Thursday, February 27, 2020

Flying NZ National Championships and International Wings Trophy #2

So, what did I get up to during the competitions? Well, I had work to do each day.

On Wednesday I scribed for one of the Wings 3-Ship Formation judges. This is a competition where teams of 3 aircraft fly a formation routine and try to impress the judges with their skills. The scribe assists a judge by writing down the scores as the judge calls it, leaving the judge to concentrate on watching the flying.

Later on, I was running around assisting where I could collecting results and helping to add them up.

I also helped with ground judging a bombing competition [yes, bombing], where competitors fly low overhead and drop an object, trying to hit the target. From memory, the target was threatened a couple of times, although it is usually the safest place to stand...! Once the "bomb" is dropped, the ground judge measures the distance and direction from the target and radios the competitor so they can adjust their aim next time around.

Near the bombing target was the airport's fire rescue training device. It's an old de Havilland Devon - ex RNZAF and civil register by the looks [ZK-UCO appears to be the old civil registration]. I think it would require a little more than polishing to get this running again...!

Airport Rescue training device
The bombing target was also in line with, but well separated from, the grass runway. It made for a nice little video of an aircraft coming in to land.

Other days I continued to help with checking judges scores, trying to obtain completed score sheets, occasionally round up competitors and the like. In other words, general dogsbody.

Thursday was the main competition day for me, with three competitions to compete in!

First up I was part of Wellington's Wigram Cup team. This is a team of four people, for four competitions, where competitions are scored in their individual competition as well as as part of the team.

It's the premiere event [aside from the Wings Trophy] and so keenly contested for. I was in the Wigram I/F ("partial panel instrument flying") event where I fly without being able to see outside and with some instruments off or covered up. Fun times!

Second I flew in the Streamer Cutting. This is where we throw a fully biodegradable toilet roll out and then fly around trying to cut it with the wing. Each competitor gets two attempts and the combined score for both attempts decides the winner. I had never flown the aircraft before, but it was an Alpha R2160, ZK-SWZ, and so aerobatic, as was the instructor/ judge.

Alpha R2160, ZK-SWZ, operated by Southern Wings

Lastly, I was dispatcher in the Liferaft Dropping competition. This is a bit like the bombing competitions, except it is a 15kg object that gets dropped. The pilot flies and the dispatcher tosses the liferaft out on command. Fun times!

I think I'll put the results in the next post, so hang about a couple of days and you'll find out what happened!

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