place!
I should have gone to Wales but I had to cancel due to work.
As many of you know I am involved in and this has taken over from producing RaceM and in genaral my modelling business. UAV business is very demanding and also very interesting. We are still going good after 3 years and approx. 35 built Cruiser UAV's. We are currently making a new version which is just bigger....

Last year I did not manage to do much kayaking. I hoping to be able to do a lot more this year. But I had one very nice trip to Oltedal, added some pics further down.

I had to take a trip to Denmark to pick up my mother and her new dog called Fenris. Picture at the top.

Another trip to Slovakia and Czech Republic ended with me getting a Baudis Fosa. It seems to work fine for F3F also....still need to match it properly to find out if it can be a contender against all the Freestylers, the benchmark sailplane.
For the first time in my life I was out flying 2.1.2011 at my local slope(Hodne, stonewall).
This season is very important as it is the qualifying year for next years first ever F3F World Championship. So it is important to do some training even it is January and freezing cold.
Another Picasa album can be found here and here
I promise to be back more often this year.
Some pics:

28. april 2010

Lift Ticket to Norway arrived!

Lift Ticket to Norway arrived today and even I have a sneak preview copy of the DVD there is nothing like receiving the DVD with a proper cover.
I put a few of them together with my Cyril which I am preparing for the Viking Race in France next week. I will try to bring some copies to France for sale.

If you want one the easiest way is to go to Dave Reese homepage:
Click on Videos and there you will find it there.


24. juli 2009

Hole of Horcum F3F

Finally I got to go to the famous Hole of Horcum. I have read about this place for decades and I always wanted to go there. The good reason was to enter the North of England Open which is part of the F3F Eurotour. I needed to try and improve my standings and even I did not fly well or had the needed luck I still managed to get better points for the Tour :-)

It seems like this year there is a very good fight among pilots all over Europe to do well in the Eurotour. This is very good as F3F now is growing and almost wherever you attend one of these contests there are top pilots. It means there is no longer a walk over in some contests like it has been a little bit in the past.
With 11 out of 13 races there is probably around 10 or more pilots which still have a chance to win the overall Eurotour. This is a little bit unique compared to the other classes in the Contest system. Also there is now 227 registered pilots. Very good!

Well back to Horcum. I teamed up with Greg Dakin and he picked me up at Birmingham Airport. Mark Passingham joined us early in the morning and we drove up to the Yorkshire Moors. Greg and Mark invited me to the new team of the "Tea Swillers" and I was proud to be part of this legendary team.
The local club, North York Moors Ridge Soaring Club with Jon Edison as CD had a tough week with very bad weather reports. But we where lucky, the weather both days was quite good but a bit unstable with lots of variations. But most important very little rain compared to the ugly weather forecasts earlier in the week.
They managed 4 rounds each day and I think with a little bit more luck a few more rounds could have been flown. The wind direction did not cooperate all the time and it was difficult to make the right decisions.
Greg flew well both days and did his part so the Tea Swillers could defeat the SAF team. But both me and Mark did not fly as we hoped for so the SAF team with Perlick, Kowalski and Liebeck beat us.
But more important was Greg Dakin's first Eurotour victory. Well deserved! Did I mention he flew his RaceM made by ET-Air :-)

Thanks to the NYMRSC for a good event and we will meet again next year I hope.


5. juli 2009

Trip to Mosteroy

Got up early this Saturday to make sure I did not waste any time in traffic to get to Mosteroy when the water was still flat. I like it when I can look into the clear water with no waves.
On my way out I called my friend Atle and asked him if I could park on his harbour site and of course it was no problem. In return I brought out my helicam and got some nice pictures of his farm.
My plan was to go to the area around Utstein Kloster and back. It did not happen, after 3,5 hours of kayaking and scuba diving I was a bit tired so I called up Kleng and asked him if he could pick me up :-) Kleng came and he wanted to test my Kayak and reached 6 knots by pedaling. Not bad. Later I was invited for a barbeque with Kleng and his family. So I brought out my helicam and managed some nice photos of their farm.
I am glad I did the trip, the weather was very nice, the water was warm and meeting my friends was even better. Thank you for a super day.
Here is a link with some pictures:

24. juni 2009

Local F3F, Hodne

We just hosted a local F3F competition on Sunday the 21st. of June with few pilots but super nice conditions on our local F3F hill, Hodne. The wind came straight in from the North Sea with 8-9 m/s strenght.
Rolf B flew very well with his Aris and won before Arild (Freestyler) and Espen (RaceM/Ceres)
12 rounds was flown.
Thanks to all 7 pilots that showed up and helped organizing the event.
I will try to post some pictures here later.

1) Rolf Rettedal, 10847
2) Arild Moellerhaug, 10759
3) Espen Torp, 10704
4) Rolf Inge Waaga, 10386
5) Erik Morgan, 9621
6) Richard Pleym, 9024
7) Marius Leirdal, 8458


2. juni 2009

Asturia F3F 2009

I decided on a short notice to attend the 2nd. Asturias Open F3F Eurotour in Gijon in the north of Spain. I team up with Tomas Eklund from Malaga and he picked me up in Madrid.

