1955: Aero Club d'Italia cup returns to Italy for best team and Sladky of Czechoslovakia wins individual prize at WORLD C/L CHAMPIONSHIPS
Reported by R. G. Moulton
The Speed Event
THE 2.5 c.c. CONTROL-LINE speed Championships finally happened on July 2nd and 3rd at Croix-de-Berny, a few miles south of Paris. Only the one class of speed was flown, supported by an acrobatic contest for the F.A.I. 50th Anniversary Cup, and two whole days were set aside for approximately 150 flights to be recorded. Team Racing, certainly the most attractive of International control-line events and a favourite with the paying public in the spectators stands, was inexplicably excluded from the programme- This, and other omissions subsequently discovered made it obvious that none of the Committee responsible hid enjoyed the experience of last year's meeting at the Hague.
At the reception, held in the palatial Banquet Hall of the Aero-Club de France, models of the eleven competing countries were processed and given the rubber stamp of approval. This was to be the first meeting of East and West on a flying field and there was some speculation on the possible success of the Czech State produced engines. On the side of the West, Signor Jaures Garofali, the Super Tigre manufacturer from Bologna, had brought along a strong contingent including employee and World Record Holder, Amato Prati. From Berlin, Gunther Bodemann, the Webra designer, was competing in person.
The assembly retired to excellent hotel accommodation, where most voted for rest while the more energetic entered upon a series of nocturnal ramblings one might expect from a City that never appears to sleep. Came the dawn, and the Danes were to be found making up lines at 6.30 a.m. on the pavement, while two hours later the coaches began their trek to the Bicycle Racing Stadium at Croix-de-Berny. From the entrance it looked fine. Down at ground level in the centre, the team managers were gathering. Carlo Tione raised his hands in characteristic Italian fashion, Major Samuleson of the U.S.A. passed unfavourable comment, W. Kroger of Germany agreed and Doug. Gordon tut-tutted as much as any of us. For the surface was a layer of cinder and dust about 4 in. thick, certainly not suitable for speed flying and little better for stunt. We thought it admirable for Speedway, the Italians said it might be better for Horseracing!
There were three circuits laid out, and for each team, a work bench, line park, safety screen and seats. This was excellent, each team having ample working area and a patrolling Gendarme ensured security and privacy. Order of flying was such that three people were called up at a time, to pass through one line check for pull, thickness and length, and then proceed onto the circuits within 5 minutes.
In theory, this might have worked; but the first round rapidly degenerated from a World Championships for control-line flying to a rat-race for whoever could bully the line checkers to pass one through within the five very unfair minutes. In the first hour only three official flights were put up and in two hours, the number was a mere seven. So tight was the time limit that if one failed to make a take-off, and there was much to make it difficult including a grass verge only 18 inches outside the line radius, then there was no time left for a re-start.
To say that there was discontent would be an understatement and this was not limited to the visiting teams. Peter Wright reeled off a comfortable 99-1 to put Britain at the top of the list as we left for and after a manager's meeting, the tempo of the afternoon's events was considerably relaxed --- so much so that some entrants were permitted unlimited starting time, and in the case of one team, all engines started by someone other than the flier and the entire team turned out as assistants. Famed prewar Wakefield flier, M. J. Desloges, issued announcements in French, German and English, and the line check was open for business long before the flight was due.
It was however, too late for some. In the haste to get airborne, one or two fliers had not taken time to use a plate under the model while starting. One a of the Italian Super Tigres had to be dismantled to reveal stones in the crankcase, and unfortunately, 13 Lutker's K. & B. piston took on a tram-lined appearance that reduced r.p.m. to a very low level.
Sladky went to the circle in the high temperature the afternoon. He was off the ground in a few and in the pylon before a lap had been complete At the end of his ten laps we knew that here was an exceptional flier with a superb engine and the speed of 109.4 m.p.h. reflected his individual superiority.
The Super Tigre group were also liking the heat now approaching 90° F., and two of them, Monti and Prati, came up to 105 and 102 m.p.h., with Zatocil of Czechoslovakia between them at 104 m.p.h. The were all glowplug engines and the supposition that with 15.92 metre lines of .25 mm. thickness, the dieisel might be better, was rapidly passing as a myth.
