Model Aircraft Report
LADY LUCK certainly gave British fliers a miss at the World Championship for A/2 and Speed, this year held at Mlada Boleslav, a small town 57 kilometres from Prague. Speed man Ray "Gadget" Gibbs was virtually opening of the speed contest in the first round when his Carter Special " blew-up " while he was lapping at an estimated 215 k.p.h.
If these events could have been foreseen, perhaps it would have been a less cheerful party that left London on August Bank Holiday Monday to travel by train accross Belgium and Germany and into Czechoslovakia. Prague, the capital, was reached on the Tuesday evening and it was a tired and grubby party that entered the Hotel Europa to spend a comfortable night. An opportunity for a short sight-seeing walk presented itself the next morning, followed by an excellent lunch, after which we boarded the buses for the trip to Mlada Boleslav.
Our arrival in this small Czech town savoured of a film festival; the entrance to the Hotel Venec-where competitors were accommodated - was crammed with local sightseers, while from the hotel roof fluttered the flags of the 20 competing nations. Even the shop window displays had an aeromodelling motif and it was obvious that the whole town was geared up to make the World Championships a really festive occasion. We had already had a foretaste of what was to come when we passed the airfield on the way into the town-it, also, was decorated with flags and bunting.
Language difficulties were nonexistent, as the British party were allotted no less than three English-speaking Czech interpreters-Susanne, Charlie and Felix, who was an ex-Spitfire pilot. (He received the name Felix, so he told us, in his R.A.F. days-it was the nearest pronunciation they could get to his Czech name.)
Photos Here, Speed Event Account Below
Above top: (4) Grandesso & Barbini (5)Cellini (6) Sladky's MVVS
Above Middle: (1)Russian Gajevski'a "WIP 20" powered aircraft (2)Hungarian team - Krizma at left (3)Belgians - Mme Deligne team manager to left (4) Vasilcenko - don't need no steenkink starter!
At left: (1) Czech Team-Sladky 2nd left, (2) Gibbs with wrecked aircraft (3) Bulgarian team
The Speed Event
As previously forecast in Model Aircraft, the Czechs and the Italians were firm favourites for the team trophy and indeed the final results showed Czechoslovakia once again at the top, with Italy a rather shaky second, being closely challenged this year by Hungary.
Processing of the speed models had been completed on the Friday, and no snags were encountered by the British boys. Pete Wright had given his models a few test laps, but Ray Gibbs decided to save his models for the competition.
Saturday morning was to have seen the start of the contest, but an overnight storm had reduced the two speed circles to a state of quagmire, thus the start was postponed until after the lunch break. The circles had been specially constructed with a surface of coarse red sand, which had been watered and rolled continuously to provide a firm base.
The contest was divided into three rounds of four hours each, two to be run on the Saturday and one on the Sunday morning; lots were drawn to decide the order of flying. A period of ten minutes from the time of calling was allowed, when fliers had to complete their line check and be ready to enter the circle. On the take-off area, a further ten minutes was permitted in which to get the model airborne, and two attempts were allowed.
The weather was again warm and sunny, and of Great Britain's two-man team, Pete Wright was first away. However, due to an over-rich mixture his Barbini-powered model had a poor run and, realising he could do better, he did not put his hand in the pylon. Unfortunately, on his second attempt, sand had entered the motor and blocked the needle jet.
When Gibbs came out to fly the atmosphere among the watching crowd can only be described as "electric." Timed over five laps, his estimated speed was put at 215 k.p.h.! then it happened: the Carter Special cut dead after the five laps, and on examination it was found that its cylinder and liner had completely fractured. First impression was that loose particle of sand had et entered the air intake, although expert opinion was that fatigue was the more likely cause. This has since been confirmed by Fred Carter, the designer. Thus was Great Britain's chance of an individual award completely eliminated.
Meanwhile, the Italian team were off to a bad start, with only two out of the four team members returning a score. Pratti, with the new Super-Tigre G.20V, made a neat 192 k.p.h., and flying proxy for Berselli managed 189 k.p.h. Both Grandesso, with a works modified B.40, and Cellini were plagued with starting troubles, the latter being convinced that the sand was to blame. Certainly, there was more than spent fuel coming through the exhaust of his Barbini, which was the same motor that he had in Italy last year.
Assistants were constantly patting the sand hack into place where it lead been churned up, but there was still too much loose sand on the surface. Front induction motors suffered the most, naturally, and as these were in the majority, nearly everyone except the Czechs had to overcome this hazard.
The Czech team, of course, had rear induction engines, but still took no chances. Engines were started with the model off the dolly. In fact the whole starting technique was a fine example of team work at its best.
