World Champs Report

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The following is the first draft of my report from the event :-


August 22nd-30th 1998

Report by Andy Whorton – BMFA Team Manager 1998

The 1998 United Kingdom Team

Following the results during the 1997 season and having investigated the availability of flyers for this years World Championships the British Team was as follows :-

Team Managers :-

F2A – Speed

F2B – Aerobatics

F2C – Team Racing

F2D – Combat

Preparation for the Championships

With the competition being held in the Ukraine there was much preparation necessary for the trip that was totally unrelated to the actual flying.

We had been made aware of a number of health issues and most of the team had to have inoculations against Diphtheria and Tic Borne Encephalitis in addition to the usual typhoid and tetanus jabs.

Visa’s are also essential for the Ukraine and these proved difficult for some of the team members. Notable here was the rejection of Mark Thomason’s visa because he was taking his 18 month baby girl with him and she did not have an official invitation. The answer to this problem was to have the organisers in Kiev fax through an official invitation for 18 month old Elisabeth Anna Thomason to attend the 1998 World Control Line Model Aircraft Championships (a good souvenir for the wall !)

It was also necessary to ship some of our competition fuel out in advance (particularly the team race diesel fuel) as it is getting more and more difficult to carry fuel on aircraft. This was done via a weekly bus service that operates between London and Kiev.

The Journey out to Kiev

The Aerobatics team elected to fly direct from Gatwick and Travelled out on the Friday 21st with the remainder of the team travelling from Manchester via Zurich with Swissair on the 22nd. We were all concerned about the model boxes and particularly about any excess luggage we might be charged but all went extremely successfully on the way out and no charges were levelled. Swissair, particularly, were extremely helpful in handling the teams luggage which was all put in a single container for the two part trip and my thanks must go to them for all of their help.


It was during out arrival at Borispol Airport in Kiev that the real fun began. To start with we were not initially allowed to pass through customs with our models and after much panic and to-ing and fro-ing the team had to declare all of the models together with values for import – this despite the fact we were able to produce the official invitations from the Ukrainian authorities.

Then, when the team did eventually get through after a couple of hours panic, the transport provided by the organisers proved to be insufficient and everybody had another hour and a half standing around outside the terminal until they were all squeezed like sardines into a couple of buses – model boxes and all !.


The British team had elected to stay in the Prolisok Hotel and this proved to be the best decision we could possibly have made. The buses called at a couple of other accommodation blocks on the way in and they looked frighteningly in need of repair but when we arrived at our hotel we were greeted by clean comfortable rooms with acceptable bathroom facilities – in point of fact, far better than I had been expecting.

Food was very limited with very little variety between breakfast, lunch or dinner and a number of people felt we were being overcharged for what we had, but the food was enough to keep us going. Most of the team had stomach upsets during the week – some extremely mild with others more severe – but this had been expected prior to the trip.

The Flying Site

The flying site is situated on an airfield around 10 miles west of the centre of Kiev in a fairly heavily wooded area. The caged flying circles are getting rather old now but the overall layout has to be the best in existence. All of the teams are allocated pit areas which take the form of lock up units around 10 feet square – the British team having two of these because of its size – and these units are situated in the middle of the site. The combat area is close to the other circles which makes a big change from other locations used in recent years where combat was held anything up to a mile away from the other events.

Transport Arrangements

There were three buses allocated for transport between the hotel and the competition site and timetables were posted on the hotel entrances. The problem was that they did not make any attempt to keep to the timetable. On several occasions flyers were left standing outside the hotel with no bus appearing and panicking because they were due to fly or have their models processed.

This became our major problem during the trip and was particularly annoying as the buses spent most of the week sitting stationary at the competition site while the drivers sat around doing nothing. With the hotels within a couple of miles of the site the buses could easily have maintained a half hourly shuttle service and no problems would have been experienced.

Technical Processing

The model processing took place on Monday 24th with each country being allocated a half hour slot. The British team went through processing without any hitches and in around half the time allocated.

Much of the equipment in use comes from the Ukraine and it was noted by some of those present (with some amusement) that the organisers did not bother checking any of their own products – assuming they had not been modified in any way.

The Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony took place at lunch time on the Monday and was followed by a full size airshow. A few thousand people turned up to watch as it coincided with independence day and was thus a public holiday.