Ericsson of Sweden returned 100.7 with the fastest diesel on the field (Mach 1) and Dick Edmonds equaled Pete Wright's 99.4 m.p.h. with a standard Oliver Tiger, exposed cylinder and all.
For Britain, competing against a Czech state ported team and Super Tigre works team, third place was as good as could be wished, and this was situation at the start of the second round, thank, good support by "Monsieur" Gibbs for Edmonds., Wright, with 90 m.p.h. after take-off troubles.
At the close of the day, after the 2nd round, only 1 k.p.h. separated Amato Prati and Josef Sladky while the four Italians filled from 2nd to 5th place give them 14 k.p.h. total superiority over the Czech
Apart from some juggling with the Italian positions, the order on the next day remained unchanged, with faster speeds recorded by most fliers. This may have been due to the more humid weather, broken by a rain-shower, which at least served to lay the dust.
Peter Wright anti Dick Edmonds changed to their glowplugged Webra models, and Edmonds raised his speed by 1 m.p.h. Emil Fresl made a test flight at 111 m.p.h., but dropped to 101 on an official run in the pylon, and Sladky secured his lead with 111.4 on his last flight. Like the Italians, the Czech motors were running at more than 16,000 r.p.m. on the ground, at least 1,200 faster than their nearest competitor, though the State MVVS 25 engine had to use low pitch to get this figure. Sladky's own SK-25 engine, a miniaturised 16 x 12.3 mm. Dooling, built in collaboration with comrade Koel, was unique in using a metal tank, having an aircell dividing the "chicken hopper" fuel feed from one fuel compartment to another, whilst most others had balloon tanks.
With the result now definite, we reflected on the misfortunes of others. The Danes and Germans were particularly unlucky-the former because of inexperience and lack of the right type o£ propeller, the latter because their dollies were unsuitable for the surface. France and the U.S.A. had fuel feed problems, except for Coupre and his Oliver Tiger, and the other teams had valiant tries as well as will be seen in the results.
Results - F2A Speed - Individual
36 entries, 11 countries
|2||A. Prati||Italy||Super Tigre||109.4|
|3||S. Monti||Italy||Super Tigre||108.7|
|4||C. Cappi||Italy||Super Tigre||108.2|
|5||M. Zatochil||Czechoslovakia||MVVS 25||106.3|
|6||G. Gottarelli||Italy||Super Tigre||106.3|
|7||O. Ericsson||Sweden||Webra Mach 1||105|
|8||E. Fresl||Yugoslavia||K&B 15||101.3|
|9||R. Edmonds||Great Britain||Webra Mach 1 glo||100.7|
|10||L. P. Wright||Great Britain||E.D. Racer glow||99.4|
|11||V. Smejkal||Czechoslovakia||MVVS 25||98.2|
|12||G. Busch||Germany||Webra Mach 1||97|
|13||F. Couprie||France||Oliver Tiger||96.3|
|14||B. Grulich||Czechoslovakia||MVVS 25||95.1|
|15||R. Gibbs||Great Britain||Carter||95.1|
|16||E. Kreulen||Holland||Webra Mach 1||93.3|
|17||P. A. Eliasson||Sweden||Webra Mach 1||93.3|
|18||M. J. Gordyn||Holland||Webra Mach 1||93.3|
|19||G. Bodemann||Germany||Webra Mach 1||92.5|
|20||J. Janssens||Belgium||Super Tigre||90.1|
|21||M. Vujic||Yugoslavia||Aero 250||88.9|
|22||T. Prukner||Yugoslavia||E.D. 2.46||88.3|
|23||J. Frohlich||Germany||Webra Mach 1||87.6|
|24||S. Hie||France||K.& B. 15 /TD>||84.5|
|25||H. Stouffs||Belgium||E.D. 2.46||83.3|
|26||P. C. Andersen||Denmark||Webra Mach 1||83.3|
|27||B. Hansen||Denmark||E.D. 2.46||82.6|
|28||J. K. Hansen||Denmark||E.D. 2.46||80.7|
|29||D. Woods||Great Britain||K.& B. 15||80.7|
|31||E. B. Madsen||Denmark||E.D. 2.46||73.9|
|32||W. Godden||U.S.A.||K.& B. 15||67.7|
|33||R. D. Lutker||U.S.A.||K.& B. 15||6.6|