2016 FAI F1D Indoor World Championship
U.S. Team Manager’s Report
cycle saw the largest American presence at a World Championship in more than a
decade. The United States fielded a full Junior
Team for the first time since 2006 as well as both returning World Champions. Aurel Popa graciously helped arrange the Otto
Hints Memorial and our accommodations during the pre-contest. Having the time to acclimate and practice
before the World Championships goes a long way to level the playing field. The majority of the U.S. fliers used the Otto Hints to
practice and experiment with new models, but John Kagan managed to fly every
round and posted a high time of 24:32
practice day was plagued with turbulent air, and the practice hours were
extended and the opening ceremony was abbreviated. At the technical meeting later that night, it
was agreed that doors to the mine would be shut, except for when vehicles
needed to enter or exit the mine to transport disabled persons. Controlling the doors helped to keep the air
flyable. Nevertheless, the turbulence
definitely influenced the results of the contest.
started off round one with a 20:48 for the seniors. John Kagan followed up with a round one high
time of 25:43, while Brett Sanborn posted a 24:02. Kang’s first round flight proved that out
climbing the site would still be an issue with the new rules. He hung on the catwalks at 7:05.
was largely about getting a good backup time on the board before attempting any
more aggressive flying. To that end,
John put up a 24:52, and Brett posted a 22:51. Joshua landed a 20:14, which put the team in
first place after day one.
strong start the previous day, the third round saw many in the American
contingent struggle to better their previous times. The air was still quite turbulent, perhaps
even more turbulent than the previous day.
At the end
of the day, 2 of the U.S.
seniors were sitting on top, but everyone was aware of how quickly that could
change. Calin Bulai rose to the top of
the juniors with an incredible 25:45, and surpassed John’s 25:43 for the high
time of the contest. If Zoltan Sukosd
was able to land the big times he previously had shown he was capable of, the U.S. was going
to need to improve to keep up.
day of the World Championships feature a special kind of “anything can happen”
tension. In case we had any doubts that
the air might have improved, as John was landing, we heard clapping from across
the mine. Zoltan had just landed a
massive 26:37, thus establishing a new high time for the contest.
launched at the end of the round and his model climbed quickly to the roof. He
spent a few minutes flying between the catwalks and bumping the ceiling. It felt like the entire mine was watching his
flight. Miraculously, the model
descended below the catwalks. It was
clear that it was going to be a big flight, but we had to wait for the model to
land to see just how big. The model
touched down to applause at 27:59.
Hungarians moved into the top team spot after round five, and the field of
contenders for the individual world championship title appeared wider than it
had been since the start of the contest.
came down to the final round, with mere seconds separating first and second
place. Kang decided to take a more
conservative approach and flew below the catwalks. He still posted an impressive time of 26:55,
which was enough to secure him the World Championship title. Zoltan flew valiantly, and his final flight was
27:57. Only 30 seconds separated Kang
from Zoltan. John finished out in third.
It was a
privilege to return to the mine, especially in the company of the U.S.
team. I enjoyed
getting to see old friends and make some new ones. I want to thank our supporters who weathered
the week underground with us, and Bud Layne of Spantech for his generous
support of the team. I am looking
forward to seeing everyone in two years at West Baden.
Nick Ray –
U.S. Team Manager