Entries had been received from 20 nations with varying sizes of teams. Entry counts in the individual classes were as shown in the event reports below.

F2A – Speed

The speed event started a day later than the other disciplines on the Wednesday as it only needed three days to reach a conclusion. There were a total of 33 entrants including 3 juniors and the reigning World Champion – Luis Parramon (ESP)

In the practice sessions Britain’s Pete Halman and Ken Morrissey were going well from the start but Gordon Isles was struggling with his gear. A "mighty" rebuild was performed which included the use of a miniature petrol stove on the hotel balcony for liner removal and the stoning of the piston. A bit more playing around with propeller selection and results were looking more like those expected.

It was Luis Parramon that set the pace for the competition in the first round with a speed of 301.0 kph – the fastest time in official competition since the longer line lengths came in to play. Second fastest in the first round was Sergei Kostin (RUS) with 295.3 kph.

The British flyers put in three excellent flights to gain 3rd, 4th and 5th places – Pete Halman with 292.4, Ken Morrissey with 289.6 and Gordon Isles with 287.3. From this moment on it looked like team gold for the United Kingdom with only the Russian team a threat to them.

In the second round Gordon Isles put in a super run to a speed of 295.3 grabbing 2nd spot from Kostin due to a better second flight (with equal best flights). Nothing else was to change during this round but Gordon’s improvement stamped the British teams claim for gold even more strongly and no one could see anyone catching them with 2nd, 4th and 5th positions. Pete Halman had the tail pipe blow out of the tuned pipe to record a zero and Ken Morrissey put in a virtually identical flight to his first round atempt.

The final day saw Pete Halman put a backup flight of 291.5 in and then Gordon Isles a 293.1. The team prize was now ensured and the only question was whether Sergei Kostin could push Gordon out of second spot. Because they had equal top speeds it was all going to depend on whether or not Kostin could beat the 293.1 back up time of Gordon Isles.

It was coincidence that Kostin was to have been drawn last in the final round thus making it a nail biting finish right to the end. He entered the circle and had a good run with everyone checking the clocks. He actually improved his back up speed from 286.8 to 292.4, very close but not enough to beat Gordon who was just 0.7 kph faster with his backup flight – a very close affair.

So Luis Parramon held on to his title as a result of his first flight. The British trio of Gordon Isles (2nd), Pete Halman (4th) and Ken Morrissey (5th) have shown great team work and an extremely professional approach to the past 12 months – the team prize being just reward for all of the hard work they have put in and everybody was pleased to see them taking top honours.

The motors used by the top flyers were as follows :-

    1. Luis ParramonProfi
    2. Gordon IslesZalp
    3. Sergei KostinZalp
    4. Pete HalmanIrvine
    5. Ken MorrisseyIrvine

(Sergei Kostin is the man responsible for the Zalp and Pete Halman is the Irvine man)

F2B – Aerobatics

The two qualifying rounds for the 54 competitors (including 7 juniors) were flown over three days split across the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The weather varied between rain on Tuesday, wind on Wednesday and fine, calm and dry on Thursday. Flying on the first two days was upset by the weather and the way the rounds were split across the three days – round 1 on Tue/Wed and round 2 on Wed/Thur.

Any flyer fortunate enough to be drawn in round 2 on the Thursday had the opportunity to improve his scores as many did by up to 150 points. There were exceptions to this pattern, notably the reigning world champion Han Xinping (CHN) who flew in the bad conditions on Tuesday/Wednesday and still managed achieved a 3000 plus in both rounds. Bill Werwage (USA) flew twice in the wind on the Wednesday, as did Britain’s Roy Cherry, the former managing to claim 10th place into the fly-off and Roy improving his score by 55 points in the high winds blew over the site in the afternoon. On the down side both Wang Hongwei (CHN) and Kazuhiro Minato (JPN) had the opportunity to improve in the good conditions that prevailed on the Thursday, made big mistakes and dropped points as a result.

The British team had mixed fortunes – Bill Draper flew Tuesday and Thursday, the second flight in the good conditions enabling him to improve his first round score by 143.5 points to gain 21st spot. Barry Robinson had to fly on the first two days and the windy conditions for his second flight ruined his chances of significantly improving his score and just managed a 6 point gain. Many felt the second flight was his best by far, despite the wind, but the judges did not see it that way and he was to finish 31st Roy Cherry flew with real commitment at his first championships but was limited by having his two flights on the Wednesday and finished in 48th place.

