2018 FAI F1D World Championship Team Managers Report - Tom Sova
Brett Sanborn 2018 F1D World Champion - FAI Gold Medal
Senior Team USA 2018 F1D Team Champions (Sanborn, Palmer, Kagan) - FAI Gold Medal
Junior Team USA Third Place Junior Team (Clements, Luo, Szczur) - FAI Bronze Medal
The 2018 World Championship was held at the West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana. The hotel has a large and round atrium with a ceiling of over one hundred feet. The World Championship began with a traditional pre-contest, the "Jim Richmond Open" to honor Jim, an eight time World Champion. The contest also served as two additional practice days for competitors to trim planes for the upcoming World Championship.
The weather outside was cool and cloudy and the air inside was just as bad with drift and areas of both lift and down air. Conditions were nearly unflyable early in the day. Jim Richmond managed to have the best time for the first day with a 24:15, a flight that had both lift and down air. The weather improved on Sunday with some afternoon sun. Several flights in the afternoon were in the mid twenties. Former Junior Champion Evan Guyett won the contest with a two flight total of 48:46. Brett Sanborn finished second and Mark Benns third.
The cold and overcast outside weather made flying nearly impossible for the first three rounds. West Baden had a winter advisory on Tuesday that left us with two to three inches of snow. The air near the walls had lift but if a plane ventured anywhere toward the center of the floor the downdraft would ruin the flight. Many flights were less than ten minutes. All recorded flights for the first three rounds were under twenty minutes.
Sun was shining through the windows into the atrium at the start of round four. The air improved throughout the round. Reigning World Champ Juan Kang Lee managed a 22:57. Kagan flew for 21:43. Jake Palmer launched early in the round when the air was hit or miss and went up and then down in 12:16. Sanborn went up late in the round and had a record flight of 27:11.
The contest was going to be decided with flights made in rounds five and six. The conditions outside were the best they had been all week; mild temperatures and some sun. Air inside the atrium would improve as the day went on.
Jake Palmer just couldn’t get a break and after four rounds had a two flight total of only 18:05. If Team USA was going to be on the podium Jake needed to have decent flights in rounds five and six. In hopes of better air it was decided that Jake fly last in round five. Waiting as long as possible and still be able to get all three flights in, Kagan had to start the round. The air was still questionable. John’s flight went up and down in 17:12. Sanborn was getting ready to wind when a plane hung on an artificial tree directly behind him. The ensuing retrieval debacle postponed Brett’s launch by about fifteen minutes. Time management was going to be crucial if Jake was going to get his flight in before the end of the round. As soon as Brett landed Jake started winding. The first motor broke but was able to get the flight off with about seven minutes before the round ended. It started out as a respectable flight. About six minutes into the flight a collision occurred. The flight landed with a time of nearly eighteen minutes. The air seemed to be improving so Jake chose to take a re-flight. That turned out to be a good decision as the re-flight during the lunch break was 22:36.
The winners would be determined by their performance in the final round. The air was the best it had been all week and any of the top six had a chance to be the winner. Brett had a 27:11 going in but a backup of only 18:53. SunOS, Mangalea, Benns, and Kagan all had a decent two flight total going into round six. Jake Palmer did a 24:46, his best flight. His final flight made it possible for Team USA to take top team honors. Brett put it all together late in the round and flew a tremendous backup of 27:01 that gave him a two flight total of 54:12. World Champion! His total time was more than six minutes more than second place Zoltan Sukosd. Corneliu Mangalea finished third.
This was a great World Championship held at a world class venue. Unfortunately the cool overcast weather of early spring made flying conditions challenging for everyone. Special thanks go out to Bud Layne for his generous sponsorship, Leo Pilachowski for the hours in planning and dedication to detail as the primary organizer, Colleen Pierce for her work as AMA FAI Coordinator, Steve Brown Contest Director, and Ray Harlan Technical Director.