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2014 F5B world Championships, Turnau, Austria


*Monday it was Lenny Keer of Colorado’s turn to get a gremlin, a flap servo decided to not travel smoothly, he replaced the servo that evening.




Jeff Giving Launch to Steve’s plane


*Tue. It was Jeff’s turn to find a gremlin in that his prop kept coming off during launch, EZ to fix with a new dab of Locktite.


*Wed. Patrick Liddy of Pasadena shows up with his parents after getting a two week pass from High School to attend the Worlds as our F5B Junior representative. Patrick is certainly an up & coming competition pilot and flew several extremely good rounds that even posted in the top 25% of all Senior rounds for the day several times. Of course we were all rooting for him & urged him on to go faster in the Distance task as that is known as the most important of the three tasks. The other two tasks are viewed as “Opportunities to Lose Points” by the World Class Pilots!


On Patrick’s first launch in practice his prop came off too! Then Lenny finds erratic behavior on another flap servo! He spends the evening inspecting and re- insulating all of his planes servo plugs. He must have done a good job, as his Gremlins are now Banished!


*Thur. This is the first Day of the two day Turnau Cup, a warm-up event before the Worlds which start on Mon. the 25th to shake out any bugs in the operations of the two Scoring & Timing crews on the field. The field is a full sized Glider Port for the Turnau Gliding Club and by our standards gorgeous in that it is very smooth grass and wide open, until of course you put both the glider and pylon racing events side by side! There was of course a wide buffer between the two events, about 250-350 meters, but there was still some complaints from the F5D Pylon Racers, mostly about the busy background sights if you flew low, and the Timing & Scoring crew was not really up to snuff until about 1/3 way through the championships.


Steve Landing


Steve making sure the plane was in the circle–dork!


The airfield has two very large hangers for their club planes and a very nice café at the field end of the hanger row so you can watch the tugs tow the gliders up & out to the nearby mountains to start their day of soaring among the mountains & valleys of central Austria.


The entire event was sponsored by Red Bull, so as you can imagine it was a very lavish production from the oversized and well equipped competitors’ tents to the Free Welcome Banquet and most impressive closing ceremony any of us had seen, ever!


Both days were overcast with some showers & colder than the previous week which had been sunny & warm for our practice. We had this before in Kiev, Ukraine where the practice was sunny & hot with sun screen being used liberally, only to have the competition be in cold, rainy & windy weather! Oh well such is flying by the calendar vs. flying by the actual weather!


Of the four rounds planned, only two were run due to the weather, with most scores improving markedly on Friday. Results of the Turnau Cup were, Lenny 17th, Steve Neu 25th, Jeff 36th & Patrick 44th (2nd Junior!)


Party Time


Party Time


*Sat. they had the Opening Ceremony in the Big Tent as it was raining all night. A very large Brass Band of traditionally clad musicians in Lederhosen, performed traditional Austrian Alps music while we were served beer & wine before a buffet of Austrian foods, the table had to have been over 25 feet long! Many Thanks to Red Bull for their sponsorship of the entire event, it was awesome.


*Sun. This was the check in and registration of the models & batteries. Today’s Gremlin was that ALL of the Watt/Min. limiters failed! Jeff & Steve soon figured out the problem & back at the Hotel they did some re-wiring and when checked a second time all were within specs.


After the “Official Practice” where the field with the Timing & Scoring personnel to be used in the Worlds is given to each team for 20 minutes of uninterrupted practice, “Sparky” Patrick managed to short his battery while taking it out of the plane. No tissue was damaged in the Big Flash” but both connectors needed replacing!


*Mon. Jeff Keesaman was the “Lucky” #1 in the flight order, and managed a respectable 46 legs for 27th out of 46 competitors, the best were 4 score of 50 legs. Patrick did 45 legs to take the lead in the Juniors until Bastin Mlineric beat him by 2.5 points!


*Tue. I went sightseeing in Vienna, opulent palaces and the Belvedere has a stunning collection of art from Andy Warhol to Van Goth’s last painting to a collection of medieval art. Unfortunately the Belvedere itself was closed for remodeling.


Back at Turnau, Lenny’s gremlins returned! His backup model had a wing bolt embedded nut come loose, so it couldn’t be flown. When he turned on his ‘A’ model and aileron servo was dead, so he taped the aileron in neutral. It flew a little squirrely, but he managed to make 44 legs in his flight.


