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R/C Aerobatic World Championships 1983

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HANNO PRETTNER (Austria) won the 13th World Championships for Radio Control aerobatic model aircraft in Pensacola, FL an October 10-15.

He was in first place after each of four qualifying flights, and he proceeded to extend his lead over the other six fliers in the finals.

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Arrival German team at Airport

The United States won the team com-petition with Dave Brown finishing 3rd, Steve Helms 7th, and Tony Frackowiak (who barely missed the finals) 8th.

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German team car

The pre-event favorite, Japan. led during most of the competition only to fade under a late rush by the U.S. team.

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Bavarian (German) Pilot Franz Mayr likes American beere

Prettner, along with six others. had qualified for the finals after four rounds of corn-petition by all fliers.

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The other finalists, in their order of qualifying: Bertram Lossen (Germany), Ivan Kristensen (Canada), Dave Brown (U.S.A.), Steve Helms (U.S.A.), Wolfgang Matt (Liechtenstein), and Yoichiro Akiba (Japan).

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Swiss Pilot Hugo Peyer and Franz Meyer

After the two rounds of finals. the order changed somewhat: Prettner, Lossen, Brown, Kristensen„ Matt, Akiba, and Helms.

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First German testflights

The top five teams were U,S.A., Japan, Germany, Canada, and Austria. Not even Hanno Prettner’s impressive scores could pull his team all the way to the top since his teammates finished 23rd (Adolf Panz) and 35th (Hermann Kowarz).

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Dave Brown`s Illusion

Seventy fliers represented 28 countries from all around the world. Each country was entitled to enter three fliers, bin several teams had only one or two.

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Hanno Prettner`s Calypso

Team Liechtenstein was represented by two-time World Champion Wolfgang Matt and his brother, Norbert.

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One more high-quality flier would have made Liechtenstein a real threat for a high place in the team championships.

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What`s the problem?

Prettner took the lead in the first round and never looked back.

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Franz Mayr`s 2 Picos

The fliers expected to give Hanno the toughest battle, Kristensen (Canada) and Lossen (Germany) either couldn’t earn high scores for what appeared (to unofficial observers) to be superior flights, or they had relatively poor flights when it counted.

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Dave Brown stayed closes but was never a threat until he posted a score of 1442 in the third round (which Prettner tied in the fourth round for the high flight score) which moved him into second place – within two points of Prettner.

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However, Brown yielded to Lossen and Kristensen in the fourth round to move back to fourth place in qualifying,

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The U.S. team

The scoring was not complicated, but it did manage to confuse many people.
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Simply, the fliers faced each of the two sets of four judges twice during the four qualifying rounds.

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Prettner`s Calypso

The total score was the sum of the best flight scores in front of each set of judges. In this way, a set of judges which scored higher 111311 the other set could not dominate the selection of the Champion.

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It made for some interesting situations. During Round 1, Steve Helms’ YS engine failed due to a faulty check valve and high pump pressure. Suddenly, he was in 68th place.

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Similarly, Tony Frackowiak did another “cardiac kid” routine. He was in 19th place after the first round.

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Bertram Lossen`s Red Palmer

During the second round, the fuel nipple on his Webra spraybar popped off, and he slid all the way back to 62nd place, He was in 64th place after the third round because he had to use that bad second-round score.

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Yoshioka with his Citation

The pressure was on him during the fourth round, and he responded with a fine score (which many thought should have been rewarded with more points) that rnoved him into 8th place.

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Look the rudder…

Meanwhile, Helms had improved on his own second-round score to move into 5th place.

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Naruke`s Cosmos

When all the qualifying scores were in, Tony Frackowiak had missed qualifying for the finals by only Five points in 2,600+.

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He was barely edged out by Yoichiro Akiba (Japan). For a while it appeared that Wolfgang Matt was in danger of missing out on the finals for the first time in seven World Championships, but he qualified by finishing 42 points ahead of Akiba.

