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How to set a Record

1952 Arne Blomgren, 27, Sweden

The date had been set for the Wakefield Cup Contest to be held on July 11. The location Norkopping, Sweden, had been chosen because the 1951 Wakefield Champion Sune Stark, by the rules chose the venue: ". . .the contest will be held in the country which won the Cup the previous year...", this was true since 1928, and for 23 years this was the tradition, but "...times they are a- changing..." When the control of the Wakefield Event was relinquished to the FAI/CIAM, by SMAE in 1950, this rule was rescinded.. In 1953 the decree was that the Wakefield Cup event would be held jointly with the "International Power event", in a contest called "The World Championships", so much for tradition. Next year no matter who wins here, the venue would be Cranfield Aerodrome, England. The Nordic Glider event, meanwhile, continued on its own agenda and would not go to "The World Championships", until 1961.

Last year at Jamijarvi, Finland, official flying began late in the afternoon, and continued on through the night, and into the early morning hours, taking advantage of the "midnight sun". This phenomenon, occurring only in the far Northern Hemisphere, of watching the sun go down, and then watch it rise again within the hour, can boggle the unfamiliar mind.

Aeromodels to be flown by the Proxy Wakefield Team began arriving early,and so did many anxious contestants, who wished to test the weather conditions in-situ . In the crowd, stood the 1949, and 1950 Wakefield Champion Aarne Ellila, with yet another variation of his 1939 Wakefield, which bore a strong resemblance, to the aeromodel flown by the 1951 Wakefield Champion Sune Stark, who was also here. Aarne's confidence had failed him last year, but now he was back, as confident as ever. Stark, who began flying the Wakefield event in 1937, continued to look as consistent as he did in last year's contest. In person also to represent Australia, was Adrian Bryant, who remained behind in Europe after attending last year's Wakefield contest. Bert Bland was here to fly for Trinidad, a first for that nation. Team USA was on hand, led by the American maestros Joe Bilgri and Ed Lidgard. Coming to Norkoping with them were Team-mates Sid Seldon, Carl Perkins, Jim Tangney, and Cliff Montplaisir. Team UK was here led by Wakefield maestros Ted Evans and Ron Warring, along with Teammate Roy Nicole. In 1950 Evans had given Ellila a fright, now Ted was flying his magnificent "Vansteed", a gear driven Wakefield, featuring a fully feathering propeller. Team Germany was on hand, represented by Gunther Maibaum and Rudolph Melzers.

From Switzerland was Traugott Haslach,and Team France was represented by Rene Jossien, Gerland, and Morisset. Team Italy sent Giullo Pelegi, S Lustrati, and Kannerworif. There were also Teams from: Belgium which included Mme. L Ferber, her husband M Ferber, P Follett, G Lippens, and P Deschepper; Finland, Norway, Denmark, and of course Sweden. 14 separate Nations were represented by 66 contestants including Trinidad. The stage was set for the World's most prestigious Free Flight Rubber Powered Event THE WAKEFIELD INTERNATIONAL TROPHY. (Dave Thornberg refers to it as the "gumiband" event in his book: DoYou Speak Model Airplane?)

ROUND 1: Saturday July 11, 1952, began 2:30pm, with a light drift, and hazy skies, and cool temperatures, the condition that would prevail all through the contest. When the round ended, there were no maximums. Joe Bilgri of Team USA was the closest, with 293 seconds OOS. Unfortunately his Wakefield was never retrieved, and he was forced to continue with his back-up aeromodel. Retrieval, a vital service performed by the contest hosts, was severely inefficient, and grumbling began in the ranks of the contestants. Often the Wakefields that were returned were badly damaged.

ROUND 2: The temperature was rising as the evening progressed, yet the sky was still overcast. The scores this round were better, Gunther Maibaum, who had a 213 second first round, maxed the second, but where was his Wakefield? The official timers watched it down with 513 seconds, and even got a good compass line on it, but it too was never retrieved. The grumbling was getting louder on the flight line now. Joe Bilgri's spare let him down with only 180 seconds. Germany's Maibaum could win it all, on one more max!

ROUND 3: Arne Blomgren of Sweden, flying an aeromodel not unlike the ones flown by Ellila, and Stark, had maxed this round, and so had his teammate Jan Nilborn. Team Italy's Silvano Lustrati also maxed this round, but no word was heard of Maibaum, or Bilgri's Wakefields. Now we learn that Roy Nicole of Team UK had also not gotten back his Wakefield, since round 2, what was going on with those retrievers? Some aeromodels were now coming back, but they were badly damaged as well. Joe Bilgri had a 222 second third round, Ted Evans came down in 164 seconds, and Ron Warring only managed 91 seconds. The round ended, with a forlorn Maibaum, still down wind searching for his Wakefield; he would place 20 th, for two flights, and his beautiful Wakefield was also gone, "...gone with the wind". It was almost anticlimactic when the announcement came: Sweden's Ame Blomgren is the 1952 Wakefield Champion! Jan Nilbom his Team mate was second, and the leader board provided History with the conclusion:

Place Name Country Round l Round 2 Round 3 Total time
l A Blomgren SWE 210 300 300 810
2 J Nilborn SWE 203 286 300 789
3 A Elilla FIN 240 256 279 775
4 S Lustrati ITA 208 196 300 704
5 J Bilgri USA 293 180 222 695
6 L Kanneworf ITA 229 168 289 686
7 Gerlaud FRA 188 300 180 668
8 J Morisset FRA 183 274 175 632
9 E Evans GBR 230 227 164 621
10 C Montplaisir USA 203 261 153 617
Access full results
WINNING WAKEFIELD AB-10
component inches mm
wing 41.73x5.66 1060x144
tail 19x3.75 483x95
fuselage 41 1041
propeller 26 dia 19.3 pitch 660 dia 490 pitch

References

Air Trails, March 1952, O-S-L-O-N-G, Henry Cole jr
M.A.N. Oct 1952, The 1952 Wakefield, pictorial impressions
Model Aircraft, Sept 1952, E F H Cosh
Aeromodeller Annual 1952

Music: "Your Cheatin Heart"; Literature: "Wait for Godot", Cine: "Othello"

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