The team results are decided by the two first round scores and were as follows :-

  1. China     :-    18502
  2. Japan     :-    18355.5
  3. USA       :-    18218.5

Great Britain were in 10th place with 16917 points

The final day began with controversy when aerobatics judge Art Adamisin (from the USA) was told that he would not be getting his air ticket paid for by the organisers and as a result he said he was no longer willing to judge in the event. It is normal for all judge and jury members to have their travel costs paid and after an hour of deliberation the Ukrainian organisers finally agreed allowing the fly-offs to get underway.

Some excellent flying was to follow in the first round of fly-offs – Han Zinping (CHN) leading the way with a score of 3238.5 and several other flyers over the 3000 mark. Then, during the second round, controversy resurfaced as it turned out that two of the judges had been discussing scores and consulting the scoreboard (totally against the FAI Sporting Code) The USA team lodged a protest which was upheld and the organisers agreed to cancel the second round. Then the same two judges were seen doing it again after the second round and another protest resulted. Video proof was shown of the infringements and the decision was made to discount the scores from these two judges and take the results from the remaining judges. The two offenders will be removed from the judge/jury list automatically after this type of offence.

During the fly-offs Han Zinping was the only flyer to break the 3200 mark and he managed it in all three rounds giving him a clear victory with 6462.5 points but 2nd and 3rd place was to be a closely fought battle to the end between David Fitzgerald (USA) and Wang Hongwei (CHN). In the end victory went to the American with 6342 points – just 0.5 points ahead of Wang’s 6431.5.

It was very noticeable that some of the models are built to cope with varying wind/weather conditions better than others. There was a feeling that the smaller winged models coped with the extremely blustery conditions and were not as affected by the low level turbulence. A mixture of motor set-ups were present with some being piped, some not so, some two stroke, some 4 stroke and some 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The most popular motors were the Super Tigre 51 and the Retro Discovery 60 the latter taking 5 of the top 15 places. The top three places were taken by an ST60, PA61 and OS61-4 stroke respectively.

It was interesting having Roger Ladds along with me as he is an F2B Judge in the UK and was taking detailed note of the way judging was done. It is felt that the UK team need to get a better feel as to what the international judges look for so that they can adapt their flying to suit. (not easy when you have been flying a particular way for many years) Roger will be getting involved at a number of internationals during the next 12 months so as to start this evolutionary process.

F2C – Team Racing

The entry count for team racing was 39 including 5 juniors – unfortunately one short of the 40 entries required for allowing 12 teams to participate in the semi-finals.

Preparation for this event had given the British Team high hopes of success with recent wins at open internationals during the three month run up to the championships. The practice sessions went well and all three pairs were able to go into the first round with some confidence.

Racing began on the Tuesday afternoon following a mornings rain which had threatened to cancel the first day and had slowed airspeeds considerably during the official practice sessions (each pair being allowed 5 mins solo during the morning).

The first British team to fly were Fitzgerald/Thomason in the 3rd heat against Saviotti/Lanzoni (ITA) and Perren/Fernandez (ARG). Mark and Mike were away first flick at the start and had a clear run for around ten laps due to the other teams having starting problems. When the other pairs did finally get into the air it was clear that the British pair had by far the fastest model and a good time looked on the cards following a second flick first stop. Unfortunately the other pairs managed to get their lines crossed when landing together and the race was abandoned because the British pair had only completed 47 laps (50 and they would have been allowed to continue solo).

The second British team to fly were Langworth/Campbell who were drawn with Titov/Yugov (RUS) and Gilbert/Gilbert (FRA). Bernie and Dave had a perfect race until the motor went over the top on 87 laps and resulted in an estimated 6 seconds added as the model droned round to the end of the race. Even so the resulting 3:26.1 was a good performance and was clearly going to be in the top portion of the field after the first day.

The other British team of Ross/Turner were the last to fly in the first round proper and were up against Igolshyn/Chaika (UKR) and Olovics/Rodriguez (BRA). The British pair were away first flick at the start and had a clear edge on airspeed. The motor sounded a little warm at the end of the first tank so Brian took a little heat out with a spray of water. A landing model caused Brian to have to hold down the model for an extra second at each stop and the motor was over hot for the last ten laps similar to that of Langworth/Campbell's. Despite this they recorded the one of the fastest times in the first round, an extremely creditable 3:20.0, aided by an airspeed giving ten lap times of around 17.5 secs.

