In 1997 the national delegates to the CIAM Plenary meeting had voted overwhelming in favour holding the 1999 World Champs in Israel, with more than double the number of votes given to the other two contenders Romania and USA. After the decision, there were doubts cast on two grounds: the political situation and the flying conditions - a hot and sandy desert in August. There was no change and so from August 25th to 31st the free flight world centred on Israel. Everyone was accommodated at the Shulamit Garden hotel, situated on the coast at Ashkelon and having reasonable rooms and very good food. There was, however, a drive of almost an hour to reach the flying site near Be'er-Sheba, especially noticeable in the morning with flying usually starting very soon after the 6am sunrise.
The World Champs was combined with the Junior European champs and was preceded by the Negev Open World Cup event, with F1A flown on Monday August 23rd and F1B and F1C on Tuesday 24th. This event gave a good introduction to the site and also practice for the organisation. It was another clean sweep for the Ukrainians, with the respective top spots taken by Stamov, Kulakovsky, and Verbitsky.
F1A glider was flown on the first championship day and, since the usual weather continued to be hot, windy and thermally until sunset, it had been decided to plan the competition without evening flyoffs and go straight to an early morning 10 minute round. While this was very sensible given the weather at the site, it did mean a sudden death single flight event with too many participants to be able to follow the overall picture. It also meant a nervous wait for the flyers.
Thus it came about that the F1A flyoff was flown at 6.15 on Wakefield morning.
In the same steady morning drift Darius Stezalski from Poland was the winner with almost five and a half minutes, followed by Pieter de Boer and Namio Takahashi who had tied on 303 sec. Almost all the flights had been seen to the ground. The F1A flyoff was followed by the flyoff of the European Junior Championships F1B (the Euro Junior were being flown concurrently with the world championships, with different classes on each day. Nine Juniors came to the flyoff from the 16 flyers. The winner was Ivan Kolic of Yugoslavia with a competent flight of his Ukrainian model which was seen to the ground in 407 sec.
After all this hectic activity all was ready to start Wakefield at 6.50. The weather pattern repeated itself exactly today, with the difference for the flying that the start had been 35 minutes later after the flyoffs. The first round 3.30 max is a formality in good conditions and 70 out of 74 duly maxed. A similar number followed in round 2, then it started to get more difficult with several dead patches and deceptive partial bubbles that did not break away until flapped vigorously. The other effect of the heat was on the rubber. The latest batches of FAI were judged to behave better at lower temperatures and several people were doing this in the old style of cool boxes for the rubber or damp towel over the model, quite a turn-around from heaters!
The drama came in round 5. On pole 1 (the "upwind end of the line) was defending champion Alex Andrjukov flying on his own pole, normally next to the pole of his country of residence USA but for this round the US team was at the opposite end of the line and Alex was alone. On the next pole British flyer Russell Peers had a close shave, clocked to the ground at 180 exactly. Alex had wound a few minutes into the round and waited and waited in his exposed upwind position. 30 minutes into the round he wound a fresh motor, along the way breaking at least one motor in a model. While George Batiuk, US manager, was working on the broken motor model Alex still waited and waited. With five minutes to go he broke the motor while putting on extra hand turns. Meanwhile Beales at the British pole found lift for a big max, but Alex was making a hectic dash to his pits, fitting a new motor and wind it. Then the motor broke and the shock took the fin off the model. He then had to fight to remove a broken motor from one of the other models, load a new motor, and, with one minute to go, to start winding again. He launched immediately, moments before the hooter, in what seemed like the wind after a thermal. But it wasn't. The climb confirmed that he had not got up to full turns and was not aided by the air. After folding the model was coming down steadily. It glided in 14 seconds short to spell the end of his title defence.
Round 6 was statistically easier than dramatic round 5, then round 7 was harder again with the wind increasing further. The flyoff which was resolved to have 43 flyers. These included full team scores for four nations: Bosnia Herzegovina, China, Italy and USA.
Next morning we again had two flyoffs, no junior event but the F1A second place tie to resolve as well as Wakefield. It was decided to do the small F1A flyoff first and thus have more light for the main timekeeper challenge.
All was ready for a 6.35 start but the powerful public address system, which had seemed so good previously, was not quite enough to reach the far end of the very long line. In the confusion two flyers made abortive flights before the round had started.
There seemed to be two groups of models which held up well, but identification and real comparison was difficult with so many flyers. Most models were seen almost to the ground, but there were some problems with the wide circles the spindly small cross-section F1Bs taking them out of view prematurely against hazy backgrounds. Bob Piserchio was one to suffer this, both the US team and the helpers loosing it in the air on its very wide turn. The model I watched in detail looked to be as good as any that I could see and it's official time around 7 1/2 was a good reflection of its time to a very low altitude. I saw little evidence to support a couple of claims of models being clocked off very early and making over eight minutes to the ground.
The winner was the in-form Oleg Kulakovsky just two seconds short of eight minutes and followed directly by Bror Eimar one second behind. Anselmo Zeri was third, half a minute down from the top two, at last a medal position after fourth in 93 and 95.
The prize-giving was held at the Shulamit Garden Hotel in the garden beside the swimming pool. Drinks and snacks were served at the entrance and while people then settled at their tables a composition of video clips of the Champs were presented. There were then brief closing speeches, the prize-giving, and the FAI flag was symbolically handed to the Australian team as hosts for 2001. The conclusion of a memorable and very well run Championships. The only fault that could be found was the dust, but even that was not as bad as expected for most of the champs.
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|1999 Team Results for Penaud Cup|
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