August 16, 2023 late afternoon. F1B. World Cup, France!
50 out of 109.
Huge pressure. Focus, focus…
Starting place 29, Slavko with me. We have set up on the 25m line on time. Model – ORCA, Sidus electronics, stooge, winder, rubber band and me. Max 360. Bojan is somewhere down the starting line – around the 35th position.
Nervousness – it’s not going according to plan, the first delay of the start due to the positioning of the measurers. Time is being wasted. The pressure is mounting.
If only Kaća were here!
A new delay. The maximum increases to 480 seconds allowing time to set the timer – I run to fetch the programming device. Then another delay due to the turning of the starting line towards the wind which was slowly weakening. It was dusk already. Živa joined us. I went to get a screwdriver to “release” the horizontal. Slavko was about to do the same without me!? It was clear that we’ll start right away, before the cold and the increase in humidity in the air. The first rubber band above 1.6 torque. At the beginning of the fourth minute, I threw out the model!
Almost vertical, very good transition from the bant phase to the first turn of the spiral path! We entered the last turn without hesitation – the rubber band “pulled” well. It flew straight into the wind, wing down, slightly right into a turn, propellers stopped – exactly where they should have!
Complete path very good!
There was still a free flight left!
During the third minute of the flight, I went to the position 25 m where my stooge and winder were, I lowered my knees to the ground, put my face into my hands and waited.
And who knows what might have happened if we didn’t “play” as a team in my 7th start. And we “played” indeed! At the start I was second behind Bojan, on time. Extremely “inconvenient” position, start number 3. The wind was blowing down the starting line, faster than at any time that day – from us to position 38! Everything was happening behind our backs. There was no one left in front of us at the start – only lanes. Time went on. Next to us, the Canadians monitored thermo probes on two tablets for their competitor. Some models flew down the line, but far away. We were waiting.
The Canadians started – they had the “promise” of both tablets. Then I started. At Toza’s suggestion, I lowered the model, but mechanically I started the timer, the model was in my hand, the propellers started and they cut the index finger of my left hand – blood! I took that engine off and winded a new rubber band. There was no moment I wanted. Another round and – bang. Give me the third rubber band! It didn’t last either – at least not as long as I wanted. I’ve run out of rubber bands!
My world came crashing down! I “ate” a good portion of time. Toza and Slađa still had to start after me. I was walking, like a zombie, towards our camp. Let the two of them fly. I need at least 5 minutes to complete at least two half-tube motors, rubber band holders, Piserchio hooks… Slavko shouts “Stop, where are you going, come back!”, Toza: “You have our rubber band, take it and wind it” and adds: “But please, only 5% less tight”.
And we did the maximum!
Then the two of them made successful flights in just 9 minutes!
We did it!
And what if we didn’t have compatible half tubes for rubber bands, Piserchio hooks and rubber band holders?
A few years ago, we agreed that, in addition to these elements, we should use the same batteries on GPS and electronic timers in terms of capacity and dimensions and with the same connectors, the same type of transmitter (with the same connector) and GPS receiver – so that we could support each other. It turned out to be a strategically correct deal!
At complete darkness, we headed to the technical control, Toza, Slavko and I, the whole national team was at the door, the first congratulations from the head of the control, then of our whole team!
I call Kaća on the phone, we share joy together!
And, as our people say, “every miracle lasts three days”, all that remains is for me to wake up – but I’m still dreaming!