Free Flight weekend in Salonta

Nenad Batoćanin

I would like to share my impressions from past competitions in Romania. The Salonta Cup and the Szabó Miklós Memorial were held on May 11 and 12 in Salonta, Romania. Of course, this is a limited insight into the competition, because as a participant I didn’t have too much time to look around (unfortunately I didn’t participate in the Szabo Miklos Memorial). A large number of competitors always come to this competition, which happened this year as well. Salonta is a small town, so competitors who did not book local accommodation at least three months in advance had to look for accommodation in Oradea, which is not very close (about 40 minutes by car), like we did. The field on which the competition takes place is, on the other hand, excellent – a spacious meadow with low vegetation. There are some objects, but they are far enough from the starting point. The only drawback is the access road which is in a rather bad condition, so it is necessary to go about 3-4 km at a maximum speed of 20 km/h (except for those who used a rental car or a company vehicle :).

Photo by Csaba Nagy

The organization was excellent, especially considering the number of participants. Of course, there were problems, but I think that with this number of participants, they are quite understandable. As far as I’m concerned, the organizers deserve a deep bow for their efforts. The weather was sunny, with a fairly strong wind (according to the official forecast, it was up to 7.6 m/s with peaks up to 11 m/s). The models went far (starts of 3 min went up to 2 km, and in FO 3 km and more). Although it doesn’t seem like a long distance, it was a difficult task for the timekeepers to follow the models at times. In one start, the timekeeper lost my model that was quite high up, for about 2 minutes. I didn’t see it either, but the iCare GPS receiver showed me that the model was still flying. We agreed that immediately after the start, I would bring the model and that the competition official would check my timer, which logged the entire flight. And so we did, and after the check I was given the maximum result. I’ve also heard complaints from others about timekeeping, I think we should rely less on the human factor and work on automating timekeeping using projects such as „About Time“ project. An additional problem was the lack of timekeepers, so in one part of the competition the competitors timed each other, and the controller alternately went to the starting points and checked who was starting, where the model was, etc.

Here are the Salonta Cup results:

Salonta kup.

Szabó Miklós Memorial

I would like to highlight one problem that has been recurring since last year. The starting positions for F1A continue to the F1B starting positions. The problem arises when the wind blows so that the competitor from the border starting place has to start between the F1B competitors, which is extremely difficult and even dangerous. It is necessary to make a certain distance or instruct the judges to allow the release of the model from a little more distance.

Our F1A team had numerous problems during the competition (Mica Tica broke his wings in one start, Kili had a problem with the timer, I bent the horizontal hammer just before the start). Despite that, Mića and Kili entered the FO, for which I congratulate them once again. Mica had an excellent start in FO (5:43) in a very strong wind. Unfortunately, I didn’t watch the F1B and F1C categories, but Bojan Gostojic, after all the full results and the first round of the FO, went to the second round and made an excellent result there to end up in tenth place, for which we also congratulate him 🙂

Before the start of the FO, a problem arose regarding the judges’ seats and the schedule of competitors. First, a list was printed on which it was written where each competitor was going, but a few minutes before the start it turned out that the list was still not good, so cards were distributed on the spot, and the competitors were forced to rush from one place to another and check their names on the cards with the judges. The organizer, who was giving explanations with a megaphone, could barely be heard due to the wind, which at one point caused quite a bit of confusion. It seems that there was some web document where the result could be tracked, but unfortunately it was not widely accepted.

I would recommend the organizers to use the, because it would help them overcome many problems they have now and would do a great service to all competitors and observers. First, contestants would know where to apply – now they had to search last year’s results on FB groups to somehow get to the application site. That way, they would be able to directly log in and follow the results on their phones during the competition. In the same way, the FO competitors would be able to see which starting place they were assigned to for the FO, without printed lists and shouting with a megaphone. You don’t even need a computer to enter the results, an ordinary phone is enough, which the organizers of the Srem and Morava Cup masterfully demonstrated last year – the results became visible immediately after the end of the tournament. For my part, I offer help to all organizers who want to use this site, of course without any compensation. In this way, we would avoid numerous messages like “does anyone have results”, sending blurry photos of the results and enable quality promotion of this and similar competitions.