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While Helms and Frackowiak were moving down (and finally back up) the placings, the U.S. team total was doing the same dance.

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German team

After the first round, the US warn was in 14th place. Following the second round, it was still in 14th. The team moved up to 9th place after the third round and led everyone at the end of the fourth round of qualifying.

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Ivan Kristensen`s Citation

Japan had led the team standings through the first three rounds on the basis of strong, consistent individual performances by Akiba, Yoshioka and Naruke, who were in the top 10 of individual fliers for all four rounds.

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The pictureman Werner

Hanno Prettner was flying a new airplane which he calls Calypso. It did not resemble any of the other competition aircraft because, if anything, it looked more like a low-wing trainer with a conventional gear.

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Jan van Beek`s Akro with four-cycle engine Saito 120

It did have retractable gear and a Supertigre S61 with a muffled pipe, but it just didn’t look like an airplane capable of competing against all the other high-performance airplanes.

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However, compete it did. The vertical performance was outstanding, and the dive speed was controlled by a Kato adjustable-pitch propeller.

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During a discussion on practice day, he said that Calypso was a prototype of what he will fly in the new FA1 turnaround pattern. The turnaround-pattern airplane will be larger than die Calypso, but it will lock very much the same.

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Many other top fliers had new airplanes, too. Second-place Bertram Lossen was flying his new design which calls Red Palmer.

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lt was generously contoured: there didn’t appear to be a flat plane anywhere on the airplane.

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Liechtenstein Team

Dave Brown flew his Illusion, which is a modified Tiporare with less anhedral in the horizontal tail. It appears to have a thinner wing, and the pipe is molded into the bottom of the fuselage.

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Akiba`s Rocky

Ivan Kristensen was flying a Citation, designed by Tsugutaka Yoshioka, the 1973 World Champion. For those of us accustomed to seeing him fly one of the many versions of his popular Saturn design„ it was a big surprise.

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Ivan flies the Citation well and had beaten Dave Brown at the 1983 Nats with the airplane. By the way„ his wife was so concerned that be might damage his citation in the Canadian Nats that she convinced him to fly a Saturn, and he finished second in the event.
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Steve Helms competed with a newly-completed Cosmos, designed by Giichi Naruke. The finish was absolutely flawless; only Steve could find when: the flaws were, and he`d tell you if asked, but the rest of us couldn’t see them. The finish was clear Imron over K&B Superpoxy.

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Wolfgang Matt flew his popular Arrow that many Pattern fliers in the U.S. are discovering to be a formidable Pattern machine.

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He said that the once he flew was getting old and warn (it didn’t lock it)., because it had well over 2,000 flights.

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Yoichiro Akiba flew his nm design called Rocky. It was one of two airplanes in the finals with a YS .60 engine (Steve Helms was the other).

One of the big topics before the World Championships was the noise requirement. A contestant’s engine and propeller noise had to be less than 105db at a point one meter from the airplane when the airplane was sitting on the ground, with the sound meter at the height of the engine.

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Dave Brown


It was announced at the banquet that all 70 airplanes had passed the noise tests, there had to have been an enormous effort on the part of all the contestants to achieve that success.

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The R/C modeller`s car

The most noticeable difference in the airplanes was the use of special propellers. Many propellers had three blades, and higher pitches were typically used.

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2 x Calypso

Most were fiberglass, although there were a few hand-crafted wooden propellers. Several fliers had also increased propeller diameter in order to take advantage of the braking effect during dives provided by the increased disk area.

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Hanno Prettner was one of the fliers to Jake advantage of the beneficial effects of a larger-diameter propeller.

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Yoshioka and his Citation

There were a number of human-interest stories which could be written about the World Championships, but I think the best one involved Jim Clarke (Ireland). Jim is not a young man (he describes his age as “full”), and he overslept on the first day of qualifying.

