1955 World Contol Line Championships held at the Croix de Berny Stadium, Paris
The Model Aircraft Report
TO most, Paris is the acme of joie de vivre, feminine fashions and other activities . . . all hardly associated with the rumbustious sport of C/L flying, but it was there that Messrs. Wright, Gibbs, Wood and Edmunds, under team manager Doug Gordon, ably represented Great Britain in the recent World Speed Championships, which this year was for 2.5 c.c. engined models.
Actual venue was the Croix de Berny Stadium, which is normally used for cycle racing. The centre of the arena, where three circles were marked out, was surfaced with loose stones and grit which created miniature dust storms and made take-off conditions difficult. The team managers protested about this poor surface, but received only apologies until the second round, when a 2-ft. wide path was swept clear around the perimeter of each of the three circuits.
Eleven countries were represented at the meeting and as expected, strongest opposition to the British team emanated from Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Italy. The first round of the speed contest started promptly at io a.m. on the Saturday.
Each competitor was allowed 5 min. to have his model weighed and his lines checked and pulltested between when he was called over the loud-speaker system, and when he was expected to appear on the arena; then the usual g min. to get the motor started and get airborne. It quickly became obvious that the 5 min. allowed was inadequate, particularly for the British team, as they were stationed on the far side of the arena. Consequently, although the individual modellers had drawn for flying order, many were unable to complete the processing in time to fly when their turn came, and thus some half of the first round flights were not made in the correct order. Those who missed their flights were allowed to fly at the end of the first round, although this counted as a second attempt.
For the subsequent rounds the British team members ensured they wasted no time getting to the processing bench by waiting nearby.
The British team, although they could not match the speeds that were attained by the Czech and Italian models, certainly were on top form and flew well and consistently. That they knew the rules and obeyed them was particularly evident in comparison with some of the leading teams who, despite the rule that there should only be one operator and one helper, often had three or four helpers and a mechanical starter. Also the flying tactics of some of the competitors left much to be desired, as there were a number of cases of " whipping " the model and of improper arm positioning on the pylon. Protests led to the disqualification of these flights.
The consistency of the British flying was evident in the fact that although they placed 9th, l0th, 14th and 28th for speed, they secured 3rd place in the team placings.
On Sunday evening, after the flying was over, a banquet was held at the Aero Club de France during which the prizes were given. Following the prizegiving, D. A. Gordon, the British team manager, was presented with the F.A.I. Paul Tissandier diploma by the Russian Minister of Civil Aviation, who had accompanied a delegation from Moscow to observe the Championships.
In spite of one or two minor irritations the meeting was well organised, and the British team enjoyed the convivial atmosphere and the excellent hospitality that the French organisers offered.
The winning Czechoslovakian model which was flown by J. Sladky was of orthodox appearance and was mainly constructed from hardwood. Little information is available about the engine which he used as, in common with the other Czech team members, he was reluctant to disclose any details. However, the engine was produced by the nationalised Czech industry, and in all probability was made and tuned especially for the meeting. It was a glowplug ignition type with a disc valve mounted at the rear. The fuel feed was from a rigid tank mounted in the fuselage. Sladky used a 16 X i 2 cm. (approx. 6'1 X 4T in.) propeller. The dolly he used for take-off was a relatively heavy type, with four rubber tyred wheels, which slowed the take-off considerably, although under the existing poor runway conditions the heavier dolly assisted. The Czech models had a larger wing area than is usual, particularly when compared with the Italian machines which secured the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th places. All the Italian models were powered by the well-known Super Tigre glowplug engines.
The German Webra Mach i engine was widely used and it powered the models of the German, Yugoslavian, Swedish and Dutch models. In addition, Pete Wright made one flight with a Webra installed in place of an E.D. Racer. E.D.s were also employed by the other members of the British team (with the exception of Gibbs who used a K. & B.) and by the Danes and Belgians.