The fastest time of the first round was to be recorded in the last heat by Andreev/Sobko (RUS) – an impressive 3:17.9, setting the standard for the rest of the competition with the top British pair in second place.

The second round took place on the Wednesday afternoon following official practice during the morning and did not show many improvements, mainly because of the windy conditions that prevailed. Ross/Turner managed to shave a couple of seconds off their first round time and put in a 3:18.0 but the fastest time of the round was put in by Titov/Yugov (RUS) who had the benefit of a two up race following a strange decision by the F2C Jury (not putting the heat back to the end of the round) a 3:15.4 being the result. Both Langworth/Campbell and Fitzgerald/Thomason suffered overheating problems again with 3:41.3 and 3:34.7 results respectively. It was surprising that there were still only 3 teams under 3:20 at the end of the second round.

Thursday followed the same pattern as the Wednesday and racing got underway at 14:30 with the weather far improved from the previous two days. A notable achievement was a 3:17.3 from Delor/Constant (FRA) but the flight to remember was put in by the competition leaders Andreev/Sobko (RUS) setting a new world record of 3:14.1. Shabashov/Moskalev made sure that there were three Russian teams in the semi finals recording a 3:21.2 and the Spanish pair of Pedro Crespi Sequi and Martrin Crespi Bonnin surprised everybody by claiming 9th place into the semis with a 3:23.6. Ross/Turner put in their best race of the competition a knocked yet another second off their second round time, recording a superb 3:17.0 but, unfortunately, neither of the other British pairs were able to put times in and there was to be just the one British team in the semi finals.

The first round of semis got underway on the Friday morning and it was to be the Russian pair of Andreev/Sobko to set the pace again with an excellent 3:16.0 in the second race. The third race saw Titov/Yugov fly against Magli/Pirrazini with both teams recording 3:17.9 with the British team of Ross/Turner struggling against overheating problems. No other team was to press the top three and the only change was in team positions with the USA taking the bronze position behind Russia and France due to McCollum/Lee entering the semis as a refly team and putting in a 3:21.8 as a result.

The second set of semis were immediately after lunch and the only fast time recorded was by the leading Russian pair (yet again) – a 3:18.0 meaning that they had recorded 5 successive sub 3:20 times !. The third Russian pair of Shabashov/Moskalev put in a 3:19.2 to guarantee the Russia team victory in the team event but not enough to make it an all Russian final..

The final was held at 17:00 with the teams of Andreev/Sobko, Titov/Yugov and Magli/Pirazzini vying for the top spot. All models were away cleanly at the start with the two Russian pairs rotating and pitting together very evenly and gradually leaving the Italians behind. Andreev/Sobko slowly put a lap and a half between them and their team mates during the first 100 laps and Magli/Pirrazzini were about 6 laps off the pace. The race was finally decided when Titov picked up his third warning on 160 laps and Andreev was left clear to finish in 6:37 well ahead of the Italians.

Virtually everybody is now using Russian motors (Vorobiev, Yugov and Mazniak being the most common) and the majority of models are either Russian or Ukrainian (or copies of). The achievements of Ross/Turner must be noted because all of the equipment is home grown (including the motor) – the work Brian Turner has put in over the last few years is amazing and they had the best airspeed at the competition. It is notable that although everybody now has access to the top equipment (and most teams can get airspeeds of 18 secs for 10 laps) there has not been significant improvement over the last few years. A 3:28 would have given the same position this year as in 1992 when I would have expected a drop of perhaps 12 places in the table.

F2D – Combat

There had been panic amongst many of the combat flyers during the last four weeks prior to the championships due to the publication of a clarification to the silencer rule. The rule states that the outlet from the silencer should be no more than 8 mm diameter and the clarification stated that this meant the extreme rear end of the outlet. As many of the silencers have a slight bell on the end this made most of them illegal. After much protest and correspondence it was decided that the last 5mm could bell out from the 8mm but that the test gauge must not go in to a depth greater than 5mm.