But if the competitors were having troubles with the sand in the circle, we were having troubles of our own on the outside. Wandering among the tents of the ten competing countries, we stopped among the Bulgarians. Our pidgin English having produced no results, we eventually conversed through a Czech interpreter--a, Professor as a matter of fact- who spoke Russian. The Bulgarians also spoke Russian, so the conversation was translated by them from their native tongue into Russian, the Professor then worked out the meaning in Czech, then passed it on to us in English- if you follow! However, the Bulgarian boys were extremely friendly and you can see a photo of four of them on page 437. Fuel seemed to be their biggest problem; nitromethane having to be imported, it was thus very expensive. Three of the models were powered by standard Super-Tigre G.20'S, while Ivan Vasilev had the Laparto Super T. Highest speed achieved on their home ground was evidently 168 k.p.h.
A few tents further along the line were the Hungarians, and language difficulties were eased by Dr. Geza of Budapest, who spoke excellent English. It seems that Hungary also now has a State Model Institute, which opened as recently as of July 1st this year. Two members of the team-Vitkovits and Beck-- are employed there. As the designer of Alag engines, Krizsrna is the top speed man in Hungary and recently set up a new Hungarian record of 211 k.p.h.
Back in the speed circle, the first round was really showing the capabilities of the Czech team, who had been "in training" for a fortnight before the event. Sladky, with the rear-induction MVVS motor he used in the Criterium, put up the fastest recorded time so far with 205 k.p.h., while Smejkal and Zatocil also went over the 2oo k.p.h. mark with 204 and 202 k.p.h. respectively. Odd man out was newcomer Frain Pastyrik, who made only 194 k.p.h. His motor was the newest of the four MVVS's and in fact. he was compelled to run it in during the two days before the contest.
With such consistent flying by the Czech team speeds would obviously have to be of a high order to provide any worthwhile challenge. But the challenge, at least individually, came shortly after when Krizsma matched Sladky with 205 k.p.h., using a hotted-up version of of the Alag X3.
For the second round Pete Wright changed over to Gibbs' fuel and made 167 k.p.h., but the motor sounded much healthier on the ground than. it did airborne. Gibbs now attempted to fly his no. 2 model, but it was obvious that this was incapable of putting up even a moderate performance.
Pratti for Italy reached 198 while with Berselli's model he was only 1 k.p.h. slower. Cellini still had motor trouble, but Grandesso made his first score with 197 k.p.h. Externally the new Super as flown by Prati has a larger and stronger crankcase, has a redesigned head and features a large frontal air intake of' about 3/8 in. diameter. The transfer port is larger than previously, but the exhaust port is standard. Piston is of the plain lapped type. During a ground run the tachometer showed a steady 17,300 r.p.m., while estimated r.p.m. airborne were between 18-19,000.
Applause greeted Sladky and Zatocil when they both made 211 k.p.h., and with the 208 and 204 k.p.h. of Pastyrik and Smejkal the Czechs wsere all set for the team award.
Later, in conversation with Josef Sladky we asked about the Czech fuel. He told us that the mixture is 45 per cent. nitro methane, 20 per cent. nitro benzene, 1o per cent. methanol, 25.5 per cent. castor oil, plus 0.5 per cent. of something which Josef couldn't name although judging by the laughter, Czech humour is not far removed from our own ! Incidentally, their hand carved props had terrific " bite " and were shaved at the root to suit engine revs.
So far we've made no mention of the Russians, but really they were never in the picture. Vasilcenko, the jet flier, was the only member of the team to go over the to go k.p.h, mark.
Came the final, and a resounding 216 k.p.h. from Sladky, with Zatocil close behind with 214 k.p.h. to make absolutely certain of the team prize for Czechoslovakia.
Pete Wright changed over to his Vlatvan-Powered model and reached 160 k.p.h. to put him 22nd in the final results, while Gibbs failed to record an official flight with his reserve model.
So ended the World Championships for A/2 and Speed, or at least the contest side of the programme. After lunch the competing teams lined up in single file, and with their national flags at the head, marched in single file across the airfield to the dais, where the prize-giving was held. This short ceremony over, the spectators and teams settled down to watch an air display, which although not on Farnborough lines, was just as pleasing in its own individual way. Light aircraft, gliders and parachutists did manoeuvres the like of which is very rarely-if ever in this country. A solitary Mig trainer was the only jet to make an appearance, and did a couple of low and noisy passes. Actually, we suspect that this was laid on specially to wake up the British team manager, who was having a quiet doze on the grass in front of the stand.
Sunday did not end up with the usual banquet, and this seems a splendid idea. Certainly it gave the boys (and girls) an opportunity to mix a little more after the meal was over. After this trip nobody will ever believe that old tag about the British being reserved! The British, too, will be remembered in Mlada Boleslav for one thing at leasl they introduced jive to Czechoslovakia, much to the delight of the local inhahabitants, who packed into the hotel every night to listen to the international jazz group, comprising Kurt Czepa (Austria) on piano, the writer on drums, and unknown guitarists and harmonica players joining in. The solo "jive" demonstrations by a certain member of the British team also "brought the house down."
All in all, it was a most enjoyable trip, and all the members of the British party will long remember the friendliness and hospitality of the people they met in Czechoslovakia.