Devin McGrath, Clay Wheaton and I spent this past weekend in Geneva Ohio at the Holiday Electric Fly. The HEF organizers of the event were kind enough to allow us to organize and run the first annual HEF F3P Contest as part of the event. F3P (indoor precision aerobatics, flown with “foamies”) has recently become recognized by the FAI as a full class and the first world championships will take place in early 2013. In an effort to lay the groundwork to send a US team to the 2015 F3P worlds, we are trying to gain interest in F3P flying in the US and start holding official contests. This contest marked the beginning of that effort, and was the first official F3P contest held in the US.
To hold the contest, the HEF organizers gave us our own flying area for the duration of the event. We were able to form a practice line and practice one at a time without much interference from the open flying at the event. Friday was a setup and practice day. The approximately 20 contest pilots took turns practicing their sequences and helped eachother tweak their flying. On Saturday afternoon after a morning of more practice, the contest began. We flew a total of 4 classes; 3 classes of precision (F3P-AP, Intermediate and Sportsman) and F3P-AM (aeromusical ((freestyle)) ). With the help of several great volunteer judges and scribes, we were able to complete 3 rounds for each of the 4 classes throughout the afternoon, taking breaks to avoid conflicts with the combat and pylon racing events in the open flying area. Awards were given out just before dinner time. Devin and Dave Lockhart did a great job organizing the contest and we were able to run it smoothly and efficiently, even getting scores posted for the pilots within minutes of the end of their flying rounds. Overall, the contest went off without a hitch and all the pilots had a great time.
In the end, the top 3 results in AP and AM were:
1st: Devin McGrath
2nd: Dave Lockhart
3rd: RJ Gritter
1st: RJ Gritter
2nd: Devin McGrath
3rd: Dave Lockhart
In addition, the organizers of the ETOC (Electric Tournament of Champions, held in April) wanted to invite a new pilot to their contest based on the results of ours. The highest placing pilot in the Aeromusical class who did not fly in the last ETOC was to be given an invitation. This invitation went to Clay Wheaton! Clay is a great pilot who stays out of the spotlight but always surprises everyone with his flying skill. He’ll be a great addition to this coming ETOC.
We look forward to seeing F3P grow in the US and holding more contests in the near future!