Lost Hills are just that, when the winds blows and the dust rolls, the Hills are Lost. Chase a Wakefield across the field, to the west, through swale and gully, turn back after it DTs, and you too may be lost! Seven miles square of Free Flight Heaven! Into this environment of snakes, tarantulas, and scorpions, came 230 contestants from 37 Nations. Because a motorcycle is so essential to the retrieval of aeromodels, many simpatico aeromodellers who were not flying volunteered not only their motorcycles, but often themselves to chase down Wakefields for all contestants. This World Championship was a volunteer effort that was coordinated by the Southern California Aero Club (SCAT), AMA, and NFFS. Full credit must be given to these organizations for conceiving, and organizing this demanding, and often overwhelming Free Fight event.
The reigning Wakefield World Champion Alexander Andrjukov was there to defend his title, but this year for the Ukraine, the CCCP no longer existed. Flying for team Ukraine was a past veteran, attending his fourth WC, Evgeny Gorban, with him was Vivchar, and Blachevich. Team Russia included Burdov, Khreb, and Feodorov. All of these contestants when they were not flying their F1Bs spent time in the sales tent selling parts, and accessories to the throng (mostly Americans) who were more than eager to part with dollars. The buying frenzy often included whole, ready to fly F1Bs, thus was born the phrase "..go'n Russian", in the parlance of the Wakefield community.
Tony Mathews was back with team Canada, he was second to Andrjukov in 1991, with him was Douglas Rowsell, and Cameron Ackerly. The Canadian team were fielding very interesting F1Bs that can only be described as simple high tech aeromodels. Team USA was led by George Xenakis, attending his fifth WC since 1967, something of a record, with him was Chris Matsuno a veteran in his first WC, and Fred Pearce. Friday, October 8 was Wakefield day.
ROUND 1-7: The pre-fly-off rounds, did not get under way as was scheduled at 7:55am. The FlA fly-off superseded the start. This day began as most do in Lost Hills: hot, calm, clear, and very dry. This would be a 210 second round, and with the delay hooking onto a stray thermal should have been easy, but twenty-six contestants missed the max, and for sure were out of this contest. The rest of the rounds were all for 180 second maximum, and normally this is when all kinds of stuff happens, mostly concerning thermal detection. The thermals at Lost Hills are often described as "broom stick" shaped, smaller at the bottom. The presence of thermals are detected by all manners of instruments, and devices, some electronic, others soap bubbles, or weedy cattails. None of this stuff when applied to thermal detection can be described as absolute, it all requires guess work. When a "broom stick" goes by it can make all of these detection devices go off, giving what may be a deceiving "positive" reading. Many times a massive launch occurs at Lost Hills when this phenomenon occurs, and what is thought of as lift, is in fact the opposite, down air. Many "experts", or people who should know better dropped a round or two because they misread their instruments. This included the 1989 WC Eugeniusz Cofalik. Twenty-six contestants did make it into the fly-offs, including the 1991 WC Alexander Andrjukov, and so was his shadow Tony Mathews.
ROUND 8: The 300 second fly-off, opened at 7:30pm, and four contestants dropped this round including Chris Matsuno, but Fred Pearce was still in the fly-offs representing team USA. Round 9 would be started tomorrow morning. Alexander test-stretched "FAI" rubber long into the night.
ROUND 9: This would be a 600 second round, beginning at 7:10am. As the horn sounded to open the round all twenty-two contestants got ready to fly. It was overcast, and a slight drift came in from the west, from the Pacific Ocean. The air was buoyant, and the sun was beaming through the breaks in the cloud layer. I watched as Fred Pearce launched, and then I ran to the west end of the line, just in time to watch Andrjukov preparing to launch. His F1B was on the winding stand, the fuselage was wrapped in an electric warming blanket. He began to wind-up his best "FAI" rubber motor, finishing at 450 turns. Off the stand he ratcheted-in about 20 more turns, and removed the warming blanket. Deliberately placing his Wakefield overhead, he now ran forward a few steps, and launched it straight up with a hard javelin throw. At about twenty feet the DPR snapped in, and the propeller thrust took the aeromodel straight up, with no turn, to 400 feet, where it continued to cruise, nose up for 110 seconds on the prop. Now at 500 feet it transitioned into the glide pattern, circling to the right in at least 700 foot circles. Andrjukov's Wakefield continued on, as all the others clocked in well below the 600 second max. Still it continued to glide in the buoyant morning air. Then it was over, a cheer came up all around the field. The time? 535 seconds! Almost nine minutes. Alexander Andrjukov had won the Wakefield Cup for the Ukraine. Repeating as a two time winner, next to such Champions as Joe Ehrhardt 1930 and '31, Gordon S Light 1932 and '35.
A new transaction took place on the field, Alexander sold his winning F1B, AA-26, to Jerry Fitch for an undisclosed sum of money. Meanwhile the feeding frenzy increased as anything Ukrainian doubled in value at the now expanded sales tent near the processing center. Everything they owned including the clothing on their backs was: FOR SALE. FOR GREEN BACKS: parts, whole FlBs, hats, pants, shirts, underware, you want it?
In the June/July 1996 Digest appeared the following ad:
The one "they" don't want you to have. Get it in time for the finals. The education you'll get from this model is worth the price, even if you never fly it. $1500. Jerry Fitch (916) 391 5516.
|Place||Name||Country||Round 1-7||Round 8||Round 9|
|1||A Andrjukov (1991 WC)||UKR||1290||300||535|
|Access full results|
|1993 Team Results for Penaud Cup|
|Place||Country||Abbreviation||Total||Team member places|
NFFS Nov 1993, Power and Wakefield
Model Aviation, Apr 1994, FFWC, J Oldenkamp
Vol Libre 101 94, FFWC R Morrell
NFFS International 1993 Plans Book
The Endless October; Bob Isaacson remembered.