1951 International at Knokke

Knokke, Belgium
Jul 28 1951 to Jul 30 1951

From Model Aircraft

WORLD SPEED CHAMPIONSHIPS AT KNOKKE 28-30 JULY, 1951

THE British team which competed in the first World Championships Meeting for control-line models, organised at Knokke-sur-Mer by the Belgian Federation of Model Aviation on July 28th and 29th, scored an outstanding success-winning outright six of the seven trophies competed for including the Team Championship.

Having made the journey from London by air, the British team arrived in Knokke at midday on the Saturday and after settling in at their hotel immediately set about preparing their models for the Concours which was held that evening on the main promenade. The judging for this part of the event was carried out by a jury consisting of Mon. V. Boin (President) Mr. A. F. Houlberg and Mr. H. R. Gillman, Director-General of the F.A.I. Despite keen competition Allan Hewitt gained first place in the stunt model class and Pete Wright won the speed class, thus giving us a valuable lead of points before the commencement of the two days' flying which were to follow.

The weather on the Sunday was breezy and a light drizzle which fell during the early part of the day made flying tricky, but our team seemed to revel in the conditions. We had hoped to do well in the stunt event, but expected to find ourselves up against stiff competition in the speed contests as last year our speed fliers were outclassed by the French entrants. This year, however, Pete Wright of St. Albans started us off on the winning road by leading the 5 c.c. class with a fine flight of 202.247 km/h, which broke the existing world record. Allan Hewitt surprised us (and himself!) by setting up a new record of 159.292 km/h in the 2.5 c.c. class. Allan, who is not normally a speed flier, had borrowed a 2.5 c.c. Macclesfield Marvel diesel from ` Gig ' Eifflaender for the occasion and had knocked up his model rather hurriedly. Incidentally, when the officials checked the engine after his record flight they found that it was only 2.08 c.c. capacity.

Hewitt also gained a lead of r6o points over Ken Marsh in the stunt event and at the end of the first day's flying we had a comfortable lead of points despite the fact that our to c.c. flier, Mike Billinton of Brixton, failed to complete the requisite number of laps during his flight. However, as the linal results were calculated on the average speed; or points scored in both days' flying we were not " counting our chickens " yet.

On the second day the weather was perfect and once again the British team put up very consistent iii performances. It is noteworthy that our speed fliers had no difficulties with engine starting, although they were the only team which did not use a mechanical starter. They were advised to play for safety on their second round flights, as barring accident, they stood a very good chance of maintaining their lead. Also, as only the top placed men in each team scored points, we concentrated on those who led on the first day. Wright, Hewitt and Billinton. All got in good flights and the British fliers put on the best performances in each of the four classes.

Although the contest was not due to close until 5 P.m. the British team had completed all of their flights by midday and were in an unbeatable position in all but the 10 c.c. speed class.

Dunn and Claydon of the East London Club made number of successful flights with their jet models and received well merited applause from the large crowd of spectators. They were the only jet flier. the meeting but their flights did not score points the team award. The din created by these models, in the confined space of the town square, which was completely surrounded by buildings, can be imagined.

On one of his flights Dunn put up a speed 214.926 km/h, the fastest time yet recorded by a powered model anywhere except in the USA interesting point about this flight was that, unnotices by the flier, the bracket holding the tail pipe of the jet motor had become bent inwards so that out was oflsct slightly towards the centre of the circle to top the list of competitors in the 2.5 cc speed class and he followed this up by a flight of 193.5 k/hr, in the 5.0 cc class, to place Great Britain second to Dr. Millett, of France, with 198.38 k/hr. in this event.

In the meantime Ridgeway put in some good work in the aerobatics circle to score 632 points and place Great Britain in an almost unassailable position in this event, thus leaving only the 10 cc speed and the team classes in a bad position so far as the British team was concerned.

By steady work on the part of Davenport on his damaged machine during Saturday night and the greater part of Sunday, it was eventually restored to flying order, whereupon it succeeded in achieving 225 k/hr. to place second to Battistella, of Italy, with 233.176 k/hr.

With three firsts and two second places the British team now had a sporting chance of again pulling off the championship, and this was confirmed by the final results when they were worked out by the indefatigable Roussel and the remainder of the secretarial team of the " Petite Aviation Belge."

The general arrangements for the contest were excellent; in particular the arrangement of the competitors' pens with their long pegged and taped enclosures in which the lines could be kept between Sights.

While welcoming the appearance of newcomers to this championship with the Norwegian, Danish, Yugoslav, and Spanish entrants, one regretted that Switzerland was not represented, particularly alter their very good showing on previous occasions. We hope this is only a temporary absence and that they will again take their place in future events.