Patrick’s competition in the Junior Division, Bastion from France, actually pulled ahead of his seniors team mates so Patrick was now well behind him. The rest of the Team USA posted good to average scores, but not good enough to make the top ten.


*Wed; Early in the 2nd round a big gust of wind, 50-60 mph, struck the flight line and tents, literally blowing the sides out of the Australians tent and slightly damaging one model. The judge’s tent was also blown out and some equipment was knocked over. The afternoon round was cancelled.


For my sightseeing that day I went to Salzburg and visited the Mozart House and found it very original and packed with great Mozart displays including two of his original pianos. On the way to Vienna I tried to stop at the Beethoven House, but it was closed for remodeling.


*Thur; The day started bright, and sunny with only a few scattered clouds, in contrast to the weather since Monday which was always cloudy with periods of rain from sprinkles to heavy cloudbursts with periodic wind to lower the chill factor to 40 or so.


At the end of Wed. the top ten spots were Italy, Austria, and Germany with Steve Neu the top of Team USA at 18th.Thursday scores were all in the 44-46legs range, with Steve doing 48, and Patrick doing 47, his personal best!, everyone making good Thermal Duration times and 30 point landing as the norm. As it was all week, the Base A & B judges were either early or late in their button pushing signals to the pilots, not the type of precision expected from Austrians!


Fri: Bright sunny & warm! This was the makeup round for the one lost Wednesday afternoon. Lenny got a 47 leg run and finally shook his gremlins! Patrick did 45, Jeff 45, Steve 47. When the Contest Results were posted the Team USA results were;


Steve Neu                   17th

Lenny Kerr                  29th

Jeff Keesaman             31st

Patrick Liddy                32nd, 2nd Junior


There were a total of 46 pilots.


Team results were;

Germany                      1st

Italy                             2nd

Switzerland                   3rd

USA                              7th


It is interesting to note that the top two pilots were only 2.6 points apart out of 6,962.8 points!


Team Germany


Team Germany enjoying the sun


On the way back to Zurich to get our flights home, we detoured to see the picturesque Mad Ludwig Castle that was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. It looks like it came right out of the 14th century with tall spires and turrets all around..


On the way in we had stopped at Ludwig II’s most famous castle, a reproduction of Louis IV of France’s Castle at Versailles. The castle is on a private island in the middle of a lake, and is known as the Chimsee Castle. Its construction and decoration nearly bankrupted the ruling family at the time and was never finished, only the main halls and bedrooms were completed. It’s interesting to note that Ludwig only spent a total of less than a month living there; his longest stay was 10 days in the year before he died at the age of 43 of drowning in a boating accident that was never really explained.


Although the flight over was on-time & very pleasant, the trip home was right out of ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’. Even though we left our Guesthouse early in the morning, the freeway was backed up for many miles because of a large accident. Jeff used his iPhone to come up with a way to get around the freeways using secondary roads, but Jeff & Shania were the only ones to make the scheduled flight. Steve was held up at Security while they poked through his batteries so he joined me on the next flight to Chicago. While we were waiting, I found a 50 Euro note on the floor ($70)! So I went back and had a shopping spree at the Duty Free store before we left.


When we got to Chicago to change to United for the trip to San Diego, the lines for Passport Control, Customs, and Security were so long that we both missed our connections and had to wait another 2 hours to catch our final flight. We finally got in after 11pm vs. the 8pm we were scheduled to arrive home. Boy is the San Diego Airport lonely at that time of night!


No one has made a bid for the 2016 Championships yet, but we bugged Japan to sponsor the event in Hawaii! Who wants to go?



More pictures:




Austrian pilot and helpers during final flight





Belgian pilot concentrating on landing



Belgian 2


Belgian pilots and helpers looking a little worried





F5D pilots relaxing after their first flights



F5D Winners


F5D winners



Last day


Last day of contests in the morning–beautiful day!



Keep an eye


Lenny and Steve help keep an eye on Jeff’s plane





Let the sales begin–F5D models for sale after the contest



Swiss party


Party time–some Swiss friends





Team Australia after last flights



Australia 2


Team Australia making some last minute adjustments before heading to the flight line



Tim and Bruce


Tim Lampe and Bruce Brown–USA F5D working on models





Unique Danish methon to heat cure epoxy





Was it the nose that had to be in the circle?





Early morning on the flight line