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The Peyer brothers

That, combined with a bad transmission in his rented station wagon, caused him to arrive at the flight line five minutes before he was to fly.

Then he discovered that, in his haste to get to the field, he had left his wing bolts, pipe bracket, and propeller on the motel dresser. A scramble among other entrants produced wing bolts from Wolfgang Matt, a propeller and tie wraps from an anonymous source„ and a large rubberband from Dave Brown.

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The contingent proceeded to assemble Clarke’s airplane in the starting box. He got his airplane started on time, and everyone was delighted until the aileron servo connector failed just after takeoff. The resulting crash spoiled an otherwise heartwarming story.

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The scariest thing that happened was during Ivan Kristensen’s fourth-round flight. A large flock of perhaps 200 birds appeared over the horizon and moved in a random manner toward the flight line.

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At swiss team`s hotel: fixing some problems

Ivan was unaware of their presence until they were directly in front of the judges, about 600 feet away and about 200 feet up. He was in the middle of an eight-point roll at the time he spotted them. You can imagine how ragged the rest of the maneuver looked!

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Ivan Cristensen

The site of the World Championships was a more-or-less abandoned Navy airfield called Bronson Field which is located west of Pensacola near beautiful Perdito Bay.

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Dave Brown

Jan Van Beek (Netherlands) probably bad the most unusual airplane because he used a Saito 120 four-cycle in his large (71-in.-wingspan) Akro. His four-cycle was the only one in the competition, and spectators liked the different sound of his engine.

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The only use of the field by the Navy is helicopter training, and the runways have been everyone’s surprise when Monday (the check-in day) was greeted with a misty rain.

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Tuesday (official practice day) began with heavy rain and wind, which gradually eased off and ended with sunshine and pleasant temperatures. However, on that evening and early Wednesday morning (first day of competition), Pensacola was struck by thunderstorms.
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The rain ended soon after the scheduled 7:00 a.m. start, and competition began only 15 minutes late. The skies gradually cleared, and the day’s schedule was completed. However. Thursday morning started with a nasty, cold wind (50v) and low overcast skies -which delayed the start for two hours.

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The Prettner`s

Moon Ho Choi (Korea) had taken off on his official flight at 7:00 a.m. only to have his airplane disappear in the overcast for five seconds- (an eternity), but he got it safely back on the ground. The flying was extended an hour pass the scheduled 2:00 p.m. stopping time to permit a partial catchup,

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Hugo Peyer`s Marvins

Friday morning was again cold, cloudy and windy, but flights got off on schedule. An additional hour of catch-up flying resulted in completion of the scheduled flights for Friday.

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The Calypso

Saturday morning was devoted to finishing the lost round of qualifying flights, and the weather cooperated by gradually clearing Limit the fourth round all the time’ flights, which started at 12:30 p.m. and lasted until approximately 3:15 p.m.

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The scoring for the finals was done by all eight judges on one line. The total score was the sum of the qualifying scores and the best score of the two final flights.

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Consequently, the finals accounted for half the total score. The scores were posted very soon after each flight of both qualifying and finals, thanks to a dedicated crew.

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The winner ceremony

Score sheets were hand-carried from each flight line to the tabulating center for processing. then the scores were radioed to the center area for posting.

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The computer program for the World Championships was written by a professional programmer, David H. “Dirty Dave” – Knowles, a non-modeler, who contributed his services.

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After each round the individual scores and team scores were computer-ordered, and copies were contributed to contest officials and team managers. lt climinated numerous hand calculations by everyone, and it was much faster than could have been possible otherwise.

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Following the finals, everyone took a four-hour break and convened at the Pensacola Country Club for an excellent buffet-style meal and the formal awards ceremony.
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Since I had been able to arrange 24-hour film processing for my 35mm Ektachrome slides, there were over 200 slides already processed.
My wife, Faith, and I put together a slide Show on a carousel projector and showed 160 of the best slides on the wall of the banquet room prior to the start of the banquet. It gave many contestants and supporters a chance to see themselves in action, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

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Every competition of the magnitude of the 1914.3 World Championships has a group of hard-working individuals who make it all come together. Rather than try to name them all (I couldn’t) and miss some, I think it’s fitting that two of the individuals who really mode it happens should he named, Ron Chidgey was the one who asked Rae Fritz to be Contest Director.