The combat event had a total entry count of 55 entries including 9 juniors and began on the Tuesday morning with Tony Frost being the first British competitor flying against Pavel Kucera – the top Czech flyer. Unfortunately the flight was affected by weather and a 3 hour delay resulted with the models lying around. As a result Tony’s models ended up rather waterlogged and were difficult to fly giving the Czech flyer an easy victory. Second to fly was Mike Whillance against Igor Manzula (EST). this was a reasonably easy bout for Mike and he was able to keep a clear slate. Last to fly was Mervyn Jones in the final scheduled flight of the day against Fransisco Mataro (ESP) – Two cuts each was the result but Mervyn won on ground points. So at the end of the first round the British team had two wins and one loss to its credit.

The second round saw Tony Frost win as did Mervyn Jones but Mike Whillance lost thus putting two of the British flyers on one life with only Mervyn Jones clear at this point. There was no clear favourite at this early stage in the competition but it was noted that the eastern block flyers were looking very strong in depth.

The third round saw Tony Frost lose to Pavel Klima (CZE) and thus exit the competition. Mike Whillance beat Ladislav Marek (CZE) but Mervyn Jones lost to Andrey Budnik (BLR) leaving both british flyers on one life.

Round four was to see the exit of both remaining British flyers and cut the original field of 55 down to the last 16 which was expectedly dominated by eastern block flyers. Mervyn Jones would have been through to round five if he had not put his foot out of the circle, the resulting 40 point penalty being enough to reverse the result. There was still no clear favourite with any of the top 10 capable of winning the event. Jari Valo (FIN) was looking strong and extremely determined and Richard Stubblefield (USA) also managed to navigate his way into the last 11 at the end of round five.

Rounds six and seven reduced the remaining 11 down to the last three – Alexei Zhelezko (UKR), Sergei Beliaev (RUS) and Igor Milenin (UKR) – all three being on one life. Beliaev and Milenin were drawn to fly against each other and the Ukrainian lost this bout leaving Zhelezko and Beliaev to fight it out for top spot.

The final was a clean fight and saw Zhelezko(UKR) take top honours with Beliaev(RUS) second and Milenin (UKR) third.

The Ukraine also took first place in the team event with placings being as follows :-

    1. Ukraine18 Wins
    2. Russia13 Wins
    3. Belarus12 Wins

All models and engines were very similar with virtually all equipment being eastern block. The Russian motors did not outshine the others as experienced in previous years. A combination of similarity between models and the badly chosen streamer colours made it very difficult for spectators to know what was happening, particularly on the wet grey days, and one would assume that the judges had similar difficulties.

The Prizegiving and Banquet

All of the presentations for individual, team and junior prizes took place at the banquet which was held on the evening of Saturday 29th following an optional guided tour of the city including a boat trip and barbecue lunch. Around half of the British team went on the tour, the others opting to do their own bit of exploring in Kiev.

Food at the banquet was again fairly limited although they had clearly gone to more effort for the special occasion – Ukrainian Vodka was provided in what seemed like endless supply and there were also champagne, wine and soft drinks on the tables.

A Few Thank-you Acknowledgements

Our thanks must go to Mikhail Zakharov, the general co-ordinator, for all of his efforts to keep everything flowing despite the numerous problems encountered due to the environment in the Ukraine.

Also to our interpreter, Natasha, who was constantly resolving problems for us all and had to take all of the complaints as she was the only person we could talk to. There were many times that I felt personally sorry for all of the grief we were giving her when none of the problems were her fault.

The Return Journey

Many of us were expecting problems on the return journey after those we had encountered on the way in to the Ukraine.

The American team had even more problems than we had. They had shipped their fuel into the Ukraine by official courier and, on arrival had been presented with a $1200 bill for collection of the fuel. They, quite rightly, thought that this was extortion and arranged to use other fuel instead but were then told that their return tickets had been cancelled because they were refusing to pay this bill and that they would not be able to leave the country. Luckily, they managed to sort the problem out just in time to leave on the Sunday.

We were all shipped to the Airport on the same buses we had used all week and, as it turned out, there were no problems whatsoever as the teams departed and a uneventful trip saw us all safely home on the Sunday night. Swissair were expecting us and had pre-organised an express check-in for the flyers and all of the equipment (again with no excess baggage charges)


It certainly was an interesting trip and it was clear that the organisers of the event were constantly struggling in an environment that is not used to providing the necessary level of service for this type of event. With the problems encountered during the week I think it is essential that the CIAM consider any future proposals to hold major internationals in the old soviet states very carefully.

The event was however a success despite all of the problems thanks to the efforts of all those concerned.

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