We drove up to Gijon and headed directly to the slope. Several other guys was there already and the wind was pretty strong but a bit cross from the north. Tomas was keen to fly, I was not but it was good for me to observe Pierre Rondel who demonstrated how to deal with the tricky conditions. Tomas flew his Skorpion and I also tested it a little bit.
Pictures here:

Next day we were sort of promised similar weather conditions but that did not happen. The wind was much weaker between 4-8 m/s. I had a bad first round with 77 seconds. Tomas was a little bit happy as he made a 74 second run. But the winner of this round was Sergio with 55 seconds.
For the first time ever I saw an organizer who had a wind and direction meter that actually worked according to the current rules. It can always be debated where to place the unit but in general when placed it is the same for all. As one can see in my last blog post we have made a device that does not use current rules because we believe that measuring an average is more fair way of doing it. More about this later in this post.
There was many Freestylers around and I was interested to test my RaceM against them. I think the conditions was too difficult to actually get a good test but I learned a couple of things. One was that clearly the Freeestylers does not work well in bad conditions either. This was proven in the second and third round were I managed to beat all of them thanks to good conditions and I think some good flying. Both these rounds I flew 59 seconds.

The 3rd round was not finished due to severe wind change after 20 pilots had flown and unfortunately the third round was cancelled after a protest against the weather station, ironic since this was not due to failure over the weather station but more a failure of the current rules (3m/s min and max 45 degree cross wind).

We still had 2 more days to go so it should be possible to manage enough rounds to make the competition. Much was at stake here as the first prize was a Freestyler 3 given by TUD-Modelltechnik.

Two days later we still did not one single round and the competition was cancelled. It also happened last year for the organizer and I feel really sorry for them as they did a lot to make this happen. I really hope they will pull back and try again next year. This is definitive a place I would like to get back to.
I had 3 very nice days mostly because of meeting old friends and meeting new friends but also because the weather was very nice and the place has a lot to offer than just sitting there waiting for wind.
They are expanding the harbor and this alone was worth watching, lots of activity. I also liked the bird mountain close to the lighthouse. I could stand there watching the whole day.

Once again I would like to thank the Asturian club for trying their very best all weekend.


9. februar 2009

Timing gear with weather station

Kaare and I finally managed to assemble the timing gear on Sunday 8th February.

Kaare has made a great job of developing the electronics and program. I have bought some materials from which to make a protective casing, the results of which are shown in the pictures below.

We will certainly make these units available for sale to the F3F community. Producing these in small numbers from our base in Norway is certainly not the cheapest method of production, but we hope that even clubs of modest size should be able to afford this unit.

What is so special with this timing gear unit? Well, we have incorporated the weather station in a very simple and effective way.

Todays F3F rules are rather simple except for one major aspect, the wind and direction measurement.

We have considered this rule in detail, and designed a system to simplify the Contest Director's job, by providing accurate and meaningful information.

By capturing wind and direction measurements from leg one to leg ten, average values can be calculated for both parameters, and the results displayed along with the time of the flight.

As such, the CD or timing gear operator will be empowered to confirm the validity of the flight conditions.

The functionality will also enable the CD to define the windspeed range for the chosen slope, if required. It must be recognised that not all slopes produce sufficient lift at 3ms/+-45 degrees direction. If the CD sets a value for the given day we now have a machine to monitor weather activity throughout the competition lifecycle.

We also recommend that the pilot finishes the flight irrespective of conditions, and receives confirmation of the validity of the flight. The pilot can then decide whether to retain the flight or request a reflight if the conditions fall beneath the predefined limit. The pilot may wish to retain the flight if a thermal was experienced on course, in which case the pilot's wishes should be honoured. (Or maybe not, I would leave that to the CD or a definitive rule change)

Aside from specific rules, the weather station also possesses functionality which is also interesting. During training sessions it can be very valuable as testing becomes more accurate as variations in the weather can be seen very easily.

Very often it is difficult to judge whether a flight was successful because it was flown well or if conditions were particularly good. Now you have a tool to take care of at least the wind and direction and tell you from flight to flight what happened. We have not yet figured out how to find the thermals but we are working on it. It is possible to add sensors to the unit.

We can sell it with or without the weather station. Send me an E-mail if you are interested. We have estimeated the price to be around 400 Euro including the weather station.

The TGW (Timing Gear Weatherstation) will be delivered without the wires needed to A and B base. Apart from that it will come with the wind/direction meter as shown in these pictures.

We have made it with coax bayonet connectors to make sure of a solid and relatively weather proof connection. We deliver small coax cables (with the connector) so users can solder these to their own cables. The weather station has the same coax connector. The signal horn will be made (not ready when pictures was taken) with a separate connector to prevent mistakes.

The unit has a serial port which can be used to dump results to a Laptop or similar or dump the last result to a screen for the spectators to see.

It also comes with a rechargeble battery which will last all day long....

