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1989 Eugeniusz Cofalik, 47, Poland

This year's gathering for the Wakefield Cup 450 miles from Buenos Aires, at Embalse Rio Tercero, Argentina, on the Aerodrome La Cruz, had only twenty three nations fielding only sixty nine contestants, maybe the smallest contest for the Cup since the 1960s. The nations attending were: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, France, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay, USA, USSR, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia.

There were three Wakefield World Champions in the event: 1987 Bob White, 1985 Reiner Hofsass, and 1979 Itzhak Ben Itzhak. Also attending was the 1985 Nordic F1A champion Matt Gewain, and the 1987 F1C Power champion Eugene Verbitski. That is probably the most World Champions to ever attend a World Championships. Team USA included Walt Ghio, Jim Quinn, and Jack Brown, all had been to previous WC with varying degrees of success. Team CCCP included Alexander Andrjukov, who has become a leading force in Wakefield design and flying. Eugene Gorban was back again, and he was also a consistent Wakefield flyer and designer. The day that the Wakefield Cup was flown, Saturday May 27 was cold, below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and windy, up to 17 mph above 200 feet.

ROUNDS 1-7: The siren sounded promptly at 8:30am. The first round would be a 210 second round, each round would last only 45 minutes in hopes of completing the preliminary rounds by 1:00pm before predicted winds swept onto the flying field. The wind, and cold remained consistent throughout the day, making selecting air a tricky proposition, and the elongated 210 second first round took a terrible toll. Giovannetti of Chile was the first contestant in the air, and he dropped the round. Above 200 feet there was a wind layer that disrupted the climb of any Wakefield that could not penetrate this layer, carrying it far down wind, without an increase in altitude. Both Jim Quinn and Jack Brown missed the 210 second max in the first round because of these conditions, but Walt Ghio and Bob White, with their fast climbs, saved the day for the USA. By the end of round 7, the two WC were still in the contest, both Bob White flying his "Twin Fins" No.24, and Reneir Hofsass flying a Kevlar and foam winged "Espada" prepared for the fly-off rounds. So did Alex Andrjukov, the European Wakefield Champion, and his team mate Eugene Gorban.

ROUND 8: The 240 second fly-off round began at 3:45pm. Only eight contestants faced the cold, and increasing winds. Bob White and Eugen Cofalik were the first ones to launch, but only Eugen maxed the round. The cold temperatures had affected the rubber, and without a thermal blanket like the kind used by Andrjukov, and Cofalik, maximum turns were impossible to achieve today. By the end of this round only two survived: Alex Andrjukov (CCCP), and Eugeniusz Cofalik (SP). The reigning WC Bob White would be dethroned. At this time the contest officials decided to postpone the ninth round fly-off until Sunday morning, May 28.

ROUND 9: The 300 second round did not begin as planned at 8:00am: a mist rising up from the lake one mile to the west made visibility impossible. Once again the decision was made to delay the round. By 9:30am the mist was lifting, and now FlC was ready to begin their fly-off, and F1B would follow them. The harsh sound of the siren at the opening aroused the throng bundled in the mists. The wind was below 10 mph now. Both competitors wound up, with Cofalik launching first. About 30 seconds later Andrjukov launched, both aeromodels climbed up to about the same altitude, and both drifted west toward the lake. Alex maxed the round in the fading wind, but according to one of the four official timers, Cofalik had DTed, and had landed at 299.5 seconds! After some conjecture the officials allowed the round to Eugeniusz.

In the past Alex had some bad experiences with his deteriorating Pirelli rubber, and with the world's supply of that rubber all but gone now, he had replaced his Pirelli with "FAI" TAN rubber that was showing surprising torque. Cofalik was still using Pirelli which did not seem to deteriorate as much in the Pampas! 

Eugeniusz CofalikEugeniusz CofalikROUND 10: The 360 second round began at 11:00am. The blast of the siren broke the cold, windy solitude of the bundled throng that had gathered to witness the final spectacle. Eugene launched first, about a minute after the siren sounded. The air had been warming, and picking lift in this air was becoming less tenuous. Alex waited only 10 seconds, to study the meteorology, and he launched. Both Wakefields had reasonable climbs, so the glide pattern would be the determining factor, all things being otherwise equal. Team Poland had stationed themselves down wind to be under Eugen's Wakefield, and were now "flapping" their shirts or towels like mad! All this in an effort to break loose the thermal bubble, which carried his Wakefield to the south end of the flying field, over some tall Pampas grass. At this time Eugen's F1B began to act like it was in light lift, because it began to bounce around. Alex's Wakefield further to the west, may have been in trouble, gliding slowly down, but with only 237 seconds. Eugeniusz was still high, looking if nothing else to max the round! At 237 seconds, and still quite high a cheer went up from the Polish Team, Eugeniusz Cofalik of Poland, was the 1989 Wakefield International Trophy Champion.

Place Name Country Round 1-7 Round 8 Round 9 Round l0
1 E Cofalik POL 1290 240 300 317
2 A Andrjukov CCCP 1290 240 300 237
3 R Hofsass(1985 WC) BRD 1290 203
4 R White(1987 WC) USA 1290 196
5 Z Zhaoyi CHN 1290 192
6 E Gorban CCCP 1290 152
7 J Chenen FRA 1290 114
8 B Tornkvist SWE 1290 87
9 Z Wenyi CHN 1287
9 A Zeri NED 1287
Access full results
WINNING WAKEFIELD C-17
component inches mm
wing 58x4.5 1474x114
tail 16.1x3 410x75
fuselage 46.1 1170
propeller 23.2 dia 28.7 pitch 590 dia 730 pitch
rubber 6x1 old Pirelli Filati
1989 Team Results for Penaud Cup
Place Country Abbreviation Total Team member places
1 China CHN 3826 5 9 23
2 Poland POL 3810 1 16 21
3 USSR USSR 3804 2 6 29
4 Sweden SWE 3774 8 15 32
5 Netherlands NED 3772 9 21 26
6 Switzerland SUI 3659 19 24 41

Eugeniusz CofalikEugeniusz Cofalik's Wakefield

References

Aeromodeller, Oct 1989, FFWC Dilly/Hines
NFFS Jun/Jul 1989, FAI FFWC 1989
NFFS Sympo 1990, F1B Eugeniusz Cofalik C-17

Gorbachov and Reegan sign the nuclear arms pact in 1987

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