Ron and Rae proceeded to collect a group of experts to handle the various specialties. That core of experts would probably be the first to agree that Rae Fritz and Ron Chidgey are the individuals who deserve the credit for making the World Championships a world-class event.


Images: Werner Meding, Hugo Peyer

Text: Ron van Putte November 1983

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Name Team Model Motor Radio
1. H.Prettner Austria Calypso Super Tigre S51 Simprop SAM PCM
2. B.Lossen Germany Red Palmer OS Max ABC 61 VF ABC Graupner Varioprop
3. D.Brown USA Illusion OS 61 FSR ABC World Expert
4. I.Kristensen Canada Citation OS 61 VR ABC Futaba PCM
5. W.Matt Liechtenstein Arrow Webra 61 Racing LS Webra
6. Y.Akiba Japan Rocky Yamada YS 60 SF Futaba PCM
7. S.Helms USA Cosmos Yamada YS 60 SF Futaba PCM
8. A.Frackowiak USA Tiporare Webra Champion 61 ABC J.R Unlimited
9. G.Naruke Japan Cosmos Yamada YS 60 SF Futaba PCM
10. T.Yoshioka Japan Citation OS 61. ABC JR
11. G.Bertolozzi Italy Komet 1 Picco ABC Futaba
12. P.Ardoncean France Olympic OS 61 VR ABC Simprop SAM
13. P.Malfait France Arrow OS 61 VR ABC Robbe Mars Rex
14. F.Mayr Germany Pico OS 61 FSR ABC Graupner
15. G.Marsden Canada Phoenix 8 OS 81 VR ABC Graupner
16. W.Schweiker Germany Ceres Webra 61 Racing LS Graupner Varioprop
17. B.Bertolani Italy Komet Rossi 61 JR Rossi
18. G.Werion Belgium Mixers Webra 61 Champion ABC Robbe Mars Rex
19. B.Brotherton GB Super Lightning Super Tigre 61 TST JR
20. K.Binks GB Pacemaker Red Shift 60 Futaba
21. R.Pasqualini Italy Galaxi Super Tigre 61 TST Futaba
22. H.Peyer Switzerland Marvin Webra 61 Racing ABC Webra
23. A.Panz Austria Akrobat Webra 61 Racing ABC
24. J.Zardini Belgium Sultan 6 Webra 61 Racing ABC Simprop SAM
25. A.Degotte Belgium Granat Webra 61 Racing ABC
26. J.Gagnon Canada Phoenix 8 Webra 61 Racing ABC
27. N.Matt Liechtenstein Arrow Webra 61 Racing LS Webra
28. G.Stowell Papua N.G. Balus Enya 61 ABC Multiplex Profi 2000
29 R Schumacher Switzerland Dragon Webra 61 Racing ABC Simprop SAM
30. P. Stevens GB Super Lightning Super Tigre TST Skyleader
31. A.Lafitte France Komet 1 OS VR ABC Simprop SAM
32. E.Edwards Australia Super Squirrel OS 61 VR ABC JR
33. T.Prosser Australia Fang 2 OS 61 VR ABC Kraft
34. I.Olivier South Africa
35. H.Kowarz Austria Flash Webra 61 Champion ABC
36. W.Sutherland South Africa
37. C.Taylor Australia Fang 2 OS 61 VF ABC
38. E.Giezendanner Switzerland Scorpion OS VF 61 ABC JR
39. E.Dockendorf Luxembourg Tempest Webra 61 Racing ABC Simprop
40. T.Jermegard Norway Super Curare Rossi 61


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