We might need to change the box itself as this one was rather expensive here in Norway.

We are already working on some "add ons" to the unit.
First on the list will be a MP3 player counting the 30 second to enter the course.
Secondly we would like to utilise the serial port by sending the data to a laptop using a wireless connection. The laptop could be placed in the area of the crowd and could display results as it happens. Furthermore take care of the data and store them. In the end I hope someone can make a scoring program.


22. september 2008

Norwegian Championship F3F

The lcd display showing the weather data
Not much space to do landings, but I think no accidents occured.
Depot, very close to the edge. But OK for this time since the wind speed was low.
Sceptical guys following one of the flights.
The weather station was placed a little bit down into to the slope to secure good and correct values.

This year it was held north of where I live approx. 2 hours away. I get there by driving through 2 under sea tunnels and a gas driven ferry which really can take a lot of cars and trucks.

I wanted badly to do well in this competition and I was thinking this was the most important contest this year. So there was nothing wrong with my motivation. But looking at the forecast earlier in the week it looked like it could be a no comp. On Saturday we waited patiently for ca 6 hours before we got legal wind. Everybody was keen and we installed the weather station and managed to start ca 15.30. 3 hours later we had 4 rounds and the Championship was secured. Good because we had 6 guys coming from the north of Norway and some other from the south as well. With wind from 3-5m/s times varied from 48 to 97 seconds it was not exactly even conditions but at least by using the weather station the CD had an easy task giving a few reflights. By all means even with this device it remains an outdoor sport with sometimes huge variations, but at least you can understand why you did not manage a good time or even realise that you in fact had some luck if you did a fast time. It is not very difficult to see what is going on when you log every flight.

After 4 rounds I was in the lead ahead of Arild M and Bjoern Tore. Some new faces also showed up and the 2 youngsters from Bodoe, Joergen and William flew very well.

Next day was a bit better and we could start the flying much earlier but we also had to quit early as people had planes to catch. But 5 more rounds made it a good event and it was more even with less thermal influence. Times was between 48 and 65 seconds. Winning times each round was between 48 to 53 seconds.

I extended my lead and won ahead of RollaRolf and Bjoern Tore.

Espen Torp 7796
Rolf Inge Waaga 7384
Bjoern Tore Hagen 7344
Dag Skoglund 7204
Arild Moellerhaug 7192
Joergen W Stensen 7115
Rolf Boerge Rettedal 6897
Geir (8) Njaa 6817
Kjell Gai 6699
Bjoern Andersen 6578
William J Ringkjoeb 6548
Richard Pleym 6349
Tor Bruun 6137
Oystein Aadland 2386
Jarle Aadland 2286

The organizer of the contest was Haugaland RC club and even they did not get as much helpers as expected the competition was a success and also thanks to Kaare who operated the weather station.
Espen 23.9.2008

3. september 2008

Viking Race, Slovakia 2008

Kjell Gai, Norway
Doug smiling renaming his Furio

Vaclav waiting for yet another launch.

Greg Dakin, UK

Mathieu with his solid stance
Kai and Majo
Mark taking a bite of Grahame's BP sponsered Ascot
Kyle giving the model a good launch
Rado after a good flight, in the lead after 14 rounds

ET-Air fleet, 2 times RaceM X-tail
Benthe and Kai taking the "boat" down after a long day.

Me and my "brother" Grahame Reed

Marian "Majo" Maslo preparing for yet another round with big thermals coming his way.

Gerardo with a nice handle bar on his Freestyler3
We are well into the Viking Race 2008 which is this year held in Donovaly mountains in the middle of Slovakia. The same place as 6 years ago.
The competition has so far been a lottery (5 days of flying) and many pilots are happy and many pilots are not so happy with the conditions they are given. I am in the last unfortunatly means far, far down the ranking. Right now after 14rounds I am at place 31. Only 25 points behind my rival Greg Dakin! I will catch him in the end I think.
I discovered a new method of getting to the horizon after falling down the slope due to not much lift. Lukas Gaubatz showed us the first day a spectacular way of doing it. When he first did not make the horizon he dived to get more speed and pulled up in the last second to make and tailslided back towards the ground but he recovered nicely and now has put a name to this manouver which is now called a "GAUBATZ"
However if you do not make it and end up in a tree it may be called a "GAUBATZ-REED".

After Thursday (4th of September) we have completed 18 rounds, The conditions on Thursday was still variable but not so much. If you got a thermal it was possible to do a low 40 second run. Most pilots ended up in the 50-60 seconds window. I jumped to 21st. place mostly because of the second discard round was applied. It is very even between pilots anywhere on the list so full focus is needed the last day that will be Friday. No flying on Saturday in other words. I hope all pilots agree that this is enough.
Finally a little bit time to write again. Congratulations to Marian Maslo with Slovakias first win in a Viking Race. Radovan Plch took 2nd. place while Pierre Platon grabbed 3rd spot.
Really important to mention was the job of the organisors, they did a good job for 7 days and without them there would not be a race!
Espen "Schnell wie die Forelle" Torp #21